Business Benefits


Upgrading SAP
SAP Truths
Good Ideas Dept.
Tips & Tricks
Site Map
Contact / Resume

SAP = Business Benefits!! 

Yes?  Right?...  not guaranteed, unfortunately.  Just because you implemented SAP, doesn't mean necessarily that profits start pouring in!  Use any great system the wrong way and you'll watch potential benefits (profits and cost-reductions) evaporate! 

In my view, SAP offers two really important things:  Business-wide Integration and enormous flexibility

It's not guaranteed that you will automatically get the most from these 2 aspects - however, it is primarily your users that will ultimately determine how successful you are.  The key is they need to understand how integration impacts within SAP and how to operate in an integrated world.

Your Users, Business Benefits and Integration

Ensuring you reap the full potential of SAP benefits begins during initial design & implementation and extends way after the go-live event into productive use.  Once live, a whole new set of demands must be met by your users - they are key to getting the most out of your system:

  1. Your users have to perform tasks on-time and accurately,

  2. they need to react to certain business events effectively and

  3. the system needs to have been set up to allow them to do this effectively.

There are 5 key integration rules to be kept in mind when implementing and using the system.

How do you know if you're benefiting?

If you are live on SAP, the following high-level questions could indicate the success of your implementation.  The questions all revolve around your users:

  1. Do your users spend less time on administrative tasks and more time on value-added activities?

  2. Are problems proactively identified and dealt with?

  3. Are your business processes more streamlined?

If your answer to any of these questions is more a "maybe" than it is a "yes", then there is a possibility that you have the opportunity to reap further gains from your system.  This can be achieved either through training or extension of your existing system through additional development or configuration.


Identifying potential problem areas

The following symptoms indicate a departure from the '5 Key Integration rules' and will simply cost your business money:


Where you pay...

Users enter the same data into multiple systems to get their job done...

Duplicated effort; additional effort required to maintain data consistency across systems;

Data entry in multiple systems (we enter the sales order in SAP and then verify some customer info somewhere else) exposes you to inconsistencies that require just too much effort to reconcile.

Users don't enter transaction data or updates directly into SAP as soon as they become available

Data is not immediately shared with other system users, resulting in activities which are increasingly based on an inaccurate business picture. 

Users still use paper-based procedures in conjunction with SAP

Decreased visibility of future transactions; SAP supports the entry of transactions which are only to be processed weeks or months out.  If those transactions aren't in the system, then you lose visibility to their requirements!

Users don't know when a transaction has a problem requiring corrective action - there are no pre-defined process checkpoints

Catching problems before they find their way to the customer is far more efficient than any other scenario.  Users are less effective & less aware

Users use SAP like a new version of their old systems

By implication, they're avoiding using new SAP functionality to it's fullest potential.

SAP is not your 'primary system of record' - your key master data lies outside SAP or is shared between different systems.

If you users are entering transaction data into anywhere other than SAP, then it's virtually guaranteed that you've lost the integration benefits of buying SAP.  SAP should be the central system where transaction data is stored.

Your System Integration Map has more than 3 interfaced non-SAP systems (either inbound or outbound) which perform transaction-critical functions. 

If SAP is only one of many/a few critical systems in your suite of business applications, how integrated can your business operations really be?

SAP is not the sole, primary source of master data

They beauty of an integrated system is that your master data changes are immediately visible to your users.  As soon as you introduce a layer of interfacing between SAP and your master data, you potentially negate the benefits of integration.

Resolving the Issues

The causes for any of the above problems will differ between companies - the solutions may lie anywhere between:

  • Use of existing & standard SAP functionality not identified during initial implementation
  • Expansion of configuration to new functions
  • Development of custom applications integrated with your existing SAP business application
  • Incorporation of external systems into SAP through custom bolt-on development or configuration

By far the easiest solution is increasing your user's awareness and understanding of how they impact one another!