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The ASUG/SAP Partnership — What Does It Mean to You

by Kurt Basler | SAPinsider

January 1, 2002

by Kurt Basler, President, Americas' SAP Users' Group (ASUG) SAPinsider - 2002 (Volume 3), January (Issue 1)

This past fall the ASUG executive committee, along with SAP AG executive management, development leaders, and services and support management, participated in the Third Annual Walldorf Exchange at SAP AG Headquarters in Walldorf, Germany. While ASUG and SAP regularly meet to keep the lines of communication open and to discuss current needs and future plans, the Information Exchange provides our groups with a chance to reevaluate our shared strategic vision and make any necessary improvements.

Most important, the shared vision of the Information Exchange represents a business partnership. A strong working relationship with SAP ensures opportunities for ASUG and its members, as well as for SAP. So after identifying our members' needs based on the results of a recent survey, we at ASUG communicated these needs directly to SAP. The result is that ASUG, with SAP's assistance, made plans to develop these results into educational offerings, such as the ASUG R/3 Enterprise webcast. In addition, both groups have been working diligently to revamp the existing Influence Model - the direct means of providing SAP with product enhancements - within ASUG.

ASUG's mission and the educational offerings we provide are designed to complement SAP's "customer-centric" business philosophy. While the previous Influence Model outlined this philosophy, the new model redefines the partnership. While the previous model focused primarily on the DRQ process, the new Influence Model is built on three pillars - strategic direction, product change, and continuous improvement - and reflects how our organizations play off each other.

  • Strategic Direction focuses on the long-range product development plan used to gain advantages in the areas of technology and business processes.

  • Product Change concentrates on existing products and their improvement phases, as summarized by business justification and focus groups.

  • Continuous Improvement centers on the idea of fine-tuning existing products using the current DRQ process.

At the Information Exchange, ASUG initiatives and strategies, such as delivering the R/3 Enterprise message to customers through ASUG educational programs, received enthusiastic response from the highest levels at SAP, including Dr. Claus Heinrich, SAP Executive Board member and the SAP AG executive sponsor of ASUG. Both SAP America, Inc. and SAP AG jointly support ASUG as the collective voice of North American SAP customers. In this role, ASUG provides timely, strategic input into SAP product offerings and direction, and serves as a united voice to help foster more accessibility to SAP resources.

Although a well-defined partnership relies on a strong foundation, participation is critical. Whether you're watching a webcast, learning from the experiences of other SAP users in situations similar to your own, or discussing product ideas and developments, you're helping to build a solid partnership.

ASUG and SAP have new influential opportunities on the horizon, so look to for further details. Your role is important to ASUG and SAP - we look forward to hearing from you.

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