Zedach eG, an organization centralizing the purchasing of thousands of roofer companies, decided to implement a mobile solution to become more efficient. msc mobile was chosen to implement the solution. This implementation, as well as many similar ones we have completed in the past, has taught us some important lessons. But before we get to those, let’s look at the facts for this particular project.
On top of centralizing the purchasing of other companies, Zedach sell all kind of material and equipment that is required to perform their work. This includes hundreds of different tiles, thousands of different screws and nails, solar panels, windows in all sizes, and many more. In total Zedach has a product catalog of about 400,000 items.
To be more efficient, Zedach decided to implement a mobile solution that allows their sales reps to sell via tablets, even without a network connection. The goal was to make the most important transactions from SAP always available. Zedach had the following requirements for the solution:
- Full offline access to all critical business data, including master and transactional data like sales activities and sales orders
- Possibility to run the application on iOS, Android, and Windows 8 devices
- Fast synchronization and high performing application
- Customer information including contact person, order history, and reports
- Product information including pricing and any kind of attachment
- Live data like Available-to-promise (ATP) value for each material
- T-REX search over all material master data
- Creating different sales documents like quotations or sales orders on the device
- Super-user functionality to enable sales directors to access all data of their associated sales reps
Zedach selected msc mobile’s Sales Plus for SAP ERP, an application that runs on the SAP Mobile Platform (SMP) and that is available in the SAP Store. SAP Afaria was implemented in order to manage and secure the mobile devices and to use it for application deployment as well. As final piece to the puzzle, SAP Business Objects Mobile was integrated with Sales Plus to display some of the required reports and to allow the user to jump from Sales Plus directly into the selected report in the Business Objects Mobile app.
We did a lot of similar implementations in the past and, based on those experiences as well as on what we learned at Zedach, we wrote a list of lessons learned, that should help you tackle your mobile implementations:
- Requirements Management: A big challenge was to merge the different requirements of all sales departments into one comprehensive solution based on Sales Plus. Since Zedach is a registered cooperative, all sales departments were organized in different enterprises. Therefore, the analyses and design phase of the project was extremely important to fully understand the customer requirements. This allowed us to brief the developers in detail upfront.
- Stakeholder Management: Getting the customer’s sales departments involved very early in the project ensured that we got a high acceptance from them. In general we recommend involving the business and key users as early as possible.
- Project Management: We executed the project based on our msc mobile project management methodology, a structured way of planning, managing, and executing projects in an agile world. Our methodology takes the best out of PMI-based project management extended with agile components, like running several sprints. This enabled us to deliver early and often. The feedback that we received after every sprint was very helpful to plan the following phases.
- Test Management: Based on the agile characteristics of this methodology, testing is a very important pillar closely following development. The user acceptance test (UAT) was a full success. Hardly any bugs were identified in this late stage of the project. Such a smooth UAT is a major driver for a smooth go-live.
- Steering Committee: Another reason for this project’s success was the correct identification of all decision makers and appropriate communication to them. In regular meetings they were asked for feedback about current developments. The results after each sprint were introduced to them as well
Zedach successfully went live with the solution in April 2014 and has been using it since then. In the meantime we have implemented many new features and upgraded the landscape to SMP 2.3.3 and Sales Plus 1.1.
I hope this gave you a good insight why this project was such a success. Which experience did you gather in SMP based rollouts? I would really appreciate any comment below!
About the author: Thomas Weber, msc mobile
Thomas is working at msc mobile as Project Manager and Product Manager for Sales Plus for SAP ERP, a mobile sales solution based on the SAP Mobile Platform and SAP ERP. Before this assignment Thomas was in various positions at SAP, IBM, and other SAP consulting companies..