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The Big Miss – Why Don’t We Understand Vertical Solutions?

Let’s start with the obvious. 99% of the audience for SAP services does not even know what the vertical solution framework is do they? Let’s go even further.  Many who say they are Subject Matter Experts don’t even have the faintest idea of what it is our how it might be used to help customers realize the elusive dream of an easy to manage SAP environment.

We need to wake up to reality and understand with high maintenance cost and ongoing software fees the end of the road for big ERP is coming.   I know two SAP customers who could never rationalize an easy rollout approach to SAP and decided candidly it was easier to switch to Dynamics rather than stay with a product that is overly complicated with a dumbing down resource base and a rollout timeline that never seems to get shorter and less costly.  They are saving $900,000 per year in license base cost and have released ½ the SAP staff already and the rest later.  The business user can deploy Dynamics.

I have been in small and large organizations still pursuing SAP in the old fashioned way of disconnected business process and configuration personnel sending emails and having phone exchanges trying to keep what is really simple configuration process for rollouts on track.  I see this model deteriorating everyday as US based strategy leaders “offshore” work and think that somehow the math of paying one quarter the cost but taking ten times as long somehow is effective. 

Now let’s look at the not so obvious. SAP blew it in 2002 and onward in the way Best Practices were marketed. They are not and never will be solutions that most companies can use out of the box, and they are not just for new rollouts. In addition, the push towards a solution manager approach to run it operations codified the then emerging model of low cost less than knowledgeable support organizations “offshoring” support work ensuring that no new strategic thinking would emerge into the organization. All the while larger organizations for the most part continued to struggle with how to improve in-sourced personnel performance and reduce the cost of roll ins and roll outs of SAP business process to new and existing operations.

So what are they missing? It is at its core a failure to understand that the best practices process is not a set of delivered solutions, but a methodology to deliver solutions rapidly.  For each or any given client that wants a rapid rollout model, knowledgeable personnel can create a “best practices” Vertical Solution using the configurations that exist for a client and establishing the variable structure that the Vertical Solution Installation allows.

What we have, however, is a failure to understand, experiment and believe in this alternative, and we have a failure of solution partners to really embrace this approach. Why? Because this approach does not require an army of consultants for months and months at a customer location just for a rollout of existing process. It is a small footprint highly strategic engagement model that changes the way organizations think, staff and run SAP forever.

So do you still not know what I am talking about?  Can you create a Solution?  Can you create the Scenarios?  Can you put together the building blocks necessary?  Can you create all of the objects that can be used specifically for a client?   If you answered yes to all of this then you should work with your clients to change their strategic thinking.  If you still do not know what I am talking about, then I will presume us stumbled upon this blog by mistake.  After all, I would be sure you are not a subject matter expert, right?

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