Drivers for working with an SAP consultancy

10 November 2010

Mike Curl

Mike Curl

Head of Finance, Services & Media

It surprises me that many organisations don’t know when and how to work best with a SAP consultancy such as Bluefin Solutions. Some have had poor experiences in the past, and are justifiably wary of bringing consultants in at all. Others see consultancies as a way to simply get some free advice.

Our best engagements start when the reasons an organisation is looking for outside assistance are clear.  The drivers for working with a specialist SAP consultancy typically fall into one or more of the following categories.

Specialist expertise

This is probably the most common scenario for bringing in a SAP specialist. Typical drivers include:

  • You’ve not done something before and you want experts to lead you through the process and ensure a successful outcome. This applies to full scale transformation programmes at one end of the spectrum, right through to new products or features at the other.
  • You don’t have the skills available in house. Perhaps they are too expensive because of a hot market. Or you might be struggling to attract and retain quality permanent staff because of location or because your business is in trouble.
  • You want to see how a different approach such as an agile methodology would work, and so bring in people who have successfully worked this way before.
  • You want to benefit from industry best practice and get some fresh ideas.


You might have the right SAP skills in house, but resources are tied up on other initiatives. You want someone to come in and provide additional bandwidth to deliver on your commitments. This is typical where you have a business that is either growing fast or expanding geographically. Ironically many struggling businesses also have capacity issues and have far too many projects underway in the belief that running faster in the only way out.

Focus / Timescales

Consultants shouldn’t get distracted, and have the luxury of being able to concentrate on a limited number of things and clear objectives. When you don’t get dragged in different directions or become involved in office politics, it’s amazing how fast you can get things done.


Good consultancies should be independent and say what they think; otherwise what’s the point of bringing them in? Challenging the client’s thinking and ways of doing things should be “business as usual” for consultants, provided it’s done in the right way.

Next time, I’ll look at different types of engagement models for consultancies, before turning to aspects such as how to select a consultancy that will be a good fit for your organisation and the merits of different commercial models.

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About the author

Mike Curl

Head of Finance, Services & Media

My interest in technology started in 1981 when a friend’s father built a Sinclair ZX81 and then relied on the two of us to program it. I soon moved on to my own BBC “B” computer (thanks dad!) and amused the family with some very rudimentary INPUT and PRINT statements…

My passion continues but on a much bigger scale than I could have ever imagined.  Today, I advise business and IT teams at some of the largest organisations in the world, helping them design, implement and exploit the latest technology in support of their business priorities and challenges.

I co-founded Bluefin in 2002 after spending many years in the consulting industry, having started at Andersen Consulting in 1994.  With Bluefin, I have been fortunate enough to be involved with some truly ground-breaking projects and technologies over the years.

What I really enjoy is finding the business value of new technology and leading the pioneering engagements to implement it successfully for the first time. Barclays, a client I lead at Bluefin, has won several industry and partner (SAP) awards for the innovative work we did with them around enterprise mobility. At another client we’ve also been doing some truly amazing work with SAP HANA that has the potential to disrupt established business models.

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

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