I recently had the privilege of attending SAP’s Customer Success Kick-Off Meeting (CSKOM), a primarily internal event at which the company sets the annual strategic direction for their sales teams, and as anticipated, it was deeply insightful. The big news from the event is that SAP is committing significant resources to accelerating the adoption of RISE with SAP. Taken in context with other S/4HANA adoption trends that came up in discussions with systems integrators at the event—and that I am seeing in my own interactions with Baer—companies that make the transition sooner rather than later may be better positioned to innovate relative to competitors who are delaying the move.
Next, I’ll break down what I heard at the event, how I see the trends coming together, and what I believe we can expect to see in 2024 in terms of the S/4HANA specialized expertise labor market.
SAP: Accelerating the Adoption of RISE with SAP
SAP’s primary focus at the event was a commitment to accelerating the adoption of RISE. There are currently approximately 5,000 customers on the platform, a number that took roughly three years to reach, and SAP’s goal is to double that number in 2024—and they’ve put significant incentives on the table to make it happen.
As outlined during the conference, SAP’s case for clients to move forward with SAP RISE solution is more compelling than ever before based on three key elements of the RISE framework. First, a clean core for your ERP is foundational to all aspects of the platform. By accepting fit-to-standard and aligning business processes with S/4HANA via Signavio, organizations stand to benefit from best-in-class models that can drive efficiency and economic gains as well as eliminate significant amounts of technical debt.
Second, is the Business Transformation Process (BTP) advantage: BTP serves as an elastic wrapper around all your technology that ensures you are well-positioned to access your data and maintain optimized connectivity with third party applications and future SAP solutions in ways that drive a competitive advantage. And third, with the introduction of the recently acquired LeanIX Enterprise Architecture Management solution, SAP now offers a SaaS driven visual tool for your infrastructure reference architecture adding clarity around sustainable changes to business process.
2024 Enterprise Adoption Trends
In the discussions I had with systems integrators and ECC incumbent customers, two key trends emerged. First, the market is heating up: large- and mid-size enterprises across multiple verticals are kicking off major S/4HANA transformations in earnest this year. After last year’s slowdown, these organizations are the first to move in a revitalized market. This may put them in a competitive position relative to organizations that are still in holding patterns, both in terms of innovation and in retaining the most experienced, qualified talent
The second trend is what I refer to as the “the Fortune 500 lag”—some of the largest enterprises are making a purposeful decision to delay migration to S/4HANA. Among the many factors at play here are that the scale of the organizations is driving unprecedented complexity; a perception that the migration tools SAP is developing are not yet robust enough; the ability to extract concessions from SAP to extend their ECC runway; and right or wrong, the belief that SAP will slowly and quietly blink and push back the end of mainstream maintenance.
Connecting the Trends—Increased Competition for Specialized Expertise
Sooner or later, every ECC incumbent enterprise is going to have to make the move to S/4HANA, one way or another. With SAP’s ongoing investment in the platform, and the incentives they are offering to move in the direction of RISE, I would say that any company in a position to make the move now would be well served by doing so. If SAP can achieve their goal of a 100% increase in RISE adoption this year, that coupled with the uptick in enterprise transformation using other approaches, will drive a very competitive market for specialized S/4HANA expertise. With the Federal government and broader public sector investing in parallel this year, as indicators suggest they are, we could have significant labor compression by year’s end.
S/4HANA Transformation Acceleration vs. the Forturne 500 LAG
Organizations that are nimble enough to accelerate their S/4HANA transformation this year, whether the go the RISE route or not, not only stand to benefit from the platform’s inherent strengths and efficiencies, but also from the best access to specialized expertise. In addition, they may have a narrow window to gain a competitive advantage against competitors who are either struggling with complexity and cannot move or are purposefully holding back. And for the companies that find themselves in that unfortunate position, they may also find themselves in a highly compressed labor market when they are ready and able to move.
Of course, at Baer, our focus is to anticipate and solve these challenges. That’s why we take such care to tune in to market needs and proactively identify proven expertise—so that we have the right talent, at the right time.
Unlike typical technology staffing companies, Baer is a true enterprise performance partner. We have a deep understanding of the scope of enterprise technology transformation initiatives and the highly specialized skillsets you will need at different stages of the process.
To learn more about how Baer can make a positive impact on your enterprise transformation, please reach out to email@example.com, Executive Vice President, Sales
We look forward to speaking with you and learning about your specific challenges.