Listen as Dave Fellers, Bramasol CEO, provides an overview of Five Key Trends to watch in 2022 and then drills down for a closer look at two rapid payback areas in the Digital Solutions Economy and moving to SAP S/4HANA.

Also, below is a transcript of the podcast episode:

Jim Hunt: This is Jim Hunt for Bramasol’s Insights to Action podcast series. Today. I’m really pleased to have Dave Fellers, CEO of Bramasol back again. And we’re going to have some fun, as we talk about the key trends for 2022 and then focus in on a couple of them that present real near-term opportunities. Hi Dave, it’s great to have you back.

Dave Fellers: Hi Jim, good to be here.

Jim Hunt: Well, Happy New Year and let’s dive right in. Can you maybe just do an overview of the five key trends that we’re looking at for 2022?

Dave Fellers: Absolutely. Happy New Year to you too, Jim, and thank you. Yeah, there’s a lot of trends out there and specificlly some that we’re looking at that we think really are going to impact companies that we work with and we serve. Starting with the Digital Solutions Economy, which can also be thought of businesses seeking to derive recurring revenue or subscription revenue. So that’s been a big area of change, and we’re goning to actually spend a little more time on that today. Another one is within the SAP family, the S/4HANA product line, that’s been out for a few years, but adoption’s really starting to pick up. So I know we’ll dig into that some today as well.

Dave Fellers: There are three other ones that we won’t touch so much today, but we’ll get back to in the future. A big one dealing with the environment is a huge issue and really more and more people are giving it their attention so it’s really picked up. Well, part of that is on the accounting and compliance side, where that group is ready to step in as well. And so a concept called Carbon Accounting and carbon accounting compliance involves setting up standards and measures. It will be very relevant in the corporate world, holding corporations accountable and measuring how they perform, because governments and people are all interested in making sure we’re doing what we can to protect this world. Carbon Accounting will be a big part of helping to measure and control that within the corporate world.

Dave Fellers: Another trend is supply chain and the “new normal” is a theme this year. Now supply chain’s always kind of been a big issue, how companies can provision goods and services to supply to their customers has always been a big topic, but COVID has turned that into overdrive. And now what we see is the new normal is not gonna be the old way. It’s the resiliency needed in the supply chain, with all sorts of different options that people have come up with over the last couple years. That’s now the new game, that’s the new normal, and hopefully we’ll have a chance to talk about that in the future as well, Jim,

Then finally, when you go digital, cybersecurity is the big issue. And when you go digital and there’s so much money and all the records, everything is just tied up in this digital world. Well, it’s too enticing. And so the criminals, including all the way up to suspected governmental levels and military, lots of people are striving to dig into that corporation’s vulnerability. So that’s a big, big trend, and it has been, and just will continue to escalate as digitalization takes place. So those are the big five for 2022, that Bramasol is focusing on.

Jim Hunt: Great overview. So today we’re going to focus on the Digital Solutions Economy and S/4HANA. Why have we chosen those two to focus on first?

Dave Fellers: Okay, well Jim, these two areas represent significant opportunities for companies to proactively make changes to their systems that can yield immediate ROI. They are both critical for staying ahead of the dynamic ways and disruptive changes in markets. With DSE, we’ll get into that more, but basically that’s changing the way you do business and work with customers. And with S/4HANA, that’s staying ahead of the curve on having a technology platform that gives you the basis to make sure you can manage your DSE and all the other kinds of changes that we talked about earlier, and more.

Jim Hunt: So those present the most immediate opportunities, both for payoff and for a sustainable business environment. So let’s, let’s drill down on DSE, the short term for Digital Solutions Economy. What should companies be expecting and looking at in the new year?

Dave Fellers: Most industry analysts agree that the pandemic and the move to remote working have greatly accelerated the adoption of things like subscriptions and what we think of as Digital Solutions Economy business models, and it’s leads to exciting growth for many companies that were in the right place to catch this DSE wave. Other companies have noticed and are paying attention. So there’s a strong move in all sorts of areas for companies to provide these kinds of business models, to make their goods and services available to customers. The DSE move into this next phase means it will be increasingly important for companies to refine and optimize their end-to-end processes. Because they have to watch out for their profitability and their competitiveness, a change in business models has to also make business sense.

Another aspect of DSE is that compliance will continue to be an issue. And in fact, such major compliance items like revenue accounting, in which Bramasol been such a big part of with ASC 606 and IFRS 15, for companies to start deferring revenue with subscription business models and deferred revenue contract models, may be a little bit of a newer challenge for them. And for others, it will be potentially a massive increase in complexity as these business models get rolled out. You have to be able to account for it and stay compliant, within this DSE business model space.

Dave Fellers: So those are a few, and Jim, let me share a couple more. There’s quite a lot to the DSE area. So Bramasol is focusing on helping our clients build sustainable DSE business processes and you need to look at new software to help support that. So there’s SAP’s Billing and Revenue, Innovation Management, known as BRIM. And they are always improving Revenue Accounting and Reporting (RAR). Now the SAP Automated Revenue Management (ARM) solutions are going to be critical parts for companies to empower the DSE business model and maintain the compliance position in their revenue space. Additionally, when it comes to providing and addressing a portfolio of interoperable applications for DSE and revenue compliance, you look at tools like the S/4HANA platform that’s compatible with these new business processes like BRIM and revenue accounting, and also provides a base for receiving data agnostically from other sources. So a company still will have a complex environment of technology, and that’s understood, but SAP with the S/4HANA platform will enable DSE business models to support all the different kinds offerings that companies will invent in the coming years.

Jim Hunt: So it sounds like the agnostic nature of BRIM and RAR can help people move right away. But they also set them up for the ultimate journey to the S/4HANA environment. So shifting to that S/4HANA, please talk a little bit about what’s in store in 2022 from that aspect.

Dave Fellers: Absolutely. So why S/4HANA? Why is it one of the five trends we see for 2022? Well, it’s been a little while, but from all indications 2022 looks like the year that S/4HANA will really kick into high gear for the adoption of it. Even as the support for previous SAP solutions continues on and was extend a little bit until 2027, we’re now within five years of that. So big corporations, mid-size and even smaller ones are looking toward putting their businesses in place with the future of where SAP’s going with the S/4HANA platform. Additionally S/4HANA is where the innovation’s happening. If you’re thinking about artificial intelligence and machine learning and automation such as robotic RPAs, robotic process automation, and other kinds of capabilities, as well as enhancements and functionality, this is where SAP putting their effort is in the S/4HANA.

So the ROI payback is becoming bigger and bigger. It’s going to make sense, not just to get on a current version, but to get on the version that brings you the future. And so that’s, that’s a big reason. The adoption’s really starting to kick into a higher gear the gains are clear. Whatever issues there were of performance or functionality that might have been detriments three or four years ago are long overcome. And now the Delta, the gap of what’s available, is too great to ignore.

It’s important to realize that for those who are using an SAP ECC platform, this is much bigger than just a software upgrade. S/4HANA is a transformational product category and it really provides a unique opportunity for a transformation within the business, that can lead to improvements across the entire enterprise. Now, what might some of those improvements be? I’ll just touch on a few here, starting within the finance area, there’s a unification of financial data into a Single Source of Truth, which enables improvements in financial close processes, payroll accounts, receivables, productivity, billing, revenue, cash management, and more. Within sales, we have a streamlining starting with the sales master data, sales contract management, sales order processing, billing, invoicing, claims, returns, refunds, and sales, forecasting literally across the business stream. The improvements and enhancements that S/4HANA brings are catching the attention of companies. Supply chain, that we mentioned supply chain in its own, right as one of the big five trends for 2022 that will permeate beyond COVID well, within the S/4HANA there’s a lot of changes there too, to help support around the goods issued and received process, warehouse management, shipping, logistics, material requirements, planning, and vendor information sharing.

Finally, at least for now, all of this is tied together with analytics and the embedded capabilities to access data from all functions with drill down, drill through, visualization and reporting, which, are going to be important, both ongoing monitoring and to inform ad hoc decisions. So these are the tools to empower businesses and decision makers on how to run their business better and support their customers and manage their suppliers. So taken together, the enterprise-wide impacts of S/4HANA will enable both near-term and long-term transformation spanning the user experience, business agility, real-time management, and automation enabling the intelligent enterprise. It’s becoming clear that the adoption of S/4HANA is going to accelerate rapidly throughout 2022.

Jim Hunt: So a lot of exciting opportunities there. What should companies be doing now to get ready to leverage their opportunities and make the most of both DSE and S/4HANA in 2022?

Dave Fellers: Absolutely, and there is a lot there. It’s a lot to take in and absorb and try to figure out how to deal with that. So Bramasol is ready. We’re preparing and have workshops available around these topics. We are offering a workshop around the integration of BRIM and RAR so that’s helping support your digital solution economy initiatives with your revenue accounting. That’s a big area of concern because it’s not been well attended to in the past in terms of people to provide that expertise and support, so we’re ready to help customers navigate through that. Additionally we’re rolling out an S/4HANA readiness assessment. It’s been around a while and there’s been other readiness workshops, but now S/4HANA 2021 was released in the fall. It’s really coming online and it offers a lot of new innovations and features, so we’re ready to support customers with a new S/4HANA health check assessment that not just evaluates where they are, but where they’re going and how S/4HANA 2021 helps them get there as companies really make that leap in this journey.

Jim Hunt: That that’s a great wrap up and points to some of the tangible things they can do. Any other last words about this topic? It looks like it’s gonna a be an exciting year.

Dave Fellers: Yes, Jim, this is big stuff, it really is. This is real impactful. As we were saying, companies are really moving in every kind of industry into that Digital Solutions Economy approach. And they’re going to want the right kind of tools to support it. So that in combination with S/4HANA is a big deal. And, really the other areas that we mentioned in the beginning, trends like carbon accounting, supply chain and security are all only going to be helped with S/4HANA as a platform. They’ll all be interwoven with the Digital Solutions Economy and added to as a part of the business model. You’ll have to think about all five of those big trends and that’s why they go together and look forward to getting back with you and talking about some of the others next time.

Jim Hunt: Yeah. I was just gonna say, I’d love to have you back to talk about those others. This has been extremely helpful. I learned a lot. I know our listeners will learn a lot too, so thank you very much, Dave.

Dave Fellers: All right. Thank you, Jim.

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