In the past few years, we find that SAP has created multiple waves w.r.t SAP ByDesign, SAP Fiori and SAP on Demand solutions to mention a few. They all have the following things in common:
- They all want to tap into the cloud spaces
- They all want to provide a new set of mobile’ wings to all SAP users
- They all seem and feel like an initial version of SAP trying to look good without the robustness which is inherent in ECC 6.0.
I love the idea that SAP has eventually realised its new variations and also realised where the markets are moving. But as mentioned in the earlier lines, a lot needs to be desired as far as SAP’s cloud based computing is concerned. There are certain processes which are followed by every industry and every firm (big or small), and the only major difference is that some have a holistic analysis technique whilst others use a more detailed approach. Hence when a new product is marketed, created and ultimately released into the market, these processes are a must have priority. To mention a few I would say are:
- Cost of product/ services sold
- History of procured materials
- History of sold products
- Multiple levels of approvals
- Mobile communications
- Analytical strength
Every company today sets a budget for every sort of cost they will incur. It can be a budget for stationery or a cost for procuring raw materials. We all work
on budgets and work within our budgets. So it makes complete sense that a budgetary system is employed and deployed within every software. After we have sold a product or service where we obviously would sell it higher than the cost price, I need to know what my profit margins are, what my competitor is selling at, what is the market trend, and if possible future analysis of the sales. I know this makes a software sound almost god like but the facts of the modern business scenarios are just this:
- What am I selling today which will last tomorrow
- What is the future sales forecast
- What is my competitor doing
- What is my time gaps between my product design phase to my product marketing and selling phase
This means I need to know what I am selling, at what cost and for how long? Do I know what will happen if my raw materials cost me 10% more than they did yesterday or the last order? I would not know these answers even if I Google it. So to summarise the product must have all the above factors and more.
If I don’t know what I am producing is profitable or not then what am I doing? I need to know my cost price, my profit margin, my target markets and future markets like the back of my hand? If I want to be successful I will have to think strategically. Not just assume that computers are the answer. This is where systems which are analytically advanced will prevail over those which aren’t. If I don’t know if I bought the product previously at 10 or 20 $s how can I know my previous and current variations? If programming algorithms can be accurately written to solve the questions then I can see these products faring well. An
end user today gets worried by the idea of having SAP. Simply because costs are his first concern, SAP for the end user is software that entertains the fortune 500 but also because when a software like SAP is installed we see that the end user has to change his methods of doing this. It seems unfair to a person working on a non-SAP system, but as a SAP consultant who has also seen other systems I found SAP to be a basic common sense.
But when I have used SAP system, I think I should have a similar flow across any variation of that software. So if I worked on Business one, Bydesign and ECC 6 I think the basic stages of the procurement cycle cannot be changed. Same would apply for my sales cycle. You might think of it as strange but would the accounting entries change if I did a grn for my raw materials? NO! the why change the process.
Since most of us reading my blog will be having a cell phone, imagine if I worked for you, I have just made a PO, and asked you to release it. But you have to fireup the laptop and make a remote access connection to SAP server and then log in. open the PO, check the valuations and quantity and then release it. Is that convenient? In my opinion it’s NOT! Then how does one get around it? In my opinion create applications which are used across most cell phones and make them talk to my existing SAP system. Until a few years ago we had the emails being sent via desktops and laptops! They still do that but they also do
it via cell phones and other mobile devices. SAP is doing the same but slowly. Every business aspires to be a fortune 500. I don’t think anyone does business to lose money or to be a small player for ever , so mobile connectivity is a must have today. I should be able to send my approvals for POs, SOs and other financial transactions. I should be able to see my leaves and my balances in my GLs. I can cross check the amount of money I owe to a vendor or the amount of money I am owed by a customer at any given instance of time. To do this don’t need a laptop. I should do it via any mobile device I have and that too at the click of a button. If I have to pay a vendor or an employee any advance, I must be able to do this with a series of approvals from my seniors so that the company the protocols in my firm are not violated and yet I have informed every major entity in that process and also got their approval for the same. To summarise, I need a cloud where I get everything I would in a normal ERP without the unnecessary maintenance and upgrade costs. If we look at apple’s iphone, it looks simple and uncomplicated and yet it far more advanced than the rocket that landed Neil Armstrong on the moon. This is exactly what SAP has to achieve.These are just a few basic things I think will make the cloud based ERP a hit with SMEs and will ultimately add value to the organisation’s current valuation.