SAP S/4 HANA is great, but reticence and the adherence to fixed traditional procedures stop organizations from enjoying the benefits

November 16, 2018

“We have large enterprises who are absolutely determined to go to what they call ‘market standard services’ consumed in the public cloud because they do not see the need to pay a premium for things that don’t help them win in their market. Then we see other companies that are dead set on their process and IT must bend to that process”.

  • Paul Helms, SVP customer success group for S/4HANA Cloud

Computerworld article


At a recent SAP user group conference in Birmingham, the participants tackled the challenges of SAP S/4 HANA adoption, the 2 main customer types and the role played by public cloud in the entire equation.

Going with S/4HANA Cloud reduces the cost of adoption, but not many customers are willing to relinquish their old ways of doing things and embark on the change management process.


SAP acknowledges the barriers and is set on helping their customers overcome these blockers


Among the reasons mentioned in the source article as causes of the slow S/4HANA adoption curve are the costs, but also lack of awareness, and the difficulty in visualizing the long-term roadmap.

“Awareness is now widespread, with just 1 percent of respondents unaware of S/4”.

With 40% of those having deployed SAP S/4 HANA very satisfied by it, and just 5% not satisfied*, the main blocking factor seems to be the customer mindset. Those organizations who are not yet prepared to fully trust the cloud drive their own costs up, which makes it harder for them to benefit from the more agile formula, where costs, functionalities and the whole SAP concept all fall into place.

Making sure that the leaders who have decisional roles inside organizations understand what they can do with SAP S/4 HANA and what it can do for them is a work in progress, to which SAP is fully committed.

Other barriers would be:

  • change management concerns (mentioned by 20 % of the respondents)
  • lack of migration path clarity (4 % of the respondents)
  • lack of use cases (10 % of the respondents)

*stats from a survey on 345 user organizations, mentioned in the source article

Another ongoing issue would be that customers are often restricted heavily by internal legal, marketing and communications barriers. As an answer, SAP can “think about what is the return on their investment” to come forward and be a public reference customer.


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