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January 24, 2019

SAP Predictions for 2019 - Exciting trends at the cusp of a new decade

2018 was an eventful year for the SAP world. ERP (and therefore SAP) started figuring prominently in conversations around digital, S/4HANA strengthened its claim as the next-generation digital core, Leonardo evolved further especially in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, and the launch of C/4HANA signaled SAP's intention to take on the CRM market head-on. The SAP market experienced a buoyancy probably not seen for more than a decade. As we enter the next year, many of us wonder what could shape the SAP market for this year. I expect these trends to carry forward in 2019 opening new frontiers:

 

The S/4HANA market will see more Greenfield implementations than conversion. Although large SAP clients still don't have a firm business case for a 3 to 5 years long Greenfield project, with the 2025 deadline looming, time is running out. I therefore expect clients to run pilot programs and push for Greenfield implementation in smaller markets/businesses, and keep the conversion option as a fallback for a later decision.

 

SAP will continue to push a cloud first approach this year as well. In order to accelerate S/4HANA on-cloud implementations and keeping in mind client's reluctance on public solutions, SAP will likely push create a hybrid offering of dedicated solutions bundled with some service components in collaboration with large cloud providers. We can look forward to some interesting moves on this front in partnership with large cloud providers such as Microsoft Azure and AWS.

 

Last year, SAP introduced C/4HANA, a strong offering in the front office CRM automation segment. In 2019, we can expect further strengthening of the solution with the help of AI/ML-driven use cases and the leveraging of new products acquired in this space. I would not be surprised to see a couple of big-ticket acquisitions as well.

 

Talking of Leonardo, although it is yet to establish itself as a core digital innovation platform, this year it is likely to see more adoption, especially of its AI/ML products. Service partners, on the back of attractive value propositions and flexible pricing offers from SAP, will look to leverage Leonardo more and more. We can hope to see some large impactful solutions built on top of the platform.

 

Data privacy and cyber security concerns will also play a big role in client spends in this space. With GDPR regulations in Europe and similar trends in other parts of the world, we are likely to see independent vendors offering niche solutions on top of SAP. It will create a new space for System Integrators to provide consulting and integration services at a large scale.

 

For SAP practitioners, 2019 will bring several opportunities to implement new solutions to address the digital transformation needs of their clients. It will be interesting to see how we take advantage of these.

January 7, 2019

Smart Onboarding by New Hire Automation - SAP HCM Integration with Taleo Recruitment

The integration solution provides SAP HCM and Taleo customers the opportunity to automate the New Hire Process End-End.

Why to Automate the New Hire Process:

  • Eliminates the operational hassle in manual Hiring
  • Stable and Flexible for Global Roll-outs
  • Quick and Cost-effective Talent Management solution

Functional Design Considerations

If you are implementing "New Hire Process" Integration project for any client, following aspects will play a crucial role from the functional perspective

HCM system Architecture - How many SAP HCM systems involved, the New Hire applicant's data to be integrated. For example, some clients have 2 distinct systems - Global and Local HCM systems

The geographical scope - How many countries the integration to be deployed will determine the Global template and the Localizations certainly

Mapping sheet - The mapping sheet is the key driver thru out the project. Based on the countries in scope, the structure of the mapping sheet is defined.

Process Design - The Taleo ?à SAP HCM is a 2 way integration always


Technical Design Considerations

How many Interfaces required

Generally, following interface Programs are minimum required for any Taleo vs. SAP integration

Outbound1

To export the Position details from SAP to Taleo

Inbound 1

To Import New Hires from Taleo to SAP

Outbound2

To export Pernr from SAP to Taleo to update against the candidate hired


The Technical Process

Batch Processing / Infotypes Update

HR Operations and Function modules mentioned below

HR_PAD_HIRE_EMPLOYEE

HR_INFOTYPE_OPERATION

HR_IN_PE_HRPADINIT0000


Integration Design Considerations

Integration Flow Design

Taleo is the Sender system

Via API

SOAP call to connect

SAP HCM system is the Receiver system

Via Proxy

Proxy to connect


Taleo Design Considerations

  • Separate Web services for Development and Production environments

  • Standard field mapping

  • UDF Fields - It is obvious to define custom fields in Taleo

  • Filter criteria - Has limitation by 6 levels

  • Attribute "perfo.max.projection.field.count" standard limit is 100 fields, where integration query will fail if pulling morethan 100 fields In some instances, it is required to compress the WSDL files, due to Heapspace error


NEW HIRE AUTOMATION packaged solution from Infosys will help customers to achieve smart onboarding process and realize significant return on investment.

Contact us for more information.










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October 3, 2018

New enhancement in SAP GRC accelerates SAP Access Request approval at the click of a link using offline approval process

 

Managing user access control is important for any business and there are several readily-available applications that do this for enterprises. However, it is a highly complex task considering the number of users, diversity of roles assigned and the sheer volume of requests that need to be approved by managers/approvers. Some systems may even mandate purchasing other applications for added functionalities. This blog explains how new enhancements in the SAP GRC Access Control (AC) system simplify work for approvers, at the click of a link.

 

The access request management functionality in SAP GRC AC provides enterprises with a workflow engine to streamline how user roles are assigned within the SAP environment. Typically, a user initiates a request using the access request form, which initiates an automated approval workflow. Once the access request is submitted, another workflow gets triggered based on the selection/s in the request. The access request is then forwarded to the designated managers and approvers within a pre-defined workflow, which is usually customized to reflect your company's policies.


The standard option available in SAP GRC requires the approver to first log in to NWBC and then take the appropriate action (approve/reject). This can be quite tedious. In some cases, approvers have no knowledge about SAP, making it difficult for them to provide approvals. Thus, approvers need to be trained on how to use the standard approval process in NWBC. Conducting such training programs and preparing training materials can be challenging and time-consuming for large organizations that are spread across different geographies.

 

The good news is that SAP GRC AC now has an offline approval process with several user-friendly features that greatly simplify approval tasks. Approvers need no longer log in to the SAP GRC system. Instead, they can simply reply to an email even on their mobile devices! In this process, access request emails are embedded with approve/reject links that the approver can click on. Alternatively, they can also respond to the email with the appropriate text - 'approve' or 'reject'. Both these actions will ensure that the relevant SAP access request is run by the system.

 

SAP GRC AC enables this capability by configuring the inbound email functionality in the system. First, system user is created with their email ID, which is configured according to the subdomain of the system. An email outlook account is then created for the specific SAP user ID. Finally, a custom class is implemented in the SAP GRC system that reads inbound emails and processes SAP GRC requests based on the approver's actions.

The illustration below shows how the offline approval process works in SAP GRC Access Controls.

I believe this is handy solution for clients who are reluctant to adopt single sign-on solutions because of their high licensing costs. Another cost benefit is that you don't need to buy additional FIORI apps for the system. But the best part of offline approval process in SAP GRC is that it integrates seamlessly with mobile devices, making access control quicker, safer and easier-at your fingertips! 





















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July 11, 2018

Navigate your Next with SAP on Cloud

Pathways to cloud
Sometimes in your near future or even already the Cloud topic would have prominently figured in your conversations around IT transformation. You have various priorities and ideas as to how to shape your future IT roadmaps. However, you must decide that the next new transformation that you undertake must be on the Cloud. 
Your pathways to cloud can start small, gather momentum across your organisation and eventually herald the renewal that you are looking for. But it needs to start with the cloud.  

Continue reading " Navigate your Next with SAP on Cloud " »

May 23, 2018

Managing Talent in the Digital Age With SAP SuccessFactors

Pacific Gas & Electric Company, commonly known as PG&E and incorporated in California in 1905, is one of the largest combination natural gas and electric utilities providing services to two-thirds of California. The company was facing several challenges with its E-Recruiting solution, including performance issues, long hiring lead time, lack of mobile-enablement and inability to integrate with social media platforms.

When PG&E decided to switch to SAP SuccessFactors to improve system integration and accuracy of recruiting records, it awarded the implementation mandate to Infosys. Our vision for delivering expected business outcomes, successful execution record and future-ready sustainable solution, were key factors in this decision.

 he implementation program began with an extensive Design Thinking workshop where we worked with the client to simplify existing recruitment processes including attracting talent and building the talent pipeline to onboarding candidates.

Special focus was paid to achieve real-time integration and process driven system design.  For the latter, we compared the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of recruiting solutions across the industry and created a matrix of solutions to realize the target KPIs.

Our program was based on the following key tenets - assembling an experienced team, focusing on the client's processes, ensuring business alignment, and testing extensively to ensure successful migration of processes and data from on-premise to cloud.

Delivering a solution that would serve the client several years into the future was paramount. After discovering the product suite lacked certain critical functionality, we built the missing functionality leveraging the SAP cloud platformto improve the productivity of recruiters.  We also added value in other ways - for example, by catering to the client's business priorities in recruitment and contributing our experience of implementing a range of solutions from SAP, Oracle, Workday etc.

One of the highlights of the implementation was that it delivered program functionality incrementally in a series of iterations. We ran weekly demonstrations for a few months enabling us to capture client feedback well before user acceptance testing. Last but not least, the program delivered technological transformation in addition to business transformation, which it achieved by leveraging some of the best offerings in the SAP product suite.

Infosys is a Sapphire-level sponsor at Sapphire Now this year. Attend my session on June 7 at 2:00pm along with PG&E to learn tips and tricks from business case to solution execution (S330G South Concourse, 3rd Floor) -.  I look forward to connecting with you at our booth #530.

May 21, 2018

Hershey's Enjoys Sweet Success with its S/4HANA Central Finance Implementation

Hershey's, North America's largest chocolate manufacturer, faced several challenges with its group reporting solution. Apart from offering limited insight, the solution (in SAP BW), which used batch processing, did not provide real-time input into closing activities and information updates. The system provided only summary information, which meant the company had to use manual back-end SAP reports to see data in greater depth, for example, a list of open items. Needless to say, this made for a fairly substandard user experience. 

The company decided to transform global financial reporting by implementing S/4HANA Central Finance as a first step in a larger S/4HANA adoption journey. This tool provides financial data in real-time and in great detail, and presents it in a modern, user-friendly interface, leveraging the user experience capabilities of SAP Fiori and Design Studio.

For its technology partner, Hershey's chose Infosys, and gave us a mandate to implement Central Finance for consolidated reporting across SAP and non-SAP systems spread over 45 legal entities. Our goal was to optimize, integrate and standardize processes, and reduce complexity and cost by creating an SAP system architecture that would allow the client to realize value from future innovations based on HANA, Cloud and Machine Learning. To support a global project of this size, we assembled an onsite and offshore functional and technical team. The project team developed a sustainable and robust process for managing SAP's interface environment across the organization, spanning the master data team, financial data and planning systems, shared services and information services.

After going live on Central Finance, Hershey's is able to use SAP S/4HANA Central Finance as a single source of truth. Financial data is reconciled with source ERP data, down to legal entity, account and customer/product profitability. Users may drill data down to the level of dozens of parameters, including GL account, functional area, cost center and segment. A business user community of 250-500 members is leveraging standard SAP Fiori applications, SAP Business Objects Design Studio as well as SAP Analysis for Excel/Office. These consumption channels increase financial reporting efficiency as well as enable end users to share insights across roles and responsibilities.

Hershey's Director for Financial Data Systems and I will be presenting at ASUG/SAPPHIRE this year on June 5 at 11:00am -12:00pm in room S320E (South Concourse, 3rd Floor). I look forward to connecting with you at our booth #530!

April 9, 2018

Way to Next-Gen Procurement - Part 1

 

 

The way to next-gen procurement - Part 1

 

Procurement today is very different from how it used to be twenty years ago. Previously, the job of procurement involved making phone calls, generating purchase order copies, manually creating invoices, etc. Today, it has evolved into a function that uses an efficient people + software approach that leverages state-of-the art packages like Ariba, e-procurement, SAP SRM, Oracle iProc, etc. But that's not all; change is the only constant and so one can expect more disruption in this space.

 

For now, the topmost question on the minds of almost every chief procurement officer (CPO) is: how do I leverage latest technologies like digital transformation, robotic process automation, machine learning, and design thinking to enhance procurement function? CIOs also face the same challenge since procurement depends on IT. To answer this, I suggest evaluating how some of the popular IT tools can be used to drive change. While I have chosen SAP for this example, the same approach can be applied across other tools and technologies.

 

In my view, the evolution of the procurement IT landscape for a large organization involves four stages - basic, starter, enabled, and cognitive. It looks something like this:

 

 

While some organizations have leapt straight to the 'enabled' phase, many are still in 'basic' and 'starter' modes. For these companies, investments tend to be focused on sourcing and order management to meet pressing priorities and realize tangible results. However, they should aim at quickly reaching the 'enabled' phase in areas like spend analysis and supplier management. These are may not be urgent but they are critical to control future spend.

 

The 'cognitive' phase is the apex of the evolution today. Many organizations are already reaping the benefits of using machine learning tools in procurement. However, operational and tactical issues persist such as choosing the right ML tool, identifying potential opportunities, creating strong governance, increasing return on investments, etc. On the bright side, once these companies begin their transformation journey and leverage ML in areas like supplier risk management, spend analysis and sourcing, they will realize returns faster and streamline procurement into a lean and agile function.

 

Check out my other blogs in this series to know more about transforming procurement through cloud vs. on-premises IT infrastructure and insourced vs. outsourced procurement process execution.

 

November 13, 2017

'Intelligent ERP' to empower enterprises in digital transformation

SAP's TechEd event organized in Bangalore in October 2017 presented us with amazing opportunities to showcase Infosys' thought leadership. A premier SAP technology conference for technologists, engineers, and developers, its theme this year was the Intelligent Enterprise. The event showcased S/4HANA Cloud and Leonardo-based solutions with a focus on machine learning and integration with open source.

 

As we are at the forefront of business and digital transformation for our clients, this event was a great platform to present the Infosys perspective on the adoption of Intelligent ERP to enhance user experience and innovation.

 

With the evolution of in-memory computing techniques like HANA, data processing speed has increased manifold. Likewise, the evolution of machine learning technologies like correlation analysis, supervised learning, unsupervised learning, IOT, blockchain, AI, etc., has created many new possibilities in terms of what SAP can do for business.

 

When clients embark on a digital transformation journey, they expect more from their SAP investment. In the digital era, they want their ERP to be more "intelligent", rather than just a "system of records:" They need their ERP Application to process huge volumes of structured and unstructured data, synthesize the information, make sense of it, and be able to take appropriate action.

 

Ashok Panda, Head - ValuePLUS COE, and Vittal Shenoy, Senior Principal Technology Architect and Head - New Technology Services, participated in this event and shared their point of view on 'How "Intelligent ERP" Powered by Machine Learning will Enable Clients in their "Digital Transformation" Journey'.

 

SAP S/4HANA is SAP's most revolutionary intelligent ERP system. Built on an advanced in-memory computing platform, it connects all enterprise processes to provide real-time information and insights while seamlessly integrating the enterprise with the digital world. SAP Leonardo, with capabilities like IOT, machine learning, blockchain, etc., is redefining what SAP can do for business. 

 

While intelligent ERP systems provide a huge opportunity to fast-track the digital journey, enterprises need to be aware of adoption challenges. They should also understand how to maximize business benefits and the potential impact on business.

 

Follow this link to listen to our point of view at TechEd 2017 on How "Intelligent ERP" Powered by Machine Learning will Enable Clients in their "Digital Transformation" Journey.

November 1, 2017

Demystifying SAP Leonardo - Building a System of Intelligence

"SAP Leonardo will unlock the full potential of the intelligent enterprise" - Bill McDermott

SAP Leonardo is a cloud-based intelligent system focusing purely on building "self-driving business" using digital business transformation. It integrates breakthrough latest technologies and services under one umbrella. It helps enterprise digitally transform SAP system as System of record to systems of intelligence. 

Beyond the IOT to Broader Bundle of Technologies  

SAP Leonardo is not a single tool, platform or system like SAP Cloud Platform, HANA or S/4HANA that enterprise needs to start the digital journey. It has innovative portfolio of technologies & design thinking as service to get started with the digital journey. The idea is that customer can take advantages of these emerging technologies at the same time bringing in the Design Thinking approach. It is imperative when working with a system of innovation or for a large transformation Design Thinking increases the success rate.  The combination together defines Leonardo.


How it is different than the other MI based products 

Combination with Design thinking approach enables a customer to quickly put together ideation, identifying the use case to solve & bringing technologies in an integrated way to deliver working prototype which business can touch & feel. 

In the age of digital, the transformation for business are no longer technology led rather they are Business innovation focused. SAP Leonardo enables customers to innovate easily without a much lower investment in technologies, data scientists & infrastructure.

Why now this 

SAP recognizes Digital Transformation within an enterprise requires a combination of next-generation technologies. It is utmost important for customers to build a system of intelligence by connecting it to a system of transactional records (ERP) to automate processes, enables connectivity and quickly adopt to game-changing applications - or develop solutions to power new business models. SAP understands and recognizes the need to have solution which are beyond SAP technologies and therefore it has

        - Invested heavily in cloud and IOT platform

Partnered with apple, google, Siemens ...etc

        - And enabling the platform to work on open source technologies 

Adopting SAP Leonardo services is a step towards embarking on the journey of creating a system of Intelligence - it is not a question of if but when 

1. It is the beginning of SAP Leonardo: Emerging technologies like MI and IOT has a traction in the Industry, but we are at an interesting position which is at beginning of an exciting journey to fully understand it's potential. 

2. Design Thinking led approach: It enables to navigate from ideation to rapid prototype, the concept of "Fail Early , learn Early" helps in identifying the right business case 

3. Go slow not big: "See, touch and feel" enables enterprises to embark on pilot to initially validate the solution and its feasibility within their business

4. Think holistically: The digital transformation for enterprises should be Business innovation focused, not technology focused. Enterprises that adopt "best in class" processes will experience enhanced metrics for cost and quality performance.


Over the past few decades SAP has empowered us to deliver quality services to the business, customers and employees using its core ERP. Consumers use intelligent assistants and expects the same conversational interaction and intelligence with their business software. SAP Leonardo provides combination of emerging technology enabling enterprises to be much closer to a more exciting digital journey, where the current system of record can be transformed into System of intelligence. Technology is advancing at a rapid pace and enterprises need to move rapidly in order to gain the competitive advantage over others and not investing in your systems is not an option anymore. 

Several organization are embarking this journey, the question for you is "are you ready"?  


September 7, 2017

Learn More - with AI-enabled Infosys Knowledge Management Platform




While the evolution of technology has made HR digital transformation essential, the shift to cloud has accelerated this by making best-in-class enterprise software solutions easily accessible. To reap the benefits of this digital transformation, organizations have to discard old school ways of executing change and gain agility. Leveraging multidisciplinary insights, skills and expertise using a capable knowledge management system is essential to stay abreast of evolving business needs. 


Infosys, as a trusted consulting partner with close to 30 years of predictable delivery, can help you assess and learn about your current technology landscape, find solutions, and prepare a roadmap for your digital transformation journey. To enable this, we have created the Infosys Cloud Assessment Readiness Toolkit, tailored to provide deep insights and help you make informed decisions about new investments, high-priority areas and leveraging existing investments.


Much depends on both speed and security in the software as a service (SaaS) business model. Infosys uses its expertise to guide you to find a comprehensive, multifaceted security program that best fits your landscape, while our ACT (Accelerated Cloud Transformation) methodology ensures speed. We will partner with you in every stage of the transformation, disseminating best practices and rolling out cloud-specific risk assessments and quality metrics, enabling seamless executions.


As new functionalities are continuously released and consumed with SaaS based HR digital transformation, it will be imperative to implement a knowledge management system that can enable easy accessibility to processes, best practices, methodologies and information sources. Design Thinking discovery workshops are a key aspect of our delivery, enabling stakeholders to approach their problems, pain points and questions outside traditional formats.


With advancements in machine learning and natural language processing, AI tools can now be leveraged to help record, search, filter and apply knowledge to create a knowledge management system that provides employees access to the right information at the right time. Infosys has institutionalized knowledge management as a core element providing the following key tools:


  • KShop: A content management portal for submitting, searching and rating K-Assets.

  • Konnect: A professional networking platform to connect with people, discover expertise and share knowledge.

  • KMail: An automated email response system for communities that helps develop a dynamic knowledge repository to promote learning and re-use.


With Infosys Nia - the Next Generation Integrated Artificial Intelligence Platform, we can help organizations collect and aggregate organizational data from people, processes and legacy systems into a self-learning knowledge base. Repetitive business and IT processes can be automated, freeing up human effort to solve higher-value customer problems that require creativity, passion, and imagination.


Data about employees' career goals, competencies, performance and interests can be analyzed to provide insights into the learning development needs of employees and suggest courses accordingly. Incorporating AI in continuous learning can enable the workforce to continuously upgrade their skill sets and competencies, thereby helping organizations to stay relevant and ahead of the competition in the ever-changing environment. The key to success in the digital world is continuous learning and engaged knowledge management. Infosys Nia, designed on three core platforms - Data Platform, Knowledge Platform and Automation Platform - can help organizations to automate, amplify and reinvent.


Infosys is a Gold-level sponsor at SuccessConnect 2017 event hosted in Las Vegas. I look forward to meeting you at our booth no. 26 and discuss how we can Learn More together!




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