What is the best approach to get something started? If experienced, you know exactly what to do and what not. But how to start when you are lacking that particular experience? E.g. when you want to start your career as a miniature racing driver or slot circuit owner without having a clue? You either have to ask some experts or you have to rely on the offers of the industry. And the industry soon had the brilliant idea (also in commercial terms), to come up with preconfigured starter packages with a tempting price tag on it…
For those of you having an eye on SAP related topics like e.g. our international blog, you probably haven´t had a chance not to get in touch with the acronym RDS for Rapid Deployment Solutions in recent times. So you might think, why should this be that relevant, why it is mentioned over and over again? Is this just another of these three digit buzzwords?
So is RDS really that important, especially when “all-in one packages” were already around for quite some times?
Yes, and I would like to tell you why!
Let´s have a closer look on the three words:
We all know the common waterfall model for software development and the usual long implementation periods, often more than one year. And we all know what this usually means for the motivation of the project team as well, especially when you have to face a lot of changes to scope and maybe timeline.
So I was always somewhat jealous for the agile development principle, when the only thing what is fixed is the Go-Live date. Of course we will probably never get that far within the SAP portfolio. But I was heavily impressed recently when some of my British colleagues showed me their project approach in Business Intelligence.
They keep the end users busy right from the start in involving them heavily with constant work on change yet still delivering working value. And they rather compromise on features, never on release schedules! So results (and also qualified feedback!) are coming in very early before you might run down the wrong street. This does not mean at all that there is no large master plan behind these activities: But the “Plan big, built small”-Attitude allows for a quicker embrace with reality!
Coming back to the Rapid Deployment Solutions, this is exactly what could be taken over. The two striking arguments are a short implementation time and to get as concrete as possible right from the beginning. RDS with its predefined scope and content offers you a great opportunity of doing so.
Do you remember the old days, when the customer was expecting to get a CD-ROM right after signing the contract and to install his ERP system like Word or Excel on his computer? And how you had to argue about the needs to customize and individualize the system in a consulting project?
I know that the average CIO is now definitively on a different level, but in the business departments….? To my experience (see also the old blogs) the situation might look different. And what is more, they are basically right! Of course the comparison with Apple´s famous Appstore is not really fair and somewhat misleading. But there is more than one grain of truth in it: Why has an implementation to be such a complex expert thing? And if it is and always be, than it is definitively our job as experts to hide this complexity from our customers!
RDS is helping a lot. By providing preconfigured software, with predefined services and content in combination with proper end-user enablement, everything is ready to go. And what is even more: You can also have a quick look on what you are getting before. Just visit the SAP Innovation Showroom and adjust the expectations to the right level regarding what´s in for you in the RDS box.
You surely heard about the old joke, when a technology is looking desperately for an application…. To some degree this applies as well to SAP software. Especially the business suite of SAP is offering such an overwhelming functionality, that potential buyers sometimes really get lost. For instance I have seen many customers starting to develop special functionality as customer development in the ERP system rather than “daring the next step” to the business suite.
Apart from license issues, my impression is, that many companies were not convinced by the advantages of using this mighty toolset because they were missing the experience. E.g. it is much easier to show a Make-To-Stock scenario in ERP than to show a sophisticated heuristic in the APO. So the added value often became not obvious enough.
So here RDS are stepping in: Especially in the business suite, where you cannot rely on best practices and a preconfigured standard software as in the core ERP region, this is the perfect way of getting a predictable price and scope.
So the customers have everything they need to get up and running quickly, still leaving all the options to grow their SAP solutions further. And this comes with the biggest advantage of standard software. You don´t have to care about maintenance and support or upgrade in the future like you would have to do with a customer development.
Make a “useful use” of RDS and do not try to develop everything from scratch again. I know that developers will shout at me, but maintainability and serviceability of software is always an issue and the total cost of ownership is always a struggle to calculate.
In the end it is all about money
Before you start seeing me as a philosopher: What is the bottom line, as in the end it is of course the money that counts?
RDS are simply fasten the time-to-value by
- a rapid delivery
- in a proven quality
an internal SAP qualification process secures the standard
- at a fixed price
- with a limited and well-defined implementation scope
- without losing the flexibility to adopt in later phases
Reads like the perfect marketing prose on the box of a slot racing starter kit, doesn´t it? There you can see the different options for track lay out, get some matching pair of cars and everything else what is needed including an instruction. So you can start your slot race career right under the Christmas tree, and not after a long planning period and lots of rehearsals in the mid of the summer.
But be careful: Once you started, you will probably ask for more…….