10 Essential S/4HANA Resources!
This blog post is aimed at SAP analysts, who are entering an SAP S/4HANA project, or perhaps part of a consultancy firm and are bewildered by the ever growing landscape that is SAP. Just how do you ramp up your knowledge on such a huge suite of applications such as those offered in the SAP enterprise, without actually being on a project involving them? There are some extremely experienced and qualified SAP professionals out there but I can guarantee you that not one of them is fully conversant through first-hand experience with every SAP solution on offer. So how do you get that experience? How do you increase your knowledge so you can apply actual standard SAP solutions to real life scenarios? Do not fear – help is always near at hand. The SAP professional community is a global community and I am always struck by how open, honest and approachable people in the community are. But how do you access these people and that pool of knowledge? I have listed here my favourite SAP resources, which I visit on a daily basis.
1. One of my favourite places to start is the official SAP Community
This site is run by SAP themselves, unlike many other resources I list, and provides questions and answers, blogs and articles. Incredibly, it boasts 2.8 million users and I would recommend a regular visit to this site just to keep up to speed on current trends in the SAP space. If you post an SAP question in an internet search engine, many of the results will come from this site. Just be wary – some of the questions and answers you find can be incorrect as the site is self-moderated by its members. They also have a “member of the month” who gets added to the Member Hall of Fame, who is recognised for “exemplary behaviour: sharing knowledge with peers, being helpful and taking on additional tasks to support community engagement.”
2. Staying with official SAP sites, a veritable gold mine of information can be found on the SAP Support Portal
For old school SAP professionals, this used to be called OSS – “Online SAP Support” – and you will still hear consultants talk of OSS notes when they are referring to SAP notes. You will need an SAP login (an “S” or more recent “U” number) to take advantage of this site. To get one of these, the company you work for will need to apply for one, or you can get a limited life login by becoming a certified consultant – this will last ten years. This site contains a lot of detail – SAP notes can give you fixes to existing bugs in your system, but the site is also a repository for information on every different type of SAP solution on offer. You can also use it to start planning your journey to SAP S/4HANA through the SAP Transformation Navigator.
3. Moving away from the SAP owned sites, a really good resource is a website called SAP Yard
This provides tutorials, training, hints and tips. There is also a Telegram group for those of you who collaborate via the Telegram app, click here to join the group – (you need to download Telegram on your smartphone first). There are 5,760 members sharing SAP Technical knowledge and opportunities. Much of the information is centred around SAP UI5, SAP Fiori, SAP HANA ABAP and SAP S/4HANA Conversion Custom Code Adaptation.
4. Increasingly, SAP Blogs are becoming vital to SAP consultants.
In an S/4HANA world, where so much functionality has moved on since ECC6.0 days, blogs provide the next best thing to hands-on experience or training. Aside from the blogs already mentioned in the SAP Community page, there are hundreds of sites but here are the ones I find to be the most useful:
- Eursap produces two or three expert blogs per month, written by SAP professionals, focusing mainly upon new developments in the SAP world. If you want to stay on top of the fast moving world of SAP, this is a really good site to keep an eye on. Eursap is also a recruitment agent, so can help if you are job hunting too.
- This is mainly a finance blog, but has lots of useful information on it including information about embedded analytics and Fiori.
- SAP Spot contains regular blogs on everything to do with SAP. These are useful but the real gold mine in this site is the tutorials section, which has a user guide to every process flow you can think of in every functional area. A fantastic resource for SAP newbies!
5. Any list of professionally important resources cannot leave out LinkedIn.
I use LinkedIn on a daily basis and retrieve so much information from there. The information can be gleaned from a number of sources:
- Groups – execute a search for “SAP” and then look at the groups. There are lots of SAP groups which are worth a quick mention:
- SAP HANA, SAP S/4HANA, SAP BW and SAP Cloud Platform Group
- SAP Community
- SAP Community Europe
- SAP Experts Group
- People – I think people are even more useful as resources than groups. There are some key SAP professionals who are regular contributors on LinkedIn and are definitely worth following:
- Wouter van Heddeghem – Wouter is an SAP consultant who posts multiple times per day, often reposting other useful blogs and articles, so he acts as a useful hub for SAP information and knowledge. At the time of writing, he has over 117,000 followers in the SAP world and as such is the most followed SAP professional on the site.
- Jocelyn Dart – Jocelyn works within SAP and is a Fiori functional expert so is really useful for functional consultants first getting into the Fiori space. She is based out of Australia and has a really approachable manner about her – if you take any of the OpenSAP courses, you will see that she is featured in many of them. She also writes insightful blogs based upon her implementation experiences.
- Amanda Maguire – Amanda works for SAP advising organisations how to maximise SAP adoption through training and enablement, and is a regular contributor to LinkedIn. Her activity will give you insights into the wider world of SAP.
6. Moving more into the S/4HANA specific space, one of my most visited sites is the Fiori Apps Library
This is intended to be your one stop shop for all Fiori apps in S/4HANA. From here you can find apps, get information about the implementation of them, see which roles they are assigned to, which version they operate on and in many cases find short demonstrations of their use.
7. SAP Simplification list for 1909
The simplification list is a huge document which is intended to support organisations who are migrating from E CC6.0 to S/4HANA. It lists all conversion requirements as well as changes in functionality by functional area. I would stress, that despite its size, this document should only be a starting point if you are using it to familiarise yourself with new functionality. For example, the SD credit management functionality has changed drastically in S/4HANA. This is mentioned with a little detail in the document, but not enough to be able to inform you of the full scope of the changes without more research or training.
8. Consultancy firms
The market is pretty well flooded with SAP consultancy firms, in addition to the major players we have all heard of. However, with the advent of S/4HANA, in the last few years, some expert niche firms have emerged into the market, specialising in S/4HANA and Fiori implementations and enhancements. An example of this kind of firm is Laidon Consulting.
These kinds of firms aim to transform the basic building blocks of your business into an offering which can really add value and insight. It is becoming more and more common to use these types of consulting firms to steer your path, especially in Fiori.
9. There is no substitute for real, hands-on training, right? In the past, this was only ever offered by official SAP Training
The official SAP training still has the largest variety of training on offer and the quality of the course is always very high. In addition to the classroom based approach, they also offer virtual training now. In fact, SAP have opened up a site called openSAP, which provides “Massive Online Open Courses” (MOOCs).
These courses are entirely free and run regularly throughout the year. Once registered, you can follow videos and training material and undertake assessments in order to achieve Records of Achievement – very useful for your knowledge and your CV. I can’t speak highly enough of this site. Aside from the official SAP resources, other private companies now offer SAP training, like Michael Management
These courses tend to be slightly cheaper than SAP run courses (obviously without the official SAP certification), but the quality is no less high, and in many cases the subject matter is broader.
10. SAP is even on YouTube. In fact there are a lot of SAP channels on YouTube and some great videos from which you can glean information.
Carry out a search for “SAP” and filter on channels to see all the SAP channels you might be interested in. For example, the official SAP channel has over 200 videos and more are being posted daily.
This channel is unlikely to give you in depth functionality assistance, but is useful for detailed discussions on industry trends and future strategic direction for SAP.
11. I said ten didn’t I? Here’s a bonus resource I had to add in. Finally, for those professionals who need to own the knowledge and hold it in their hands, there are the good old fashioned SAP books provided by SAP Press.
SAP press is the leading publisher of SAP books and publishes in hard copy format as well as eBooks.
The above list of resources is by no means exhaustive. Often, a simple search-engine listing can give you an answer to a specific question. However, if you are keen to keep your ear to the ground in the SAP space and learn about new developments and new technologies and their capabilities, then it pays to keep one eye on a variety of resources. The resources above can help you to do that. For me, it is useful to carve out an hour of my day to visit these resources to keep my skills fresh.
Author: Jon Simmonds, Senior ERP Architect
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