Wednesday, November 26, 2008

...continued...Introduction to SAP

With a successful SAP implementation, however, if it has to run efficiently in the long term, it should meet the demands of the market, business requirements and the enterprise.

It is important we understand the three separately and later collectively.
Market is where the enterprise will sell its product and services. The demand of the finished product and supply of raw material should drive the decisions of internal operations.
Business Requirements are the broad description of a particular projects’ achievements, standards etc.
As we will see ahead, business requirements are further broken down into sub-business requirements with design level inputs known as Functional Requirements.

SAP has provided necessary integration and data models to help link and coordinate separate functional units in an organization.
By functional unit we mean the separate entities of an enterprise that may operate independently or dependently, but there is always data and resources to be shared between different functional units. This is critical in making the business effective.
Most importantly cost savings and increase in productivity.

SAP implementation usually involves high level of training due to definition and implementation of strict procedure instructions and new business processes. More often getting used to the cultural aspects of an Implementation and Constraints is a lot more challenging than the actual tasks.

There is also challenge of modification in the structure of the Enterprise. With Mergers and Acquisitions, enterprises must move from traditionally vertically built organization to enterprise made up of different organizations.
Add to that there are vendors, customers and partners. Complexity increases…to what magnitude? That is a subjective matter we can avoid!

When many enterprises do business often and at a huge scene, they want it to be highly efficient with highly effective internal linked systems. The ERP systems’ architecture and functions are directly influenced by business processes.
This is the order of the day - that ERP is desired to be integrative and based upon external requirements rather than internal or application specific requirement.

Quite often integration solutions are based on exchanging data. This again requires enterprise to make sure the technical process flow is streamlined. A system which is already complex gets more complicated by partly inflexible processes. Result is an ever increasing Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) – caused by ever increasing time and capital of implementing and maintaining an ERP. This leads to improvements to use existing resources optimally and continually check and improve processes.

Quality of systems used, that is, the processes and the data. The data should be secure(which was the utmost priority till last generation), now the need is data should be secure as well as of high quality. Centralized data available should be of high quality – this is important for SAP key systems and related SCM or CRM solutions.

Earlier there used to be a person designated to oversee every operation, when processes go beyond enterprise boundaries, this is no longer possible. Requirements of real-time enterprises can be met only if processes are automatically monitored for duration, integrity and outcome, and if there are predefined roles and responsibilities for handling any problems that arise. Useful data and knowledge is by-product of this real-time business monitoring and can provide a basis for the continued improvement of business processes.

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