We’re at a point in SAP history where new technology will make a seismic shift in how companies handle configuration in the next few decades.
This coming change can be rather overwhelming and confusing, which is natural. But rather than being “everyone for themselves”, I see it bringing the configuration community together in the very best way possible. This solidarity was on full display at last week’s CWG North American Conference in St. Louis, where eLogic was among a group of industry influencers, technology enthusiasts, and business leaders hashing out, dissecting, questioning, and joining in as the world makes plans for C/4HANA and S/4HANA, the next generation business suite from SAP.
To help attendees get a firmer grasp of this new technology, the CWG conference introduced several roundtable discussions focused on newcomers, technology leaders, and business decisionmakers. The decisionmaker roundtable was especially well attended, which was a very positive sign. The CWG made a concerted effort this year to offer more to business leaders. It is a critical time to strike a balance in conference content for business and technical audiences. The SAP product line is vast and robust, with new products launched and more coming, so promoting education for all relevant roles is a key to making it a success. CWG President Lawrence Matusek promoted the inclusion of more sessions for business leaders, and the roundtable was an excellent example of this new effort to include more people in the configuration conversation. About a quarter of all attendees to came to the decisionmaker roundtable, and it was a very spirited discussion as they shared their thoughts on this upcoming SAP shift. Support for ECC is scheduled to end in 2025, so it’s very present on many peoples’ minds. Will their existing configurators continue to work? What must they do to make their configurations compatible with S/4HANA? How do they choose between the cloud and the on-premise version?
A key question that came out was whether anyone is building migration tools? eLogic is working on migration tools for Advanced Variant Configuration (AVC), which you can read more about here. LO-VC Conversion was one of the seven presentations our team gave at the conference. Configure Price Quote (CPQ) and AVC represent the future of SAP configuration and many companies are investigating how to leverage and migrate their existing LO-VC models to work with these new offerings. We explained a few LO-VC to CPQ/AVC conversion paths, and described various issues and challenges to consider. We are the only SAP Partner who has contributed to the AVC Influence Council since it started in 2016. This select group advises SAP Development and evaluates new and proposed AVC and classification functionality. It’s encouraging to know that the groundwork we’ve helped to establish is meeting the mark with the industry. Today’s efforts will ease the transition for tomorrow’s technology.
A Hamburger Today…
The theme of bringing everyone together also includes one of the most – if not the most – important elements of configuration – customers. In that spirit, our team took part in and won the Variant Configuration and Pricing User Experience Contest. We created a voice recognizing food ordering app using the CPS (Configuration and Pricing Services) public APIs from the SAP Cloud Platform and called them from a Microsoft Power App. This solution demonstrates leverage of SAP investments in configuration and pricing models combined with Azure voice recognition services served up in a low code, native mobile application with a very engaging user experience. And we have some tasty ideas on how to enhance it for next year – like using language translation and an even richer user experience. Congratulations to our team for the recognition of their creativity!
This contest was just another great way to bring the configuration community together, and have some fun doing it. It further emphasizes that these new technologies will be what brings business and customers together – finding new and better ways to do business, while being easy to do business with.
More to Come…
These are exciting times in the world of configuration and the road ahead is just beginning. Surely there will be a lot of challenges to consider and decisions to make, but I think it’s going to be a smoother ride when all of us come together to share ideas, our challenges, and our victories. That’s what CWG conferences are all about, and eLogic is here to support manufacturers along the ride. We’ll be at the next European Conference in Hamburg, and we hope to see you there!