Is a RDS the best tool to implement SAP Receivables Management?

2 April 2012

Mark Chalfen

Mark Chalfen

Former SAP S/4HANA Global Lead

SAP has released a new RDS to implement SAP Receivables Management. I have been fortunate enough to work with the Product Development team to have a strong insight into the offering and how it compares to a standard implementation.

What does it consist of?

  • To access the RDS you need to be on Enhancement Pack 5 or above
  • The project will be implemented in a 5 week timescale
  • The solution consists of Collections and Dispute Management modules within ERP
  • As standard there is no extra reporting in ERP and does not include SAP BW reporting.

For a potential customer the benefits of an RDS solution are easy to follow. Purchasing services and licences from a single supplier as well as using SAP best practices are enticing. Having an agreed scope allows the project to avoid timely Blueprinting exercises providing a quicker implementation time, enabling the client to realise the benefits of the solution in a quicker time frame.

However it is worth noting that the majority of the elapsed time within a regular SAP Receivables Management project will focus on business process re-design exercises. Time spent configuring the system will be fairly light. SAP Receivables Management introduces new processes such as "Worklists" - Collection Strategies" and "Dispute Management Workflow". Replicating existing processes into SAP Receivables Management will keep poor practice, leading to a lower level of business improvement such as a reduction in DSO, Dispute escalation time or reduction in head count.

The concept of an RDS is to provide a foundation solution that can be personalised by the client. Two different clients could use the core configuration and build from the RDS however they may have different processes, as they will be different businesses with differences such as volume of customers, volume of open items, and volume of Accounts Receivable team.

A standard SAP Receivables Management could take anywhere from 7 weeks to 7 months, so the RDS is definitely quicker and therefore it should be cheaper. If you are a multi-national organisation with dozens of different business units that are services by a number of shared service centres SAP Receivables Management may be the solution for you, but the RDS may not be the implementation method for you. If you are a smaller organisation with a few business units with common processes then the RDS implementation for SAP Receivables Management would be more attractive.

Having studied the offering from SAP I would say that the following 2 areas within its implementation are the real value-add for a potential client.

1 - Common documentation

By having an agreed scope, the testing and training documents come prepared. Time does not need to be spent creating documents which are one of the main reasons the solution can be implemented in such an aggressive timescale.

2 - Upload of configuration

SAP has spent most of their development time providing a tool that can load up the required configuration. The tool is clever enough to enable some codes to be customised by the client, but there is a single process to perform the configuration of the system. This reduces the risk of a consultant making a mistake or missing out a step. Again this is part of the speed of the implementation.

Whilst the RDS is good, it should be pointed out that the configuration offered is pretty basic and most clients will require some modification on top of the standard delivery. There is nothing to say that the RDS solution cannot be promoted to production and the team start to use the new solution and over time the solution is personalised to meet the Organisations requirements. As I mentioned at the beginning one of the gaps within the RDS is the lack of reporting. The rationale from SAP is pretty clear, not all customers use SAP BW for reporting. There is plenty of business content available for SAP Receivables Management, and I would recommend planning on a parallel stream to ensure reporting is added to the solution as the reporting within ERP is limited.

If you are considering the SAP Receivables Management here is my
check list for you

Go for the RDS if...

  • you have common Accounts Receivable processes
  • you are managed by a common Accounts Receivables team
  • you have a handful of business units (not dozens)
  • you want to go live via quick and trusted route
  • you are happy for the solution to be "done to you".

Remember to...

  • Consider how you will report on the new system (bespoke ABAP's or BW?)
  • Allow for business change within your team
  • Budget for future changes to personalise your solution.

Avoid the RDS route if...

  • you need to agree the scope of your solution before implementation
  • you have dozens of business units with different processes and teams
  • you would like your SI to collaborate with you during the implementation.


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About the author

Mark Chalfen

Former SAP S/4HANA Global Lead

Mark tells it straight - as an ex-boxer, what else would you expect?  Both his knowledge and experience of SAP products allow him to cut to the chase dispelling myths and hearsay.

As a result of working closely with various SAP Finance Product Management teams on product development, Mark understands these products inside out. This depth of understanding has led to him become a ‘thought leader’ in his field; after all, it is not often SAP consultants have helped shape and develop the very product they are selling.

Having such a strong relationship with SAP alongside being an SAP Mentor and Moderator means that Mark has an extensive network within SAP. For clients, this relationship proves to be a huge advantage and leads to configuration issues being resolved rapidly.

Mark has worked on short proof of concepts through to year-long multi-million pound global roll-outs. However, no matter how large or small the project, the true value Mark brings to his work is in the guidance he provides to senior stakeholders. In essence, he assists them to implement more effective processes and drive better behaviours within their finance teams.

Helping organisations transform their business with SAP S/4HANA is Mark’s current focus. The benefits of S/4HANA are numerous, including the simplification of tasks, embedded analytics and improved user engagement. Whilst the eventual move from SAP Business Suite into S/4HANA is inevitable, the journey to it is not always clear. Mark’s ability to understand an organisation’s needs coupled with his deep understanding of S/4HANA provides clarity and eases their transition.

Bluefin and SAP S/4HANA - welcome to the one horse race

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