Expand +



From Labor Arbitrage to Process-Driven Component Delivery: Optimizing Service Cost and Quality with SAP’s New ISD Approach

by Ravi Swaminath and Heike Fiedler-Phelps | SAPinsider

October 1, 2008

Learn how SAP’s new Integrated Service Delivery (ISD) model provides the quality IT training and support you need — regardless of where you are in the world. SAP’s flexible service delivery approach distributes work according to skill set rather than location to provide you with continuous support.


Contracting system integrators, consultants, and developers to help direct, implement, and manage major IT projects is a way of life for large, midsize, and even small organizations alike. And while the classical offshore service delivery model has proven to be cost-effective, SAP customers are now looking for new and innovative ways to reduce the total cost of their service engagements without risking scalability or efficiency. It's no longer just about cost savings — it's about ensuring that the expected quality of work is delivered within the committed timeframe.

SAP has developed a new approach to providing consulting and development services: Integrated Service Delivery (ISD). It's a global delivery model that features the role-based distribution of work depending on skill set rather than location. ISD factors in work effort and results, not geography, to determine the assignment of IT services. The next step in the evolutionary chain of service delivery models (see Figure 1), ISD reflects the need for a flexible IT service delivery model based on an increasingly global transfer of knowledge.


Figure 1
ISD is the next step in the evolution of service delivery models

The ISD Model's 3 Key Components

Think of ISD as a cube with three main dimensions (see Figure 2):

  1. The sourcing dimension (local vs. regional vs. global): A key tenet of ISD is to always involve the unit that can deliver a quality service component at the lowest cost — independent of where that unit is located.

  2. The delivery method dimension (remote vs. on-site): By identifying inputs, tasks, and deliverables for a given component of work and then distributing those responsibilities between on-site and remote delivery centers, you can use resources more effectively, even across time zones.

  3. The measured deliverables dimension (bill of resources vs. bill of services): ISD encourages substituting the traditional person-day, effort-based, bill of resources approach with a bill of services (BOS) approach. Here, customers receive an agreed-upon, predefined result at a fixed price and within a fixed time frame (see sidebar).


Figure 2
The three dimensions of ISD come together to form an intuitive, balanced delivery process


The ISD Model in Action: The Benefits of Integrated Service Delivery

When a company engages with SAP through the ISD model, that customer will likely work with one or more of SAP's service organizations (including SAP Consulting, SAP Custom Development, and others).

Consider an SAP Services customer who requests a prototype of a specific retail solution. The local SAP Consulting office, lacking the highly specialized resources needed for the work, collaborates with various SAP regional and global groups and delivers the desired retail solution to the customer. Throughout the engagement, the local face to the customer is an experienced solution architect who facilitates the delivery with all SAP internal resources from various organizations and locations.

The result? The local office leverages global SAP Services capabilities and delivers significant customer value at an attractive price.


The rules of effective service delivery are changing. There's a shift away from selling defined effort or person days toward delivering defined and agreed-upon results.

Your Next Step: Ask for ISD Now!

Your experience purchasing SAP-related services should be no different from your experience buying any other goods. You want to get the highest quality product for the most competitive price.

That's precisely what SAP's new Integrated Service Delivery approach delivers. It seamlessly integrates the services of various SAP Consulting organizations and SAP Custom Development. It promotes the standardization and reusability of productized services with an optimal mix of on-site and remote delivery at the lowest possible cost.

In fact, several case studies and customer surveys have already proven that companies leveraging the ISD approach will benefit from greater flexibility, increased speed of implementation, higher quality, lower risk, and lower TCO. To learn more, please visit


Additional Resources

  • The Managing your SAP Projects 2008 conference in Orlando, October 22-24, 2008, for tips and guidance about SAP project rollouts (

  • SAP Service and Support (3rd Edition): Focusing on Continuous Customer
    Satisfaction by Gerhard Oswald (SAPinsider,


Ravi Swaminath ( has 16 years of experience in IT and has worked at SAP since 1996 as a technical consultant and technical manager. Currently, he is the Director of Services Solutions at SAP Consulting, SAP America. He has a bachelor's degree in computer science and a master's degree in systems management.


Heike Fiedler-Phelps ( is a Platinum SAP consultant with the National Competency Center at SAP America. She is currently responsible for marketing and communications for Integrated Service Delivery. She has been with SAP since 2000 and holds a master's degree in computer linguistics.



An email has been sent to:

More from SAPinsider


Please log in to post a comment.

No comments have been submitted on this article. Be the first to comment!