5 Things to Know about Common Pitfalls in SAP-centric Transformations
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I work with IBM clients, both external and internal, who are pursuing enterprise transformations to streamline their business and IT landscapes by leveraging the pre-packaged enterprise application suite provided by SAP.
The promise of replacing a complex IT ecosystem with an "ent
However, as with anything that has the potential to provide great benefit, there are also several significant pitfalls that accompany large transformations based on packaged application solutions.
Examples of common pitfalls that I see again and again when working with clients that have embarked in an SAP-centric enterprise transformation project are:
1. Lack of balanced architectural decisions
SAP projects are often so large that it becomes extremely difficult to balance architectural decisions that are in the long-term best interest of the enterprise, with architectural decisions that only benefit the specific SAP project. Even in a large scale SAP adoption, a significant part of the business often continues to use non-SAP enterprise applications.
Many business and I/T leaders are being persuaded that a single vendor ERP platform can facilitate all of their business processes. Howewer, no packaged application provides a robust solution for every aspect of the business, and for every industry. As with all comprehensive solutions, there are many gaps in functionality and many levels of maturity.
As a resu
2. Lack of enterprise middleware strategy
ERP vendors often recommend application infrastructure that is not enterprise-class technology and does not meet minimum requirements for enterprise-class scalability, reliability, security, manageability, or appl
3. Cost of application upgrades
At some point after the initial implementation, the packaged applications need to be upgraded either for new functionality, or continuity of support. If the packaged application is heavily modified to meet the specific functional requirements of the organization, then upgrade costs can be more than the initial implementation costs, making it a challenge to ever achieving a return on the investment. SAP project leaders usually are only measured on getting the SAP solution into production on time and within budget. Project leaders usually are not measured on the ability to upgrade the resulting SAP implementation at a later date, which may not occur for five to seven years. The cost of the upgrade can be higher than the initial implementation cost of the SAP solution if it was over-customized
4. Struggle to differentiate
No business wants all of their processes to be based on a generic packaged process flow. Organizations must differentiate themselves to be competitive. The common pitfall here is a failure by organizations to realize that they need an additional platform to house their differentiating business processes and customizations, outside of the packaged solution, to avoid over-customization of the SAP solution.
5. Struggle to retain future control over business processes and data
A more practical approach to SAP-centric enterprise transformations includes:
The IBM Redbooks publication IBM
Yaro Dunchych is an Executive Architect in IBM Software Services. Yaro leads IBM software deployments at IBM clients, including internal adoption of IBM software in the IBM company in such areas as smarter process, mobile, integration, and cloud technologies. Yaro leads delivery of IBM software solutions for SAP based on the IBM Reference Architecture for SAP, a large scale asset that provides a comprehensive blueprint of IBM software capabilities for SAP. During his 15 years with IBM, Yaro created multiple cross-brand solutions from services engagements that led to several innovations. Yaro holds a Ph.D. degree in Electronic Engineering from Air Force Engineering Academy in Moscow, Russia. Yaro is the lead author of the IBM Redbooks publication IBM