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SAP Service Delivery versus Value Delivery

April 30th, 2012 by
SAP Value Delivery

SAP Value Delivery

In my review of academic literature around SAP or ERP implementations I find some thought provoking items.  Recently I reviewed a study which helped me to form a more complete picture of important issues in IT delivery.  Even though I’ve been writing about it for years I gained a new clarity around evaluating some of the existing delivery models [FN1].  What it comes down to is are you looking for service delivery or business results for your SAP project?

SAP Service Delivery or Business Value Delivery – You Determine Your Future

Because my career started in business and later was exposed to SAP as part of the client core team, and then finally moved on to consulting, I have always recognized the importance of business value.  At the same time much of the System Integrator marketplace has been promoting the same old service delivery model they are familiar with. The biggest reason so many system integrators struggle with business value delivery is because they often focus on hiring a lot of really smart college graduates with little or no business experience.  Fresh out of college and heads filled with textbook ideas about how business works. 

If you just want services delivered then no matter what the sales pitch, all of the system integrators are the same

SAP, ERP, or Enterprise Application customers are looking for something more.  As a recent article I read noted, CIOs do not command the respect of the other key disciplines within the enterprise.  In fact, many of their “C” suite peers question whether or not the technology organization serves much of a useful purpose at all.  That my friends is a frightening and shocking perspective to me.  Stop and think about that a minute, many organizations question whether IT organizations serve a useful purpose in the enterprise.  Is it any wonder outsourcing and off-shoring have become so popular?

What Does This Mean for SAP Projects?

At the end of your SAP project are you satisfied that a project was delivered?  Hopefully on time and on budget, but delivered nonetheless?  If you are satisfied that your SAP project was delivered on time and on budget then you are focused almost exclusively on service delivery

Many senior level IT leaders and delivery folks just want something to get in as quickly as possible.  This is exclusively a service delivery oriented project.  The only thing you are concerned about are the skills needed to address the particular technology / application / solution need right now.  This will not however provide you any type of ROI (Return on Investment) or ROE (Return on Equity) because ROI and ROE (along with other measures) are pure business metrics.  These are not IT metrics and do not measure things like uptime, response time, # of service tickets closed, etc.  The idea of ROI, ROE, or Asset Turns are reflections of business activity and investor / owner value.  Although they may be seen as irrelevant by many in IT they are still useful to understand if any value was delivered for the investment that is made.

Do you want services delivered or business value delivered?

Truth is, if you just want services delivered then no matter what the sales pitch, all of the system integrators are the same.  For that matter, why even bother with a system integrator or SAP consultants at all?  Why not just go to your nearest college and recruit a bunch of really smart graduates for a temporary project and pay them about half what the system integrators charge for a temporary contract? 

Seriously, why even bother with experienced consultants at all? 

If SAP service delivery is your focus and not business results it is just a game of who can best make it through the sales process.  Whether it is IBM and their premium rates or Rajakrishna’s Consultant Shack and their all you can eat offshore rates.  If they can’t speak the local language it really doesn’t matter.  On the other hand if you are looking for business results that is entirely different.

If your only focus is on time and on budget then you are only looking for service delivery.  You are not looking for results, or business change, or IT transformation, or business strategy.

Let me make clear I am not suggesting on time and on budget projects should be ignored.  What I am suggesting is that if your only focus is on time and on budget then you are only looking for service delivery.  You are not looking for results, or business change, or IT transformation, or business strategy.  You are merely looking for resources to deliver services to get you to some date at some budget amount.  Any offshore or consulting shack fake will get you to a dollar amount (that is the brutal truth but they will deliver “services”).

Where is the SAP Value Proposition Focus on Business Results?

While SAP Implementation is an Investment NOT an Event many organizations fail to consider their enterprise application deployments as strategic assets designed to produce business results.  The good news is that is changing.  So the next question is Where do you Start with SAP Return on Investment or SAP ROI?  This goes right back to the basics, you must focus on the WHY of Achieving Business Value from SAP Investment.  Is the effort about technology replacement or is there some business reason behind the initiative?

A recent IBM study under the heading of “The CIO as change catalyst” noted:

As the executive working at the nexus of business and technology, CIOs are uniquely qualified to help their companies leverage available tools to meet current economic challenges and to exploit the opportunities that will arise during this crisis—and opportunity will arise for those businesses bold enough to disrupt competition and restructure their industries. CIOs can help transform their companies by better capitalizing on the value of information assets.  They can help manage and mitigate business risk through better, more timely information. They can improve service management. They can lower enterprise-wide operational costs—including IT’s—through automation. [FN2]

SAP and IT organization heads are gaining insight and experience but at the same time they are being squeezed to cut costs and find value.

Focusing on value entails cutting discretionary spending, deploying resources for the highest return, bolstering core competencies and redefining relationships. Cash flow is central to survival and strategic flexibility, which means businesses and business units need to do more with less. Corporations must conserve capital and cut spending where it produces minimal return. Funds must then be redeployed to activities, products and markets that generate growth, improve margins and truly differentiate one business from another. [FN3]

Make Sure You Are Headed Down the Right SAP Path

To make the transition your SAP project must begin with Creating a Knowledge Centered Learning Organization for Business Transformation for IT Leadership.  Whether you are already live with SAP, in the middle of a project, or just starting out, I would strongly encourage you to get serious about Organizational Change Management Inside the SAP IT Support Organization

What most customers do not know is that SAP has offered the “Value Delivery” methodology as part of the ASAP Methodology for many years

If you want to know Why Use the SAP ASAP Methodology? for your SAP project consider the fact that SAP has offered the “Value Delivery” methodology as part of the ASAP Methodology for many years.  Over the years it has taken many forms, all the way back to the early versions of the ASAP Methodology with the old “KPI” lists.  Today it is integrated into the ASAP Methodology structure. 

Isn’t it time to pursue the value delivery method regardless of whether your system integrator is capable of this or not?

====================

[FN1]  Kieninger, A. and Satzger, G., Risk-Reward Sharing in IT Service Contracts – A Service System View, 2011 Proceedings of the 44th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences.

[FN2]  From fear to value: CIO strategies for propelling business through the economic crisis, pg. 5.  Retrieved 4/24/2012 ftp://ftp.software.ibm.com/common/ssi/sa/wh/n/ciw03057usen/CIW03057USEN.PDF

[FN3] Ibid. pg. 6.




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SAP Customer Responsibility for SAP Project Success

April 23rd, 2012 by

SAP Success Criteria Formula

SAP Success Criteria Formula

 

Some time ago I put together a synthesis of SAP success criteria based on academic literature and my own personal experience.  The table below is part of the list of SAP Success Factors for Vender Selection – Responsibility Matrix. For a more detailed explanation of each of the vendor related items see the posts listed in the Series on SAP ERP Project Success Factors.

In the prior series we went through SAP success factors with shared responsibilities between the company adopting the SAP application and the integrator they use for the implementation (listed below) but today we will briefly review customer-specific success items (further down).

No. SAP or ERP Critical Success Factor Company Integrator
1 Senior Management Support (and steering committee makeup) A  
2 SAP project champion A  
3 Empowered business project team decision makers A  
4 Company SAP project team (quality and time allocated) A  
5 Experienced SAP consultants   A
6 SAP project success criteria, goals and objectives A  
7 SAP implementation strategy z A
8 SAP project management A z
9 SAP tools, templates, and resources   A
10 SAP scope development z A
11 SAP scope management A z
12 Strong SAP project and business communication (inward and outward) A z
13 SAP change management A z
14 Business process engineering – interdepartmental cooperation A  
15 Sufficient SAP training (user and project team training) A A
16 SAP system vendor and customer trust   A
17 SAP system design decisions z A
18 Amount of custom ABAP or other SAP coding z A
19 Appropriate SAP software configuration (system settings) z A
20 SAP system change control process   A
21 SAP data analysis and conversion A z
22 SAP test planning A z
23 SAP test development z A
24 Company end-user involvement and end-user testing A  

Legend

A = Primary responsibility
z = Secondary responsibility (can influence success but limited control over success)

——————————

The previous series did not address several of the customer-specific items where organizations should focus internal efforts.  As part of the recent series on Organizational Change Management Inside the SAP IT Support Organization it is time to consider the SAP customer specific items now.  That list of items includes:

No. SAP or ERP Critical Success Factor Company Integrator
1 Senior Management Support (and steering committee makeup) A  
2 SAP project champion A  
3 Empowered business project team decision makers A  
4 Company SAP project team (quality and time allocated) A  
6 SAP project success criteria, goals and objectives A  
14 Business process engineering – interdepartmental cooperation A  
24 Company end-user involvement and end-user testing A  

1.  SAP Project Senior Management Support – 2. SAP Project Champion

You just can’t overlook strong senior leadership support and a strong project champion for SAP project success.  If the wider organization perceives it is important enough for executive leadership they will see that it is a key initiative to focus on.  The Real Reason Executive Participation Creates IT Project Success is related to the nature of their position which deals with corporate strategy. The enterprise also needs an SAP project champion to help cut through red tape, encourage organizational support, and marshal additional resources when needed.  The best project champion would be at least one NON-IT executive so this isn’t seen as “just another IT thing.”  The contribution of a well respected and strong internal leader can not be overlooked.

3.  Empowered Business Process Team Members to Make Key Business Decisions About SAP Setup

If you want your SAP project to make any progress then it is absolutely critical to ensure core team members from the business are able to make many of the important process decisions. There will be some decisions that have more widespread organizational impact and the business users will need more senior level managers to make some decisions.  For example one of the key reasons for Using Your SAP Steering Committee for Business Transformation is to help mentor, guide, and direct business project participants in designing the future state business.  This would include making “critical decisions which the project team is unable to resolve (escalations or key business decisions).”  On the other hand if they are so compliant or risk averse that they will not make any decision without gaining consensus you may be headed for problems with the project timeline and budget.  This doesn’t mean you need an autocrat either, just someone who has enough organizational insight and connections to make the right decisions, escalate the ones that should be escalated, and has an open line of communication to keep interested stakeholders in the loop.

4.  Business Process Team Members who are DEDICATED to the SAP Project Delivery and Success

Too often I see core SAP project team members, whether from the business or the internal IT organization, who are not assigned exclusively to the SAP project.  While they are given the new role they often still have their “day job” to continue overseeing and managing.  This is a significant distraction from a very serious undertaking.  When an SAP project is done effectively, and what I call “correctly,” there is significant business change that takes place.  To help manage that change and to ensure business users have their needs most properly represented requires a full commitment to the SAP project.

Unfortunately there are a lot of system integrators who are happy to have your business users commit to just “part time” on the project.  It helps the system integrator increase their billing, allows for lots of excuses for missing dates, and provides them the opportunity to push any solution they deem you should have.  Because core team members from the enterprise have divided attentions they can not ensure the same level of quality if the SAP project were their only focus.

6.  SAP project goals and success criteria

I was recently reading an article where a study of several hundred companies who had implemented enterprise applications were asked about having defined business related goals and success criteria.  The referenced study suggested only 4% of companies who implement enterprise applications complete the entire process of defining goals and success criteria and then actually follow up on seeing that they achieved the promised benefits. 

To achieve Sustained Business Value from SAP Business Software it is important to incorporate a Change Management Program within the SAP / IT Organization itself which is focused on Achieving Business Value from SAP Investment.  Another key part of the goals and success criteria is to Change How You Look at SAP to Create ROI because SAP Implementation is an Investment NOT an Event.

14.  Business process engineering – interdepartmental cooperation

 This is directly related to the first 3 items in this list:

  • Senior Management Support (and steering committee makeup)
  • SAP project champion
  • Empowered business project team decision makers

Because of the nature of the integration in SAP some of the data entry responsibilities change, for both upstream and downstream process steps which may be in different departments.  There are also significant process changes and responsibility changes as a result of the SAP implementation.  All of these require a focus on processes, communication, and cooperation.  Because this can also be an area of political “friction” between departments or leaders it is critical to have a strong executive SAP project champion. That executive sponsor can help to reduce a some of the inter-departmental “border wars.”

24.  Company end-user involvement and end-user testing

Even a great implementation effort can turn into a painful disaster at go-live if end users are not prepared to use the new system, security and authorizations are a mess (VERY typical), and testing was not thoroughly performed.  Unlike other systems which were built in silos and without the level of integration a data or process mistake that is not uncovered during testing can have significant up and downstream effects.  Unwinding and correcting the error can prove to be very challenging.

For all of these items I only touched the surface, but none of these items can be ignored and are important for a successful SAP project.  Every one of these items is completely within the control of the enterprise or organization who implements SAP.  Good luck on your SAP journey but be sure to pay special attention to all of these success criteria for your SAP project which are provided in more detail in the Series on SAP ERP Project Success Factors.




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Creating a Knowledge Centered Learning Organization

April 16th, 2012 by

R3Now Knowledge Management

R3Now Knowledge Management

This is a continuation of Business Transformation for IT Leadership and is part of a journey around Organizational Change Management Inside the IT Support Organization .  To achieve an active, vibrant, knowledge-sharing learning organization requires some baseline understanding of what your goals are.  You need a culture that produces, organizes, disseminates, applies, and then refines information (see the image to the left).

This leads me to the next key point of which few people who call themselves “knowledge managers” have much understanding of –, information management is NOT knowledge management.  But both information management AND knowledge management are critical components of a learning organization.   

Information is the vehicle, knowledge is the destination

What is Knowledge?

Knowledge is the application of information, in a particular context, coupled with experience -–, it is NOT in some system.   Information is stored in systems, knowledge is stored in people.  Bill Wood, 2006.

Creating a Knowledge Centered Learning Organization is Really Exciting! (In the Sales Material)

Lots of folks get excited about the idea and even the prospects of creating a learning organization.  Achieving a vibrant learning organization with a knowledge sharing culture can reap huge rewards for a company’s competitive position in the marketplace.

Even the Harvard Business Review has gotten on board and sells a few “knowledge products” of their own.  Their pitch suggests that creating a learning organization leads to competitive business advantage.  After all, when you have a workforce which learns and applies new knowledge, new techniques, new methods to addressing the marketplace you are creating competitive advantage.  It is more than a pitch however and can in fact make a significant impact on your business and organization.

A learning organization requires a social component (people), delivery architecture (technology), and a structured method to share information (process).  By transforming your SAP / IT Organization into a learning organization you are taking the first steps to bridge the gap between an enterprise focus and an external market or customer focus.

A learning organization requires motivation

The Wheels Fell Off My Learning Organization Bus

You’re excited about the possibilities, you announce your thoughts to your leadership, and you can hear a pin drop.  Except for Joe the brown-noser no one is jumping on your bus! Why should they?  It sounds like another fad, another task, something else to monitor.  It sounds like you’re talking about one of their worst fears and frustrations–, you’re talking dynamic cultural transformation and they’re hearing social media and more work.  Your managers are thinking “Have you lost your mind?  How do I manage all this social media stuff when I have to meet my other goals?”  My employees are already frayed, I have 2 employees going through a divorce, one of the two cries half the day and the other is despondent.  Their emotional weight and negative energy are dragging down two of my departments and now I have to play policeman around social media junk?

Get the Employees ON the Bus First (BEFORE You Start to Drive!)

Before you start promoting the idea of creating a learning organization it is important to do this in manageable and incremental steps.  The key is in making sure the key resources are ON the bus before you try to make the trip.  Otherwise it might be a pretty lonely trip with an empty bus!  It is important to get the broader business community in a more accepting posture for your SAP / IT organizational changes by using Change Management Strategies and Knowledge Transfer Processes for a Successful SAP Project 1

Lasting Change Begins at Home

As part of a 3 tier process for transforming your SAP or IT support organization you might begin with Change Management Strategies and Knowledge Transfer Processes for a Successful SAP Project 2 so the business gains greater application maturity.  As part of that internal focus it is just as important to address the How To Steps in the SAP Business Transformation Journey within your SAP IT organization.

The Right Information Right Now

The goal for the first phase is the right information right now within the SAP/IT Organization.  After the internal IT support organization is immersed in information sharing it can then be rolled out systematically to the other two key areas of the Enterprise and then to the broader marketplace.

Build the infrastructure to support a learning organization first

The right approach consists of three tiers which look like concentric circles.  These consist of creating a learning environment within the IT organization itself.  This must include both push and pull tools for collaboration and information exchange.  From there, the ability to build ad hoc and dynamic groups for decision-making, skills use, process insight, and other resource needs become the focus. 

This collaboration approach is the first step to ERP III – Is the Integration of Collaboration the Future of Enterprise Applications?  The three key phases to this organizational transformation include:

  • Make use of collaboration and social media tools within the organization
  • Deploy both push and pull information tools to leverage information resources
  • Create an internal employee skills base (like an internal LinkedIn)

Once the information sharing infrastructure is in place, then you can focus on creating an information consuming culture within your SAP or IT organization.  In other words, build the infrastructure to support a learning organization first!

High Level Steps to Build a Knowledge Based Learning Organization

  1. Build out the push / pull information infrastructure
  2. Make participation part of the goals / review / bonus structure
  3. Pilot this inside the IT organization
  4. Roll out to the entire IT organization
  5. Scale up and modify push / pull infrastructure.
  6. Pilot within a BU or business organization (i.e. begin to converge IT and the business)
  7. Capture lessons learned and adjust then roll out to the broader business community.
  8. Repeat the steps to roll out to the customer base…
  9. Repeat the steps to roll out to broader (possibly targeted) market segments



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