• Q&A with Lois Bruckner – SAP Solution Delivery Center Consulting Manager – to address common questions about SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions
  • The business case behind preconfigured ‘out-of-the-box’ solutions
  • Start, Deploy, and Run: the project methodology behind rapid-deployment solutions; how it differs from traditional SAP implementations
  • Customer tips & challenges



A little bit about me:

Let me introduce myself, my name is Lois Bruckner and I am the Consulting Manager for SAP’s North America Solution Delivery Center, focused on delivering rapid-deployment solutions. In this blog, I will address the 3 most common questions I am asked about SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions.


What are SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions?

Watch this 2 min video for an overview of SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions:



In sum, rapid-deployment solutions are characterized by:

  • Predefined content based upon SAP best-practice business processes
  • Fixed scope, with certain customer adjustments and options allowed to tailor delivered content to the company’s business situation
  • Fixed price based upon the fixed scope
  • ‘Out-of-the-box’; step-by-step methodology and accelerators which enable the consulting team and the customer to work intensively together and go live    within weeks.


The predefined scope addresses a significant portion of a company’s business requirements.  Customers can implement the rapid-deployment solution package as a complete solution, or, can start with the core functionality rapid-deployment solutions deliver as an initial phase of their roadmap, later extending and customizing the solution to cover unique, and/or changing business needs. 

The point is: it makes good business sense to start quickly, at a fixed price with low risk of scope creep, and expand as needed, where it will support real competitive differentiation. 


What is the project methodology for rapid-deployment solutions?

The methodology is based upon three phases: Start, Deploy, and Run.

The Start phase includes project preparation where SAP consultants and the customer team review the project scope, schedule and milestones, plus establish a governance body. The customer also sets up their landscape and installs the software. Then we conduct an onsite project kick-off meeting to align business users, IT, and the consulting team for the rapid-deployment implementation.  Next, in a 1-4 day time span, depending on the package, the consulting team leads an on-site scope-validation workshop, where optional customer adjustments are defined and the scope is finalized. 


Once the customer signs off on the scope, the Deploy phase starts.  Over a few short weeks (working remotely – i.e. not on the customer’s location) the consulting team activates the solution, builds the customer scope-adjustments, and conducts knowledge-transfer training with the customer core team.  Customer representatives then conduct testing to confirm the solution is ready for go-live.  Meanwhile, the customer’s technical team prepares for production cut over. 


In the Run phase, the customer conducts end-user training leveraging enablement materials and guides from the rapid-deployment solution, and then takes the solution live.  Throughout the project, the entire team takes advantage of accelerators such as a pre-built project schedule, pre-written test cases, and business-process documentation.  A Step by Step Guide details each step of the methodology, which we follow like clockwork.

And it works! You can see from the chart below that the rapid-deployment methodology can save 40% or more time and effort compared to a similar-scope, traditional project.



What challenges can a customer expect when following the rapid-deployment methodology, and what tips can you offer?

Based upon my experience, it is really important for the governance team to align on and accept the rapid-deployment solutions scope and methodology.  There often are additional scope requirements that arise, if not a full laundry list. Being practical about phasing in requirements that go beyond the rapid-deployment scope is key to getting the solution implemented successfully, quickly and within budget, and then prioritizing and addressing new requirements during follow-on phases. This allows the organization to realize the business impact delivered by the rapid-deployment solution quickly, and then motivating the organization to move forward to address new areas, incrementally.


After the customer goes live, it may be advisable to engage SAP consultants to plan for the next phase(s) of the functional and technical roadmap.  There are additional, related rapid deployment solutions that can be considered as well (click here for the full list – filter by Industry or Line of Business).


Check out this link to read more.




Follow SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions on Twitter: @SAPRDS

Well, the long-awaited London Olympics are almost upon us, with only one day until the opening ceremony. The anticipation here in the UK has been building for some time now and I think the vast majority of Brits are hoping to show case our country to the fullest extent possible. And, whilst we, like most other countries, have suffered from a slowly ‘recovering economy’, a lot of effort and money has gone in to making these a great Olympic games. Let’s hope so and I hope that you’ll all get the chance to watch some of the events – the backdrop to the Beach Volleyball is of particular note, in Horse Guards Parade – if you have an image of London, and have never been, this event and the setting will bring that image to life.


However, I am here not just to talk about the London Olympics, but to provide some insight in to SAP HCM Rapid Deployment Solutions. Before I do a very brief overview of SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions, please permit me to introduce myself and my company - Gavdi.


Gavdi is a specialist SAP HCM firm with 200 HR consultants across 7 countries. With over 250 successful implementations of SAP HCM we have real expertise in this area, with an impressive array of skills in both technical and functional disciplines, in addition to HR Management Consultants who advise in the areas of strategy, building robust business cases and technology solutions. We also provide a comprehensive range of Products that enhance SAP HCM capabilities (e.g. products that speed up the transfer of legacy data for HR and Payroll from old systems to SAP).


I am the Country Manager for Gavdi UK & Ireland. I have been in the HR industry for almost 20 years and implementing SAP HCM for 9 years. My area of expertise is Talent Management and I regularly submit articles on talent management to various publications, present at HR conferences and run an SAP e-Recruiting Network Group on LinkedIn. 


I hope the description above provides some background about why this blog, and subsequent blogs, may be valuable to follow. Whilst I will definitely provide you with information and insights in to SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions, I will also attempt to inject some humour along the way – I’ll emphasise the word ‘attempt’ up front to manage your expectations correctly.


So, “What about Rapid Deployment Solutions?”, I hear you cry!

From that I have seen in the last few years, whilst there has been growing interest in cloud-based solutions such as SuccessFactors™ (recently acquired by SAP), many customers I speak to are actually investing in more ‘traditional’ SAP ERP HCM ‘On Premise’ solutions. At the same time, they have also been asking for faster and more cost effective SAP ERP HCM implementations based on ‘Best Practice’. i.e., they want to deploy integrated SAP solutions but want these in weeks, with a clearly defined scope and fixed price. SAP, along with SAP HCM firms like Gavdi, have been listening to these demands and, at last, we have finally come up with a template formula that actually works – SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions for HCM. In essence, you get a faster implementation of SAP ERP HCM, using the pre-defined formula, at a fixed scope and cost – you see what you are buying up front and only pay for what you want. Inevitably, some organizations will require some flexibility in the delivered solution and will use this formula as an ‘accelerator’; others will take the opportunity to get up and running faster with SAP HCM, ensuring a faster return on their investment.

Over the coming weeks and months, I will be highlighting particular areas of SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions and, where relevant, relating them to ‘real life’ project experiences. It will provide facts, features, and advice, providing a realistic view of Gavdi projects and the challenges we often face during implementations. With a promise to deliver individual HCM modules in ’12 weeks’ or less, firms like Gavdi have committed to delivering greater value to SAP HCM customers. With a comprehensive array of predefined documentation (Business Blueprints, Processes, Functional Specifications, etc.), a prescribed scope and a fixed price, we know that the process of implementation and ‘Go Live’ has speeded up, whilst also retaining the important ‘checks and balances’ required to ensure success.


Thanks for reading this, my inaugural blog – I’ll be keeping a close eye in proceedings in London and preparing to go myself on July 30th for the Eventing in Greenwich Park, with my wife and two eldest sons in tow. We have an easy train ride to London, Waterloo, followed by a River Boat Cruise down The Thames to Greenwich Park. I am sure this will be lots of fun and I’ll be sure to tell you about it in a subsequent article.   


...and, if anyone reading this, fancies a job as a Security Guard for 3 weeks in London this summer, starting Friday, please let me know. I’ll be sure to pass your details on!

Bert Laws

Keep Calm and Carry On

Posted by Bert Laws Jul 19, 2012

It is a simple message that has gained a sort of resurgence in popularity over the last few years, but it should serve as a rallying cry to Business Intelligence (BI) professionals everywhere.  With the explosion of social media and an increase in the velocity of new technology adoption (mobile, big data, cloud infrastructures, etc.), it’s easy to lose focus on what is important in building business analytics.  I’m here today to tell you, simply, to Keep Calm and Carry On.  BI and Analytics are not all that hard if you break your Analytic problems into a (very) few core components.


Essentially, all of BI & Analytics boil down to four simple components (let’s call them “pillars” so we can sound all academic):



The technology that you choose to use to manage these pillars is secondary to the simple management of these four disciplines.  The fastest HANA engine, the most accessible mobile device, the slickest BI Tools are worthless if your analytic solutions fail to define a fundamental balance in these fundamental concepts. (Is the first time that you’ve heard “It always comes down to requirements.”?).  It’s easy to get carried away and make a big deal out of one or more of the pillars and the BI project can quickly get out of hand.   Keep Calm and Carry On…


Let’s look at the pillars in a little more detail…

  1. Data Lifecycle Management (DLM) – I don’t mean to over simplify matters here.  DLM can be a huge task.  You have to know the data that you need, where it comes from, the quality of the data, its latency (when was the data last refreshed  - or more importantly – how fresh does the data need to be for your application), and how does it get into your analytic application?  The answers to these questions are really quite independent of your technology.  But they are critically important to your analysis.
  2. Business Rules Management – Step back from the transaction ledge pilgrim – you’re a BI person now.  We all know what it is, we just don’t necessarily know why it’s important.  Maybe it’s important because you use it for budgeting.  Maybe if we annualize data element “A”, it becomes more relevant to our business problem. (What’s more relevant: 2% growth per month or 24% year over year)?  Understanding what we need to do to our core data to make it relevant is critical to a meaningful analysis.
  3. Visualization & Presentation – To be honest?  Part fluff, part substance.  Sure, sometimes data just doesn’t make sense until we analysts see it laid out all colorfully in a graph or a heat map or a bubble chart or something.  But there’s no denying that to a busy executive who doesn’t have time to comb through the numerous iterations of graphs and what-if scenarios and just wants to see the answer, a picture is truly worth a thousand words.
  4. Information Delivery – Ok, you got me here.  Technology is a huge lever today.  Whereas we used to have to produce hundreds of pages of greenbar reports (if you don’t know what these are, just ask your parents (or grandparents)) to tell a simple story, a tablet computer has become ubiquitous these days for delivering info. The real progression is more like: greenbar -> 35 mm slides -> PowerPoint’s -> dashboards on your laptop -> iPad, but you get the point:  How you choose to manage the delivery of your message is crucial in modern BI.


So that’s it, right? Simple.  But wait, you say – there’s a lot of work in there.  OK…remember…Keep Calm and Carry On…


keep calm and carry on.jpg


To make these four pillars work for you and to build a successful analytic application, you need to do three things:


  1. Content Development – Once you have defined the business problem that you are going to solve and you have identified the relevant Analytic Horizon (stay tuned for a future blog on this topic), you need to develop the content that you want to deliver.  Once you know these things, you need to know how to frame your solution.  To develop content, you must sort through the data, identify business rules that have already been applied and create new business rules that demonstrate a clearer path from the problem to the solution.  This means identifying the relevant subset of your data, identifying the rules, developing the visualization and then preparing for the delivery of the solution.  I never said that it would be simple – but it is logical and can be parsed into smaller problems that can be solved.  Remember:  Keep Calm and…well you know the rest…
  2. Enable the core of your solution – Sad but true – if you can’t explain the problem and the solution or build a consensus about the relevance of your analysis – in a word if you can’t market your solution – no one will know or care that you just solved world hunger.  You must build a buzz around your solution and help your stakeholders understand what your new analytics have brought to the discussion.
  3. Create a consistent delivery for your solution – can you reproduce the analysis with next month’s data?  Do you have a trained team to help “spread the word” of your breakthrough thinking?  If not, you haven’t addressed the problem.


So, faithful reader, what do you do now?  There is really no magic here.  As the old saying goes, slow and steady wins the race (or Keep… (sorry)…).


At SAP, we have used this simple paradigm in the development of our Rapid Deployment Solutions.  These solutions help you to accelerate your management of the four pillars of Business Analytics (Data Lifecycle Management, Business Rules Management, Visualization & Presentation, and Information Delivery) and provide you with a great foundation of Content, Core Enablement and Delivery tools to help you down the road to address your Business Analytic problems. 


Of course, your specific business problem may be a variation of the problem addressed by one of our many rapid-deployment solutions.  Your data may be a little (gasp) customized or your rules slightly different and you may want to tweak one of our visualizations and delivery tools, but through rapid-deployment solutions, we can help you quickly start down the road with a discipline that will work for almost any BI or Analytic Application problem.


You just have to remember, Keep Calm and Analyze On….

Analyze on.jpg



For more info about our available rapid-deployment solutions for business analytics, check out these new videos:






Follow SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions on Twitter: @SAPRDS

Todays ever changing business environment requires flexible and agile IT solutions, thus requiring Chief Information Officers (CIO) to face multiple challenges. On the one hand, CIO’s need to provide stable, reliable, world-class IT services to support a global business. On the other hand, IT needs to support new business models and provide fresh innovations to enable new business opportunities.


SAP faces the same challenges. We must not only make our customers ‘run better’ with our best in class IT solutions, but we must also make SAP ‘run better’ as well. But due to SAP‘s ongoing business transformation, it is important for our overall success to adopt new innovative solutions in a very short timeframe – we want to start utilizing our cutting-edge solutions immediately, not months/years from now!. Especially for SAP‘s In-Memory technology HANA, which is providing new game changing solutions, and is able to provide critical information in real-time. And also for our Mobile solutions, which are playing an important role to consume information in an easy way, everywhere, no matter if you are in the office, on the road, or at the airport (or even on a plane J). In the past, the traditional implementation of new solutions took months or even years. However, with SAP‘s new rapid-deployment-solutions we are able to deploy innovative solutions quickly and easily, with preconfigured software and content within days/weeks, instead of months/years.


For example, recently during our migration of our internal business system to the Sybase Adaptive Server Enterprise database (ASE) we implemented a rapid-deployment solution. We were able to migrate a complete system landscape (5 systems in total) in less than 4 weeks and with very little impact to our business. This rapid-deployment solution helped us to manage ASE in an efficient way and required a minimal training effort for our database administrators. This was very important to us since this system is mission critical to our business - all of our customer related projects are managed in this system! After the migration we were able to improve the performance of critical transactions by a factor of 2, while in the same step we were able to
significantly reduce overall total cost of ownership.


Also, at SAP we implemented some new rapid-deployment solutions for Finance. For example, we implemented the new profitability analysis (CO-PA) with HANA using a rapid-deployment solution. We were able to deploy these solutions in days without any impact to our business and risk free! The new profitability scenario is 120x faster than before and helps us to perform real-time insights into SAP‘s productivity, which empowers us to provide instant and on-the-fly analysis. So we reduced run time from days into seconds; and now we can do things we never could do be before, like simulations or even prediction analysis – thus empowering our executive teams to make smarter decisions.


These are only a few examples of how we leverage Rapid Deployment Solutions at SAP and how they enable us to deliver innovation in a fast and agile way. This is a must have in a business environment that SAP is operating in, and a strategic driver for SAP‘s success. So to answer the ‘title’ question; YES! SAP does rapidly deploy SAP. Shouldn’t CIO’s everywhere follow suit? 


Click here for the complete blog series on SAP Rapid Deployment


Follow on Twitter: @MTHei  & @SAPRDS

Hello to everyone following our Rapid Deployment Solution blogs. In my last blog I outlined our then upcoming role in SAP’s SAPPHIRE NOW in Orlando in May 2012. I can report that it was a very successful event. Today I’m here today to do the same for our China Sapphire that will take place on July 26 & 27 at the China National Convention Center in Beijing.


Beijing Sapphire.jpg


For those who may not have caught my SAPPHIRE NOW Orlando blog about rapid-deployment solutions, it would probably be a good idea for me to briefly explain what SAP Rapid Deployment solutions actually are.  They are the next exciting wave in SAP’s drive to simplify our customers experience and speed their time to value. They include packaged preconfigured software, content, and end user enablement plus implementation services, which allow you to get just what you need, when you need it. So for example, if you are running SAP CRM today, but are looking to go mobile with your sales force, there’s a rapid-deployment solution for that…and if you got started on your rapid-deployment solution today, you’d be running a mobile sales force before summer’s end!  With over 80 rapid-deployment solutions across SAP’s portfolio of applications there’s a good chance that many of your specific business needs can be addressed.


Like Orlando, our top Rapid Deployment Solutions will be prominently featured in each of the Zones.  Featured SAP Rapid Deployment solutions will include; HANA, Mobility, CRM, HCM, ERP, EWM – as well as Industries, including Utilities, Consumer Products, and Rapid Marts. Attendees will be able to explore these rapid deployment solution topics as sessions will include; demos, customer presentations, roundtable meetings with experts, and topical discussion that will highlight rapid-deployment solutions. Demos and meetings with experts will be available in both Chinese and English as our rapid-deployment solutions experts are all bi-lingual (Mandarin and English) as there will be attendees from all over the globe!


Click here for the official site for SAP’s China Sapphire 2012!


SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions are really beginning to garner a great deal of interest in China and this is the perfect venue to showcase rapid deployment solutions for our customers, partners, and employees alike – I am especially looking forward to learning more about how one of our Chinese customers, OCME, used rapid-deployment solutions to “run better”.  Also, I’m looking forward to attending China Sapphire as they have taken a different approach to overall attendee engagement with a “Zone” oriented layout. The Zones include Line of Business, Innovation, and Industry and are located across 4 different levels within the convention Center. One interesting point about China Sapphire is that the official Language of the event is Mandarin.  Only select sessions will be translated, including for example Rob Enslin’s Keynote. I plan to keep my Google translator app on my iPhone close at hand.


I look forward to meeting you and helping you learn how you can truly “run better” in just weeks with SAP Rapid Deployment solutions at China Sapphire.  For those who can’t attend, I’ll be reporting from the show with on-site details!


See you in Beijing...


Dave Fowler




Dave Fowler has been with SAP for 6 years in a variety of capacities and is currently the SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions content manager for China Sapphire. 

Customer Segmentation is the art of defining and selecting the group of customers that are most likely to respond to an offer, and is a key practice for nearly all marketing and sales organizations. In fact, successful Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) excel in exactly this area*. In the era of big data, marketing leaders across the globe wonder:


  • With the explosion of channels like mobile, social, and others, how do I establish a 360 degree view of my  customers and not be limited to what is inside my CRM system?
  • How can I slice & dice all this customer data really fast?
  • How do I create true customer insights based on that data?



Figure 1: SAP CRM Customer Segmentation


SAP has been investing into High Volume Customer Segmentation over the last few years and we continue to do so. SAP’s rich portfolio of in-memory computing technologies, SAP HANA in particular, offers a number of new options for IT to deliver a solution to the line of business marketing that offers:


  • A beautiful user interface
  • High speed performance on big data
  • 360 view on customer across different data sources
  • Flexibility for business users
  • Consumption of analytical insights from data mining / predictive analytics
  • Integration into the overall business process campaign management and marketing planning
  • Tangible business results in driving revenues, margin and marketing effectiveness


In this blog I want to provide you with an overview on:


  1. What are the solution options that are available for SAP CRM customer segmentation today?
  2. How do I find the right deployment option for my organisation?


We currently have 4 options available for segmentation but there are only 2 questions you need to ask yourself in finding the right one:


  1. Do you run SAP Business Warehouse (SAP BW) and do you need SAP BW data in the customer segmentation process?
  2. How many customer records do you have/plan to have in your SAP CRM database?


seg options1.jpg

Figure 2: Finding the right deployment option for SAP CRM Customer Segmentation


Classic segmentation falls in the realm of low customer records where you do not need to enhance query performance. 

There are two cases for Classic Segmentation: 


1) If you do need BW data, you should be okay for up to 500k records;

2) if you do not need BW data then you can go up to 1 million customer records.

These are rules of thumb and there are other factors involved which may lead to higher or lower boundary values.


High Volume Segmentation means that we  have to leverage in-memory computing technologies such as SAP HANA or the SAP Netweaver Business Warehouse Accelerator (BW-A) to speed up the query performance. Again we have two cases based upon whether you require BW data: 


1) If no BW data is required you can run the Customer Segmentation accelerator powered by SAP HANA;

2) if there is BW data involved we recommend SAP CRM in combination with SAP BW powered by SAP HANA (BW on HANA).


There is a last option mainly for customers who have BW-A, and don't want to purchase BW on HANA yet, they can run the segmentation against BW and BW-A as well.  However, it is our clear recommendation to go for the SAP BW powered by SAP HANA option as soon as it fits into the organisations overall BW strategy since there will be no further investment in BW-A. So only the HANA options come with all of the new features, data mining and predictive analytics as an example.


So, we do have a solution for everyone and to find the right deployment option you simply need to ask what is the volume of data and whether SAP BW data is part of the mix. The next chart adds one more level of detail and provides you with an overview on the required releases per deployment option:


seg opt2.jpg


Figure 3: Recommended release per deployment option


In conclusion, Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) should take a close look at SAP’s new rapid deployment solution offerings for customer segmentation, which are capable of affordably addressing their immediate marketing segmentation pain points. A SAP rapid deployment solution is a delivery option that enables companies to be up and running with SAP solutions in as little as a few weeks. To get more details on this rapid deployment solution for segmentation (only a 5 week implementation!), please follow this link.


*IBM CMO Study 2011



For more information about Customer Segmentation, check out this ‘Document’ on





Follow SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions on Twitter: @SAPRDS

Finding that elusive thing holding the universe together has been a hot topic in the 21st century.  And last week scientists believe to have discovered the elementary particle that has been holding our universe together; the Higgs Boson.


Higgs Boson.jpg

One of the interesting things about this discovery is that scientists were unable to see the actual Higgs Boson itself, but rather they were able to determine its existence by analyzing large amounts of data, identifying abnormalities that were only explainable if the Higgs Boson particle was present!



As I’m sure those theoretical physicists know, sometimes it’s difficult to put your finger on a very complex system. Operations excellence in manufacturing is also a complex interrelated system, which is often challenging to determine if you have achieved success. Sometimes the focus and improvement in one operations area will cause poor results in another area; operations managers cannot help but to feel like they are playing the arcade game 'Whack-A-Mole’.



Batch manufacturers face similar challenges of complexity. Balancing schedule adherence with high quality, while simultaneously trying to ensure increased efficiency in the use of personnel and resources, can make determining success a very challenging activity. Visibility into this is not as easy as directly observing one simple measurement.  Many types of manufacturing data must be collected as materials are received, process steps are executed, and quality readings are taken to determine if the plans are being met, quality is maintained, and resources are used efficiently. 



Dunn-Edwards, a US based paint manufacturer, was faced with this type of dilemma. They were challenged with a constrained throughput, inefficiencies, and lack of required flexibility for growth. They built a new plant and wanted the business and the plant “to talk to one another” from day one. They did not want to be left like the theoretical physicists chasing the Higgs Boson wondering if they were achieving success or not – they wanted more control over their destiny.  They leveraged pre-built templates for batch manufacturing within SAP Manufacturing Integration and Intelligence (MII) to reach a challenging time-line to go-live with full shop floor batch execution and integration to the business on the first batch!




SAP MII provides real-time analytics, aggregates, calculates, and delivers a single view of events, alerts, key performance indicators, and decision support.  With this solution, Dunn-Edwards was able to identify success in efficiencies requiring half the people and half the time to produce a batch of paint. However, their greater success was the strategic advantage this flexibility brought with their ability to penetrate new channels of big box retailers and overseas markets. And fortunately for other manufacturers who face similar dilemma, SAP offers a rapid deployment solution for SAP MII, which can implemented in as little as eight weeks. Watch the overview video to learn more:






Follow SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions on Twitter: @SAPRDS




When you start looking for a flexible software solution, you might not want to boil the ocean but simply address your most urgent business needs – as a first step. And limit your risk of course. And maximize speed. And lower your TCO? Sure. No problem. SAP Rapid Deployment solutions can help deliver what you need.


Work with SAP or a qualified partner , and you get preconfigured software, content, end user enablement, and implementation services, all in one package. Flexible deployment options – on-premise, private or public cloud, or a combination – make it easy to implement innovations for mobile, in-memory computing, analytics, and more. And our broad portfolio of solutions address a wide range of line-of-business and industry needs, so you get the ease of a packaged solution with the combination of implementation, hardware, hosting, and financing options that are right for you. To learn more about our available rapid-deployment solutions, click here.



Also, did you know that you have the choice of a Cloud-based Quick Start with SAP rapid-deployment solutions? For more info, check out this blog ‘The Best of Both Worlds with the Customizable Cloud’.







Follow SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions on Twitter: @SAPRDS

I like building jigsaw puzzles.  We all have our way of putting puzzles together – maybe we work the edges first, or try to assemble similar colors – but we always have that picture of what it’s supposed to look like once complete.   Good project and program managers are usually good puzzle builders also.  They take the tools available (Resources, Time, & Scope) and try to fit them together so that the end result looks like the picture on the box – or at least like the vision presented to the CEO. 



If you think of a large project to design, deliver and support a complex product to a customer – it’s a lot like managing a puzzle, only much more complex.  Further, the costs of not completing the puzzle can be significant.  Successfully completing a project or program therefore requires the necessary plan and tools for realizing the end result.  Looking at your plan as a series of steps is often a great way to compartmentalize your challenges, and to effectively manage your program.  This is what we mean by a lifecycle approach to Program Management


Consider the following steps in the Program Lifecycle Management:


  1. Capture & Plan the Work
  2. Design & Develop the Product
  3. Acquire the Materials
  4. Transition to Production
  5. Build and Test the Product
  6. Support the Product
  7. Execute with Quality
  8. Perform to Financials


Exceptional Project and Program Management depends a mastery of the details.  How many resources do I have?  What are they doing, right now?  Do my resources have the right tools to complete the job and keep my project on schedule?  Are all of the projects in my program on track?  What are the gotcha’s – those little things that only seem to happen at the absolute worst time and can throw your schedule and your plans into a tailspin?  The over-arching question, however, is how can I keep it all in focus and in perspective?

Continuing with the puzzle analogy, consider each step in the Lifecycle Approach a section of the bigger puzzle within which you can build the pieces and parts discretely.  But simply knowing the parts doesn’t get the puzzle built; knowing how to piece the parts together does.  In almost any business instance, we use metrics or Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) to keep track of how well we are doing against our goals.  Project & Program Management is no different.  Just knowing the steps doesn’t get the job done - actively managing the execution of these steps by using the right KPI’s does.   Understanding the parts, helps to clarify the linkages between the parts and then the puzzle starts to come together more logically.


Project managers have several tools they utilize to solve their ‘puzzles’ and make their projects successful; here is another powerful tool they can quickly implement. SAP offers rapid-deployment solutions that empower customers with proven best practices and allow them to be up and running in only a few weeks – project managers can now address their pain points immediately (and affordably) with these rapid-deployment solutions. SAP offers a rapid-deployment solution for SAP Program Performance Analysis for Aerospace and Defense, powered by the SAP HANA platform - click the link to watch a demo video that explains how this solution provides a foundation for unifying the vision (er…puzzle J). And since this solution is powered by HANA that ‘unified vision’ can be achieved at unprecedented speeds!puzzleRDS.jpgThis rapid-deployment solution takes a visual scorecard approach that allows you to track how well your projects are performing against objectives within a larger program: (click on the picture to enlarge)


Each step in the lifecycle is further supported by dashboards that present key performance indicators to help you. The program manager can quickly assess not only the entire program, but also is able to answer the question “How am I performing in Requirements (or MRP or Development/Production)?” in more detail: (click on the picture to enlarge)


This particular solution is obviously built with large Aerospace and Defense firms in mind - these firms have a solid track record and experience working with large complex capital projects.  However, you are not limited to just these industries with this solution; this solution can benefit various industries. Basically, any Project or Program Manager who enjoys a good jigsaw puzzle will quickly see the value of this new rapid-deployment solution



To learn more about SAP rapid-deployment solutions for managing large capital projects and programs, stay tuned here for follow-up blogs



Follow SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions on Twitter: @SAPRDS

The new norm for IT is to focus on incremental projects to achieve business goals step-by-step, and get to go-live quicker with fewer resources. You are not alone if your company is asking you to do more with less, and this is not necessarily a bad thing; it makes us all more creative and pushes us to be innovative. Necessity is the mother of invention.


The whole concept of rapid deployment solutions is to provide a way of doing more, quickly and effectively. SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions can increase the velocity of a project, with SAP providing preconfigured content based on the experiences and best practices of partners and customers. Beyond having this out-of-the-box solution, the one best way for kick-starting rapid-deployment projects is the Step-by-Step Guide, available for each rapid-deployment solution.


Key Benefits of the SAP Rapid-Deployment Solution Step-by-Step Guide are:

  • Very user-friendly, easy to access and use
  • Start, Deploy, Run - simple, focused methodology that guides through the steps
  • Linked documents specificfor the solution


                                                            step by step.png


The Step-by-Step Guide is an interactive series of pages organized to display the steps needed for the project, from planning to go-live. Notice, I write the project, because a Step-by-Step Guide is created specifically for each rapid-deployment solution. Moving through the steps, necessary documents or links are attached, for that solution. Giving users a great way to stay on track and have necessary documentation organized at their virtual fingertips.


Here is an example of a Step-by-Step Guide, the inflection point and gold line denote the step displayed.
Blog SBS.png

And as anyone in IT knows, a variety technical and business (non-technical) people are involved with any IT project. By providing a user-friendly guide with the repository for documentation linked to the methodology, it is much easier to align all stakeholders to better understand their area of direct responsibility and how it impacts the overall project. The Step-by-Step Guide allows for better collaboration; and collaboration is always necessary to successfully get projects started, deployed, and running.


Rapid-deployment solutions are a packaged approach that includes preconfigured content and the implementation services. There is an additional, separate Step-by-Step Guide designed for consultants. This guide provides questionnaires, checklists, and other tools to assist the rapid-deployment. By providing those additional accelerators, it significantly decreases time and effort required with the engaged services provider.


What is really exciting for me is being part of this new norm. I was first introduced to these guides when joining the SAP Rapid-Deployment Solutions team and I'm really enthused about both the guides and this new rapid-deployment approach. One of the best ways I've seen to accelerate a rapid-deployment project is through the Step-by-Step Guide. It goes a long way to support successful solutions and happy customers; just one of the many steps that SAP is taking to be more inventive getting you started, deployed, and running better.


Click here for the complete blog series on SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions.


Follow SAP Rapid-Deployment Solutions on Twitter: @SAPRDS

The flavor of the season seems to be RDS (Rapid Deployment Solution) now. Anyone and everyone who is anything in the SAP marketplace is talking about RDS. I wanted to take a moment and really get to the bottom of this new wave of web and market chatter on RDS. We all know that this is not something that is new. All blue blooded SAP consultants have been familiar with the earlier avatars of RDS viz. Best Practice templates, Pre-configured templates and so on.  The branded version of this in  the  form of RDS is a structured bundle that contains the pre-configured Business Configuration set (BC Set) plus content like business process documentation, process flows, testing scripts, migration scripts and so on. All these are bundled with implementation services and sold as a productized service. The entry point price point is really low. The main objective of RDS is to disruptively reduce  cost and enhance speed to market. If this is not new, why this sudden fancy with RDS then? Well, I think it is a convergence of a lot of things. Consider this. 


Firstly, large “soup to nuts” greenfield implementations have become a thing of the past, atleast for the most part. You still do come across the sporadic case of multi-year back office implementations in organizations that are transitioning from an SME organization to a large enterprise. Also, you see a few of these in under tapped industries like say Natural Resources.  But these are few and far between. Most new implementations are in “Line of business” slices of the organization. This is a very important trend to be noted with respect to the wave of RDS chatter. RDS as a concept is more amenable to be implemented in small chunks. Given the nature of rapidfire implementations that RDS promises, it is essential to draw a boundary around what each RDS solution will provide. Consequently, most RDSs are focused on sub-processes within various Line of Businesses. You will not see an RDS that encompasses an entire back office implementation cutting across Financials and HCM.


Secondly, mechanisms of differentiation between the non big4 players are blurring substantially. Every one claims everything right from methodologies, frameworks, tools, accelerators to strong SAP alliance, partnership levels, strong talent etc. Winning or losing is very often becoming the function of talent on display during the sales cycle. It is very quickly becoming a resource play and that too is significantly scarce even for commodity skills like FICO, MM, SD ABAP and Basis. So, how does one differentiate? Atleast, in the immediate term, everyone seems to be rooting for a “best practice template(a.k.a RDS)” approach that will ostensibly reduce the customer’s TCO and enhance the speed to market. The slew of RDS offerings in the marketplace needs to be seen to be believed. RDS solutions are not restricted to just Line of Business solutions. It is cutting across processes, domain and technology. You have RDSs around HANA, RDSs around mobility and RDSs even on something as new in the SAP stable as Crossgate. While it is not totally clear on how overlapping RDSs from different SIs will co-exist and promoted by SAP, that does not seem to be dithering anyone. On their part, SAP as an organization is pulling out all stops to promote RDS as a concept and that is the third reason we will explore.


The world at large is rooting for low TCO, faster speed to market, low custom code, best practice templates, easy usability, agile implementation and what have you. The world at large is also substantially enamored with cloud based SAAS applications as well as a slew of pseudo cloud options in the process of accomplishing some of these classic objectives. CIOs, CFOs, CEOs and all other CxOs  you can imagine are falling for thin applications that have little to no chance of scalability. They are willing to compromise on features and functionalities in a heartbeat in return for the elusive quick ROI metric. While procuring these applications, there is an overwhelming propensity to make do with whatever standard features and functions these applications offer. While for the immediate term it is a great approach to quickly effect ROI, it severely impairs future scalability. One wonders why such an approach is not being used for deep and broad tier 1 applications. SAP is now tapping into this mindset by aggressively promoting RDS as a concept across all its platforms. This is a win-win situation across the board. The gains for the customer are numerous. They get a deep and broad application like SAP at a lower cost and faster speed. After a quick launch and acceptance, they could expand the footprint in due course, budgets permitting. For SAP, it is able to effectively counter competition and reduce shelf ware. For instance, a “Line of business” like SAP CRM is seeing fresh uptake on the strength of multiple improvements including a high number of RDS offerings in this space. Given this changing customer and competitive behavior, it made eminent sense for SAP to put all its might behind a concept like RDS


Given the above background of why RDS is finding new found acceptance across the board, let us go a few layers deep on how RDS is converging extremely well with a lot of other events on the SAP technological landscape. At first I thought RDS is just one more acronym coming from the SAP stable. Atleast, that is what I thought prior to my full blown indoctrination to this concept a few months ago at Walldorf. While this was first introduced to me almost 2 years back and then again about a year back, the latest attempt from SAP was rather convincing. I am writing this blog as I really think RDS is at the cusp of greater acceptability and become an industry standard for tier 1 products that have over the years gained the reputation of being feature rich and content deep but have suffered from other tags like “User unfriendly”, “High TCO”, “Tardy speed to market” and what have you.

I fundamentally believe that like HANA, Sybase and a couple of other strategic initiatives, SAP is beginning to get it right with RDS. Consider this… The SAAS vendors made billions by cashing in on customers perception of tier 1 applications likeSAP being heavy-footed, user unfriendly and high maintenance. But in the process have provided non-scalable applications with more strings attached than you can imagine. On the other hand it is heartening to see that SAP has taken the criticism leveled by its critiques very seriously. If one observes all the steps taken by SAP in the last few months and years, they have in a rather classically German way tried to address all these concerns not through rhetoric but through high quality engineering. 

  • XML5 and other UI related initiatives eminently address usability needs
  • HANA disruptively addresses performance needs. It is important to note that most analytics innovations
  • Sybase and its tools are best in class mobility solutions. With Syclo in the bag  as well, SAP has become the undisputed market leader in mobility.
  • Shorter software releases significantly transforms software upgrade and maintenance processes
  • And now RDS…


This note might come across as a bit biased in favor of  SAP  and its solutions. Actually, that is not the intention. It is more an acknowledgement of various strategic initiatives that SAP is taking.


Framework - For eons now service providers have constantly claimed to possess just the right best practice template that the customer is looking for during a sales cycle. And yes, many service providers have indeed built some of these templates on their test & demo servers. However, these attempts never attained critical mass and they were not backed by a framework. That made the attempts very sporadic and inconsistent. On the other hand, RDS has a framework for ensuring that the templates have a mass replicability attribute and also ensure that they have a life of their own. Every implementation might bring with it nuances that help improve the template. The RDS framework has the capability of doing that.


Use cases – RDS in its original avatar was launched as a tool to accelerate LoB implementations. But over the last many months SAP seems to have really thought through a broad applicability of RDS. It cuts across Line of Business processes, industry vertical specific processes and cutting edge technology (Sybase, HANA, Crossgate) oriented usages.


To conclude, I think RDS might end up changing the way SAP and other tier 1 applications gets implemented in the future. The day might not be far where the classical SAP implementation methodology – ASAP- gets re-written to orient itself to a RDS based implementation methodology. I realize that this might sound a bit precipitous. But, just watch out…



Filter Blog

By author:
By date:
By tag: