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Get the Most Out of Your SAP

In today’s connected world, continuous optimization of enterprise applications to realize your digital strategy is key.

  • SAP systems are changed rarely and changing them has significant impact on an organization.
  • Research shows that even newly installed systems often fail to realize their full potential benefit to the organization.
  • Business process improvement is rarely someone’s day job.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

A properly optimized SAP business process will reduce costs and increase productivity.

Impact and Result

  • Build an ongoing optimization team to conduct application improvements.
  • Assess your SAP application(s) and the environment in which they exist. Take a business first strategy to prioritize optimization efforts.
  • Validate SAP capabilities, user satisfaction, issues around data, vendor management, and costs to build out an optimization strategy.
  • Pull this all together to develop a prioritized optimization roadmap.

Get the Most Out of Your SAP Research & Tools

1. Get the Most Out of Your SAP Storyboard – A guide to optimize your SAP.

SAP is a core tool that the business leverages to accomplish its goals. Use this blueprint to strategically re-align business goals, identify business application capabilities, complete a process assessment, evaluate user adoption, and create an optimization plan that will drive a cohesive technology strategy that delivers results.

2. Get the Most Out of Your SAP Workbook – A tool to document and assist with optimizing your SAP.

The Get the Most out of Your SAP Workbook serves as the holding document for the different elements for the Get the Most out of Your SAP blueprint. Use each assigned tab to input the relevant information for the process of optimizing your SAP.


Get the Most Out of Your SAP

In today’s connected world, the continuous optimization of enterprise applications to realize your digital strategy is key.

EXECUTIVE BRIEF

Analyst Perspective

Focus optimization on organizational value delivery.

The image contains a picture of Chad Shortridge.

Chad Shortridge

Senior Research Director, Enterprise Applications

Info-Tech Research Group

The image contains a picture of Lisa Highfield.

Lisa Highfield

Research Director, Enterprise Applications

Info-Tech Research Group

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is a core tool that the business leverages to accomplish its goals. An ERP that is doing its job well is invisible to the business. The challenges come when the tool is no longer invisible. It has become a source of friction in the functioning of the business.

SAP systems are expensive, benefits can be difficult to quantify, and issues with the products can be difficult to understand. Over time, technology evolves, organizational goals change, and the health of these systems is often not monitored. This is complicated in today’s digital landscape with multiple integrations points, siloed data, and competing priorities.

Too often organizations jump into selecting replacement systems without understanding the health of their systems. We can do better than this.

IT leaders need to take a proactive approach to continually monitor and optimize their enterprise applications. Strategically re-align business goals, identify business application capabilities, complete a process assessment, evaluate user adoption, and create an optimization plan that will drive a cohesive technology strategy that delivers results.

Executive Summary

Your Challenge

Common Obstacles

Info-Tech’s Approach

Your SAP ERP systems are critical to supporting the organization’s business processes. They are expensive. Direct benefits and ROI can be hard to measure.

SAP application portfolios are often behemoths to support. With complex integration points and unique business processes, stabilization is the norm.

Application optimization is essential to staying competitive and productive in today’s digital environment.

Balancing optimization with stabilization is one of the most difficult decisions for ERP application leaders.

Competing priorities and often unclear ERP strategies make it difficult to make decisions about what, how, and when to optimize.

Enterprise applications involve large numbers of processes, users, and evolving vendor roadmaps.

Teams do not have a framework to illustrate, communicate, and justify the optimization effort in the language your stakeholders understand.

In today’s rapidly changing SAP landscape it is imperative to evaluate your applications for optimization, no matter what your strategy is moving forward.

Assess your SAP applications and the environment in which they exist. Take a business-first strategy to prioritize optimization efforts.

Validate ERP capabilities, user satisfaction, issues around data, vendor management, and costs to build out an overall roadmap and optimization strategy.

Pull this all together to prioritize optimization efforts and develop a concrete roadmap.

Info-Tech Insight

SAP ERP environments are changing, but we cannot stand still on our optimization efforts. Understand your product(s), processes, user satisfaction, integration points, and the availability of data to business decision makers. Examine these areas to develop a personalized SAP optimization roadmap that fits the needs of your organization. Incorporate these methodologies into an ongoing optimization strategy aimed at enabling the business, increasing productivity, and reducing costs.

The image contains an Info-Tech Thought model on get the most out of your ERP.

Insight summary

Continuous assessment and optimization of your SAP ERP systems is critical to the success of your organization.

  • Applications and the environments in which they live are constantly evolving.
  • This blueprint provides business and application managers with a method to complete a health assessment of their ERP systems to identify areas for improvement and optimization.
  • Put optimization practices into effect by:
    • Aligning and prioritizing key business and technology drivers.
    • Identifying ERP process classification and performing a gap analysis.
    • Measuring user satisfaction across key departments.
    • Evaluating vendor relations.
    • Understanding how data plays into the mix.
    • Pulling it all together into an optimization roadmap.

SAP enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems facilitate the flow of information across business units. It allows for the seamless integration of systems and creates a holistic view of the enterprise to support decision making. In many organizations, the SAP system is considered the lifeblood of the enterprise. Problems with this key operational system will have a dramatic impact on the ability of the enterprise to survive and grow. ERP implementation should not be a one-and-done exercise. There needs to be ongoing optimization to enable business processes and optimal organizational results.

SAP enterprise resource planning (ERP)

The image contains a diagram of the SAP enterprise resource planning. The diagram includes a circle with smaller circles all around it. The inside of the circle contains SAP logos. The circles around the big circle are labelled: Human Resources Management, Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, Asset Management, Logistics, Supply Chain Management, Manufacturing, R&D and Engineering, and Finance.

What is SAP?

SAP ERP systems facilitate the flow of information across business units. They allow for the seamless integration of systems and create a holistic view of the enterprise to support decision making.

In many organizations, the ERP system is considered the lifeblood of the enterprise. Problems with this key operational system will have a dramatic impact on the ability of the enterprise to survive and grow.

An ERP system:

  • Automates processes, reducing the amount of manual, routine work.
  • Integrates with core modules, eliminating the fragmentation of systems.
  • Centralizes information for reporting from multiple parts of the value chain to a single point.

SAP use cases:

Product-Centric

Suitable for organizations that manufacture, assemble, distribute, or manage material goods.

Service-Centric

Suitable for organizations that provide and manage field services and/or professional services.

SAP Fast Facts

Product Description

  • SAP has numerous ERP products. Products can be found under ERP, Finance, Customer Relations and Experience, Supply Chain Management, Human Resources, and Technology Platforms.
  • SAP offers on-premises and cloud solutions for its ERP. In 2011, SAP released the HANA in-memory database. SAP ECC 6.0 reaches the end of life in 2027 (2030 extended support).
  • Many organizations are facing mandatory transformation. This is an excellent opportunity to examine ERP portfolios for optimization opportunities.
  • Now is the time to optimize to ensure you are prepared for the journey ahead.
The image contains a timeline of the evolution of SAP ERP. The timeline is ordered: SAP R1-R3 1972-1992, SAP ECC 2003-2006, ERP Business Suite 2000+, SAP HANA In-Memory Database 2011, S/4 2015.

Vendor Description

  • SAP SE was founded in 1972 by five former IBM employees.
  • The organization is focused on enterprise software that integrates all business processes and enables data processing in real-time.
  • SAP stands for Systems, Applications, and Products in Data Processing.
  • SAP offers more than 100 solutions covering all business functions.
  • SAP operates 65 data centers at 35 locations in 16 countries.

Employees

105,000

Headquarters

Walldorf, Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Website

sap.com

Founded

1972

Presence

Global, Publicly Traded

SAP by the numbers

Only 72% of SAP S/4HANA clients were satisfied with the product’s business value in 2022. This was 9th out of 10 in the enterprise resource planning category.

Source: SoftwareReviews

As of 2022, 65% of SAP customers have not made the move to S/4HANA. These customers will continue to need to optimize the current ERP to meet the demanding needs of the business.

Source: Statista

Organizations will need to continue to support and optimize their SAP ERP portfolios. As of 2022, 42% of ASUG members were planning a move to S/4HANA but had not yet started to move.

Source: ASUG

Your challenge

This research is designed to help organizations who need to:

  • Understand the multiple deployment models and the roadmap to successfully navigate a move to S/4HANA.
  • Build a business case to understand the value behind a move.
  • Map functionality to ensure future compatibility.
  • Understand the process required to commercially navigate a move to S/4HANA.
  • Avoid a costly audit due to missed requirements or SAP whiteboarding sessions.

HANA used to be primarily viewed as a commercial vehicle to realize legacy license model discounts. Now, however, SAP has built a roadmap to migrate all customers over to S/4HANA. While timelines may be delayed, the inevitable move is coming.

30-35% of SAP customers likely have underutilized assets. This can add up to millions in unused software and maintenance.

– Upperedge

SAP challenges and dissatisfaction

Drivers of Dissatisfaction

Organizational

People and teams

Technology

Data

Competing priorities

Knowledgeable staff/turnover

Integration issues

Access to data

Lack of strategy

Lack of internal skills

Selecting tools and technology

Data hygiene

Budget challenges

Ability to manage new products

Keeping pace with technology changes

Data literacy

Lack of training

Update challenges

One view of the customer

Finance, IT, Sales, and other users of the ERP system can only optimize ERP with the full support of each other. The cooperation of the departments is crucial when trying to improve ERP technology capabilities and customer interaction.

Info-Tech Insight

While technology is the key enabler of building strong customer experiences, there are many other drivers of dissatisfaction. IT must stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the business to develop a technology framework for ERP.

Where are applications leaders focusing?

Big growth numbers

Year-over-year call topic requests

Other changes

Year-over-year call topic requests

The image contains a graph to demonstrate year-over-year call topic requests. Year 1 has 79%, Year 2 76%, Year 3 65% requests, and Year 4 has 124% requests. The image contains a graph to demonstrate other changes in year-over-year call topic requests. Year 1 has -25%, Year 2 has 4%, and Year 3 has 13%.

We are seeing applications leaders’ priorities change year over year, driven by a shift in their approach to problem solving. Leaders are moving from a process-centric approach to a collaborative approach that breaks down boundaries and brings teams together.

Software development lifecycle topics are tactical point solutions. Organizations have been “shifting left” to tackle the strategic issues such as product vision and Agile mindset to optimize the whole organization.

The S/4HANA journey

Optimization can play a role in your transition to S/4HANA.

  • The business does not stop. Satisfy ongoing needs for business enablement.
  • Build out a collaborative SAP optimization team across the business and IT.
  • Engage the business to understand requirements.
  • Discover applications and processes.
  • Explore current-state capabilities and future-state needs.
  • Evaluate optimization opportunities. Are there short-term wins? What are the long-term goals?
  • Navigate the path to S/4HANA and develop some timelines and stage gates.
  • Set your course and optimization roadmap.
  • Capitalize on the methodologies for an ongoing optimization effort that can be continued after the S/4HANA go-live date.

Many organizations may be coming up against changes to their SAP ERP application portfolio.

Some challenges organizations may be dealing with include:

  • Heavily customized instances
  • Large volumes of data
  • Lack of documentation
  • Outdated business processes
  • Looming end of life

Application optimization is risky without a plan

Avoid these common pitfalls:

  • Not pursuing optimization because you are migrating to S/4HANA.
  • Not considering how this plays into the short-, medium-, and long-term ERP strategy.
  • Not considering application optimization as a business and IT partnership, which requires the continuous formal engagement of all participants.
  • Not having a good understanding of your current state, including integration points and data.
  • Not adequately accommodating feedback and changes after digital applications are deployed and employed.
  • Not treating digital applications as a motivator for potential future IT optimization efforts and incorporating digital assets in strategic business planning.
  • Not involving department leads, management, and other subject-matter experts to facilitate the organizational change digital applications bring.

“[A] successful application [optimization] strategy starts with the business need in mind and not from a technological point of view. No matter from which angle you look at it, modernizing a legacy application is a considerable undertaking that can’t be taken lightly. Your best approach is to begin the journey with baby steps.”

– Medium

Info-Tech’s methodology for getting the most out of your ERP

1. Map Current-State Capabilities

2. Assess Your Current State

3. Identify Key Optimization Areas

4. Build Your Optimization Roadmap

Phase Steps

  1. Identify stakeholders and build your SAP optimization team.
  2. Build an SAP strategy model.
  3. Inventory current system state.
  4. Define business capabilities.
  1. Conduct a gap analysis for ERP processes.
  2. Assess user satisfaction.
  3. Review your satisfaction with the vendor and product.
  1. Identify key optimization areas.
  2. Evaluate product sustainability over the short, medium, and long term.
  3. Identify any product changes anticipated over short, medium, and long term.
  1. Prioritize optimization opportunities.
  2. Identify key optimization areas.
  3. Compile optimization assessment results.

Phase Outcomes

  1. Stakeholder map
  2. SAP optimization team
  3. SAP business model
  4. Strategy alignment
  5. Systems inventory and diagram
  6. Business capabilities map
  7. Key SAP processes list
  1. Gap analysis for SAP-related processes
  2. Understanding of user satisfaction across applications and processes
  3. Insight into SAP data quality
  4. Quantified satisfaction with the vendor and product
  5. Understanding SAP costs
  1. List of SAP optimization opportunities
  1. SAP optimization roadmap

Blueprint deliverables

Each step of this blueprint is accompanied by supporting deliverables to help you accomplish your goals:

Get the Most Out of Your SAP Workbook

Identify and prioritize your SAP optimization goals.

The image contains screenshots of the SAP Workbook.

Application Portfolio Assessment

Assess IT-enabled user satisfaction across your SAP portfolio.

The image contains a screenshot of the Application Portfolio Assessment.

Key deliverable:

The image contains a screenshot of the SAP Organization Roadmap.

SAP Optimization Roadmap

Complete an assessment of processes, user satisfaction, data quality, and vendor management.

The image contains screenshots further demonstrating SAP deliverables.

Info-Tech offers various levels of support to best suit your needs

DIY Toolkit

Our team has already made this critical project a priority, and we have the time and capability, but some guidance along the way would be helpful.

Guided Implementation

Our team knows that we need to fix a process, but we need assistance to determine where to focus. Some check-ins along the way would help keep us on track.

Workshop

We need to hit the ground running and get this project kicked off immediately. Our team has the ability to take this over once we get a framework and strategy in place.

Consulting

Our team does not have the time or the knowledge to take this project on. We need assistance through the entirety of this project.

Diagnostics and consistent frameworks used throughout all four options

Guided Implementation

What does a typical GI on this topic look like?

Phase 1

Phase 2

Phase 3 Phase 4

Call #1: Scope requirements, objectives, and your specific challenge.

Call #2:

  • Build the SAP team.
  • Align organizational goals.

Call #3:

  • Map current state.
  • Inventory SAP capabilities and processes.
  • Explore SAP-related costs.

Call #4: Understand product satisfaction and vendor management.

Call #5: Review APA results.

Call #6: Understand SAP optimization opportunities.

Call #7: Determine the right SAP path for your organization.

Call #8:

Build out optimization roadmap and next steps.

A Guided Implementation (GI) is series of calls with an Info-Tech analyst to help implement our best practices in your organization. A typical GI is 8 to 12 calls over the course of 4 to 6 months.

Workshop Overview

Contact your account representative for more information.
workshops@infotech.com1-888-670-8889

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Define Your SAP Application Vision

Map Current State

Assess SAP

Build Your Optimization Roadmap

Next Steps and Wrap-Up (offsite)

Activities

1.1 Identify Stakeholders and Build Your Optimization Team

1.2 Build an SAP Strategy Model

1.3 Inventory Current System State

1.4 Define Optimization Timeframe

1.5 Understand SAP Costs

2.1 Assess SAP Capabilities

2.2 Review Your Satisfaction With the Vendor/Product and Willingness for Change

3.1 Prioritize Optimization Opportunities

3.2 Discover Optimization Initiatives

4.1 Build Your Optimization Roadmap

5.1 Complete in-progress deliverables from previous four days.

5.2 Set up review time for workshop deliverables and to discuss next steps.

Deliverables

  1. SAP optimization team
  2. SAP business model
  3. SAP optimization goals
  4. System inventory and data flow
  5. Application and business capabilities list
  6. SAP optimization timeline
  1. SAP capability gap analysis
  2. SAP user satisfaction (application portfolio assessment)
  3. SAP SoftwareReviews survey results
  4. SAP current costs
  1. Product and vendor satisfaction opportunities
  2. Capability and feature optimization opportunities
  3. Process optimization opportunities
  4. Integration optimization opportunities
  5. Data optimization opportunities
  6. SAP cost-saving opportunities
  1. SAP optimization roadmap

Phase 1

Map Current-State Capabilities

Phase 1

Phase 2

Phase 3

Phase 4

1.1 Identify Stakeholders and Build Your Optimization Team

1.2 Build an SAP Strategy Model

1.3 Inventory Current System State

1.4 Define Optimization Timeframe

1.5 Understand SAP Costs

2.1 Assess SAP Capabilities

2.2 Review Your Satisfaction With the Vendor/Product and Willingness for Change

3.1 Prioritize Optimization Opportunities

3.2 Discover Optimization Initiatives

4.1 Build Your Optimization Roadmap

This phase will guide you through the following activities:

  • Align your organizational goals
  • Gain a firm understanding of your current state
  • Inventory ERP and related applications
  • Confirm the organization’s capabilities

This phase involves the following participants:

  • CFO
  • Department Leads – Finance, Procurement, Asset Management
  • Applications Director
  • Senior Business Analyst
  • Senior Developer
  • Procurement Analysts

Step 1.1

Identify Stakeholders and Build Your Optimization Team

Activities

1.1.1 Identify stakeholders critical to success

1.1.2 Map your SAP optimization stakeholders

1.1.3 Determine your SAP optimization team

This step will guide you through the following activities:

  • Identify ERP drivers and objectives
  • Explore ERP challenges and pain points
  • Discover ERP benefits and opportunities
  • Align the ERP foundation with the corporate strategy

This step involves the following participants:

  • Stakeholders
  • Project sponsors and leaders

Outcomes of this step

  • Stakeholder map
  • SAP Optimization Team

In today’s connected world, continuous optimization of enterprise applications to realize your digital strategy is key.

About Info-Tech

Info-Tech Research Group is the world’s fastest-growing information technology research and advisory company, proudly serving over 30,000 IT professionals.

We produce unbiased and highly relevant research to help CIOs and IT leaders make strategic, timely, and well-informed decisions. We partner closely with IT teams to provide everything they need, from actionable tools to analyst guidance, ensuring they deliver measurable results for their organizations.

What Is a Blueprint?

A blueprint is designed to be a roadmap, containing a methodology and the tools and templates you need to solve your IT problems.

Each blueprint can be accompanied by a Guided Implementation that provides you access to our world-class analysts to help you get through the project.

Need Extra Help?
Speak With An Analyst

Get the help you need in this 4-phase advisory process. You'll receive 8 touchpoints with our researchers, all included in your membership.

Guided Implementation 1: Map Current-State Capabilities
  • Call 1: Scope requirements, objectives, and your specific challenge.

Guided Implementation 2: Assess Your Current State
  • Call 1: Build the SAP team. Align organizational goals.
  • Call 2: Map current state. Inventory SAP capabilities and processes. Explore SAP-related costs.
  • Call 3: Understand product satisfaction and vendor management.
  • Call 4: Review APA results.

Guided Implementation 3: Identify Key Optimization Opportunities
  • Call 1: Understand SAP optimization opportunities.
  • Call 2: Determine the right SAP path for your organization.

Guided Implementation 4: Build Your Optimization Roadmap
  • Call 1: Build out optimization roadmap and next steps.

Authors

Chad Shortridge

Lisa Highfield

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