Intelligent SAP Service offerings
I have been working with SAP technologies for almost a decade now. My journey started right from business connector and SAP workplace days to SAP Netweaver, SAP xAPPs and now to SAP Business Suite.
I have seen SAP product strategy changing with the changing needs to market. SAP’s business enablers with technology stack of SAP Netweaver, SAP SOA adoption, SAP EhP strategy to reduce customer upgrade pain-points, SAP switch framework and business centric SAP Business suite were the key highlights over the last decade to name a few.
Earlier in mid 2000, most of the Indian IT service organizations had SAP Implementation and rollout, SAP Support and SAP upgrade as their key service offerings.
All SAP IT service organizations harped on their quality & experience of these service offerings as key differentiators.
Quality in current scenario has become a commodity as the gap between top tier IT service and ones at the bottom is diminishing with every passing day. Quality is what is taken for granted from all the vendors by SAP customers.
Onsite-Offshore and later near-shore delivery model have also become a passé with almost everyone adopting it to reduce the overall cost of SAP engagements.
With this background, I would like to focus on the service offerings from a new perspective which is being adopted and will be adopted by most of the SAP IT service firms.
I would classify SAP service offerings into 2 categories:
- a. Commodity service offerings
- b. Key/Customized SAP offerings – More customers centric.
Most of the earlier SAP service offerings now fall in the category of ” Commodity Service offerings” where generally the vendors to get the projects are the ones who quote the least price as quality is taken for granted by customers. Complex SAP Implementation and rollout could be an exception here.
There are SAP service offerings which are SAP Landscape specific as well but it’s generally goes along with other service offerings.
I am also seeing a lot of IT service organizations investing in a SAP testing practice because of the demand that’s currently there in the market. This again falls in commodity section where price-war generally determines the winner but then again here differentiators that focus on efficiency and early bugs identification in the earlier cycles is what will prevent costs for the customer.
What are the differentiators in service offerings?
- Service delivery models which lets you leverage the geographical location for cost advantage ( onsite-offshore, near-shore)
- Accelerators-This is what will help you in accelerating the time to deliver SAP solution without compromising too much on resource costing is a more sustainable model. In SAP testing projects, identification of right tools for testing, read-to-use industry specific test data repository are some examples.
- Ready to use templates – This will be useful in SAP roll-outs and implementation projects.
- Upgrade projects – 2010-2011 would be the years where we can expect lot of traction in this space for reasons known to all. Here, again for technical as well as function upgrade, if you have tools which identifies all the impacted Z objects and also the regression impact on existing functionality in functional upgrade when we bring new features is what will speed up the upgrade and also can be a differentiator.
- I also feel a need for companies to adopt agile methodology in most of their service offerings and methodology.
I have not gone in detail in any of the service offerings and have kept it at a fairly high-level as the idea is to share the strategy at a high level and depending on your company’s focus, it can be adopted accordingly
What’s important here is for companies to focus on one service offerings and try to be leader in it then to try and push all of them as their area of expertise and best service offering. SAP product roadmap, market research, direction of IT and business adoption of it are some of the key factors that should be taken into account to choose the right service offerings to focus on most.
To name a few, SAP solution roadmap, SAP Consulting, SAP Landscape Consolidation, SAP strategy in heterogeneous landscape, SAP strategic upgrade, Complex SAP implementation/Rollouts, SAP Composite application, SAP xAPPS and SAP SOA engagements are the ones to fall in this category.
Finally, your key/customized SAP offerings which would be more customer centric is where the differentiators come in play BIG time and will help you grab and attract projects/customers with higher visibility and revenue.