Many enterprises have found it possible to set up standardized and
integrated processes by introducing SAP R/3. One key subject at this year’s
annual meeting of DSAG (the German SAP User Group) will be how future
requirements for standardization and integration of general processes
within the enterprise or business unit can contribute to increased competitiveness.
Business Process Challenges
The timeframe for launching new products is becoming increasingly
shorter. For example, in the last 10 years, development time in the automotive
industry has been reduced from 5 years to 11/2 years. Product variance
and the quality of products have increased, while at the same time, there
is continued pressure to lower costs. This can only be achieved by consistently
reducing process costs using the newest in information technology.
Businesses also are facing the need to
adapt processes more quickly to new value chains. This requires
flexible company software. In addition, there are constantly changing
responsibilities within the value chain — service providers and
suppliers can suddenly find themselves responsible for an entire, end-to-end
business process, for example, when:
- Business processes are transferred to suppliers within the value
- Logistics tasks are turned over to logistics service providers
- Production processes move abroad or to suppliers
- Production developments shift to technology partners
- Non-core business processes are outsourced
Concentrating on core competencies
makes business models simpler and more efficient; still, business processes
continue to become more complex — that is, unless they can be standardized
and integrated into the business model, even as an external process.
Analysts from Gartner have seen a genuine
challenge for the real-time companies of the future: at the moment, IT
systems do, to a large extent, fulfill these real-time requirements, but
the standards to integrate processes and information are not yet in place
within the companies themselves.
A New Way of Thinking About Integration
As a result, the IT systems of the future require a paradigm shift. Whereas
previously one talked of application integration, nowadays one
talks of business process integration. New technologies —
such as SAP NetWeaver, the SAP Exchange Infrastructure, or user integration
through portals — trigger a new wave of standardization within business
At the same time, process integration
also means trustfully integrating all parties involved — from customers
to suppliers, employees, and other stakeholders — into the flow
of information. This requires enterprise-wide change management
that will be the critical factor for success.
- Be prepared for these new technologies by migrating to the new infrastructure
standards of SAP R/3 Enterprise, mySAP ERP, or mySAP Business Suite.
- Take the opportunity to initially introduce
small Internet-based business processes
into the company to support new products
- Make your company “ready for collaboration” electronically.
- Start with collaborative business processes, which provide immediate
- Take advantage of possible reductions in operating costs by upgrading
to SAP R/3 Enterprise.
And, finally, DSAG invites all members and interested persons to the
Annual Congress in Bremen this October, where attendees can gain insight
into new standards and technology that companies can use to address the
short-term need for long-term business benefits.