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Over my past 1.5years with the SAP Global Marketing Team, I have come across many interesting (and some inspiring) stories about SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions. Stories about our customers, our partners, our work to help improve IT in developing countries, and in general, how SAP is rapidly making the world run better. And now, I am fortunate enough to have come across another interesting & inspiring rapid-deployment solution story. This story is about JAZZ MUSIC 🙂 !

Recently, I conducted an interview with Francesco Crosara, jazz musician and a SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions expert. We discovered during the interview that there are many comparisons between rapid-deployment solutions and jazz music, such as; variety, improvisation, guidance, and the ‘coolness’ factor.

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(Francesco’s jazz trio live in Italy, October 2011)

See below for the 1st blog interview Francesco (the 2nd blog will be posted in early May):

What is your role at SAP?

Director of SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions portfolio for NA Service Portfolio Management. Fundamentally, I am accountable with the SPM team for the roll out of rapid-deployment solution packages into the North American market.  This includes sales support for rapid-deployment solutions and related services in accordance with the new A2O implementation approach. 

Why did you choose to work with SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions?

Where else would I be? Seriously now, rapid-deployment solutions are where it’s at! 😎 We are at the point that there is virtually a packaged solution (be it rapid-deployment or Engineered Service) for every market category.  SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions encompasses applications, analytics, mobile, cloud, database & technology – they also run on HANA, and covers both functional and technical scope.  If that weren’t exciting already, consider that rapid-deployment solutions serve as individual blocks within a larger project, and the art is in assembling multiple industrialized packages along with more traditional design-based consulting services.  This is at the heart of Assemble-to-order, the A2O approach. That’s why I choose rapid-deployment solutions every day.  It is the future at SAP…

How do SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions relate to jazz music?

I can make comparisons between rapid-deployment solutions and jazz all day long.  First of all, start with an image comparison: both rapid-deployment solutions and jazz can be considered “cool” (if you are a contemporary jazz critic), or “hot” (if you are more in the jazz mainstream).  Either way, rapid-deployment solutions match the description very well. There is a coolness factor associated with the factory precision by which each rapid-deployment solution can be implemented in a repeatable fashion due to its fixed scope, but then is flexible enough to allow for changes.  Hot, because each latest innovation becomes a rapid-deployment solution, including; cutting edge packages for Ariba, SuccessFactors, and every new technology is supported, like Syclo, or Agentry, SUP, Afaria, also every rapid-deployment solution can run on the power of HANA hosted in the cloud.

What about improvisation?

Yes, improvisation is essential for jazz music!  My personal definition of improvisation is the ability to adapt a set musical score (the composition) to a flexible interpretation, based on an extemporaneous melody created in the moment, while adhering to the underlying harmony and rhythm.   Consider a rapid-deployment solution package as the composition, or song.  It comes with its own lead sheet and it contains everything necessary to deliver functionality and business value (similarly to harmony and rhythm in a song). Enter improvisation: each rapid-deployment solution has the capability to become flexible and improvise on the main theme.  This is the concept of ‘RDS+’, the added scope to meet the customer requirements.  This flexibility gives great power to each rapid-deployment solution, just like an inspiring improvised solo can fully transform an already great song.

Jazz musicians use a score sheet to compose music; do SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions have a ‘score sheet’ too?

For jazz music, each composition needs its own lead sheet which tells musicians how to perform the piece.  All the elements are blueprinted in the score, including pauses, dynamics, starts & stops, changes in tonality, etc. 

For rapid-deployment solutions, the lead sheet is the Step- by-Step Guide.  Thanks to the guide and the accelerators that it contains, our SAP consultants are enabled to deliver a performance of the rapid-deployment solution song with precision.  And since consultants are jazz musicians, they are trained to play inspiring improvisations to deliver the added scope while staying close to the original song within the rapid-deployment solution.  Jazz musicians are a special breed, due to their ability to improvise, and similarly, our SAP consultants are unique for their capability to apply a flexible approach to implementation thanks to rapid-deployment solutions and A2O.

Here is an example of a lead sheet from my own composition “Passion”, written in typical jazz notation – the notes capture the melody, while the chord symbols represent the harmony.  By following the lead sheet, musicians can execute the full song as a Step-by-Step guide through its phases (Start > Deploy > Run).  While the scope of the song is fixed, the jazz artist is able to improvise on the theme to create a bigger result (Assemble-to-Order = rapid-deployment solution + improvisation):


(click image to enlarge)

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(You can hear the result of what I am talking about: “Passion”, from my CD “Notes”, recorded live in Honolulu, Hawaii.  NOTE: SoundCloud is a flash-based application that may not work on some VPN connections.  In that case, copy the URL and play on a direct internet connection.  Like most rapid-deployment solutions, technical pre-requisites apply)

There are various styles in jazz, do SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions offer the same variety?

Absolutely! Once you start exploring jazz music, you find many styles to suits particular tastes – from gospel and blues, to dixieland, ragtime, swing, be-bop, cool jazz, mainstream jazz, hard-bop, free jazz, jazz fusion, jazz funk, rock jazz, latin jazz, smooth jazz, and world jazz.  These styles feature various instruments from western to ethnic, acoustic and electronic, sampled and synthesized, unplugged or wireless.  You get the connection here.  Similarly, there is a rapid-deployment solution for every taste. From a traditional ERP for manufacturing to CRM sales/service/marketing, to HANA powered operational reporting, BW on HANA, and the latest sales plays for Suite on HANA or SAP 360 Customer, all based on rapid-deployment solution packages (150+ available now) created for every desired style. 


Stay tuned for the next blog in this series (click here). In the 2nd blog, we will finish our Q&A with Francesco and upload Francesco’s new ‘RDS Jazz song’ (instrumental)!!! The song is already in the works – take a look at Francesco’s piano tuner working away at calibrating the instrument in preparation for the video shoot.  Just like the comprehensive bill of material for rapid-deployment solution packages, looking under the hood you will find workmanship and precision – 88 piano keys worth…

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Explore Francesco Crosara’s jazz at:

http://www.francescojazz.com/
https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/francesco-crosara/id31239330
http://www.youtube.com/user/fcrosara

Follow SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions on Twitter: @SAPRDS


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