SAP Transformation Navigator (TN) is a useful tool to help customers undergoing SAP upgrades and migrations. Released at SAP SAPPHIRE NOW 2017, Transformation Navigator was built in response to SAP customer requests for more guidance during the transformation process. The tool not only provides an intuitive way to create a product map and prepare for upgrades in a collaborative process — it also serves as a repository for SAP product data, making it much easier for customers to educate themselves and other stakeholders.
Transformation Navigator joins a growing pool of tools automating and modernizing the SAP upgrade process. While these tools don’t change the underlying processes involved in an upgrade, they yield significant benefits, including accelerating project timeline, cutting costs and disruption and enabling better strategic decision making.
What is SAP Transformation Navigator?
SAP Transformation Navigator is a free tool that enables businesses to plan a customized upgrade journey. The software uses the organization’s current landscape data, value drivers, and priorities to pick products and features, and plan the upgrade. It is designed to address the needs of all stakeholders, using a collaborative framework to create the business, technical, and transformation guides. That helps companies refine their project, and unite their team around a shared goal.
How Does SAP Transformation Navigator Work?
SAP Transformation Navigator is a free tool, which is accessible through Solution Manager using your SAP Support ID. It is designed to help users plan and gain buy-in based on their current landscape, needs, and priorities.
The process typically begins with data on an existing product, which can be your current SAP landscape (Transformation Navigator can pull your product landscape data directly from Solution Manager) or some other project. Transformation Navigator can also build a product map from scratch, facilitated by templates if desired.
Once users have entered their products, the system collects more information on their needs. Transformation Navigator then gathers input on the current status, needs, and goals of the business and SAP landscape. On the technical end, the software learns about current features, desired functionality, hosting destination. On the business side, it looks at factors like value drivers, value aspirations, and priorities to identify a product match and plan the transformation process.
Along with a finished upgrade plan, Transformation Navigator provides you with business, technical, and transformation reports, which you can use to pitch the project to key stakeholders. The process is iterative, so reporting can be used to drive the upgrade conversation forward early in the project. As users narrow down their options and better define and prioritize their goals, they can come back and refine the product map until they’re satisfied.
Benefits of SAP Transformation Navigator
Transformation Navigator is free, it’s intuitive, and it may help you plan your upgrade. If you’re early in the process, that should be reason enough to check it out. Furthermore, it’s a significant improvement in how SAP makes information on the company’s roadmap, software feature sets, and the simplification strategy available to the average user.
The process of transitioning from legacy solutions to S/4HANA, and from on-premise to cloud can feel overwhelming, and SAP has struggled to communicate and address user concerns clearly in the past. SAP committing itself to a self-service tool that addresses the needs and concerns of its users is a great development for the customer, the vendor community (including Protera!) and SAP itself.
However, while SAP Transformation Navigator excels in planning the way forward from a reasonably standard SAP legacy system, it can’t substitute for a suitable partner when addressing the complexities of real life. Companies have all sorts of technical issues that can complicate transformation planning, such as highly customized code third-party apps or a multi-platform system. Things are every bit as complex on the functional side, where factors like novel business processes and cutting edge technologies (e.g., IoT) may require a more customized version so S/4HANA.
These sorts of factors can pose a particular challenge for conservative organizations, which often struggle with buy-in for technical transformation, to begin with. To get stakeholders on board, you need an SAP expert who understands not just the organization’s assets and requirements, but its unique culture, values, and experience.
An SAP consultant or MSP may need to challenge the client to consider their project from a different perspective — something a computer-generated report really can’t do on its own. They need to be an excellent listener, who understands not just what your industry or your company is concerned about in the abstract, but also the concerns of your stakeholders. Transformation Manager shouldn’t be the final authority in decision making, but it can be a useful tool for your decision-makers and partners to use.
Also, keep in mind that SAP conventional wisdom (like any conventional wisdom) doesn’t apply in all cases. SAP Transformation Navigator may offer you a workable solution that’s good for your use case in general, but not the best solution for your particular company.
The Right Tools for Your SAP Upgrade
The best way to look at Transformation Navigator is as just one of a growing range of tools that together can help you plan and execute your SAP upgrade. It’s an excellent tool for brainstorming and starting to frame your SAP conversation — particularly when complemented with a more in-depth project planning and automation tool like Protera FlexBridge.
FlexBridge is a tool to help users throughout their full journey to SAP HANA and S/4HANA. Like SAP Navigator, it provides a free, self-service audit of your system, from a more technical perspective. It identifies every step required to upgrade your system, including needed software updates, Unicode conversion, and custom code remediation. With a free, in-depth report, you’ll save time and money on auditing code at the beginning of the project, and have the insight you need to plan your upgrade before you even choose a partner.
FlexBridge also transitions seamlessly into a complete product management solution for your SAP upgrade. Drawing on best in class proprietary and third-party tools, it serves as a central repository for your project, keeping the process neat, organized, and quick. It drastically simplifies bookkeeping, eliminates the need to shuffle files and reports around manually, and reduces the risks of human error derailing your project.
Contact us to learn more about how Protera can accelerate your SAP transformation, with best-in-class software, backed by a world-class team.
Photo Credit: ©zmicier kavabata/Bigstock