Expert interviews

Expert interview with Markus Schümmelfeder

Expert interviews with Markus Schümmelfeder (Corporate Vice President, IT) from Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma GmbH & Co. KG

What is the motivation for companies to switch to HANA and S/4 HANA?

Markus Schümmelfeder: "With the announcement to end mainstream maintenance for SAP Business Suite in 2025, there has been the need for Boehringer Ingelheim, to reconsider a new ERP roadmap. The slackening innovation in the SAP Business Suite products and the need for future investments require the development of a new global template based on the S/4HANA technology.

This development takes time and has started at Boehringer Ingelheim at an early stage to take account of the constantly changing business requirements, as well as ensuring a timely switchover.

It is also important that there are opportunities for employees to work with an advanced technology in which everyone has the same starting point, or even employees can be a pioneer."


What added value could already be realized in your company?

Markus Schümmelfeder: “In the Business Warehouse environment, we have seen improvements to the legacy systems through significant "Runtime" improvements. In other areas we are still in the implementation phase so it is too early for a statement here.”

Expert interview with Prof. Dr. Andreas Pasckert and Prof. Dr. Peter Gordon Rötzel

Expert interview with Prof. Dr. Andreas Pasckert of the University of Aschaffenburg and Prof. Dr. Peter Gordon Rötzel

In your experience what is the motivation for companies to move to HANA and S/4 HANA?

Prof. Dr. Andreas Pasckert: „In particular, a transition to HANA offers options for modernization and performance improvements through the elimination of bottlenecks. In addition, S/4HANA provides an opportunity to build the potential for strategic success. Through the extensive options to analyse mass data and the possibilities to speed up and automate transactions, companies are hoping to create essential conditions for the development of business models based on the digitization of business processes. In addition they hope for the transformation of more efficient value-added processes, as discussed in the context of the term Industry 4.0.“

Prof. Dr. Peter Gordon Rötzel: „The reasons for the switch are very heterogeneous. Medium-sized companies often are afraid of migrating ERP systems since a large number of resources are involved and both cost increases and delays can occur. In my opinion, it is essential that the required resources are identified and operationalized and flow into the operational stage before the migration. The potential of S/4HANA and HANA is significant, but there are too few studies that examine the broad range of success factors for an efficient switch. That's exactly where we want to start.“


In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges for IT decision-makers in dealing with their systems?

Prof. Dr. Andreas Pasckert: „A key challenge is to ensure compliance requirements. The main strength of HANA and S/4HANA is the creation of a high level of transparency for the users of the system. But this is precisely the danger. IT decision makers should pay close attention to role assignments, considering which system capabilities are granted to which ERP user.“

Prof. Dr. Peter Gordon Rötzel: „It depends. If you are doing business in an industry that is characterized by high market dynamics and strong technological change, you need to keep your system up to date.
On the one hand you must not miss out on significant innovations (e.g., cloud solutions, use of smartphones for ERP solutions). On the other hand, there are some innovations that are not yet widely adopted (e.g., spectacle displays, virtual reality). From a IT decision-maker’s viewpoint, you have to constantly consider what technological innovations you should implement. Decisive competitive advantage will only be only gained if you can use your IT to leverage strategic potential at an early stage, streamlining business processes and providing a better overview of the "data treasures" in your company.“