Thought for the day: Planning a SAP project

With a raft of new products and licensing options from SAP, how do users begin to choose the best options for their business,...

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With a raft new products and licensing options from SAP, how do users begin to choose the best options for their business, asks Steve Lark.




"May you live in interesting times," is an old Chinese curse that is apt for any current or prospective customer of SAP.

Just as customers are understanding the concept of MySAP and its components, SAP has announced MySAP ERP, x-Apps and the Netweaver integration platform.

Now that a raft of new products and licensing options have been announced, and a number of older releases are coming out of support at year end, what should existing and new SAP customers make of it?

Existing SAP R/3 customers (on older versions than 4.6c) can extend their support for another year at additional cost. Many are choosing to opt for a "technical" upgrade to R/3 Enterprise, but any changes to the core ERP system provides an excellent opportunity to ask if there is more the business really needs from its systems.

Many SAP customers are answering "yes" to that question and the evidence so far suggests they fall into two camps.

The first want to extend their business processes. These users might benefit from the MySAP Business Components. Interest in the business intelligence customer relationship management and e-procurement solutions has been rising steadily.

The second group are those user companies that seek a higher level of integration of their SAP systems with a broader IT infrastructure. In this case, the integration components available in Netweaver and the MySAP ERP package might be suitable for these users.

For IT managers looking to extend their SAP components, they may find that, in the current tight market, that they can strike very competitive licensing deals with SAP.

With any implementation of SAP, it is important to remember that it is not a point solution, but that it will affect the whole of the IT infrastructure.

Therefore, it is important to prioritise the stages of the implementation aligned to business needs and with the completion of the project based on overall productivity goals.

It is also necessary to assign the right level of resources to a SAP implementation - either in-house, third-party or a combination of the two - and to specify the level of knowledge transfer from outside contractors to the business to manage the solution effectively.

What do you think?

Do you have any tips on how to get the best fromSAP implementation?  Tell us in an e-mail >> reserves the right to edit and publish answers on the website. Please state if your answer is not for publication.

Steve Larke is head of Unilog's SAP practice

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