Customer sentiments are highly volatile, and the retail industry is at the forefront of dealing with these ever-changing sentiments. Trends do change, and this is not something businesses can control. Instead, a successful retailer will be agile enough to deal with such changes and use them to their advantage.
Unfortunately, this agility is not something you can achieve using conventional business practices and manual approaches. This calls for a much more robust solution- such as the SAP S/4HANA Retail. This solution's nuanced features and functionalities are ideally designed to help your business function optimally in this digitized business environment.
There has been a steep rise in the number of integrated solutions available over the last decade. Yet unfortunately, retail customers of SAP had to rely on different solutions to suffice their digital requirements. That being said, many might argue that SAP Retail has always been there to support retail operations.
However, one must not forget that it took years before SAP finally added the industry-specific solution in the SAP S/4HANA 1709. This certainly gave retailers the ability to execute complex processes and optimize stock levels with a customized business logic that caters to the specific business requirements.
On the other, the SAP Retail solution always had collaboration modules and customized workflows for wholesalers and manufacturers from the retail sector. This was done to augment communication throughout the value chain. While that was happening, the logistics and eCommerce sector was undergoing its own transformation. Hence these features did not yield any value for the revolutionized businesses of the modern age.
The SAP Retail solution was just not engineered to support the transformations that followed, and retailers began to look for more comprehensive solutions. When they could not find one, they decided to use SAP CPGs or AFS along with SAP Retail to meet their requirements.
However, even that fell short as the conventional SAP AFS solution was not designed to support direct-to-customer communication and marketing. Also, SAP Retail did offer a couple of solutions to support and adapt to the changing requirements of supply chains.
Yet a retail business needed something even more comprehensive ERP solution with competencies that would support the retail industry's distinct and relatively new requirements. So, as you know by now, this resulted in the birth of the SAP S/4HANA Retail solution.
Initially released in 2017, the SAP S/4HANA 1709 solution helped conventional retailers streamline their supply chain management processes. In addition, the integrated ERP platform also helped businesses run new eCommerce processes, manage relationships with distributors, and manage the global inventory requirements. Besides that, other advantages include:
SAP S/4HANA provided its users with many new features that helped them manage different aspects associated with procurement. This included planning procurement and even managing the purchase orders. Businesses were quick to leverage the new features and functionalities of the SAP S/4HANA Retail solution.
They quickly digitized most processes associated with the digitization of the supply chain and boosted eCommerce revenue generation. Businesses were finally able to leverage the potential of data and it to their advantage to drive better decision-making. In addition, businesses were no longer required to spend extensive time and effort sorting through data manually.
SAP S/4HANA comes with many customized data monitoring competencies and some of the most advanced embedded analytics dashboards. This makes it possible for businesses to predict demands and manage their inventory accordingly. Additionally, employees and data scientists of the company can access a ready-made repository. This repository is self-serving by nature, and one can access numerous integrations with predictive models.
Even better, all of these predictive models are based on advanced technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence. This gives one the optimum power level to carry out even the most complex data monitoring tasks with no hassle whatsoever.
There is no denying that the SAP S/4HANA 1709 was a quantum leap but what followed was even better. The 1809 version came with further enhancements of the existing features, such as optimizing long-term customer value and tracking raw material. The 1809 release of SAP S/4HANA also brought forward the advanced available-to-promise or (aATP) tracking along with other automation-driven fulfillment management solutions.
This meant that SAP S/4HANA customers now had the chance to use data on existing work in progress and current levels of raw materials. Hence it became much easier to alert managers about the precise requirements of the plant. Further, the engine that powers aATP also allowed customers to establish new communication channels with retail partners and distributors. Lastly, the SAP S/4HANA also came with an engine to manage all revised backorder processing to help businesses manage all last-minute requests.
Besides the aforementioned offerings, there are other vital innovations from SAP S/4HANA Retail that helps a retail business. These innovations include:
● Support for SAP Fiori Applications: Users can now conduct detailed simulations by using the native integrations with the supply assignment capabilities of the SAP Fiori. This allows them to determine the areas where the logistics operations have to perform under stress.
● Extensive Visibility of Supply Chain: SAP S/4HANA provides users with a supply-demand overview module. This module allows businesses to determine future purchase requirements by getting a better insight into the available stock levels.
● Adaptive Purchase Order Management: Businesses can now ensure on-time decisions by managing the purchase processes across different geographies, supply channels, and divisions.
Of course, many retail businesses from around the globe are looking to migrate to the SAP S/4HANA solution. However, many struggles to succeed in this endeavor because of the complications associated with the migration process. Many retail businesses are now looking to RISE with SAP as an appealing alternative. Besides that, there are also many other cloud-based programs that can help your company stay within the budget when going through with the migration. When you choose the best migration services for SAP S/4HANA, you also can:
No matter the type of SAP S/4HANA migration you choose, it will always help your business reduce the risk of hardware and drive scalability with minimal costs. Therefore, make sure to evaluate the objectives and goals of your business before looking for the ideal SAP migration survival provider. This will ensure you get exactly what will work for your business.
Granted, that may be a decade ago; SAP did not have much to offer to retail businesses. However, the course correction has been made, and now the SAP S/4HANA Retail offers much more than customers can ask for. Therefore, consider the aforementioned information and give your SAP HANA migration some thought to stay ahead of competitors.
Author Bio: Eric Smith is an SAP professional providing consulting services with Accely for SAP S/4HANA solution. With a knack for technology, he loves to write on the latest SAP developments and share his knowledge with the readers.
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