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The magic of BLUEFIELD™: one-step approach to maximize time to value

You don’t have to move a mountain to reignite your business with S/4HANA.

Tiia Kokko / October 16, 2019

BLUEFIELD™ provides an automated pathway to SAP S/4HANA with real business value – accelerating your journey toward becoming an Intelligent Enterprise.

Transforming to a new ERP system at large companies is a complex matter at best and riddled with hazards, headaches and runaway costs at worst. Therefore, it is no surprise that CIOs may feel an urge to “kick the can down the road” when it comes to adopting SAP’s new flagship software S/4HANA.

As you may be aware, S/4HANA involves both technical renewal and business transformation at the same time. This is why companies struggle to find the right balance and sequence in managing the change.

But here’s what you may not know: The journey to SAP S/4HANA can actually be relatively smooth and perfectly painless given the right planning – and the right transformation approach.

Three pathways, one choice

As I have set out in previous blogs, Nordic companies now have three available options, or pathways, to choose from when considering their move to S/4HANA:

  • Greenfield: a “clean sheet” implementation
  • Brownfield: a complex upgrade using existing system and data or
  • Bluefield: an automated one-stop-shop combining the best elements of green and brown ­– offering the best time to value as several transformation elements are combined in a single-step approach

In an era when work processes and business conditions are changing faster than ever, flexibility and detailed analysis of systems is key before any ERP transformation project gets underway. And that’s why you are likely to sail into choppy waters when choosing greenfield or brownfield.

For example, your company may want to renew finance processes while, at the same time, keeping as-is processes for operations in a recently acquired subsidiary. In this scenario, greenfield can be likened to crossing the Atlantic without a GPS. And brownfield… well, frankly, this option involves massive technical exercises just to get the system up and running, without required business renewals.

Costs will inevitably start piling up resulting in business renewals being implemented separately.

Alternatively, if you indeed are in a position to start fresh with a Greenfield implementation of S/4HANA, you are still exposed to uncertainty and prolonged testing in order to ensure that your business needs are fully met.

By way of contrast, BLUEFIELD™ avoids all of the above downsides. With automatic scanning tools developed by SNP Group and brought to the Nordic market by Tieto, you can analyze the system landscape in-depth and predict S/4HANA impacts, identify objects and required customizations – and then, when ready, mitigate as needed.

The best news is that you don’t have to wait until the S/4 migration has taken place in order to start developing your business in the new environment. With BLUEFIELD™, the benefits can be realized as soon as 6 to 12 months into the project. This means that both business teams and IT can reach their target in a balanced way.

The building blocks of BLUEFIELD™

There is nothing more time consuming than sorting out, validating and incorporating historical data when going for a new core ERP system. At least this used to be true. The BLUEFIELD™ approach is entirely different and allows you to easily decouple and separate system and data.

Here are the steps we follow to S/4HANA:

  1. The magic starts with a virtual command center and the visualization tool called CrystalBridge, developed by SNP Group. With scanning real usage of existing system targeted changes can be planned well in advance. Structural changes such as chart of account, profit/cost center structures, organizational structure or use of Unicode and NewGL are all identified and prepared for the all-in-one migration that BLUEFIELD™ offers.

    This means it is no longer necessary to run separate projects in the conventional way in order to ensure all needed and wanted changes are brought into the new system.
  1. The next step following the systems scan is to create an empty shell without data that copies your current system and forms a baseline for S/4 development in a separate development funnel. Technical preparations for S/4 can be done without interfering with the operational production system. Here’s how we do it:

    – Separation of system and data makes it possible to pursue required simplifications. Cleaning out old and complex custom code and obsolete structures like company codes no longer needed is a typical example. The empty shell approach allows companies to safeguard previous investments in  well-functioning processes and solutions and to focus exclusively on areas needing change.

    – From a renewal point of view, decoupling makes it possible to selectively take new features and functionalities into use. It allows companies to unlock new S/4HANA best practices and innovations to create real business value. This results in shorter time to value for business benefits compared to the traditional multi-step approach using a Brownfield conversion and picking up on development project(s) later on.
  1. When the S/4 system is ready we set the wheels of data automation in motion. BLUEFIELD™ comes with a migration engine that has pre-defined data relevancy and harmonization rules, saving huge amounts of time compared to other approaches. The transformation backbone tool even allows you to migrate relevant and selected historical data retroactively to your new processes and structures.
  1. We then close the loop in data transformation through automated verification of data integrity. This secures compliance from an audit-trail perspective and allows business processes to start running on the digital core S/4 in a smooth and secure manner.

Regardless of how large your data base might be, choosing the BLUEFIELD™ approach with its powerful automation features allows you to go live within hours instead of days. That, in itself, should calm a lot of nerves in both IT departments and boardrooms.

Toward the intelligent enterprise

S/4HANA as a core ERP is a major enabler for businesses looking for intelligence and agility. There are endless possibilities for adding more “smartness” on top of digital core already during the implementation journey with BLUEFIELD™.

By unlocking everything from robotics processes automation (RPA), AI and machine learning to Internet of Things and real time customer insights – companies can leapfrog to the intelligent enterprise and achieve productivity gains of 15 - 20 percent immediately across industries.

While the clock is ticking and the looming deadline for SAP support cannot be overlooked, moving to S/4HANA sooner rather than later is vital for agility, speed and building tomorrow’s customer experience. Tieto is the first service provider in the Nordics to offer the unique BLUEFIELD™ approach. With forecasts indicating that 50,000 companies will have completed the move to S/4HANA by 2025, we look forward to helping customers navigate this critical journey, from start to finish.

To get started with your S/4HANA journey and BLUEFIELD™ roadmap, explore our starter package for System scan.

Subscribe to this blog or contact Tieto’s SAP S/4HANA team of specialists with your questions.

Tiia Kokko
SAP Sales and Innovation

Tiia helps customers to become intelligent enterprises using real-time data and insights across operations. Tiia is passionate about business driven transformations where customers simplify their business processes and modernize their IT architectures to better serve customers and operations. Tiia has extensive experience both in management consulting and implementation businesses. She leads Tieto’s SAP sales for strategic customers and SAP offering & innovation portfolio.

Author

Tiia Kokko

SAP Sales and Innovation

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