Mastering SAP Online Conference Engages the Thriving SAP Community


The three-day Mastering SAP online conference held 27-29 July 2021 hallmarked 120 engaging sessions and was graced by over 140 speakers– from SAP customers and partners to leadership experts, neuroscientists, and change managers.

The third and final day of the digital event Mastering SAP onAir 2021 opened on an encouraging note with hosts, author and media personality Andrew Daddo and Managing Partner – Production & Partnerships of The Eventful Group Steve Morris highlighting the opportunities for participants to engage in 7 masterclasses, 8 live interactive meetups, and 16 case studies as well as the get the chance to win special prizes from the sponsors of the event. Though a bit shorter than the first two days, Day 3 of the Mastering SAP online conference still featured hot topics and live polls on Data & Analytics, Finance, HR & Payroll, Public Sector, Security & Risk, and Tech & Cloud.

For the last leg of the digital conference, InsideSAP, the official media partner of the Mastering SAP, had the chance to participate in several thought-provoking masterclasses and interactive sessions on Finance, Tech & Cloud, Security & Risk, and Public Sector.

Mastering SAP Online Conference: Day 3 Highlights


Neil Tarditi, Senior Consultant – Financials at SAP, and Steve Morling, SAP Financial Management Practice Manager Anz & Global Sap Financials Lead at DXC Technology shared their insights and expertise in the masterclass “The Path to SAP S/4HANA Through Central Finance”. During the Mastering SAP online session, Tarditi presented various approaches in upgrading the finance function to SAP S/4HANA such as the System Conversion/ Migration Approach and the New Implementation/Data Transition Approach. He highlighted that SAP S/4HANA innovations are underpinned by the technical migration of SAP ERP systems or through a non-disruptive “side care” approach using Central Finance.

Aside from sharing how SAP Activate, the innovation adoption framework for SAP S/4HANA, delivers reduced Time-to-value and Total-Cost-Ownership, Tarditi also discussed the new functionality in SAP S/4 HANA Finance/Central Finance. 

BlackLine, SAP Pinnacle Partner of the Year, hosted the Perspectives session “What is the True Cost of Your Lack of Capacity?” that showcased the finance transformation journey of Coca-Cola. Senior SAP Value Architect Joy Kennedy and SAP Centre of Excellence Manager of BlackLine Carmen Lyons shared how the global company embraced automation through the process leadership approach after acknowledging the sizable challenges that inhibited them from achieving their aspirations including their 2020 Vision. Aside from wasting 14,000 hours per month on accounting processes, Kennedy shared that Coca-Cola, which operates in 49 countries, needed to overcome working in silos, major audit concerns, and lack of overall visibility.

Some of the key initiatives that Coca-Cola implemented were moving the company’s shared services to Manila, attending industry-specific sessions like Mastering SAP, and partnering with SAP and BlackLine to help them deploy technologies that would streamline and standardise processes across its global operations. 

For smaller organisations who would want to invest in people and technology to increase the company’s capacity, Lyons said:

“The key is adoption of technology. The more standard templates you use, the more automation you have on your team. The more things that you can measure, the more you are able to actually improve.“

“Whether you’re a small, medium, or large enterprise, BlackLine’s solutions are not difficult to learn, the time to value is very short. We have customers, and clearly it depends on the scope, we’ve realised a go-live in anywhere between 6-12 weeks. ” Kennedy added.

During BlackLine’s live poll, 62{8bf2b29f36318f0ac46ab1cc03d7035abce669a1cea16c9ed62389a818fa22fd} of the participants said their team spends the majority of their time on manual tasks, 31{8bf2b29f36318f0ac46ab1cc03d7035abce669a1cea16c9ed62389a818fa22fd} on meetings or planning sessions, and only 8{8bf2b29f36318f0ac46ab1cc03d7035abce669a1cea16c9ed62389a818fa22fd} spends time on substantiation or looking back. On the subject of software implementation, 47{8bf2b29f36318f0ac46ab1cc03d7035abce669a1cea16c9ed62389a818fa22fd} agreed that projects bring broader business change and cultural improvement. The majority (67{8bf2b29f36318f0ac46ab1cc03d7035abce669a1cea16c9ed62389a818fa22fd}) of the respondents said that Coca-Cola’s story and hearing about the outcomes the company enjoyed now influence their priorities for projects.

Tech & Cloud and Data & Analytics

In the masterclass “SAP Analytics Cloud for Beginners”, Ingo Hilgefort, Chief Product Expert, SAP Analytics Cloud, engaged the participants on a hands-on workshop that would help them develop a basic understanding of how to create visualisations within SAP Analytics Cloud. The first 40 participants were given access to SAP Analytics Cloud and perform exercises as business analysts for a BestRun company that produces sports apparel. 

Within the session’s limited time, participants not only had the chance to experience navigating SAP Analytics Cloud’s most important components such as charts, maps, and tables but also got to try some advanced features such as Linked Analysis.

When asked about the capability of SAP Analytics Cloud to be used as a corporate virtualization tool across industries and if it has Master Data Management feature, Hilgefort clarified:

“SAP Analytics Cloud is BI / Planning tools, so it wouldn’t have Master Data management. In regards to “virtualization” or “federation”, I would always suggest to look at Data Warehouse Cloud for those types of scenarios and then use SAP Analytics Cloud on top of Data Warehouse Cloud.”

During the Perspectives session “Solving Test Data and Data Security Challenges in non-Production SAP Systems”, Daniel Parker of EPI-USE Labs gave the participants an in-depth look at Data Sync Manager™, an industry-leading software suite, which enables all levels of users to provision SAP data to the non-production landscape, and solve data security and privacy legislation requirements. 

Security & Risk and Public Sector

InsideSAP also joined the Perspectives session “Cultivating an SAP Security Culture, Let’s Get Growing” which featured Christchurch City Council’s SAP S/4HANA transformation project. Sandi Ward, SAP Senior Functional Analyst at Christchurch City Council and Dudley Cartwright, CEO of Soterion shared their insights on moving from ECC to SAP S/4HANA including project considerations and methodologies. 

Ward shared how they build and encourage a culture of security in SAP in the council. She emphasised the importance of having a good project manager that prioritised security at the very start of the project. The project manager ensured that Ward, as a senior member of the team, was able to take part in SAP workshops and the planning stages, which gave her a better view of the needs identified. Moreover, she was able to ensure that security considerations were included in the early stages of the project.

Working on limited security resources and a tight deadline, Ward stressed that the key to a successful SAP S/4HANA transformation project, which meant massive data cleansing, was engaging with Basis and ABAP colleagues as well as communicating the benefits to the end users and stakeholders. Close to the end of the session, Dudley asked Ward how the go-live experience was and she shared:

“It was very smooth, we got it on over a weekend. Post go-live, we only had 10 incidents for old issues and some of those were duplicates…We have been so thorough..”

The Mastering SAP online conference officially closed at exactly 2 PM with the hosts Daddo and Morris announcing the winners of the major prizes and thanking the sponsors and participants from around the globe. Mastering SAP will be releasing videos on demand next Friday.  

With vaccine rollout underway and as restrictions relax, we look forward to a more engaging hybrid setup or, better yet, an in-person Mastering SAP conference soon.

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