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Simplicity Becomes Best Practice

by Steven Birdsall | SAPinsider

April 1, 2012

Companies must react swiftly to changing market conditions and adopt new innovations quickly to build competitive advantage. They expect their IT investments to fully integrate with existing landscapes, and they want flexibility in how they deploy the software. Read this article to learn how SAP Rapid Deployment solutions address the need for rapid adoption and quick implementation by combining standard SAP software, a streamlined deployment methodology, step-by-step deployment instructions, and enablement content for fast adoption at a fixed price.

Simplicity and software adoption go hand in hand. Today, simplicity is at the heart of what every company has come to expect from a software provider. As enterprise software has evolved as a key enabler across virtually all areas of the business, users want the simplicity of solutions that are ready to consume for their tasks at hand, but only when coupled with choice, integration, and rapid time to value. Our customers must react swiftly to changing market conditions, and they want to adopt new innovations quickly to build competitive advantage. They expect any incremental IT investments to fully integrate with existing landscapes, and they want flexibility in how they deploy the software — whether in a private cloud, public cloud, or on premise.

For example, imagine you need to increase visibility into your sales pipeline. Given that SAP and its ecosystem have already enabled this visibility for hundreds if not thousands of customers, why would you want to reinvent the wheel and start a lengthy blueprinting process and traditional implementation? Can you get the proven best practices for your problem preassembled and ready to consume, while leveraging standard software and ensuring that it works with what you already have, while also shaping a flexible growth path for your future needs?

Usher in SAP Rapid Deployment solutions. These packaged solutions were created in direct response to our customers’ need for the rapid adoption and speedy implementation of software solutions — be it to drive more efficiency into core business tasks, or to change the game by deploying SAP’s latest innovations. SAP has wrapped 40 years of customer-centric expertise into an innovative delivery model that combines standard SAP software, a streamlined deployment methodology, step-by-step deployment instructions, and enablement content for fast adoption, bundled with a fixed-price service offering from SAP Consulting or partners.1

The result is an accelerated, end-to-end customer experience, and software that is delivered faster and more predictably than ever before. Customers can implement software to quickly address a specific business need, and then expand with new functionality as it makes sense for their business over time. And with each step, customers have full transparency up front of what they get, how long it takes, and what it costs. This is the future delivery model for all SAP solutions.

Our co-CEOs are pointedly focused on delivering rapid value and specific business outcomes for our customers, and they strongly believe in this innovative delivery model. Every customer engagement should begin with an SAP Rapid Deployment solution. Why? Because peoples’ personal perceptions and business perceptions of all things related to IT are evolving. As mobile applications, cloud, line-of-business solutions, and social software proliferate our daily lives, we have come to expect a simple enterprise software experience that delivers specific business outcomes efficiently and quickly. With SAP Rapid Deployment solutions, companies can easily take advantage of new innovations that are now delivered in weeks rather than months — at a guaranteed fixed price.

Simplicity and Flexibility

A scalable best-practice scope is a leading factor for how we achieve a new level of IT simplicity with SAP Rapid Deployment solutions. Enterprise software needs usually originate in the line of business, and companies want focused solutions that address a specific business requirement. But the solution must be integrated and assembled to order — that is, flexible. In response to that trend, SAP Rapid Deployment solutions bring together standard SAP enterprise software and the vast experience of SAP and its ecosystem with the proven best practice for the specific business need; this experience then comes preconfigured to meet a customer’s baseline requirements.

SAP Rapid Deployment solutions are no different from anything else that requires assembly, such as a bicycle or a dollhouse. In addition to the right parts, you need the right instructions and tools. After you build it once, the next time it will be much easier. To accelerate the deployment of SAP Rapid Deployment solutions, we have worked with partners and customers to gather rich content in a step-by-step guide, and have compiled other information and enablement.

Let’s use mobility as an example. A company cannot take months to implement new mobile applications or other new innovations, which is why the SAP Rapid Deployment solution for mobile apps and infrastructure delivers everything that an enterprise needs to build on its mobile platform. This popular rapid-deployment package includes Sybase Unwired Platform, Afaria, and SAP NetWeaver Gateway, as well as three SAP mobile applications. And they are delivered in four to six weeks at a low fixed price.

The rapid-deployment model also expedites our customers’ time to value, a top priority when adopting new in-memory technologies like SAP HANA. For example, a consumer products company recently sought to capitalize on its existing SAP investment. The company implemented the SAP ERP rapid-deployment solution for operational reporting with SAP HANA and the SAP ERP rapid-deployment solution for profitability analysis with SAP HANA in less than three weeks. The company could then view more than 10 million records of data in roughly two seconds and gain immediate insight into the areas of the business that needed to be addressed. While amazing, this is not unique. Not only can you get this result in just weeks, but we can deliver this business insight up to 100,000 times faster than what is currently available in an enterprise.

SAP Rapid Deployment solutions also appeal to line-of-business users because they target a well-defined business need. Across all areas of an enterprise — to increase the effectiveness of managing your sales pipeline, boost the efficiency of your logistics chain from planning to warehousing and transportation, or drive improvements in corporate areas such as human resources or finance, to name a few — SAP Rapid Deployment solutions provide preassembled, easy-to-consume answers.

Imagine that a product manager wants to see how her product line is performing in various global markets and how it compares to other lines within the company. Or maybe she wants to consider the product adoption of a newly created line, with benchmarks in her division, company, peer companies, or even the competition. That analysis requires integrated analytics capabilities, massive data, and in the past, would have been a major IT investment. The SAP ERP rapid-deployment solution for operational reporting with SAP HANA delivers a variety of predefined reports in areas such as sales, finance, and logistics in only a few weeks. With this solution in place, the product manager can use a graphical interface to drill down into all of the historic ERP transactional data, and access all of the latest data in real time on a mobile device. She can also see a graphical depiction of the geographic areas that are above or below a specified profitability level using Google Maps technology, all in real time.

The predefined modular scope of SAP Rapid Deployment solutions will also significantly reduce the amount of services required to maintain the software, which brings down the overall cost and risk. For most CFOs, the ratio of software to services is what determines whether a software implementation makes financial sense. One company recently told us that while a given solution met its operational needs, the ratio of services to software was simply too high for the company to sign off. By offering a similar solution but with a predefined scope and fixed price via an SAP Rapid Deployment solution, SAP earned the approval of the CFO because the ratio of services to software was much lower. In fact, that company then added required integration services on top of the SAP Rapid Deployment solution and still kept the ratio at an acceptable level. Think “flexibility.”

Simplicity and Choice

Partners are fundamental to the long-term strategy of SAP Rapid Deployment solutions, and we have already qualified and enabled a large number of partners to deliver these solutions. Qualified rapid-deployment solution partners are provided with all of the necessary content, enablement, and accelerators, plus SAP’s implementation best practices. They can then add their own intellectual property to the packages and deploy these solutions with their own customers. The SAP partner community continues to contribute significantly by creating additional packages, with more in development. SAP plans to have more than 100 rapid-deployment solutions available by the end of this year.

Of course, we will always continue to give our customers choice in how they consume these solutions. We can deliver these rapid-deployment solutions on premise or in the cloud (through partnerships with HP, IBM, Amazon Web Services, and many others). The goal is to simplify our customers’ buying experience from end to end — from testing through delivery and hosting, and ultimately, to the adoption of these solutions — while delivering a rapid time to value and return on investment.

These packages are not limited to existing customers; new customers can take advantage as well. In one recent case, a company purchased five SAP Rapid Deployment packages to entirely replace a competitive landscape with SAP solutions, and financed the project through SAP Financing. For other customers who want to maximize their existing SAP investments, they can use an SAP Rapid Deployment solution to activate previously purchased software not currently being used.

As the demand for SAP Rapid Deployment solutions steadily increases, we will focus on both continuous improvement of our broad rapid-deployment offerings for all core areas of the business as well as rapid-deployment offerings enabling fast and easy adoption of SAP’s latest innovations — and rapidly deliver these packaged solutions to our customers. For example, we initially piloted an idea in Latin America for a “Try and Buy” of SAP HANA and will now roll out in other regions. The idea is to give our customers the opportunity to upload their own transactional data into a rapid-deployment solution with SAP HANA via the cloud, and then give these customers 30 days to view and analyze their data using SAP BusinessObjects Explorer via a mobile tablet device. While they could choose whether to view it on their desktop and/or on a mobile device, in either scenario we enabled the customers to experience the solution with their own data rather than view a recorded demo. 

Learn More

As more of our customers are exposed to SAP Rapid Deployment solutions, they realize that more and more of their desired business outcomes, business insight, and delivery of new innovations such as mobile and in-memory technology like SAP HANA can be delivered in this way. That is why rapid-deployment solutions are becoming the new norm at SAP. They simply deliver value rapidly.

For more information and to experience SAP Rapid Deployment solutions for yourself, visit


Steven Birdsall ( is Senior Vice President and General Manager of SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions, which is part of the Global Sales organization. He is responsible for sales, services, solution management, and the vast partner ecosystem for the collection of RDS packaged offerings. Prior to his current responsibilities, Steven was COO at SAP Latin America and Caribbean, COO at SAP Asia Pacific and Japan, and held a variety of other senior sales and operational leadership roles. He holds an MBA from the Brigham Young University Marriott School of Management, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the University of Utah.



1 Note that SAP Rapid Deployment solutions use existing software material codes. [back]

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