What your CIO needs to know about FSCM

9 July 2010

Mark Chalfen

Mark Chalfen

Former SAP S/4HANA Global Lead

This is my second blog looking at the key stakeholders for a FSCM implementation - the first was What CFO's need to know about FSCM

Why the CIO?

The CIO (Chief Information Officer) will have different focus points to that of the CFO. The CIO will be focused on providing the best solutions to meet the business requirements of an organisation. Within an Organisation the CIO will be accountable to the various business functions to ensure their teams have the correct tools to perform their job. Further to this they will need to ensure that the costs are manageable and new implementation can add real value to the Organisation.

Relevant responsibilities of CIO

  • Common platform for solutions
  • Having wall to wall SAP can have its benefits. By having a single main platform the business reduces costs for training, licenses, and support. 
  •  Be aware of new products and new developments
  • This can be tied in with the first responsibility. By being aware of new technology and new functionality, the CIO needs to be sure the correct products are being utilised and align to the Organisation's strategic roadmap.
  • Common platform for solutions
  • Having wall to wall SAP can have its benefits. By having a single main platform the business reduces costs for training, licenses, and support. 
  •  Be aware of new products and new developments
  • This can be tied in with the first responsibility. By being aware of new technology and new functionality, the CIO needs to be sure the correct products are being utilised and align to the Organisation's strategic roadmap.
  • Prioritise implementation and IT spend
  • Various business departments will be banging on the CIO's door demanding improvements in technology. The Sales-force will require the latest and greatest technology. The CIO needs to ensure any new implementation does not add further indirect costs through 3rd party licenses, support and maintenance. Further to this, some projects will not provide a reasonable ROI - there will need to be some give and take in the various prioritisations of the planned projects.

Benefits of FSCM for CIO

After reviewing the prioritisations of the CIO - the business case you need to present must show the following:

  • Achievable ROI
  • Remove 3rd party systems
  • Provide the business significant benefits

How does this affect a standard SAP Organisation?

If we review an average SAP Organisation. They implemented SAP say 10 years ago on, say a 4.0 or a 4.6 system. FSCM was not available and it is widely acknowledged the standard SAP solution was poor in the Accounts Receivable processes. That Organisation would have reviewed SAP and done one of 2 things. Designed a bespoke process to handle this in SAP. This would be hard to upgrade and will not benefit from the new functionality available in the latest SAP Enhancement Packages. The second option would be that they purchased a 3rd party system that they then linked (interfaced) to SAP. The Cash Collection team would then need to utilise both systems. They would need to be trained in both systems. Their business processes would be hampered as at times two sessions would need to be open.

Move the clock forward. The same Organisation that purchased the 3rd party solution performed a technical upgrade last year. The business did not see too much benefit or hindrance from this activity. However the CIO spent a lot of his budget on the upgrade, and has not provided the business with any "business lead" benefits. Please review my blog on the business of FSCM for tips around business lead benefits - http://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/scn/weblogs?blog=/pub/wlg/19262.  If you position your business case around the business benefits that the CIO's Organisation will gain from implementing FSCM you may get your toe through the door. If you follow this up by pointing out that you would be removing direct IT costs through the removal of the 3rd party solution - so no more licences, support, maintenance and hardware costs then you will gain their attention. However to fully grasp their attention detailed work needs to be done to provide achievable ROI.

Summary

I would recommend you only focus on the business lead ROI - by this I mean streamlining of the cash collection team, improved DSO KPI and a happier workforce as the users would have prioritised work-lists in a single system that utilised the single common platform (SAP). Further to this you will be aligning the CIO and the CFO. They will now share the same vision and provide dual support of the project.

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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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