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Certain challenges face SAP end users relating to managing SAP Application Lifecycles and, specifically, SAP change control management and SOX compliance. These challenges are generic to all verticals, but especially including companies with complex SAP IT infrastructures, high volumes of change, extensive change control processes, or functioning in highly regulated industries.  In the next two posts, I’ll take a look at the complex challenges facing two specific verticals – Media & Entertainment, and Oil & Gas.

In general terms, changes – especially rapid changes – in technology and markets tend to tangle once clear lines of policy and governance in ways that may not really be noticeable until they begin to hinder processes or catch the notice of auditors. Incidents and audit exceptions are poor ways to discover that your system’s envisioned, smooth evolution has turned chaotic or even become ungovernable.

Over the past 10 years, the media industry has changed dramatically, often at shocking speed, and survivors can’t drag their feet. You have to stay viable and competitive in that challenging market.  The Media & Entertainment industry has a lot of moving parts, including advertising, broadcasting, printing and publishing among many others.  Technologies within this segment can be enabled to run on a completely automated basis or with human-assisted programming – and companies often depend upon back-end ERP system software from SAP. Often, a company’s automated processes do not include automated change management, yet managers are coming to recognize that automation is the key to taming chaotic changes while staying well-governed and audit-ready.

IDC recently dug into the processes of the Media & Entertainment vertical market to determine what factors drive its accelerating change. Digitization of content and the continuing revolution in distribution channels have created a significant amount of turmoil as the industry recognizes that consumers are increasingly using mobile media over desktop media.  The remarkable growth and adoption of tablets has only added to pressures to deliver content to many mobile channels. 

In such a chaotic market space, the dynamics have created multiple issues – constant repurposing of content, decisions on what to create, where to promote and display it, and how to get it there faster than the competition.  This situation has also led to a need for advanced and more flexible workflows.  Automation, especially within the Broadcast sector, is the most successful strategy used by companies to adapt to meet these challenges. 

Another high-growth but increasingly complex area for media companies to master, reports IDC, is digital rights and royalty management.  This is becoming a real challenge for media companies because rights can vary by both platform and format. The sheer number of contracts is making the task more and more complex. Since a great deal of money can hinge on these contracts, audit teams are never far away. Contracts and rights management are areas intolerant of ungoverned processes and audit exceptions, but sheer numbers and complexity make audit-readiness a constant challenge.

That means there’s a lot of opportunity for media companies using SAP to leverage change control and automation to deliver error-free royalty lifecycle management for both licensor and licensee.  IDC estimates that growth in the IP Rights & Royalty Management area can be as high as 10.4% − quite a large opportunity for properly automated organizations. 

In next month’s post I’ll consider a second vertical facing notable challenges − Oil & Gas.

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