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Reflection on SAPPHIRE 2021 – Finance and Risk Transformation

Now that we conclude SAPPHIRE 2021 for the Americas and EMEA regions, you may think of watching replays of sessions of interest. If you haven’t made it to the SAPPHIRE 2021 session “Transform Finance and Risk with a Unified Platform in the Cloud” that was streamed live on Jun 10 at 5:00 am CDT go ahead and read this article, as I plan to summarize here the high points of the session.   

Opportunity to Accelerate Transformation   

The SAPPHIRE 2021 session started with an interview with Luka Mucic, Member of the Executive Board and CFO of SAP SE. He started out by saying that though the pandemic impacted companies of all sizes and in all types of industries, it also presented the opportunity to accelerate efforts for digital transformation, so companies can become more agile, nimble, and resilient. As the CFO of SAP where he is instrumental in shaping the digital strategy of his own company leveraging SAP solutions, he emphasized that CFO’s are transformation agents. Finance plays a key role in the digital transformation strategy as it is an essential part of the end-to-end business process. 

As companies transform in this ever changing environment they need to rethink business models as the world shifts to a subscription and services based consumption. This means an exponential rise in the volume of transactions for smaller amounts. As a consequence, this requires capability to scale with agility. Hence moving to the cloud is a strategic action. 

Moving to the cloud alone would not give the company the competitive edge. It also needs to focus on process standardization and simplification. The lift and shift approach to transitioning will limit the success over the long term. RISE with SAP offers a holistic transformation path to become an intelligent enterprise. SAP S/4HANA Cloud as its integral part can pave the way for modular cloud ERP solution that can help transform and innovate through new industry business models and best practices, establish process excellence with built-in AI, and elevate sustainability standards end-to-end, while enabling consumer-grade user experience.    

Sustainability is at the center of how companies will operate in the future and is driving many of the digital transformation  initiatives. Sustainability measures  need to be an integral part of the value chain and need capabilities that will help reduce waste and pollution and position the organization towards a circular economy. 

Working capital management is ever so important in these times to properly manage liquidity. Need for safeguarding business continuity and liquidity presents an opportunity for Finance organization to have capabilities for a real-time and flexible cash forecasting and treasury management.     

New SAP Solutions Highlights   

SAP Process Insights solution:

generates dynamic, real-time reports that assess the speed and efficiency of any existing business process. With this technology, enterprises can shift from transformation based on instinct to data-driven process improvement. This is part of the Business Process Intelligence (BPI) from SAP that can help organizations continuously understand, innovate, and transform processes – fast and at scale – by providing a clear picture of how processes work end-to-end. With BPI you can analyze business processes, get tailored recommendations, and benchmark them against industry standards.

Central Finance solution:

continues to be favored by companies who are running on multiple ERP systems and are in growth mode through Mergers and Acquisitions. This solution will enable common and standardized reporting through a global Chart of Account and allow the company to perform real-time reporting on data from disparate source systems. We also recommend looking into Blackline, an SAP certified solution that can aid in faster close process. Use of Magnitude solution that is also certified by SAP can help in integrating with non-SAP systems. 

Identity Access Governance solution:

is a cloud based solution that offers simple, seamless, and adaptive access control. It makes access governance easier and minimizes access risk and the potential for mistakes, misuse, or financial loss. 

This solution features a suite of purpose-built, integrated cloud services to deliver a seamless user experience in complex cloud and on-premise environments, while supporting key compliance requirements. It has capabilities that reduces risks associated with segregation of duties (SoD) conflicts and sensitive access for on-premise and cloud solutions, provides configurable and predefined access policies and rules, enables refinement of assignments to optimize user access for security and compliance, allows management of controls including integrated control monitoring and testing, and enables preconfigured audit reporting.

As companies move to S/4HANA and provision security access for executing new business transactions along with Fiori based access, they are increasingly using this solution as part of the SAP GRC solution set. This area requires proper planning and execution so that it meets the audit criterion of the company and ensures a smooth go-live.  

Billing Revenue and Innovation Management (BRIM) solution:

helps monetize subscription and usage-based business models with agility. It makes the entire revenue management process more transparent with scalable, flexible, and highly-automated software for billing, invoicing, and revenue management. It’s truly a solution for harnessing recurring billing and revenue management for the digital economy. Companies that are looking to make  a shift to subscription based billing which is high volume and smaller value scenario should look into this solution as it makes the financial reporting process much easier due to the rich and granular data it passes through the front-end steps for the  back-office reporting. This cloud based solution has features for Multisided revenue models for partners revenue sharing when multiple partners are involved in the  transactions. 

Your next steps..   

Hope you found this summary of the SAPPHIRE 2021 session to be helpful and it provided insights on how you might want to take advantage of these new and upcoming solutions. The good thing is that you don’t have to do this alone. Should you have questions or need to discuss any of the solutions, we at Mindset are ready to assist in making your organization an intelligent enterprise.


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Dinesh Chhabra is a Principal Architect at Mindset. He is an accomplished leader and an expert SAP Solution Architect with a proven track record of successfully delivering SAP enabled solutions for over 25 years, helping customers realize benefits of the digital age. He has extensive industry experience in construction, solar energy, professional services, manufacturing, chemicals. He is a seasoned professional with expertise in the Finance and Accounting domain coupled with a strong background in SAP S/4HANA Finance

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