ERP Provider SAP Announces Big Overhaul, but Will It Work Better for Credit?

SAP SE unveiled a number of major changes this week designed to make its enterprise resource planning (ERP) offerings faster, more efficient and more flexible than in the past. Company officials are calling it the biggest change for the company in nearly a quarter-century. Proclamations aside, what remains to be seen is what the new SAP options actually deliver, especially to a trade credit industry that many argue has been failed by SAP's off-the-shelf products in the past.

SAP, one of the two biggest players in the ERP world, announced it is updating its existing business suite and also offering more in cloud-based software options going forward. SAP Business Suite 4, also known as SAP/4HANA, will offer cloud-based, onsite and hybrid options that "reinvent SAP for the digital age," said Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP.

The topic of massive limitations to the credit function on the part of products and services designed by SAP, Oracle and other large ERP providers is covered at length in the upcoming March edition of Business Credit magazine. A number of add-ons, or bolt-ons, are available in the market and often work well—if addressed during the earliest planning stages of an ERP implementation—to fix things companies perceive that SAP and Oracle designed without credit in mind, said Scott Tillesen, CCE, CICP, CEW, vice president of credit for the Americas at Tech Data Corporation, and Pamela Craik, CCE, area credit manager at McKesson Corporation. Both are among credit professionals reporting that their companies are enjoying increased efficiency and cost savings because of ERP conversions, while acknowledging that the successes very likely would not have occurred as easily if they had relied solely on basic ERP systems without add-ons from third parties.

- Brian Shappell, CBA, CICP, NACM managing editor
For extended version of this story, see this week's edition of NACM's eNews, available later this afternoon.

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