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Why Consider SAP Best Practices

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  • In every engagement with new or existing long term SAP ECC customers we see heavily customized environments. All these customizations did perfectly meet the needs of organizations and their business at the point in time but many of them are now irrelevant. Instead, more and more organizations are finding that it’s cheaper, faster, and easier to maintain to run using best practices for processes.

    According to Rene van der Zanden, VP of sales to Cognitus EMEA, if your organization is moving to SAP’s S/4HANA, it’s a great moment to review your processes, optimize them, and switch to best practices where it makes sense.

    SAP’s best practices library includes some 370+ processes and sub-processes, with steps you can implement and slightly customize by enabling and disabling options to make it work for your organization. The benefits of that are numerous, with business, marketing, and technology improvements.

    Where We Are Today

    Many organizations face significant challenges in digitizing their environments. That often stems from the nature of ECC and how those organizations digitized initially, 15 to 20 years ago. For example, many organizations have a central core surrounded by satellite services, all of which feed into the system, but aren’t part of that. Many are also working with legacy systems and processes that have been updated as people processes change but remain limited because systems haven’t changed.

    Many of today’s challengers of established legacy companies are small, agile, and flexible organizations that are able to quickly adapt and make changes to meet customer and market demands. While on the other hand the legacy companies have complex architecture environments, large amounts of interfaces, dispersed application landscapes and all this heavily customized.

    Despite that lack of flexibility, legacy companies are often reluctant to make the shift, adopting new platforms and new technologies is a challenge, changing business practices to meet those changes is even more so.

    “If IT cannot cope with changes because of legacy systems, you have to look at how you can change that, how to streamline that information transfer, and how to cope with the change of implementing something like SAP S/4HANA as a solution. And, most importantly, that’s a business change not just an operational or a technology change. “

    Business communication is shifting from satellite systems surrounding a central system so the central system can deliver everything from a central environment. But, when organizations make this shift, they also take along non-standard business processes, paying the extra cost of maintenance, adding on time to the transformation, and reducing the modularity of the final product.

    Benefits of SAP Best Practices

    · Future implementations will be less expensive, you’ll already be working with a standard

    · That also holds true for M&A including carveouts, everything will be on a standard and therefore implementation will be easier

    · Staff are better-equipped and require less training, because processes are more likely to be standardized from their previous role and will be standardized across the organization, so it’s easier to work with, even across departments

    · Information reporting improves, as master data and governance are standardized and available, enabling people to make faster decisions. Current systems require employees to sort data into information before making decisions, but standardized systems already sort data into information.

    Eventually, all of this makes your organization more competitive, enables better customer service, and improves customer satisfaction.

    Moving to a centralized system and best practices does require investment. But, in the long run, you also create more opportunities, happy customers buy more, and you see how customers can be addressed and how that can be optimized.

    A One-Time Investment in Standardized Practices

    Traditionally, adopting a new ERP or a new set of tooling has an impact on budgets and is time-consuming. With SAP S/4HANA, you have the opportunity to optimize for future updates, by moving to industry standards. Investing in the implementation is a large step – which will require research, updating processes, updating technology, and changing how the business works. At the same time, once you’re done, you won’t have to drag along legacy systems and processes – but will instead update with the cloud and standard processes.

    “Here, Cognitus can help you to make those decisions by offering insight from a technical, business, people, and processes perspective. We look at what your business is using now and what points we can address for you – so we can help you optimize the organization and processes to better serve the business and to improve customer satisfaction. “

    Some items we look at include:

    · Simplify maintenance by removing the need to update and maintain old systems

    · Integrate information at a system-level, so that it can be more secure

    · Aligning the business needs with structure and processes

    · Support for regular compliance requests

    · Support for ongoing business needs including business strategy and vision

    · Identifying existing processes not supported by best practices

    Eventually, organizations adopting Best Practices are able to gain an environment that is simpler to maintain, better able to meet industry standards, and better able to smoothly move from ERP update to update without making large investments each time.

    “Not every organization wants to directly move into a complete digital and business transformation. Often, you’ll want to make the technology transformation, then the digital transformation, and only then, with the rest of the pieces in place, will you want to move into the business transformation. Cognitus can help with either approach.

    Most importantly, with an assessment, we’ll be able to create a roadmap of your journey, evaluate different scenarios helping you understand what changes you have to make to get back to best practices,

    while giving impact into business, technology, and people/processes impact. Our approach at Cognitus is a phased approach, starting with our Gallop Discovery Pilot and Assessment, which allows us to follow up with a transition plan including timelines, resources needed, and project plans.

    That eventually allows us to deliver, on average, 40% better scoping, a shorter implementation plan, and better insight into needed resources – with an average 30-40% lower cost estimation because of that preparation. Those assessments and our phased approach mean we can also be very predictable in delivering those transformations. “


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