All too often when I ask an end user how they are dealing with Nota Fiscal version 3.1 coming December of 2014, I hear: “we are in the process of upgrading the XML schema”. Unfortunately for most IT executives, this is the wrong answer and completely avoids the real costs of these projects. It is not the schema that is the challenge – in countries like Brazil – the real cost is the continuous upgrade and maintenance work of a globally centralized SAP ERP system.
These challenges show themselves from the beginning and end up creating a whole set of custom configurations that affect both local testing and global regression testing when new OSS notes come out for new legal requirements. Yes the notes are downgraded to previous versions of SAP if you are not on the latest ECC Service Packs, but that doesn’t mean that they are easy to implement into your SAP ERP system.
So by doing this patch work for Brazil (and by the way you are probably doing this in Mexico, Chile and Argentina with their set of mandates) – you are effectively building a house of cards.
Have you stacked cards – removing one could bring the whole thing down. It is not uncommon to hear companies spending a million dollars on the implementation and upgrade of their Brazil Nota Fiscal solution – when you look at the total costs of subject matter experts, software, middleware, hardware, and project management.
So as you look to comply with Brazil Nota Fiscal version 3.1, you have two choices:
- Continue down the same path and put out the fire with some additional patchwork that will only have to be updated in 2015 when the new legislation comes out (you are ready for eSocial correct?)
- Or, implement a solution that solves the real problem of SAP change management once and for all.
Wait a second, is the second option really possible. The answer is yes and the answer is through Hybrid Cloud solutions that take on the SAP configuration issues as part of the service.
The Hybrid E-Invoicing Model for Latin America has an on-premise component that:
- Manages the unique configurations of an end user’s SAP system
- Buffers the centralized SAP system from forced upgrades when the government announces changes so you are not forced to upgrade SAP in the gov’t time frame but in your time frame.
Combined with the power of a network which brings:
- Economies of scale to operating costs (i.e. all companies use the same government web services) – why would you want to support those and monitor those connections on your own.
- A Single Source for Support – no finger pointing. Your local teams can access support in a local language (Spanish and Portugues) and your SAP team can call in English.
- Guaranteed compliance – the service monitors the changes and will implement them so you don’t have to throughout the year. This is done at a fixed and predictable cost, so what was once constant fire drills turns into peace of mind.
- Multi-country connectivity so you can comply with the mandatory requirements in Brazil, as well as Mexico, Argentina and Chile via a single provider.
So when you add it all up, the Hybrid Cloud model lowers the total cost of maintaining SAP throughout Latin America because it solves the real problem – support and change management of the SAP system through these country specific upgrades.