We're approaching a period where much of the SAP talk will move towards the new functionality available that is being released within the latest Enhancement Packages. There will be stacks and stacks of information available that people will be busy digesting to understand whats actually out there. When reviewing all of this information it is really important for customers and consultants to learn what is available, however you need to look at why and how this could be beneficial.
The standard release documentation from SAP will look at system functionality that is either brand new or an enhancement of existing. Some of the new functionality might look good but is this just a shiny new view of an existing process or will it improve your business? Nowadays customers do not implement new functionality because it is simply new. They want much more. They want to understand the business benefits they will obtain if they implement the new functionality.
There are a significant proportion of clients that have either recently upgraded version of SAP or are currently in the middle of this exercise. Some of these upgrades would have been both time consuming and expensive with little return in terms of realised business benefits. The last thing customers want to do is to implement new functionality for the fear of those previous experiences. No two customers have the same experiences however when reviewing the new functionality customers need to ensure that they are looking to enhance customer business processes by reducing costs or improving performance.
Measure, measure and measure some more
When reviewing new functionality you need to see where it will fit in your current landscape and why this would add benefit to your organisation. Whilst some new functionality might seem to be attractive you need to be strong to ensure you put to the back of the wish list the nice to have’s and focus on the true business benefit solutions. There will be some real gems out there, and so it is worthwhile reviewing each area in detail to work out what is the best for your organisation. Tools such as the business function predictor are aimed at reviewing your current processes and then recommending system functionality based on potential business benefit.
Enhancement Package implementations
The one clear message any customer who has implemented functionality from an Enhancement Package is that this is not an upgrade. The whole process is not as time consuming or complicated as a system upgrade. Where the functionality you are planning on implementing does not currently exist, the volume of testing can be significantly low. Further to this, if you plan to release new functionality in varying modules they do not need to be done at the same time and can be implemented in isolation. So when you review the various functionalities you plan in to implement do not feel restricted if the functionality is different. Implementing new business solutions via Enhancement Packages provides your organisation the chance to become more Agile in the way new functionality is release to the business users.
Enjoy the next few weeks, I believe there has been a lot of anticipation as to what will actually be in the various enhancement packages. SAP will provide some business solutions that will be beneficial to your organisation, and SAP now also provide the tools to implement them via an agile methodology providing the benefits in a more precise and accelerated manor.