In this FAQ I will focus on SAP's new approach for implementing Rapid Deployment Solutions and address common customer questions and concerns.
What are SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions?
Launched in 2010, SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions are modular packages that include SAP software, pre-configured content, best practices, and fixed scope implementation service, resulting in fast and predictable software deployments. Typically implemented within a quarter, the current portfolio of approximately 100 packages covers given Line of Business (LoB) functions such as CRM and SCM, Industry modules, as well as the latest innovations from SAP, including analytics, mobile solutions, and HANA-based packages. Sold and delivered globally by both SAP and a fast growing ecosystem of Partners, SAP Rapid Deployment solutions promise not only fast time to value and lower implementation costs, but also the ability to grow and scale over time at the customer's pace. SAP Rapid Deployment solutions - now with Cloud deployment options - have redefined SAP implementations for customers.
Here are two common analogies we use when describing rapid-deployment solutions:
- Building Blocks - Not only do children's building blocks come in different shapes, sizes, colors but you can also easily build blocks on top of each other - allowing you to customize your 'construction' project as you see fit. Same is true with rapid-deployment solutions, you have the option of choosing the software solutions that address your immediate business needs and the ability to add additional functionality later as your business grows.
- Chocolates - 30 years ago, chocolate was only available for consumers to purchase in large quantities and at a high price (assuming you only wanted a small portion); today chocolate is now offered in affordable bite-size packages. This is very similar to rapid-deployment solutions; you now have the choice of affordable bite-sized solutions for a lower cost (click here for more about SAP 'chocolates')
Why did SAP create Rapid Deployment Solutions?
For years, SAP has applied the packaging concept to solutions targeting the small and mid-size market segments, such as SAP Business All-In-One. With a full portfolio of new innovations, such as HANA and Mobile as well as a large portfolio of more mature products, SAP wants to ensure that we apply these methodologies and tools across the entire SAP portfolio. A CIO at a customer once told me, "We don't get value from buying SAP software. We realize value when we deploy and run it." This is the premise of what we are trying to do with SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions.
What role do Partners play?
Partners, such as Bluefin Solutions, are key to delivering the promise of rapid-deployment solutions, since they are sold as complete solutions including implementation services under a fixed timeframe. Today, we have more than 100 qualified Partners supporting rapid-deployment solution implementations, with dozens more in process. Partners not only help in terms of implementing rapid-deployment solutions, but can also help extend solutions in order to cover more specific needs that go beyond the package, as well as providing cloud deployment and financing options.
What if a Rapid-Deployment Solution isn't a 100%, perfect fit?
While rapid-deployment solutions are based on SAP best practices for a given LoB, industry or technology-related solution, it is not necessary for the given solution to fit all of a customer's business needs to have a valuable impact. In many cases, a rapid-deployment solution may help to cover 70-80% of a customer's requirements, whereas the delta can be extended through the use of additional Services from SAP or its Partners. In this case, the customer will save time on not "reinventing the wheel" for standard processes, and can apply resource savings to areas that bring competitive differentiation.
While rapid-deployment solutions are a standardized approach to delivering SAP software, they are also flexible - helping to bring value in many unique ways (watch these customer testimonial videos to learn more):
- Provimi - (Animal Nutrition/Food company)
- Springer - (German publishing house)
- Hunter Douglas - (A global manufacturer of custom window treatments)
What makes SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions different to the previous SAP delivered methodologies?
This figure explains how our 'out-of-the-box' rapid-deployment solutions differ from traditional SAP implementations:
What are the most common reasons for a customer to buy SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions?
- Quick implementation time
- Proven best practices
- Low cost
Customers need to realize value quickly from their software purchases. Gone are the days when companies can routinely afford long blue-printing and requirements-gathering processes for every project. They need fast response times, proven and defensible ROI, and a predictable quarter - and not a year from now. Speed and low cost are very important, but customers also need the reassurance that the solution they purchased is actually making their business run better - proven best practices provide that reassurance.
Common customer questions
Can we implement multiple rapid-deployment solution packages at the same time?
Yes, back to the 'building blocks' analogy. You can build upon your rapid-deployment solution packages as you build upon your 'blocks'. Some rapid-deployment solutions may be implemented a few weeks quicker than others, but customers can seamlessly implement as many as they want, whenever they want.
Can we add on functionality after the rapid-deployment solution is implemented?
Yes. Our rapid-deployment solutions come with a pre-defined scope, which means that customers will have the core functionality of the solution, and can then customize and extend the solution in areas that will bring competitive advantage. After the rapid-deployment implementation is deployed, customers can also choose to add on functionality through additional rapid-deployment solutions. For example, after deploying CRM for Sales rapid-deployment solution, a customer may choose to follow on with Mobile Sales, CRM analytics, or Social CRM rapid-deployment solutions, to name a few.
Will SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions integrate w/ our other SAP solutions?
Yes. One of the greatest things about rapid-deployment solutions is that they are modular, yet integrated. So as your organization deploys solutions, integration and long-term system sustainability is in place (check out this blog to learn more about 'Integration').
What makes SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions unique?
SAP Rapid Deployment solutions are more than just SAP software and a fixe scope implementation service. The best-practices, tools, industry templates, and other types of intellectual capital is based on decades of building and implementing software, across the globe, to companies/industries of all sizes. CIO's enjoy seeing results in weeks without breaking the bank! (That's why we also rapidly deploy here at SAP).
Also, bundled with the SAP Best Practices is our rapid-deployment solution Step-by Step implementation guide. This Step-by-Step guide provides customers and Partners with all of the content, tools and accelerators needed, at each stage of the implementation, to help ensure a predictable outcome, and to speed the actual implementation. Furthermore, user enablement and educational guides helps support the roll-out of new SAP rapid-deployment solutions to internal users, and to improve productivity.
How does SAP plan to align rapid-deployment solutions with new technologies and solutions?
We plan to evolve with new technologies as they are released - and we have already begun to do so. For example, take mobile technologies - we have rapid-deployment solution packages that allow us to combine CRM, SAP HANA, and Mobile - thus enabling businesses to empower their employees with the ability to run high-powered marketing analytics, in real-time, on their mobile device!
Also, roughly 1/3 of all of SAP HANA implementations done to date have leveraged rapid-deployment solutions.
We have also begun developing rapid-deployment solutions for the Cloud (check out this Cloud blog)
Click here for the complete blog series on SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions.
Jeff Winter is Vice President of Marketing at SAP, and manages two portfolios: SAP Services and SAP Rapid Deployment solutions. For SAP Services, a growing $4B+ IT professional services business with more than 15,000 employees, Jeff manages a worldwide team responsible for demand generation, core content creation, positioning and messaging, thought leadership, and brand management . Jeff also assumed responsibility for the newly established SAP Rapid Deployment solutions portfolio in 2010, which combines packaged solutions. In this role, Jeff and his team built the SAP Rapid Deployment solution brand and established rapid-deployment solutions internally and externally as a "Game Changer."
Prior to joining SAP in 2006, Jeff worked at the IBM headquarters in Somers, New York, where he helped develop the business and marketing strategies for the IBM e-business Hosting Services unit, which grew from $400M in 2001 to $1.7B in 2004. Jeff later worked in the Business Consulting Services and On Demand Strategy team, where he was responsible for developing and communicating the IBM On Demand Strategy, and focused on identifying new markets, including Business Process Outsourcing, and Cloud / Software as a Services. Jeff has 13 years of experience in the IT market in both strategy and marketing roles.
Jeff holds a Masters of Business Administration from Emory University's Goizueta Business School in Atlanta, Georgia and a Bachelor of Arts from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York. Jeff grew up outside Washington, DC and now lives in Fairfield, Connecticut with his wife, two young sons, and rambunctious dog. Jeff is an out-of-shape Triathlete, infrequent but enthusiastic golfer, and avid political wonk.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Bluefin Solutions Ltd.