How to Future-Proof SAP Solutions in a Post-COVID World

By and Roberto Bernabo | 3 minute read | September 14, 2020

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Few businesses have escaped the economic disruption wreaked by COVID-19. In some industries, the fundamentals of the business landscape have forever changed. Almost every organization that built their SAP solutions with a target deployment and functional roadmap are experiencing a dramatic shift in usage.

As we begin to emerge from COVID-19 lockdown, businesses must find new ways to simplify and optimize their entire SAP solutions landscape to defer and/or drive costs out of the business, achieve better performance metrics and improve functional capability.

As the economy starts moving again, do you have a strategy for modernizing your core business applications to achieve those goals?

How should SAP projects proceed?

Some businesses have been able to weather the storm of COVID-19 and continue with most of their planned SAP projects – SAP S/4HANA migration, cloud deployment and digital transformation. Some are taking advantage of this opportunity to entirely restructure their systems so they can emerge stronger. Others struggle with the loss of revenue, forcing them to revaluate existing operations or support costs at the expense of properly implementing the latest technology or innovation.

According to a recent Frost & Sullivan report, if a company’s critical SAP applications operation remain stalled in yesterday’s technology, they are more likely to fall behind their competitors. Data siloes within their SAP systems may be decreasing operational performance, or impeding their ability to use SAP applications to drive innovation and respond quickly to challenges.

IBM is helping clients optimize their SAP solutions landscape to match the real-time dynamics of the marketplace as we begin to emerge from the COVID crisis. Using an SAP review workshop, we help businesses assess both the immediate and longer-term steps they can take to maximize functionality and performance. Clients can then evaluate how they want to allocate SAP related spending going forward.

For example, we have been working with a large food manufacturer who has experienced a twofold increase in their consumer business, while their restaurant trade has almost entirely evaporated due to COVID-19. To meet the changing demand, the client wants to rebalance their manufacturing output and the systems that support it. Because IBM operates their SAP solutions, our job is to determine the changes we need to make to optimize their systems in the face of a dramatic shift in usage.

Four actions you can take to optimize SAP Solutions Landscape

  1. Rebalance systems. Ensure you are properly supporting operational capability (e.g., manufacturing). Look at deploying existing functionality in SAP ECC to respond to changing demand and generate quick return on investment.
  2. Change and/or optimize system functionality. Do you really need 24/7 support for a non-production environment? Could optimizing SAP license usage net some dramatic cost savings? We have found there are always optimization opportunities across all aspects of the SAP solutions – functional support, licensing, technical support, and enterprise optimization.
  3. Standardize applications. The cost savings realized from a standardized system compared with a heavily customized approach are huge and can dramatically impact your enterprise’s total cost of ownership.
  4. Reduce complexity. Any complexity in your SAP environment must be evaluated to ensure it is adding real business value. SAP related spending must be optimized to the real-time dynamics of the marketplace.

The IBM Rapid IMPACT Workshop provides a no-charge, detailed performance analysis of your SAP solutions. Over a two-week period, we evaluate both the business and technical side of your operations to quickly identify cost savings, usage patterns, what immediate steps can be taken, and define resilient business and operating models for the future. This could greatly reduce your ongoing SAP application operations costs and position you for success before the next crisis hits.

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Mark Bernabo Portrait
Roberto Bernabo
Senior Partner, Canadian SAP Practice Leader
IBM Global Business Services