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The ‘Jobs-to-be-done Analysis and SAP business requirements

“The job, not the customer, is the fundamental unit of analysis.”. This is the phrase used by Clayton M. Christensen in his jobs-to-be-done marketing analysis. He stresses that organizations have been overly focused on the customer and not on the job that the customer wishes to accomplish. A complete reading of the article can be done here.

The case of SAP and Oracle has been raised in one of the interviews which was conducted with him. He mentions that Oracle and SAP are struggling to sell better products at higher and higher prices due to their segmentation of the customer based on their attributes without incorporating the job which the customer wants to accomplish. This interview can be read here

What I intend to raise in this blog is how to incorporate this sort of analysis for the type of business requirements we receive as SAP process and technology experts. Whether it is part of a consulting firm undergoing an implementation or part of a client-end maintaining its SAP operations, we continuously receive ever changing business requirements; business intelligence, HANA, mobile enablement, cloud to name a few.

HANA as a product does indeed attempt to address one job which the customer looks for; access to business reporting ; but with all the bells and whistles attached to it in terms of modeling and integration with existing systems, does it fully address the job by the customer?.

What my argument is that; there are singular jobs customers want; these are related to the functional area they deal in; (Business reporting, Knowledge sharing, Coordination ) and there are overlapping jobs ( Workflows; Manufacturing, Inventory management to name a few ). The challenge is to identify the different jobs without confusing with other factors such as management push, technology push etc.

My initial reaction to this kind of framework would be to take it as a supporting metric for the existing frameworks

I am not aware of a framework being designed by an ERP vendor with respect to this concept as of yet. I am currently working with a professor at Northwestern University and my client to test out a framework for requirements within a specific SAP module.

If anyone has ideas or has some established work on this, I would appreciate some information on the matter.

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