Future foundation: Addressing digital-age business needs with SAP S/4HANA Cloud

In today’s rapidly changing world, businesses are engaged in continuous disruptive innovation and have to constantly reinvent themselves in order to survive. It is a fact that fast innovators who are hungry for success, disrupt established markets not necessarily by introducing better products, but by providing better customer services. Modern enterprise resource planning (ERP) needs to support this fast and evolving transformation with capabilities that match modern business needs for innovation and speed of service. Businesses need a high degree of agility to cope with ever-changing environments if they want to leverage new trends to surge ahead of the competition.


Since the 1980s, SAP has successfully shaped and anticipated market trends and helped countless businesses to function better. As new megatrends emerged, ERP drove the industry to solve the problems of the next decade and created even more innovative ways for tackling next-generation problems, meeting new demands and driving businesses to work increasingly in real time. With the evolution of better techniques for capturing an increasing amount of data, manual efforts have reduced. Businesses need to adopt new perspectives and technologies to keep pace with digital transformation. S/4HANA Cloud, in combination with machine learning (ML) and predictive analytics, is able to cater to the age of the intelligent enterprise by rethinking the core business processes, automating repetitive tasks and providing decision proposals based on the information available.

The S/4HANA Cloud ERP’s digital core has been built on the following four pillars of:

  • an architecture that delivers scalable foundation to transact at highest possible automation
  • a system of intelligence to support and steer the business using embedded analytics
  • an end-to-end experience that allows faster implementation, consumption and adoption by users
  • an open architecture to allow connectedness and adoption of other systems.

Based on the above foundation, SAP has created three ingredients for an intelligent ERP (S/4HANA Cloud):

Digital user experience

To assist businesses in this digital era, the S/4HANA Cloud offers a conversational user interface (UI).

Automation of business processes

SAP strives for automation of 50% of all ERP business processes in the next three years.

Next-generation business process

Build on an architecture which provides the infrastructure to completely rethink value creation and service tasks.

Ingredients for an intelligent ERP - PwC India

Ingredients for an intelligent ERP

For companies, S/4HANA Cloud brings in value from both the functional and technical perspectives. It must be embedded in strategy to prepare a future roadmap for achieving transformation by creating new business models.

SAP S/4HANA Cloud is an intelligent ERP that enables business processes, including idea-to-design, procure-to-pay, plan-to-production, order-to-cash, offer-to-project and core finance. From a line-of-business perspective, this ERP can work in the domains of finance, procurement and sourcing, research and development, sales, revenue, supply chain and manufacturing.

Examples of applications already delivered in the market as an integral part of SAP S/4HANA Cloud are:

  1. Contract consumption for purchases: With ML capabilities, the purchase organisation will receive proactive notifications which are based on actual and forecasted consumption, allowing them to negotiate the next supply contract.
  2. Demand driven replenishment: Calculating the buffers for unexpected demand at each step of production is increasingly complex. S/4HANA Cloud’s functionality will calculate the buffers and generate proposals according to the optimal level of inventory demand and priorities.

What are the advantages of moving to SAP S/4HANA Cloud?

Prepare for upcoming, rapid technology evolution

Prepare for upcoming, rapid technology evolution through Internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain solutions

Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

Evolve processes via robotic process automation (RPA), shared services impacting finance, HR, procurement and more.

Embedded analytical tools

Develop a data-driven decision-making organisation through embedded analytical tools.

Reduce complexity

Reduce complexity by simplifying data flows, business processes, and technology environments.

The International Data Corporation (IDC) has positioned SAP in the ‘Leaders’ category within the 2019 IDC MarketScape for software as a service (SaaS) and cloud-enabled operational ERP applications worldwide.1

Nucleus Research recognised SAP for bringing in more capabilities that deliver intelligent ERP to SAP S/4HANA and SAP S/4HANA Cloud.2

PwC and SAP

  • PwC understands that organisational growth is not only about adopting technology, but also about reimagining the future with the customer to maximise value creation and return on investment (RoI) in a transformation project.
  • PwC helps to design a future-state experience that delights customers and employees and will be enabled by an integrated SAP S/4HANA Cloud solution, delivering flexibility, scalability, and innovation in a cost-effective architecture to promote end-to-end seamless collaboration.
  • PwC has deep industry experience and high-value solution accelerators which will increase speed to value and reduce software costs for customers.
  • Gartner has rated PwC among the top five SAP implementation partners in India. PwC’s SAP practice has won numerous awards and accolades from SAP for various implementation projects on the different sectors.
  • PwC was recognised by Gartner for 2019 Critical Capabilities for SAP S/4HANA Application Services, Worldwide.
  • PwC was selected as a winner of the SAP Pinnacle Awards 2019 in Public Cloud for SAP S/4HANA.
  • PwC and SAP have a long-standing strategic alliance and have together completed innumerable successful SAP engagements across a wide range of industries. PwC focuses on large-scale enterprise-wide transformation through SAP implementation and roll-out, SAP conversion, system enhancement and integration with third-party systems, and SAP application management (onshore, offshore and hybrid).

PwC's roadmap for implementing S/4HANA Cloud

  • Define strategic objectives
  • Industry and technology trends
  • Define value and benefits point of view
  • Identify capability requirements
  • Fit-to-standard
  • Global template approach
  • Realising business case
  • Business integration
  • Sustaining the transformation

Our integrated approach to make your ERP transformation successful

Workshops and preliminary solution maps
Workshops and preliminary solution maps
Fit-to-standard and analysis of scope
Fit-to-standard and analysis of scope
Build the solution and test it
Build the solution and test it
Deploy the solution
Deploy the solution
Run and sustain the transition
Run and sustain the transition

PwC has implemented S/4HANA Cloud globally and provided end-to-end services for customers’ digital transformation journey. Below are a few success stories:

S/4HANA public cloud citations

Client American global investment firm that manages multiple alternative asset classes. Gas industry’s central data service provider (CDSP) Self-driving technology development company
Location The US, the UK, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Germany, China, Japan, France, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Luxembourg, Australia, Singapore, South Korea, the UAE, Canada The UK The US, the UK, India, Ireland, China
How PwC helped -With our support, the client found the right balance of control over its transactional data and influence in its broader strategic vision through enriched reporting and forecasting. S/4HANA Cloud will further strengthen the client by laying the digital foundation for future growth and improving the automation of core processes.
  • Greenfield implementation from legacy system
  • implemented S/4HANA Public Cloud, Success Factors Employee Central and SAP Concur to enable the client’s back-office functions.
We deployed the leading practice S/4HANA Cloud system using the our fit-to-standard approach, enabling effective processes based on best practices. PwC’s goal is to create a flexible environment suited for rapid business growth for a leading-edge technology automotive company.
Project duration One year Seven months Eight months

Client impact

Client background and challenges

The ERP system being used by the client was implemented over 20 years ago. Over time, it was heavily customised to accommodate processes and structural differences across all business units. This created significant challenges in terms of non-standardised delivery of corporate services, inconsistent employee experiences as the client moved across departments, and inconsistent understanding of processes and manual data management that made it difficult to perform relevant and predictive analysis.

As the client moved towards a new cloud ERP solution to reduce the total cost of ownership, adopt leading practices and improve functionality, there was a need to harmonise processes across the entire organisation with the goal of standardisation, integration and cost savings.

PwC’s solution

We used a multi-phased approach, including a combination of business process and technology advisory services to support the preparation and ongoing execution of the client’s ERP transformation.

Phase 1 - programme design and set-up

Phase 1 - programme design and set-up

We collaborated with leadership from the client’s transformation management office to define the programme. We held visioning workshops with stakeholders from across functions, including finance, supply chain, human capital, information management and enterprise asset management, to define the vision for each functional area and identify key needs from the programme.

Phase 2 - capability and process design

Phase 2 - capability and process design

Based on the plan from phase one, we held workshops with stakeholders from each function to align the various business units with leading practices and adopt a common way of working. Each corporate service function identified core capabilities and drilled further down into high-level processes to generate a broad understanding of the existing issues and align to a desired future state process where relevant leading practices are adopted.

Phase 3 - detailed process design and harmonisation

Phase 3 - detailed process design and harmonisation

After completing high-level capability and process design, we continued to support detailed process design and harmonisation and leveraged our cloud technology transformation experience to support system evaluation, selection and ERP readiness.

Outcomes and benefits

We provide SAP services to clients across PwC’s global network and work together with various business process owners and subject matter experts to design future-state processes that will help them achieve enterprise transformation and consistent delivery of services.

Our multidisciplinary approach assisted the client in the ongoing ERP implementation and in determining the critical path for transformation changes needed to enable the desired future state. The leading practice process maps and narratives we developed were critical inputs to consider while functionally designing and configuring the ERP solution. As a result, the previously fragmented business unit was aligned to a common vision and way of working.


S/4 HANA cloud is no doubt the future of modern ERP to support and steer businesses with lowest TCO and automation. Businesses must rethink value creation by adopting S/4 HANA cloud and remain up-to date with innovative solutions in cloud platform. We at PwC acknowledge the value creation process and work together to design future-state processes in SAP S/4 HANA cloud that has helped many of our clients to achieve enterprise transformation and maintain consistent delivery of services.

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Shomik Dasgupta

Shomik Dasgupta

Partner, Technology Consulting - SAP, PwC India

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