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Author's profile photo Renato Zadro

How Project Managers Can Keep All Their Ducks In a Row

Companies selling products or services through the execution and delivery of customer projects such as professional service or engineering and construction companies need to keep an eye on various project KPIs to ensure they meet the given targets related to project costs, quality and margin. Today, traditional or “classical” commercial  project industries, striving to deliver  holistic project management from bidding, to execution and billing of project services, are not alone in this challenge. Now, more and more manufacturing companies face similar needs. They actually need to respond to a rising trend of custom specific product offerings which they deliver as custom projects to their customers.

Project Managers in such “project-driven” businesses need easy access to all relevant project information such as the bidding documents, sales orders, project schedule, project costs and revenue plans, earned values, percentage of completion , profit margin and so many more! Until recently,  project managers and sales engineers involved in the project opportunity struggled to retrieve needed information,  searching in  different systems and applications, or even tracking down information spread all over the organization,  on peoples desks.

To put it simply:  there wasn’t a single application that would help the project managers and sale engineers to access this information in one single place.

SAP recently released a product called SAP Commercial Project Management 1.0 that is exactly targeting to support companies in managing the commercial aspects of such customer projects from bidding–to-execution. SAP Commercial Project Management is actually an add-on to SAP Project System, the classic project management solution delivered as part of SAP ERP. This new Commercial Project Management Solution provides 3 major key capabilities: Workspace, Project Financial Planning and Issue and Change Management. The workspace was exactly designed to provide this one-stop view  for the project manager where he can access not only all the relevant project information (Project Schedule, Project Costs, Project Revenues, Project Changes) but also related ERP information such as CRM Opportunity, Sales Order, Billing Plan, Project Resources etc.Workplace.png



As you can see from the screenshots the Project Workspace provides a user-friendly and flexible environment that gives the project manager an overview about all relevant project information across applications and systems. As a result, project managers have the insight they need for quick decision making to facilitate project success. The workspace enables full transparency about the true status of projects across department boundaries so that issues and risks can be identified and addressed early.


In detail the Project Workspace provides:

•An integrated view of each project by bundling existing business objects (for example, business opportunity, sales order, or project structure) by creating a new master project object

•Embedded analytics that allow users to quickly generate cost status reports, work-in-progress reports, progress reports, and more

•Configurable views optimized for different user roles, including predefined views for sales orders, invoices, purchase orders, and more

•Enhanced project management functions via automatic status and trend reporting, rule-based alerts, roles and responsibilities definitions, and reporting attributes

•Enhanced contract management by supporting rate cards, billing plan manager functions, and a billing cockpit  

As mentioned before the Workspace is one of the three key capabilities in SAP’s new solution for Commercial Project Management. Please subscribe to the EPPM blog, so you don’t miss my upcoming blogs about the other two capabilities for Project Financial Planning and Issue and Change Management.

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      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Nice, Renato.  Always excited to see innovations like this in the PPM/PLM space.  I'd really like to see how CPM can be integrated seamlessly with portfolio management for portfolio functions such as selection, planning, and review --- all from the user perspective.  The CPM UI looks VERY well-refined, and a breath of fresh air, and I'd like very much to understand where the two modules can build upon its best traits to merge its core competencies.

      Also, does CPM have its own scheduling and resource management component as well, as you would in cProjects or PS?  Or does it rely on these integrations for managing project operational data itself?

      Author's profile photo Renato Zadro
      Renato Zadro
      Blog Post Author

      Thx for your feedback.

      CPM doesn't provide a scheduling or resource management component, I would always say it handles the commercial projects of a project and leverages one of the availbale project management solutions  such as ERP PS or PPM Pro to manage the operational aspects of a project.

      CPM itegrates today with PPM Project Management and I expect to see also a direct integration to the protfolio item in PPM in the next release. Given this you would be able to have also portfolio items in you CPM master project structure and such access it via  the workplace.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Thanks likewise for the clarification, Renato.

      I think this will be a very welcome integration.  I've seen in many cases in the past where the lack of an acceptable "Landing Page" for a project has steered clients in the direction of 3rd Party solutions such as SharePoint.  This of course causes complexity in the Project landscape as data is often required to be synced to and from SAP to said 3rd Party systems, often requiring data services and middlemen (i.e. Duet).  I see the Project Workspace as a good opportunity to bridge that current gap, and am likewise looking forward to getting my hands into it, to see what kind of integration opportunities it presents.

      I also can appreciate that the line is drawn wrt commercial project data; that said, I can see the tremendous value in positioning a project  (product / commercial asset in development) within a product portfolio.  PPM can certainly do that, and is still unique in its capabilities compared to other modules.  From a work breakdown perspective, I can see that PS will still be the system of choice for building what would be discrete product material masters  (though PPM can do somewhat the same with Object Links).  In either case, connecting the dots between each distinct project in CPM with other project dependencies (i.e. in cases where parallel development of two related products, or projects which share common dependencies), and showing those dependencies in a graphical time-based context is something that would be great to showcase in a reference Project's Workspace.  Visualization of project data in a collaborative environment is becoming more and more popular, and I believe should be a priority for SAP if it is to improve the attractiveness of its product offering to customers in the Projects space.

      That said, I'm really looking forward to seeing how an integrated end-to-end solution will work - with CPM as a collaborative "single-source" front-end, PS as a backbone to ECC integration, PPM as the planning (strategic + tactical) and execution engine, and DMS/CFO as the document and deliverables repository.

      Way to go SAP with this excellent opportunity!