Customer Connection – The Ideas are coming to a note near you!
You are passionate about making SAP all it can be. You provide feedback through SAP messages, entering functionality improvements in Idea Place, participate in Customer Connection sessions, work with your user group to influence specific processes, but months later you question was it worth it? Did anything really change? I can truly say that SAP listens to the customer. However, I can also say that finding a single consolidated location for the delivery of ideas has been difficult.
As part of the Customer Connection process, SAP gathers requirements and input from customers. As multiple customers collaborate on the actual requirements, a refined improvement idea is documented. SAP then works with product development to determine the level of effort and how best to deliver the idea. As a follow up to the participants a delivery schedule is provided so that the solution can be applied and validated. The day after your idea is implemented; you feel that it really was worth participating.
What about the lurker? They do not participate in the process, but they want to reap the reward. Once the ideas are implemented they are available for all to enjoy. Recently SAP created a new web page to communicate ideas that have been delivered through support notes and enhancement packs. The SAP Improvement Finder is similar to the SAP Solution Browser, but it is currently specific to Customer Connection improvements. Today you can review more than 70 improvements to SAP ERP and CRM solutions. The interface is easy to use and includes filters so you can find the ideas that you need to review.
With the new process the time from idea to solution is greatly reduced. In many cases you do not have to wait for an upgrade or enhancement pack to receive the enhancement. Many of these ideas enhance products you already have and can be implemented with the application of a note. Depending on how current your support packages are, you may have implemented an idea and not even know it. In transaction PMEVC (Variant Configuration Modeling Environment), users wanted to modify the sort order without using the cumbersome process of updating each line with a sequence number. If you wanted to add a single value to the beginning of the list, you were forced to renumber every entry. With the enhancement, you can drag and drop the entries and the sequence is updated automatically. It is the old WYSIWYG solution. A simple idea turns into a valuable feature for your application users.
As a participant in multiple customer connection groups, more ideas are on the way. In the near future enhancements to GRC 10 Access Control will be delivered in support packs 9, 10 and 11. As the enhancement is available, SAP will update the http://www.sapimprovementfinder.com website with the details. Do you want SAP to be all it can be? I challenge you to listen to your users and gather ideas. Document the requirement and the benefits. It could be as simple as a new field in the budgeting workbench (SAP Note 1639978) or using BRF plus instead of BRF for your workflow rules engine (SAP Note 1651112).
If you are looking for enhancements related to an upgrade, don’t forget to check the SAP Solution Browser (http://www.sapsolutionbrowser.com/) for details. You may need business reasons to justify an upgrade, and this website will provide details on the enhancements. The solution browser will enable you to discover functionality in releases and enhancement packages that is too detailed to include in an SAP power point presentation of the benefits. Now that SAP is closing the loop on the development process, the information is much easier to find.
If you want to know more about Influence or participating with the customer connect program through ASUG, there are two blogs which have more details: Have it your way! and What is SAP Influence?. For SAP to consider an idea for an enhancement, at least five installed companies need to vote for the idea. During our recent GRC Customer Connect session, many great ideas only had four supporting companies. With only four supporting companies the ideas are not considered. This shows that you can make a difference. It would have only taken one more person to review and support the idea for it to enter the enhancement process. I challenge you to participate and make the product all it can be.