Monday, July 31, 2017

One SAP Roadmap for Utilities: Wrap SAP Cloud Around On-Prem SAP Financials

Recently we were talking with one of our utility company clients about their SAP roadmap, and how utilities can leverage the latest SAP Cloud-based solutions while maintaining their robust and well-design SAP Financials core.

Our guidance for utilities considering such a direction is to initially wrap Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions around the SAP Financials they already have in place. Integrating third-party or SAP SaaS offerings with SAP Financials will be faster and less costly than a total overhaul, and SAP has great middleware in Hana Cloud Integration (HCI) that runs on the SAP Cloud Platform.

Under this kind of model, a SaaS billing solution, for example, would send APIs to the HCI to message SAP Financials for revenue transactions. The HCI would also be used to connect other SaaS offerings to SAP Financials, such as Fieldglass for contractors, Concur for employee expenses, and Success Factors for HR/payroll.

This strategy of integrating SaaS offerings with on-premise Financials has a number of benefits. First, it provides utilities with access to more modern, user-friendly applications that front-office staff and field operations will appreciate. Second, it safeguards regulatory accounting, overheads and allocations, and even the monthly close itself, which are too important to rip and replace without the utmost care. And third, it creates an opportunity in the future to move to a hybrid solution running SAP S/4HANA in the Cloud. Conversion will be more efficient when some front office and field tech functions have already been moved there, and the primary on-prem system remaining is Financials. Then, once S/4HANA is in place, utilities can build-out analytics on the SAP Business Objects Cloud (BOC) as their repository for all reporting from SAP and other non-SAP apps.

Learn more about HPC's implementation services for a terrific SAP SaaS offering, SAP Hybris Cloud for Customer (SAP C4C).

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