Successful transformation thanks to BTP and BTP Center of Excellence!

There is hardly any other word in the SAP context that is used as inflationarily as “transformation” – perhaps also the word “cloud”. And that is just as it should be. Many companies have a massive need for IT transformation. However, it is important to be aware of what transformation actually means. Too often, companies and partners talk about transformation, but the outcome is only a simple (technical) migration. This is why it is important to not just focus on S/4HANA, but to see the step towards S/4HANA as part of, or even the starting signal for a more comprehensive IT transformation. Christian Heinrich, member of the board and Lars Jungjohann, Principal Project Manager at sovanta AG, presented the role of SAP BTP and an SAP BTP Center of Excellence (CoE) in their presentation at the DSAG Jahreskongress 2023 and summarized it now in a blog post.

Transformation as a “significant change of state”

If you search for the word “transformation”, you quickly come across the term “significant change of state” (for example, on Wikipedia). What could such a change of state refer to in the context of an IT transformation? Here are three approaches:

1. Transformation to the cloud – the cloud is fundamentally changing the IT world

New operating models, new technologies, new IT providers, changed IT processes – definitely a “major change of state”. In order to use the cloud, companies need to get their in-house developments out of the on premise systems. The logical place for this in the SAP context is SAP BTP. The important keywords here are: “Side-by-side” and “Keep the core clean”.

2. Digital transformation – digital processes instead of “we have always done it this way”

Too much is still paper-based or runs in shadow IT. Consistent digitalization means “digital first”! Whenever a business case pays off, you have to choose the digital solution. And this is true for the vast majority of cases in the meantime, thanks to BTP. At the same time, expectations of the cloud are enormous, especially when it comes to the speed with which new solutions are realized.

3. Business process transformation – (re)thinking business process

New technologies and systems always offer the opportunity to look at existing processes and improve them. This is especially true for large projects, such as the implementation of S/4HANA. This can mean “more standard” or “better UX”. Improving business processes often depends on innovative technologies. Better databases, artificial intelligence, modern workflow systems – in the future, these technologies will be offered centrally for the cloud and thus in the SAP context on SAP BTP.

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Why do many companies still struggle with this?

Most companies have realized the crucial role of BTP now and in the future. However, many are still struggling to harness the power of BTP for their transformation. Why is that? We hear many different reasons from our customers. Do you perhaps recognize yourself in one of them?

  • “No one knows who is actually in charge and who is helping to start a project on BTP.”
    BTP is still relatively new in many companies, which is why it is often not yet clearly regulated who to approach if you want to do something with BTP or have a question.
  • “I have to clean up before I have even really started.”
    If there is a person who is then supposed to take care of BTP, he or she often encounters a similar situation: Many colleagues have already been active in the past and have tried out something. And all of this without any preconceived structure. In many cases, the first thing you have to do is to bring order back into it.
  • “Everyone says BTP is strategic, but I am sitting here all by myself for that!”
    In many cases, aspirations and reality do not yet quite match up. On the one hand, it is defined that BTP should play an essential role; on the other hand, people are selected who have to help establish BTP as a kind of side job. Given the approximately 100 services that BTP offers, this is a difficult or even impossible task.
  • “I just do not have the right skills on my team!”
    The name “SAP Business Technology Platform” sometimes conveys a deceptive image. After all, it is obviously an SAP product. So what could be more obvious than to assign the existing SAP teams the task of establishing BTP in the company? However, a traditional SAP system cannot be compared technologically with SAP BTP. SAP BTP is a clear cloud product and therefore also requires cloud know-how.
  • “We are just not fast enough at realizing innovation.”
    Our customers often ask themselves why, despite BTP, they cannot keep up with the “cloud speed” and still need a relatively long time to implement an idea productively. It is also important here to adapt the procedure to the cloud requirements and to establish appropriate cloud project models.

The solution: The BTP Center of Excellence!

But what can I do to meet the challenges? The answer is very simple, as it has already been successfully practiced in the past: Bundling competencies and establishing clear accountability in a Competence Center or Center of Excellence. BTP has arrived in the corporate reality and must be treated accordingly. The times when new technologies were considered and tried out in passing are over. Clear structures and guidelines must be established. This slide summarizes the essential elements and contents of the BTP CoE:

Excerpt from the presentation “Successful transformation thanks to BTP and BTP Center of Excellence!” at DSAG Jahreskongress 2023

Chicken-and-egg problem! First CoE and then innovation?

How do you approach projects? Which technologies and approaches are used for which challenges? And how do you build up competencies? A CoE should be able to answer all these questions. But do we have to wait until we have all the answers together and should we stop all developments on BTP until then? Clear answer: NO!

In the cloud, everything depends on speed. And from our point of view, it would be fatal to artificially slow down a dynamic that has already developed. That’s why our approach is based on precisely this dynamic:

  1. Roadmap to CoE: In our three-hour workshop, we find out which aspects of a CoE are most relevant to your specific starting situation and adapt our next steps directly based on that.
  2. CoE Starter: A twelve-week program in which we work with you to build your individual CoE on the basis of our CoE best practices. This means that you don’t have to fight your way through the maze of BTP services yourself, but can work directly and productively on the basis of our recommendations.
  3. CoE as a Service: Our experts help you to get started right away. No matter if it is about giving you more bandwidth or adding missing skills to your team. We ensure that a professionally positioned CoE is immediately available.

At the same time, developments are continuing and will gradually be transferred to the CoE structure.

Back in the driver seat with a BTP CoE

We can see daily that it works: Set up correctly and provided with the right governance, BTP becomes an enabler of transformation. IT has the tools at hand and knows how to use them correctly. This means that no request from the business will catch you on the wrong foot. Contact us and let’s talk about your SAP BTP Center of Excellence.

Christian Heinrich: Marketing & Solutions
Christian Heinrich
Executive Board Member

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Christian Heinrich is a member of the Executive Board of sovanta AG and is responsible for Marketing & Solutions, Experience Management and the Design Lab. He combines a deep understanding of customer needs with expert knowledge in the latest technologies in the SAP market to bring both together for innovative solutions.
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