About 70 per cent of IT implementations are unsuccessful because they are behind schedule, over budget or do not meet planned goals. SAP senior vice president of rapid deployment solutions and customer ops, Steven Birdsall, recently visited Australia to discuss how SAP is repackaging the rapid deployment solutions model to provide more innovative and flexible products to SAP customers. Anne Widjaja reports.
SAP first began offering Rapid Deployment Solutions (RDS) in 2010, to provide what customers wanted most from an SAP implementation – predictability, flexibility and choice. “We are building solutions so that we can implement rapidly and get a very quick time to value for our customers in a predictable and flexible way. It’s important to customers to have that modularity and flexibility, so they can add to those packages. They want to know, ‘How do I quickly consume this new innovation that is coming out of SAP, along with the core products that I want to implement’, and that’s really what our RDSs are here to do,” Birdsall says. The applications take core functional elements from an existing solution, and include additional features for customer useability.
“For example, with CRM, we took account opportunity management, which is the core of what companies want, and with a fixed price and fixed scope, built that into a package which included the additional tools that were necessary for the implementation, such as best practice wizards and project templates.”
With Rapid Deployment Solutions, customers benefit from fast IT implementations, but they must balance this speed with the limitations of working only from a core functional package – although they are able to add flexible options. Currently, the solutions are offered across the various lines of business – from sales service and marketing, to engineering and human resource management. SAP plans to double the number of rapid deployment packages on offer in 2012, with new packages being released every quarter in order to respond to the dynamic needs of businesses.
“We work with the local leadership of industries to identify packages that are relevant for a given market. We create packages to deliver them back into the field, so we have the ability to implement those in a quick time to value fashion,” Birdsall says.
This field-driven methodology also requires an expansion of the ecosystem, so that SAP can cover the market more broadly. He says the new solutions now enable value added resellers such as Business One or Business All-In-One partners to offer new solutions such as a CRM or supply chain relationship management offering into their current install base. “They can penetrate new markets for their own capabilities based on their industry or solution expertise. It gives them a much broader array of products they can sell, because we give them the ability to have products that are relevant to the market and in high demand, like our new in-memory products or mobility,” Birdsall says.
Birdsall also believes that this new tack reflects the changing preferences of the market.
“The demand from our customers to have on-demand solutions and more of a subscription-based model is something that we are adapting to. The opportunity is not only to bring new products, but also to offer them in a cloud-based environment so that however the customer wants to consume the software, we make it available to them,” he says. The success of rapid deployment solutions in specific lines of business also reveals shifting trends in the industry. “CRM was really the area where we began, and it’s really grown into Human Capital Management – employee self service and manager self service – and our manufacturing intelligence product, MII. Those solutions are clearly on the rise,” says Birdsall.
In particular, SAP has seen a massive uptick in terms of customer adoption of its Treasury Management solution. Typically a complex implementation, customers are clearly seeing the benefit of instead using a scaled-back version which can be up and running in a matter of weeks. “Not only do we take some of the more simple solutions like Spend Performance Management but we also take some complex products like Treasury Management or MII and offer those through a rapid deployment solutions, and those are selling very well.”
This article was first published in Inside SAP December 2011.