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Author's profile photo Wassilios Lolas

Building the Case for Innovation through Pathfinder for SAP ERP

Building the Case for Innovation through Pathfinder for SAP ERP

We’ve all seen the scenario before – a child accompanies their parent to the grocery store, and their immediate focus is on the candy aisle. Despite requests to add a candy bar to the shopping cart, with no solid argument for the tangible benefits of the candy bar, the parent is quick to ignore the demands and direct the shopping cart to the frozen food aisle.

Though (hopefully) a far less heated scenario, ERP optimization can sometimes present a similarly tearful situation to today’s organizations. Implementation can be a daunting task in itself, and making sure that these systems are at the ready for the next innovation can involve cycles of upgrades and add-ons. Similar to the starry-eyed child surrounded by candy, organizations can be overwhelmed by the endless options available, and find it challenging to determine the best fit for their needs.

Today’s ERP models are becoming increasingly cloud-based, meaning that ERP solutions are better equipped to provide services to many different business areas of an organization. While this helps to streamline digital processes, it also adds to the amount of time, and people spent evaluating how each arm of an organization is specifically impacted by a given system. These many moving pieces often cause organizations to miss the boat on potential optimization opportunities. Even if it were possible to instantaneously pinpoint each improvement necessary, or optimization possible across the business, the thousands of apps and enhancements available for their ERP systems still present a laborious decision process.

The lengthy journey of ERP optimization does not end once a solution is finally nailed down. Those responsible for IT are then tasked with showcasing their findings and recommendations from a business lens, presenting the specific needs and benefits to each facet of business in an easily digestible format. This is much easier said than done, and more often than not, those responsible for IT walk away from these conversations with business decision makers just as empty handed as the child in the grocery store.

How can organizations nail down exactly which of these enhancements will continue them on the path to improvement, and create an organization-wide understanding of benefits? Free of charge to SAP customers and partners with a maintenance contract with SAP, SAP Innovation and Optimization Pathfinder for SAP ERP is providing solutions to this problem.

Keeping it relevant

Each Pathfinder report takes a critical look at the usage and performance data of an organization’s ERP system. The report benchmarks business performance against industry peers, and provides a detailed, customer-specific selection of relevant innovations based on the mapping of the company’s most used transactions. In as little as two hours, gaps in a system are clearly visualized, and the path to filling these gaps is outlined in detail via the report. Decision making is accelerated and money is saved by avoiding trial-and-error adoption, making the evaluation of potential updates significantly easier. If the child in the candy aisle had this kind of resource to narrow down options, they would have been on the fast-track to building their argument for the largest chocolate bar in the store.

Translating the benefits

Improvements to a core ERP system will affect all lines of business, making it a significant investment for a company that many parties will need to weigh in on, and need to understand how implementation will optimize their area of business. Each Pathfinder report cuts out jargon, replacing it with overviews of how recommendations directly impact business areas such as finance, procurement and sales, among others. Think of it this way, if the child in the grocery store had prefaced the candy purchase by offering to split the chocolate with their parent, the parent could have been easily convinced by the benefit to both parties.

This level of customized rationale helps to facilitate discussions with and between business users, allowing organizations to quickly collaborative on decisions in upgrading their ERP system.

Going beyond maintenance

But, why stop at one candy bar? Each Pathfinder report goes beyond identifying business problems that must be addressed, and builds out a lifecycle improvement strategy for an organization’s ERP core. Through the proactive evaluation of data on system and transaction performance, the report identifies opportunities for further innovation, recommending additional improvements and automations specific to actual use-cases. The next step in the improvement strategy provides SAP users with support for the implementation and operation of the suggested solutions, setting them up for long-term success. By offering an end-to-end services and support experience, organizations are enabled to maximize the value of their current SAP Business Suite, or plan for the successful implementation of new platforms to meet their growth, like SAP S/4 HANA.

Through additional resources like the SAP Transformation Navigator, users can even go beyond the identification of growth areas for ERP. This tool provides guidance in navigating the entire customer landscape. Complementing the guidance provided by a user’s Pathfinder report, SAP Transformation Navigator spells out a transformational roadmap inclusive of transition services, solution integration information and a value-based business cases.

The child in the grocery store may not have gotten their candy bar, but with SAP Innovation and Optimization Pathfinder, organizations can have their candy and eat it too. By providing prioritized steps for a targeted and cost-effective innovation strategy, SAP customers and partners are guaranteed to get the most from their SAP solution investment. Ready to request your own personalized report? Begin your journey at

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