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SAP makes it easier to work smarter and innovate, part 2: Projects2010 keynote

by Sarah Cenedella

October 27, 2010

This morning's keynote address at the co-located Projects2010 and Reportng, Planning, and Analysis 2010 conferences was all about working in the post-recession world, and how SAP solutions are addressing the increased need to work smarter and innovate. The keynote was co-presented by SAP executives Stephanie Buscemi, Group Vice President, and Marianne Heer, Senior Vice President of Consulting Delivery.

In the first half of the keynote, Buscemi addressed the innovations from SAP BusinessObjects to help customers to drive speed, efficiency, and the ability to interact better with colleagues, partners, and other customers. This theme of doing more faster carried into the second half of this 90-minute address as Heer shared many of the best practices and lessons learned from her group’s 100-150 annual SAP projects that her team works on.

“Today’s new reality,” said Heer, “is that everyone needs to develop a rock-solid business case for every project they do… and companies require faster ROI.” Heer also noted that her team is seeing an influx of organizations that have such rapidly changing business needs that often these needs are changing faster than the project can be executed.

Heer spent much of her talk on ASAP 7. This is the first major overhaul of ASAP in many years, and the greatest change is, according to Heer, to simplify the methodology. This new version is very modular in structure and allows customers to select business (solution, line of business, and industry focused) add-ons to layer in their roadmaps. Another enhancement is that, in the past, ASAP stopped at GoLive; this new release includes embedded operational elements at each phase to “ensure you can effectively operate and maintain” after the project is complete. ASAP 7 also includes more content, like white papers and documentation, to help customers succeed in their projects.

Heer continued by discussing the extreme importance of testing, and gave four best practices:

  • Start early
  • Be sure to test throughout the full lifecycle of the project
  • Follow best practices and leverage experts
  • Automate your testing. Heer said, “It’s an investment to automate scripts, but you will reap the rewards quickly.”  

Another highlights from Heer’s address are Application Lifecycle Management and what that means to lowering TCO. She offered many customer testimonials of the benefits of using ALM, and admitted that perhaps SAP hasn’t done the best job of expressing these benefits to customers. Heer also touched in SAP Enterprise Support and the importance of taking advantage of the features you get as part of it. She encouraged customers to take the money that is saved i n operations and put it toward innovations in the organizations.

To close out the session, Heer offered some advice: “To run effective projects you need high performing teams,” and offered these teamwork principals any team (SAP customer or otherwise) should heed:

  • Don’t speculate
  • Keep promises
  • Communicate both the good and the bad
  • Respect each other
  • Help each other where there are deficiencies
  • Sense when something is wrong
  • Seek input
  • Acknowledge everyone’s point of view
  • Share successes and failures
  • Have a sense of humor

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