Impact of new technology on the SAP implementation model and my mum's microwave .........

As technology advances it has an effect on our lives both personally and professionally. We can see the practical application in our everyday when now using technology is more intuitive and less cumbersome. Don’t get me wrong it didn’t stop my mum phoning me in the middle of the night to ask how to programme the timer on her microwave but she DID make the call on a mobile phone …..

This ease of application is showing itself in the fun packed world of SAP installs where the platform(s) we are now working on require, and indeed recommend, less hands on interaction in their development and configuration.

If we want to truly follow the SaaS ethos then this surely is to be expected and encouraged. The easiest comparison to be made is between a ‘traditional’ ECC implementation compared to one using S4 HANA. Customers would embrace the ownership of their ECC solution so much so they almost appeared compelled to develop and enhance the living daylights out of it because in some way that was so often the easiest solution to a business problem. Compare that to a world where the software is not proprietary, you see an environment where business problems are managed with more emphasis on transformation and change rather than full-scale development.

As a consultant of 30 or so years this is quite refreshing and encouraging – for years we have been telling the customer base to look to their dysfunctional processes and not always assume the software has ‘gaps’. Of course Tax, Legal and Statutory requirements dictate changes that HAVE to be made and there’s no argument there but how many times do you hear of redundant reports or bespoke transactions on a mature SAP system. This redundancy costs money both to implement and maintain so the value in moving to a more transformational approach is obvious.

This presents a challenge to business but also to SI’s who are supporting business in their endeavours. Consultancies will be challenged more on their value add skills and not so much on their ability to land 100 or so consultants in one place to run a large scale SAP implementation. There will be less need for people with the detailed knowledge of the software to the nth degree and more need for people with appreciation of the technology but a wider knowledge and understanding of how it can help business transform to meet its goals.

If software is to be used as a service then why shouldn’t business expect the services supporting that software to be offered in the same way.

As we climb out of the current global turmoil business will want to move forward embracing technology where they can but they are going to need more value in the delivery offering in front of them and we in the consultancy world need to be ready for that challenge.

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