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In the previous blog post we looked at the value potential for delivering tangible business outcome using SAP Intelligent processes.  This blog post builds on that by looking at how SAP customers can get support from SAP to explore their value potential, assess the value to their own situation and also how to influence the development of SAP products.

Link to previous blog post -

Exploring business value potential  

Exploration of the application of Intelligent Processes is fundamentally about using the power of data and intelligent solutions to provide automation or recommendations to improve performance or provoke a best course of action. However, what customers are essential looking to derive is an understanding of the true pragmatic value potential of applying intelligence to a process.

SAP’s innovation service teams work with customers to explore the potential of Intelligent Processes work with customers and build your own customer specific business value case.  This can be a standalone activity or as part of a stream of activity within an S/4HANA SAP programme.

Typically, this involves running collaborative “Exploration sessions”. In these sessions we explore customer's business pains and opportunities then look at how Intelligent Process technologies (such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Situation Handling (SIT) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA)) can potential deliver business value through intelligence or automation, and most importantly what value that could be for each customer situation.

To assess an initial understanding of value we use a holistic (FSDV) framework. This enables customer to get a true sense of the potential of an intelligent process idea: to understand if it is FEASIBLE as a solution; to assess if its SCALABLE when rolled out more broadly to the business; validate if it is DESIRABLE in the context of the business priorities; and VIABLE as a practical solution to the problem considering all aspects of the business and technology.

Figure: Holistic value perspective FSDV model


Assessing Value Potential

SAP has many standard Intelligent process solutions and the value potential of these can be assessed by SAP teams using the Guided Business Case (GBC) toolset.  In an Explore session we can jointly work to calculate the summary value potential of all potential intelligent process propositions specific for each customer scenario.

This toolset uses prebuilt definitions of capabilities and their impact of value drivers, combined with customers business and operational parameter input.  This then enables a calculation of a bottom up business case for each standard intelligent process proposition. This would assess the value to the specific business function or process we are trying to improve like, for example: reducing the days sales outstanding (DSO) in accounts receivable.

These sessions often generate ideas for new Intelligent Process solutions that not only resonate with the customers but also have a potential broad appeal for other customers. In these cases, SAP will often take these ideas and work with our Product Management teams to sponsor these ideas and champion them to become standard products in our portfolio of Intelligent process products.

Value Framework and tools

SAP applies three key principles when we look at ideas for new products in SAP; firstly we want to have customers engaged to help shape their ideas; secondly we ensure that we have the backing and support of the Product Management as they develop their roadmap for investment; and thirdly we want investigate the tangible business value from real customer data.

To support this activity, we have developed an Intelligent Process Value Framework and a Value Calculator tool to manage this process and assess the value. What this framework does is draw on all our experience of what makes a successful intelligent process product from Idea to successful adoption and value.

This framework is also used by innovation consulting and product teams working with customers to assess a potential solution.  It scores them by addressing a number of questions across 6 key dimensions to assess the potential for customers and SAP:

  • Customer value case – can we evidence value potential, what value drivers are impacted, can we clearly articulate measurability?

  • Customer desirability case – is this a high priority for the customer and will this get business support, and perhaps can customers create more higher value from re-allocating resources impacted?

  • Solution sponsorship case - do we have customer sponsorship at the right level, do we one or more customer data sources, can we propose this for the SAP Line of business (Lob) or Industry roadmap?

  • Solution feasibility case – what is our confidence in the solution feasibility, are there similar successful algorithms, do we have the technical templates?

  • Cost to realise case – what is the implied cost to customer (business change, implementation, licence) and what is the time to value?

  • Market value case – is this a solution for many SAP customers, do we see a high level of demand and is this a priority for the industry sector or line of business

Figure: Example customer Value Framework output

Once SAP has validated a proposition with example customers, we then move to assess the true value potential using the SAP Intelligent Enterprise “Customer Value Calculator” as a final step to validate.  Using real customers data, we can calculate the value potential in any new customer solution.

We can also use this tool with guidance form SAP innovation teams in customer programmes and customer “Exploration” sessions to help understand what the real tangible value potential for themselves is using their ideas, their data and their processes.

What this essentially does is look at what the business proposition and articulate what are the value drivers in a business, for example cost of cash in pending reconciliations, that could be affected and to what extent they could be impacted. It then suggests the operational parameters can be impacted, such as number of outstanding reconciliations and staff used in reconciliation, and customers can input their specific data. Knowing other implementation costs and parameters it is then therefore easy to build the ROI for each and understand the financial benefits and time to realise.

Customer Influence & customer demand channels

SAP’s product teams are focused on making solutions that customers want and that deliver real tangible benefits to the business.  Perhaps it is underappreciated by customers that the Product team want customers to engage and influence products and their design for customers own personal benefit. The logic is simple SAP stands by its products to help customers run their business better.  Consequently SAP wants input so we can make the products that customers want, it's plainly a symbiotic relationship.

In that vein our SAP Product Management teams are passionate about understanding customer needs to see how our products can support them but also in building on new customer ideas to see if it makes sense to turned them into standard products maintained by SAP.

SAP product managers use regular industry forums and drive customer specific engagements to trial and test products to ensure that the products that SAP creates deliver the value that customer desire and learn from this engagement so that the solutions are also adopted correctly to deliver customer value.

For any general product ideas and recommendations SAP has a specific website available to customers, called “Customer Influence & Adoption”, where customers can register new ideas and suggest improvements to current solutions. This is managed by teams who ensure that customers ideas get to the right Product Owner channel and are responded to.  So, for a customer there are three keyways to influence SAP products:

  • Customer improvement request – SAP host a website, segmented by products and functions, to collate improved ideas and suggestions. This simply enables customer to simply articulate the products or changes to products and developments they would like to see.  This is managed and responded to directly by product teams

  • Customer engagement initiatives – This includes forums and dedicated engagement tools in support of development initiatives and roadmaps. Product managers use this to collaborate and work with customers and partners to drive the development of their products and industry solutions. promoted by Product Managers.

  • Direct engagement with products teams – Customer can use a multiple of direct or indirect channels through account teams, service and sales teams to get clarifications, support and open dialogue with Product managers about their own specific needs.

Whether customers are exploring standard intelligent process use cases, looking at specific  or custom cases, working with SAP product teams, this "Value Framework" will give you a frame of reference to assess the value of a given use case. The same questions apply to SAP as well as customers: “what is the value potential to SAP customers”

Options for realisation

What is most important is that customers can understand the potential of  employing Intelligent Processes to enhance their Intelligent Enterprise (iERP) and deliver true tangible business value.

SAP is embedding intelligence across E2E processes in SAP S/4HANA and there is great potential for SAP’s customers to enhance their processes using this capability to promote action and decisioning, to drive automation and to enable people to be diverted to less transactional and higher order and value activities.

To help in this regard re are service offerings available to learn more about how Intelligent Processes can help and which solutions can fit to a customer’s business needs.

Customers can leverage the SAP Guided Business Case and Value Framework tools with SAP guidance to determine the value of use case for standard, custom or new potential SAP products.

So, if the business potential results are then made clear customers can either:

  • Use standard - Use the many standard SAP Intelligent process solutions already available and being used by many customers;

  • Develop - enhance these with their own development perhaps with SAP IBSO development teams(who specialise in developing customer solutions that are assured solutions easily upgradable with the future SAP product and roadmap) or partners; or

  • Influence - use Customer Influence to submit your own ideas perhaps work with Product managers in various forums to influence the development of SAP products.

“This blogpost was developed as part of project work in conjunction with Head of Intelligent Processes, SAP S/4HANA Product Management – Andreas Welsch.”  andreas.welsch
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