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SAP HANA and S/4HANA

SAP HANA and S/4HANA

Recent years have seen a resurgence in large organisations taking on major SAP upgrades with the relatively new SAP business suite 4 HANA (S/4HANA) collection of applications. But what exactly is HANA? and what is S/4HANA? How is implementing or upgrading to it different from the R/3 upgrades that were significant programs for many organizations over the last few decades?

As SAPs core products have advanced and their portfolio has broadened it’s become difficult to understand how it all fits together. In recent years I’ve met team members and stakeholders working on SAP programs who struggled to articulate the basics of HANA. SAP projects can be complex and challenging partly due to this lack of knowledge. SAP have been addressing this by improving their communications and training, but understanding HANA can still be quite a lot to navigate.

In this article, I’ll briefly explain the history of SAP and hence the context that led to HANA as well as clarifying the technical concepts behind HANA, why they are important, and how the business application has changed.

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Blockchain: how it works

Blockchain: how it works

Blockchain has been one of the most hyped technologies of the last decade thanks to the massive profits that were made from bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Despite a lot of of the smoke and mirrors that surrounds blockchain it is a fascinating technology.

This post is based on a presentation I gave to my fellow international coleagues in Japan in 2019. I was motivated to create and deliver this presentation to combat a lot of the misinformation around blockchain solutions and when they should and shouldn’t be considered. To understand the benefits and use cases for blockchain it’s useful to understand how it works.

This requires a brief walk through of various concepts including mathematics and cryptography which have a big role in making blockchain possible. Bear with me as we work through some of the concepts it will hopefully all make sense by the end of the post.

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A No-Nonsense Guide to Digital and Technology Strategy in 2020

A No-Nonsense Guide to Digital and Technology Strategy in 2020

‘Digital’ – A Magnet for Nonsense!

‘Digital’ was and still is a popular term in the business world. In recent years a lot of papers, presentations and communities of interest have appeared on this topic. Unfortunately, the majority of them seem to create a lot of content, but little meaning. Put simply, a laymen could read a typical brochure on ‘AI’ or ‘Blockchain’ and still have no clue what the physical product or service is and how it differs from more traditional techology.

Back in 2000, I first started my career in information technology, not long after joining we were re-branded as ‘information & decision solutions’. I think the majority of people in information technology will be familiar with the constant re-branding of teams and functions.

This is the case with ‘digital’

Digital technology is a hodge podge of technologies which are new / popular / highly saleable. I tried to figure out what the common theme is with technologies that get accepted into the ‘digital’ podium, but there doesn’t appear to be one.

In this post, I’d like to have a plain english, no-nonsense discussion of digital (or more simply new & popular) technologies.

I’ll start by taking a look at what major companies are saying about digital, then I’ll look at structuring it into a simple taxonomy to promote a clearer understanding. I’ll then take a look at key areas of digital one by one. Finally I’d like to talk about the approach taken to develop a digital strategy.

Before getting into the detail I would like to give some advice to anyone thinking about investing in digital products or services:

  • Take a ‘doubtful’ stance, don’t get caught up in the hype;
  • If someone can’t explain a technology; how it works and why it’s useful, in a few sentances to a laymen, do not listen to them;
  • Be careful of conflicts of interests when dealing with suppliers and partners, I’ll talk a little more about this next.
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