​What users think of SAP's Simple Finance S/4 HANA cloud offering

SAP's Simple Finance HANA-based cloud platform is relatively new, which may explain patchy deployment plans among user organisations.

Source: UK & Ireland SAP User Group

Available since February, SAP's Simple Finance set of applications based on the in-memory HANA cloud platform is getting a mixed response from users.

Just over four out of 10 user organisations polled by the UK & Ireland SAP User Group are looking to implement the technology, unveiled by the enterprise software giant in June 2014.

But of those with no plans, over a third say the reason for their reluctance to implement the platform is a difficulty in justifying the costs compared with the benefits.

"Considering that SAP Simple Finance has only been available since the start of the year, it is interesting to see that many organisations are already looking to implement it. It appears that SAP's simplification mantra is starting to resonate with customers," UK & Ireland SAP User Group chairman Philip Adams said in a statement.

"However, at the same time, the research has shown that users are still facing challenges in justifying the business case and ensuring their existing SAP landscape is compatible. This highlights there is still work to be done to help customers overcome these obstacles and take advantage of the latest product innovation from SAP."

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Other reasons for deferring a decision to implement SAP Simple Finance are the changes it would require to their existing setup, cited by 19 percent of respondents, and a desire to see more real-life customer use cases, on 14 percent.

On the positive side, those organisations going for SAP Simple Finance believe they will see streamlined financial processes, mentioned by 53 percent of this group, and real-time insights to enable better decision making, quoted by 30 percent.

Looking more generally at the impact of greater automation, almost three-quarters of the 72 businesses questioned said technology has helped them make their finance function more efficient, and almost nine out of 10 believe it will do the same for invoicing. Some 72 percent have already automated their invoicing function.

Very few of the respondents are using SAP Fiori business apps or Screen Personas in their finance function - in fact 86 percent were not. Some eight percent are using SAP Fiori and a further six percent are using both SAP Fiori and Screen Personas.

The user group's Business Value Through Technology symposium, which will discuss the use of S/4HANA and Fiori in detail, takes place in Dublin on September 22.

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