My work involves innovative implementation of Order to Cash implementation for SAP customers. Having done SAP implementation for renowned companies like Daimler, P&G, Boots and Rio Tinto I am into implementation value added integration of SAP with commercial open source CRM and E-Commerce platforms.
I realized that most SAP customers use a subset of functionalities SAP provide. This is primarily because of license cost and secondly high implementation cost associated. Thus a company usually gets the core head office users on to the system and key powers users on board. A bulk of business users get missed out. Thus ground level activities get missed out. Most often left outs are Salespersons and the dealer network.
Usual SAP Implementation drop outs - Dealers and Sales team
Best businesses around the world run SAP. However what portion of your organization user base gets covered by the power this application can provide. In my over twelve years journey typically 10% of total company employee use SAP in some way. Most obvious exclusions are salesperson and dealer community, at least as far as OTC cycle is concerned. The reason? To my understanding, two folds -
a. Sheer maths behind
The sheer number of users in this segment is enormous. So lets say if you have a dealer base : headquarter staff ration of 20:1, this means that in terms of licensing cost you have to shell out money in the range of 10x of what you currently are. Its huge isn't it? Even enterprise have their budgets worked out. Thus in most common scenarios, it is decided to leave out the job of order entry to internal staff and customer representative groups who then interact with dealers and salesperson to enter / track the orders on their behalf.
For years, SAP had an interface which was not at all suited for the segment of users which were mobile and needed to use system on the go. This was where Salesforce took off and surprised the market. Many SAP customers integrated Salesforce before SAP realized that it needs to do something.
Licensing cost and infrastructural requirements don't allow even big enterprises to get them on board.
Due to the geographic spread, training becomes a key issue on many occasion. This is also true because people of the ground keep changing and it necessitates elaborate training to be conducted every quarter for new recruits.
However, they are eventually the profit centers of the company. Revenues are there because they generate inquiries, quotations and finally the orders,don't they? So what are the options available to an organization.
Fortunately, SAP provides great options for most of the questions. The above aspect is no different. The possible solutions that the company banks on the latest revolution around SAP Integration capabilities and the recent focus on improving the UX / UI by the platform.
a. SAP Fiori
Since I saw the demo of the product, I must say that I am huge fan of SAP Fiori. For someone who has seen the light blue interface of SAP all this while, Its difficult to believe the kind of screens which one can develop this the solution. To a great extent SAP Fiori takes the concern on mobility away. Sales and service staff can easily interact with SAP in the most convenient manner from any device of their choice.
b. Matured commercial opensource solutions over SAP
Though the above solution is clean and rich, there are cases where budget is the main driver. Matured commercial open source solution like SugarCRM and Magento e-commerce provide a great option for companies to get the salesperson and dealer network on a single platform. There are multiple system integrators(SIs) who can help you achieve this.
Smart companies make an effort to improve their returns on investment they did while implementing SAP. However this is possible by having a single platform across the organization and getting users on the robust platform either by implementing the latest technology or by integrating smart web applications which require less to no training.