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Better Faster Cheaper

After the initial ERP implementation, every organization is struggling with these concepts since the economic climate is so uncertain.  Organizations are challenged with identifying what can be trimmed or eliminated in their current operations to help improve profit margins, or simply survive in today’s competitive markets.

Businesses are, however, starting to realize that the current economy also offers opportunities to transform themselves into an instrument of change, and achieve a competitive advantage. 

The goal of these companies is to achieve Operational Excellence.  Traditionally this has meant looking for ways to optimize the current business processes, satisfy customer demand, improve quality and become more efficient; however process improvement is just not enough to remain competitive.  Businesses need to look towards process automation.  In some cases this may require process redesign in order to streamline and optimize to best meet the needs of the customer.

Since October 2013, I have been part of a team at SAP that provides a Total Cost of Operations Service to our strategic customers. Our workshops focus on addressing the challenges and issues that CIOs and IT leadership face, while managing SAP Operations and trying to adopt the latest innovations released by SAP.

The team has now completed 80 TCO studies, and collected detailed information pertaining to these companies’ day to day operational costs and processes. 

From these workshops, the team has identified common traits among those companies that are achieving operational excellence.

These key attributes set them apart.

  1. They have a clearly defined strategy which identifies the mission, vision and values of the organization, and recognize key issues and challenges.
  2. They take an end-to-end approach that integrates their business processes, thus providing complete visibility throughout the process chain.
  3. Customization is held to a minimum (less than 30% of executed transactions are custom applications).
  4. Compliance and Risk management is well addressed, with proper controls and monitoring in-place.
  5. There is a high adoption of the solution that was implemented. (Active User Counts)
  6. Day-to-day operations focus on the long-term, strategic view as opposed to a short-term, tactical focus.

There is clearly no one formula that helps customers achieve Operational Excellence.  Continuous Improvement requires fact-based understanding and gathering of operational metrics, and using key performance indicators in order to focus business decisions toward improving current processes.  Companies need the ability to define, monitor and adjust to stay aligned with the strategy. 

IT Organizations can play a key role in the transformation to achieve competitive advantage by driving the adoption of integrated applications.  Enterprise Resource Planning, Supply Chain Management and Customer Relationship Management systems, coupled with Business Intelligence and Analytics, are strategic tools for companies to achieve Operational Excellence.

Please share your thoughts. 

About the SAP’s Chief Customer Office:

The Chief Customer Office’s mission is to help SAP’s customers achieve success.

The team averages 18 years of SAP experience.  When SAP started the CCO, the team was 99% reactive. Now the CCO is 73% proactive and typically gets involved before the implementation starts.

All programs the CCO provides SAP’s customers are at NO CHARGE. The one criteria for engagement is that we have a cadence with the customer executive (CIO or LOB leader).