2017 Hot Topics

Eventful Conferences along with SAP conducted an extensive research project with multiple SAP Financial industry ecosystem stakeholders. The project included dozens of in-depth research calls with customers, technology partners, SAP & key industry thought leaders. The goal was to understand the most pressing challenges and opportunities facing the Financials space in 2016. The viewpoints and opinions from this research is summarized in the hot topics below.

The inaugural 2017 SAP-Centric Financials conference will be built upon the topics outlined below, gathered as a result of our research. Download the full report to see our comprehensive findings.

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  • Moving to S/4HANA Finance

    Launched as “Simple Finance”, S/4HANA Finance is the future of finance. Organizations need to embrace the digital age and harness the power of technology to maximize operational performance. S/4HANA Finance will revolutionize the way business’s run, are able to make decisions and ultimately drive the Finance function as a strategic leader in the business.
    Every CFO running SAP knows the move to S/4HANA Finance is approaching. The questions, considerations and points of interest as they move to simpler technology encompasses the following:

    • Business drivers for migrating to S/4HANA Finance.
    • Cloud-Based S/4HANA Finance Vs. On-Premise Vs. Hybrid.
    • SAP’s Roadmap for Maturing S/4HANA Finance.
    • How S/4HANA Finance Actually Works and What It Looks Like. Is The User Interface Intuitive?
    • Customer Journey of Migrating.
    • How to Develop a Business Case for the Migration Process to Begin.
    • Possible Hurdles with Integration and How to Overcome Them, Including Integration to The Cloud.

  • Perfecting Master Data Management to Drive Decision Support

    Understanding what data is important for business decision making allows you to implement procedures and policies to maximize clean data inputs. When asked what data organizations viewed as valuable, many were unable to answer succinctly. It is therefore important for an organization to identify what data drives business decision making.

    Clean trustworthy data allows companies to make informed decisions and fine tune existing business processes. The most common issues related to:

    • Establishing a Master Data strategy
    • Understanding the implications of bad data
    • Getting those who input data to understand the downstream effects of their data quality
    • Governing your Master Data – How to develop processes that enhance data governance
    • How to effectively use data to make business decisions
    • Creating an ongoing control structure across all departments.
    • Using logic in data structure for the long term
    • Who should own the data? Should it be centralized?
  • Financial Reporting & Analysis

    It goes without saying that the financial position of an organization is something that needs to be able to be accessed on demand. Strong reporting and business intelligence capabilities allow the organization to view the current financial position of the business and in turn drive informed decisions.

    Reporting is the key input for forecasting - leveraging the data to make assumptions about potential future outcomes. Ensuring the reports are run in a consistent and accurate manner is a not negotiable.

    • Developing a reporting strategy that maximizes value for decision making
    • Cost effective reporting strategies.
    • From reporting to forecasting- moving your function to a decision support role.
    • Real time reporting possibilities.
    • S/4HANA Finance reporting capabilities.
    • SAP standard reporting, best methods to achieve the best results.
    • Integrated reporting capabilities using S/4HANA Finance.
  • Enterprise Performance Management (EPM)

    The speed of change is getting faster. Agility and quality data is the primary tool a CFO needs to budget and forecast effectively. EPM is all about having visibility of operations in a closed-loop model across all facets of the enterprise. Specific to financial activities it supports financial planning and analysis. This is an area of great interest to customers. Strategy formulation, business planning and forecasting and financial management all fall into this bucket for finance teams to consider.

    • Getting your process right before you leap to a technology solution
    • What tools are offered by SAP to assist with this? and how do they compare to each other?
    • BPC Embedded – What Is the benefit of a fully embedded solution?
    • What Is SAP’s Roadmap for BPC? How Does It Fit in with IBP, SAP Planning and Cloud Planning?
    • Improving The scalability of your planning capability – operational vs. executive
    • What are the features of the latest version of BPC? What can BPC 10 do?
    • Is scenario Planning Value Adding or is it Just Adding Complexity

    “Creating a budget is hard enough, is scenario planning better or just multiple budgets?”

  • Treasury Management

    The recent economic global meltdown has driven company executives to really focus on the treasury function. Treasury departments are challenged with proactively identifying sources of cash flow optimization, while pinpointing risks and shortfalls.

    Understanding regulatory and compliance requirements is strongly underlined in the role of treasury. The mandate to reduce finance costs and mitigate the risk associated with ongoing economic and financial uncertainties means that Treasury need complete transparency to formulate best practice solutions. To meet these challenges and still perform at optimal levels, treasury decision makers want greater clarity and control over complex processes associated with managing payments, cash, liquidity, and risk. At all times, they must know where their cash is, where it’s originating, and where it’s needed. Customers are interested in learning:

    • How to create financial transparency in the business
    • Understanding treasury management solutions from SAP
    • Accounts Payable automation of repetitive transactions
    • Financial Risk Management solutions
    • How to maximize treasury functionality to improve cash flow capabilities


  • Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC)

    Governance is the approach through which senior executives direct and control the entire organization. Part of the task revolves around critical sufficiently complete, accurate and timely management information reaching the executive team to enable appropriate management decision making. Risk management is the set of processes through which management identifies, analyzes, and responds to risks. Compliance is achieved through adherence to laws, regulations, contracts, strategies and policies.

    GRC and GRC technologies help synchronize these activities and enables information to flow in order to allow the business to run efficiently. Customers are keen to learn:

    • How to develop a risk strategy that aligns with corporate risk appetite
    • Can technology help in managing role identification and its implications
    • Compliance monitoring, assessment and effectiveness
    • Aligning governance policies with regulatory demands
    • Processes and technology for identifying and reporting risk
    • Integrate activities to effectively manage risk and compliance-related activities


  • Efficient Travel & Expense Management

    With SAP’s recent acquisition of Concur, customers are intrigued by whether it can assist them with their travel and expense function. As well as obtaining an understanding of what the tool looks like and how it works, companies are also looking to hear the perspectives from those who have already implemented Concur and integrated it with SAP.

    • Designing a simple process for expense reimbursement.
    • Tips and tricks to overcome the human challenges relating to expense management.
    • What can Concur do? How does it work? Demo of a live system
    • Is the integration from Concur to SAP good? What have those who have already implemented experienced?
  • Training, Skills Development & Change Management

    Changing your systems is easy. Changing your people, not so much. The enthusiasm and hype around project milestones can excite, the real issues begin when your project is over, your SAP partner leaves and you are now tasked with harnessing the technology and using it to its maximum capability in an ongoing way. Finance departments need to harness the following initiatives to truly drive change in the business:

    • Training in cost effective ways
    • End-User training to understand the importance of the systems capabilities.
    • Engaging The End-User to improve operations to what is best practice.
    • Moving training to role based.
    • Accepting the new tools.
    • Recognizing and accommodating tech advances like Hana and restructuring accordingly
    • Changing Policies to incorporate SAP standard as opposed to constant customization to suite the status quo.


  • Achieving Integrated Business Services

    efficiency, transparency and reduction of costs. Integrated business services allow organizations to make decisions based on the viewpoint of the entire organization and ideally from a single source of truth. Enterprise-wide business challenges can be addressed in a consistent, high quality and cost competitive manner. The co-ownership of technology and process between IT and the business is massively beneficial and hard to orchestrate.

    • What has been the path for organizations that have successfully broken down silos to create an integrated business system
    • Managing the change that goes along with this new approach
    • Data – across departments to drive integrated reporting
    • What is best practice for creating such a group?
  • Maximizing Value from Your Financials System

    There is basic functionality within the SAP’s ERP Financials modules that have yet to be uncovered by many organizations. Organizations are looking to their peers to help them sweat their existing assets and uncover simple technology that they never knew they had access to:

    • Financial close – how do you reduce processing time for a faster month end close
    • Best practice solutions for AP automation
    • Creating seamless reports for the business
    • Maximizing FICO – What functionality are the best performers using that others aren’t.



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