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Nov 25 2019

Infrastructure. Simple

Consolidate, Modernize, and achieve Sustainability –S/4HANA keeps it simple



Say the words ‘digital infrastructure’ or ‘SAP architecture’ or even ‘sub-infrastructure’ and most business orientated people will get brain freeze. It sounds technical. You get visions of complicated flow diagrams and stacks of boxes with strange words in them. But, as I’ve argued in previous blogs, it’s actually a very simple concept.

This is what your business runs on, so make it agile, adaptable, sustainable, available, and as converged as possible. Above all, keep it simple. That means understanding the attributes which give you a competitive edge and keep you ahead of disruption and make sure they’re implemented in the best way possible.

It’s simple advice. So, I know I claim to have a very simple answer to the S/4 Hana migration debate: just do I and focus on your core objectives and being innovative in your market.

There’s a concept called ‘Occam’s Razor’ – named after a medieval monk who coined it – and it defines a simple approach to anything and everything. The simplest answer is usually the best one, and don’t add too many factors into any system as that will just end in complication and slow you down (I’m paraphrasing).


Let’s talk about Retail

Sector expert, Ian Shepherd, believes in simplicity. His analysis of the New Normal for the industry is based on simples rules: ‘Someone else is going to sell your product at cost or even less; everybody knows everything; reputation matters more than it did before; location still matters (a bit); and knowing your customer is key.’ How does S/4HANA enable you to deal with those rules? Simple: by giving you the ability to converge all your functions, people, and locations to focus on being agile enough to get ahead of the competition who are also following those rules.

In particular, the in-memory computing which runs constantly to collect, process, and analyze data in real-time means that you can meet the challenges summed up in those rules. You can react to shifts in demand hour by hour, even minute by minute, adapt prices, stocks, offers, and ensure your supply chain is intelligently aligned to your customers’ behaviors.

So, a customer goes online, browses different skirts or trousers, looks at colors, and combinations of clothes, then logs off. That’s not a wasted interaction. When the customer goes into a store the system recognizes them (using Wi-Fi), and the store assistant gets an alert on their tablet and is able to (almost magically) predict what the customer wants and can guide them to a purchase. And the purchase doesn’t even have to be made in store. The customer logs back in (at night usually – it’s been show by UK store John Lewis that 15% of their online sales are made between 10pm and 6am![1]) and finally makes the purchase.

Your hyper-converged infrastructure for SAP brings everything together – your traditional IT, the cloud, and everything else in between. You make the sale. And the sale is the point. It’s that simple: retail is about the final sale.


Transport and Manufacturing – the same rules apply

It’s all about new business models. The principle from the retail story shows us that the point is to be agile enough to do new things, turn old things upside down, or keep doing the things that still work. It’s not just about new business models, it’s about making old models more effective too.

That’s why the digital infrastructure is so important. Digitalization is opening up new opportunities for manufacturers to get closer to their customers by selling their products as a service, adding in IoT functionality and providing predictive maintenance. That means forging a relationship which lasts for years. It’s not just ‘make something and sell it’, and that’s it. It’s a long-term commitment from both sides.

In transport, it’s about focusing on passengers as customers and enabling mobility across different modes of transport so that the experience becomes seamless – all the customer needs of a mobile phone or a single card – and the system understand where they are where they want to go and how.


Infrastructure. Individualized

S/4HANA brings simplicity to bear. Complexity is reduced, costs are mitigated, and real-time data analysis and systems integration support speed of both decision-making and reaction to market changes. Critically, you get the ability to deploy your systems in ways that suit you. So, when it comes to cloud, it’s not an all-or-nothing choice. You can have on-premise provision, private cloud, public cloud – or a mix of all three. It’s crucial that you build the right structure for the conditions of your marketplace as it is now. And do it while retaining the ability to change swiftly as the market changes.

You can’t ask for more than that!


Find out more about how can be intelligent, together and make the most if the S/4 Hana opportunity – we have specific examples here.


Susanne Brügelmann


About the Author:

Susanne Brügelmann
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Global Marketing – Susanne is responsible for Product Marketing of Fujitsu's SAP Infrastructure Portfolio globally. Her background includes localization,...


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