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With SAP Rapid Deployment solutions, customers can simplify and speed up deployments. A new “solution configurator” will give them even more choice in the process, says Bernd Welz, head of Solution & Knowledge Packaging at SAP.

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What are SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions and what do customers see as the primary business value? 

Bernd Welz: SAP Rapid Deployment solutions (RDS) include configuration content, predefined templates, and tools to ensure a smooth and fast implementation. A Lego set is a good analogy: It includes a box, which shows what you can assemble from the pieces inside; the pieces themselves; and step-by-step instructions. In this analogy, RDS product descriptions are the ‘box’ containing the Lego set; SAP software represents the Lego pieces inside; and automated configuration content, test scripts, and enablement material are the ‘directions.’ Also, like some Lego kits, RDS solutions are modular, giving customers flexibility to combine several packages and add custom elements. We call this assemble-to-order.

The value of RDS for customers is predictability and low implementation risk: Tailored services are offered by SAP and our partners at a fixed price, and project teams are able to build on proven best practices to hasten implementation and avoid pitfalls. RDS projects are also very quick; most go live in less than three months and 20 percent go live in less than eight weeks.

Can RDS help customers ‘get their feet wet’ with the latest technologies from SAP – mobile, cloud, and SAP HANA?

A significant portion of the RDS business, roughly 40 percent, comes from mobile, cloud, and SAP HANA. Customers are excited about these technologies, but not necessarily ready to make a big investment in something that’s relatively new to the market. RDS affords them easy and cost-effective entry into those areas.

Most customers who are implementing SAP HANA want to get the new system up and running quickly. With a rapid deployment solution, customers can achieve broad coverage of SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA and they can do it fast. The SAP HANA Operational Reporting rapid-deployment solution, for example, has been used in SAP Business Warehouse projects, where data needs to be contextualized for SAP HANA. And our customer Provimi Holding used a rapid deployment solution to implement the SAP HANA platform in conjunction with controlling and profitability analysis (CO-PA) and operational reporting – in just three weeks! Provimi can now mine a wealth of consistent operational data. Less than a week after the completed implementation, this data helped reduce the working capital by half a million euros.

What is the most popular RDS package to date?

Our bestselling package is the SAP CRM rapid-deployment solution for sales, service, and marketing. It’s live at 155 customers. The package functionality is a great fit with our customers’ requirements in the areas of sales, services and marketing. One customer, Bluebird Soft – a global provider of handheld mobile devices – achieved a 56 percent increase in sales leads just three months after implementation. They can also generate real-time sales reports, a process that previously took a minimum of three days.

SAP plans to take the RDS assemble-to-order model to the next level in 2013. What does that mean for customers?

Going forward, customers will be able to select from different RDS best practice content with an easy-to-use, Web-based solution configurator. SAP can then assemble-to-order one or more RDS packages to address the individual customer’s needs. Such a pre-assembled solution can be deployed at the customer site within hours, even if the customer requires a solution landscape with several components. This saves the project team the installation and setup of SAP standard software, which often can take weeks. The best practice content is already activated according to the customer’s selection.

Furthermore, when a personalized, fully-running system is available at the beginning of a project, this helps the customer tremendously in evaluating individual requirement gaps.

We’re currently piloting the new approach with SAP 360 Customer  and SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA, which combines SAP CRM software with analytics, cloud, enterprise mobility, collaboration, and social media solutions to give our customers a 360 degree view of their customers. Broader availability of pre-assembled SAP 360 Customer is planned for later this year, with simplified implementation via RDS.

For more on SAP Rapid Deployment solutions, see this video interview with Bernd Welz, or follow him on Twitter @BerndWelz.

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