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This is part two of an ongoing series to share ‘digitaliKa‘, a concept to simplify how to discover, solution and deploy SAP Solutions.


With digitaliKa we want to enable SAP customers to digitally discover, solution and deploy SAP solutions – all by themselves. By providing this customer-operated engagement cycle, we expect costs of implementation to go down dramatically, time-to-value to improve and risks to reduce.

Let’s illustrate the idea and operating principles behind digitaliKa along three essential steps: Discovery, Solutioning and Deployment. The illustration below may help to visualise the structural components of digitaliKa.

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Discovery

The objective is to facilitate discovery of SAP solutions for a stated customer situation. This involves mapping the plain language a customer uses to outcomes SAP solutions can provide. Today this involves a lot of interaction: meetings, analyses and expert inputs often combine in a variety of way to achieve a single outcome. DigitaliKa changes this by exposing pre-defined outcomes and using data science to do the mapping.

The whole discovery and specification is done in this step, and it ends with the creation of a briefcase (note: not a shopping cart yet). In the ideal state, digitaliKa knows who the customer is, what SAP has in store, and how the customer is using SAP and his affinities. By applying appropriate data science, digitaliKa is capable of making targeted recommendations to be included in the briefcase. This process is fully customer-operated in the end-state; in interim stages, this part can be operated by a SAP sales specialist.

Through the process, digitaliKa interacts with the backend systems like CRM creating opportunities or changing their status. The system exposes all the needed collateral in the most recent version, and only what is needed.


Solutioning

The briefcase, an expression of the customers requirements, is translated into SAP-language and into a project scope. To that end, digitaliKa fetches assets from a repository to expose Rapid Deployment Solutions (RDS) which will address the business requirements. In many cases additional design-based tasks will have to be conducted to complement the whole solution. They are identified in the same moment.

As digitaliKa is fetching these assets, it is also fetching the underlying work breakdown structures and hence is capable of running an estimation (pricing) to execute the project scope. A contract is auto-populated with this content, commercial terms are set based on the identity and purchase history of the customer, and the contract is proposed to the customer. The briefcase has then to be translated to a shopping cart.

Once this contract has been accepted and confirmed, digitaliKa communicates with the various backend systems. CRM status is changed, commercial documents are created in the ERP system, and technical specifications are created.

The technical specifications are used to pre-assemble the solution and provision it in our Cloud. Specified RDS are fired-up and are immediately available. As we pre-tested them, we ensure that every given combination is technically working together. The pre-assembled solution sits now in the Cloud for the next step.

Deployment

If the pre-assembled solution needs additional design-based activities to be complete, a deployment is necessary. The project scope is transferred and exposed in a way that a project manager can get his job done.


Based on the work breakdown structure and agreed upon start dates, resource requirements are identified. A connection to the resource management system provides automated staffing strawmen. The project execution can start and is monitored on task level.

Once done, the solution is ready for production environment – in pre-production state. There are then two choices: (1) either keep it in the Cloud environment use during the implementation phase, or (2) deploy it on-premise.

During this phase, digitaliKa is interacting with the backend systems, to report progress of delivery, to forecast project financials, and ultimately to generate an invoice at the end. Consultants staffed to the project get their skill database automatically updated and are released for the next assignment.

Recap

If this sounds benign as a concept, it is not. The medium-complex nature of solutions make it actually quite a challenge. It involves several key components:

  • outcome-based portfolio
  • data lakes and associated data science
  • a repository of rapid deployment solutions
  • pre-assembly procedure and IP
  • common taxonomy and meta-data models

In addition to this, the bi-directional connection to backend systems as well as the embedding into a fully functional digital commerce platform need to be enabled. As appealing the end-state is, the path to it needs likely to be broken down into digestible phases. We think of three of them.

Level 1 digitaliKa is close to be fully operational and tested at SAP Services. The benefits are stunning our test-pilots. We think the concept is applicable to up to 40% of the projects we conduct, gaining efficiencies of 40% and more, whilst reducing time to value and risks for our customers.

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