Special Report


Special Feature: SAP Customer Services Network


January 1, 2005

Best-in-Class Software No Guarantee of Showcase Implementation — SAP Customer Services Network Is the Key

Greg Tomb
Senior Vice President
and General Manager,
SAP Consulting,
SAP America


SAP Service Select: Targeted Projects, Quick ROI

Are You Maximizing Your Investment in SAP? Unlock Hidden Value with SAP Active Global Support

Effective Knowledge Transfer Drives Success!

Enhancing Your SAP Solution? 4 Ways SAP Custom Development Can Help

Limited IT Resources, New SAP Projects, and 6 Other Reasons to Call SAP Hosting

Nowhere is the adage "You get what you ask for" more fitting than in an SAP project. Whether it is a new implementation, an upgrade, the continuation of a rollout, or an extension of your existing SAP footprint, the value you derive hinges upon making sure your project plan is based on a solid business case and having the absolute right team and right leadership to drive that plan forward. Do these things right, and good results follow — swift ROI, happy and productive end users, low-cost operations, and the all-important ability to quickly respond to continuous business change. Set the wrong project scope, skimp on areas like end-user training, or try to drive the initiative with the wrong team, and you saddle yourself with expensive rework, friction with end users, missed opportunities to tap into beneficial functionality, and untold downstream expense and headaches.

Of course, every savvy manager knows that developing good specs or assembling an all-star project team is easier said than done. These are not trivial tasks. You need extensive experience on the business, technology, and project management fronts. Along with the right experience, you need a well-honed methodology for the project. Clear change management plans, both before and after going live, are critical, too.

Where Good Projects Can Go Wrong

I've seen a number of projects complete on time and on budget, but because they did not have the right input or they cut corners, they ran into costly rework or end-user adoption problems after go-live. This is particularly hard-felt in instances where a very specific or beneficial piece of functionality is needed, and it's part of the SAP software offering, but the project team is unaware that the function even exists. This is not a far-fetched scenario; it's quite common. The outcome is that the project team reinvents the wheel or proceeds down a path that needlessly precludes them from maximizing the value of their software investment. Making sure the design and blueprint not only meet the requirements, but also leverage the software capabilities right the first time, can save very costly rework.

Another common pitfall is either shortchanging or misgauging end-user training requirements. SAP has phenomenal training tools that can help customers streamline both the creation and rollout of training. One study after another confirms that proactive training saves customers a tremendous amount of time and money over the life cycle of an SAP solution. Without sufficient emphasis on end-user training at the outset of a project, you can end up with a frustrated user community and ultimately spending four times as much on training after the fact than if implemented proactively.

We have a large number of customers upgrading to mySAP ERP and receiving benefits from increased functionality in areas such as SAP Strategic Enterprise Management (SAP SEM) and SAP NetWeaver. Many customers, in the wake of Sarbanes-Oxley and other key mandates, have gravitated to this new release because it affords them greater transparency, accountability, and control across their financial landscapes, but, ironically, they fail to take advantage of the Management of Internal Controls (MIC) tool, part of SAP software for managing compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Why? The project team simply wasn't in the know, so this functionality was overlooked. With just minimal additional project investment, they could have taken advantage of this functionality and significantly increased the short- and long-term value of their upgrade project.

How Do You Proceed with Confidence?

Without question, the best way to optimize ROI and avert common miscalculations, misalignment, and missed opportunities is to enlist the help of the SAP services organization, SAP Customer Services Network (SAP CSN). Ask any customer who has enlisted our help — and there are huge numbers of them. We have seen a massive upswing in the number of engagements in which SAP CSN is participating. Customers are finding that if they engage the SAP CSN team, project risk goes way down, and their ability to meet objectives goes way up, and so does the project's ROI. One very important metric that confirms this correlation is the quarterly SAP Customer Satisfaction measure. There, we find an irrefutable link between the level of SAP CSN involvement in a customer project and that customer's project success and ROI. In fact, SAP customer satisfaction in North America is at an all-time high.

At the end of the day, SAP CSN is focused on this one key goal — customer satisfaction. We continue to look for and invest in ways to improve the speed and ease of implementations and to drive down the long-term cost of ownership. I personally believe that SAP's current and future success is based on making sure our customers are satisfied at world-class levels. This is a mutually prized objective shared by us all. So I strongly advise customers to leverage the vast experience and services SAP offers with SAP CSN (see Figure 1 below). With SAP engaged, you draw from our 10,000-person consulting organization, as well as the talents of SAP's 9,000-person development organization.

It stands to reason that since we are the folks who build the applications, we have the best and brightest individuals to team up with you to implement and optimize them for your specific business needs. Engage SAP CSN early in the process, and you make sure SAP has skin in the game.

Our goal in North America is to be involved at the right level with the right skills to appropriately influence and support the project. We are ready, willing, and uniquely qualified to assume ownership and risk of select pieces of your project or the project in its entirety. We now routinely prime SAP projects. We step up to the plate and assume responsibility, working shoulder-to-shoulder with your in-house staff and third-party consultants so that we can assure you limited risk and solid results. This is true whether you're talking about a short, simple project or a very large, lengthy, and complex one.

Did You Know?
SAP Customer Service Network (SAP CSN) encompasses:

  • 10,000 SAP consultants in over 50 countries
  • 120,000 certified partner consultants
  • Industry expertise
  • 77 training centers
  • Training courses offered in 15 languages
  • 2,000 support consultants in over 40 countries
  • 9,000 software developers

Be Sure to Contact Your SAP Customer Engagement Manager

Because different services come into play at different times in a project's life cycle, and because they need to work in lockstep with one another, we've devised things to be seamless from the customer's perspective. Your SAP Customer Engagement Manager can familiarize those of you who have not worked with SAP CSN before with our offerings, and when you're ready, can enlist the right resources from SAP to ensure your success. Those of you who have been SAP customers for a while may recall having to contact different SAP managers for different types of services. That's not the case anymore. Everything has been streamlined. There is a truly integrated, customer-centric approach between services.

The consulting organization also taps into the knowledge of the SAP development organization to ensure the system not only works at peak performance at cutover, but is compatible with downstream updates and upgrades from SAP. These efforts are integrated with testing, quality assurance measures, and go-live checks. They are factored into maintenance, escalation, and other support activities to deliver faster response times should a customer experience a problem. And if a custom application development initiative is part of your project, its impact is also factored into all these activities.

SAP Active Global Support SAP Operations Competence Assessment
SAP Solution Manager Starter Pack
SAP Safeguarding for Implementation
SAP GoingLive Check
SAP Early Watch Alert
SAP Early Watch Check
SAP GoingLive Functional Upgrade Check
SAP Operating System and Database Migration
SAP MaxAttention
SAP Business Process Performance Optimization
SAP Volume Test Optimization
SAP Test Management Optimization
SAP Interface Management
SAP Storage Subsystem Optimization
SAP Data Archiving Optimization
SAP Remote Performance Optimization
SAP Consulting SAP Business Process Optimization
SAP Business Case Development
SAP Data Harmonization and Conversion
SAP Solution Planning and Design
SAP Solution Blue Printing
SAP Configuration and Testing
SAP Service Select — Packaged Services
SAP Technical Installation
SAP Program Management
SAP Project Organizational Change
SAP Remote Consulting
SAP Technical and Business Application Upgrade
SAP Risk Assessment
SAP Security Assessment
SAP Custom Development SAP Custom Development Projects
SAP Custom Development Quality Assurance
SAP Custom Development Risk Assessment
SAP Custom Development Maintenance
SAP Modification Clearing
SAP Education SAP User Training Assessment
SAP Training Methods
SAP Change Management Services
SAP Custom End User Training
SAP e-Learning
SAP Learning Solution
SAP Hosting SAP Application Hosting
SAP Remote Application Operations
SAP Implementation Hosting
Figure 1 SAP Customer Services Network (SAP CSN) Offerings at a Glance

Remember, the success of any SAP project is not about the software. It's about continually optimizing, improving, and innovating business strategies and processes. It's about improving productivity. It's about providing the highest levels of customer satisfaction. And it's about being quicker and more nimble than the competition. Working in tandem with SAP and with the ability to leverage our holistic approach to services, you mitigate risk, derive more value, operate your solutions at a lower cost, and make changes to your systems with the assurance that they will smoothly operate with the rest of your SAP landscape, now and in the future.

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SAP Service Select: Targeted Projects, Quick ROI

Sean Kelly
Vice President of SAP Consulting Solutions

SAP Service Select is an innovative program from SAP Consulting designed to give SAP customers targeted expertise on specific SAP products, industry solutions, and business challenges at a predefined price and scope, within a preset timeframe. SAP Consulting offers workshops, assessments, and accelerated implementation packages designed to deliver measurable and sustainable value, including direct access to SAP consultants on site. Customers know precisely the costs, timeline, and objectives beforehand, resulting in reduced risk. These offerings reflect SAP Consulting's commitment to helping companies achieve specific business goals, on time and within budget. And because SAP Consulting is part of the SAP Customer Services Network, customers have a single point of access to other SAP solution services, including education, support, custom development, and hosting.

A 2004 CIO magazine survey of IT executives discussed "the importance and value of creating an agile IT department." 1 Respondents cited their motivations for this goal, including:

  • 43% — Increase growth/revenue opportunities
  • 15% — Reduce response times to market forces
  • 13% — Reduce costs

While it's clear that the will for enhanced agility exists, the challenge many companies face is to uncover new pockets of efficiency — without incurring increasing total cost of ownership due to high maintenance costs and constantly changing technology. Without specialized advice and assistance, even the best applications can fall short of their full potential. This is why SAP created SAP Service Select.

The expanding selection of offerings from SAP Service Select (see Figure 1 below) can help you unlock the value of your SAP investment. Each offering is designed to derive more value out of an existing SAP solution or extend a solution to maximize the value of end-to-end business processes.

This article features two SAP Service Select offerings and explores how they achieve this for SAP customers: an appraisal for system consolidation that helps SAP customers derive more value from their existing investment, and an implementation that extends a current solution — in this case, mySAP CRM — with expanded functionality while leveraging the technical infrastructure already in place.

Service Select Offering Framework Duration
SAP Sarbanes-Oxley Service Select Workshop 2 days
SAP NetWeaver Service Select for Business Intelligence Implementation 4-12 weeks
SAP Enterprise Service Select Implementation 12-20 weeks
SAP Demand Planning Service Select Implementation 12-16 weeks
SAP NetWeaver Service Select for Exchange Infrastructure (XI) Evaluation 1-2 weeks
SAP System Consolidation Service Select Assessment 3-6 weeks
SAP NetWeaver Service Select for Master Data Management (MDM) Implementation 10-16 weeks
SAP Interaction Center Service Select Implementation 10-12 weeks
SAP Upgrade Service Select Assessment Up to 6 weeks
SAP Professional Services Service Select Implementation 12-16 weeks
SAP High Tech Service Select Implementation 12-16 weeks
SAP Consumer Products Service Select Implementation 12-16 weeks
SAP E-Selling Service Select Implementation 10-12 weeks
SAP NetWeaver Service Select for Enterprise Portal Implementation 4-8 weeks
SAP Business Planning and Simulation Service Select Implementation 10-12 weeks
SAP Opportunity Management Service Select Implementation 10-12 weeks
Figure 1 A Sampling of SAP Service Select Offerings

SAP System Consolidation Service Select

The SAP System Consolidation Service Select offering is designed to determine the optimal method for system consolidation, thus allowing enterprises to streamline business processes, rapidly adapt the organization to changing business conditions, and reduce TCO.

SAP Consulting has a proven success record and brings expert knowledge and renowned migration and conversion tools to consolidation projects, and SAP System Consolidation Service Select provides a complete solution — from proposal through project management to execution of a detailed technical solution.

Upon completion of this engagement, SAP Consulting delivers a detailed design report along with a project timeline for consolidating your SAP R/3 instances — with the expertise to perform the consolidation as needed. The assessment provides a comprehensive solution to meet your needs, including:

  • Overall analysis of your environment
  • Identification of customizing conflicts
  • Identification of client-dependent tables
  • Organizational unit analysis
  • Project timeline and cost estimate
  • Repository object comparison
  • Client-independent table analysis
  • Archiving assessment

With this offering, SAP Consulting focuses on the concerns and metrics that matter most to your organization and helps you maximize the return on your SAP investment within three to six weeks.

SAP Interaction Center Service Select

mySAP CRM Interaction Center is a complete customer service solution that leverages your existing SAP infrastructure, allowing you to support multiple call center scenarios with one platform to produce the lowest TCO. By building tools and methods around SAP Best Practices for CRM, SAP Consulting has developed an accelerated implementation approach with predefined scope, resources, and duration. SAP Interaction Center Service Select allows you to implement the interaction center in mySAP CRM quickly, with lower cost and lower risk. The SAP Interaction Center Service Select offering makes your project shorter, lowers project risk, and increases satisfaction for project stakeholders.

With SAP Interaction Center Service Select, you can extend your SAP enterprise solution with mySAP CRM by enabling contact center agents with the following customer service processes:

  • Interaction Center Agent Desktop
  • Information Help Desk
  • Complaint Management

At the same time, you also leverage your existing IT investment. SAP Interaction Center Service Select provides a flexible and integrated framework to easily connect and utilize technology, information, and functionality from existing SAP investments such as mySAP ERP and SAP NetWeaver.

With our accelerated approach, you can create a solid foundation for your future vision of mySAP CRM in as little as ten weeks. The business processes and technology delivered with SAP Interaction Center Service Select can be further enhanced and extended to address a wider spectrum of business requirements. You can enhance your call center solution with extensions like reporting, analytics, workflows, enterprise portal, and computer telephony integration.


SAP Service Select is an effective, cost-efficient set of offerings that distills the collective experience of hundreds of SAP implementations and applies it to your business requirements and unique IT environment. Let SAP Consulting's accelerated implementation approach help you achieve your business objectives with the confidence and security of having a reliable, predictable timeline and cost.

SAP Consulting continues to add to the list of Service Select offerings based on customer needs. To find out more about these and other SAP Service Select offerings, contact SAP at +1 888 727-2955 or visit us on the Web at

1 For full results, see Lorraine Cosgrove Ware, "The Benefits of Agile IT," CIO Research Reports, August 3, 2004 (

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Are You Maximizing Your Investment in SAP? Unlock Hidden Value with SAP Active Global Support

Greg Pike
Senior Vice President,
Active Global Support America,
SAP America

Your first step toward getting your company on a path to improved efficiencies and measurable business benefits was automating your business processes through SAP software. But are you truly leveraging your SAP software investment for all that it can offer you? The quickest way to generate more value from your existing investments is to apply services expertise where your business needs it most.

Ask yourself the following questions to see where that services expertise may apply:

  • How do market and business requirements impact your IT needs?
  • Is your environment optimized and running at peak performance?
  • How adept is your current IT staff at solution support and problem

Delving further into each of these questions also requires that you work with the right partner to ensure that you are successful both today and tomorrow. SAP Active Global Support can offer you the right mix of experience and expertise to answer all of these questions while also helping you generate greater value from your existing software investments. Evaluate how well your company fares in each of the following three areas:

Align IT with Your Business Needs
In today's economic realities of declining profits and fierce global competition, your company is under intense pressure to come up with new ways to increase revenues, cut costs, explore new markets, and sustain competitive advantage. Do your IT investments map to the current strategic priorities of the organization? In order to stay competitive, you need to adapt your IT investments to changing market and business requirements. Flexible, reliable support is essential to your short-term and long-term success. You need access to know-how to manage and adapt your existing IT solutions to the needs of your business.

No matter what kind of advice or action customers require, or what industry or IT environment they are in, with SAP Active Global Support, customers have the flexibility to define the level of engagement that's right for them — whether that's a standard agreement or a more customized premium support offering (see Figure 1). By delivering flexibility that meets your unique requirements, SAP can help accelerate the benefits you recognize from your software investments.

Figure 1 SAP Advice Global Support - Solution Support Services

Optimize Your IT Environment
Now more than ever, in proving its value to the business, IT must stress a total commitment to agility, responsiveness, and effectiveness in becoming a customer service oriented organization. In doing so, it's not only important to make sure your IT investments are fully aligned with the priorities of the business, but it's equally important that the environment you maintain is optimized and running at peak performance.

This approach means maintaining the highest levels of availability, performance, and reliability that can in turn be transferred to users in the highest levels of service. The IT environment must be free from risk, unnecessary downtime, and degraded performance of mission-critical tasks.

SAP Active Global Support offers the tailored expertise needed to improve your IT systems. The complete portfolio of services is available for all phases of the solution life cycle — from implementation to ongoing maintenance — to help dramatically reduce technical risk and ensure that your solutions are implemented successfully and operate smoothly. Our services help you identify and correct weaknesses — including those involving interfaces with other systems.

How Can Your Company Benefit from SAP Active Global Support?

SAP Active Global Support is committed to:

  • Systematically reducing your total cost of ownership
  • Providing you with continuous improvement, quality management, problem resolution, and knowledge transfer
  • Understanding your solutions and updating them with the latest functional, technological, and legal developments
  • Helping you optimize your software solutions, enhance your business processes, and protect your investment
  • Ensuring that your core business processes work effectively and are deployed on time and on budget

Empower Your IT Staff
Optimal support of solutions is an essential requirement, as your business relies on these solutions to run your mission-critical processes. You must build your solution support organization so that both the solution and the support are available from day one of system go-live. Your IT staff must be able to quickly and smoothly resolve any problems that arise.

Your operations must be stable yet flexible enough to adapt to a continually changing business environment — requiring end-to-end support, regardless of how widespread your operations are, how heterogeneous your solutions are, how complex your business processes may be, and what technologies you use. Additionally, knowledge transfer must happen continuously so that any new support technologies are embraced by your IT staff quickly and effectively.

SAP Active Global Support can help you build a solution support organization that provides end-to-end support for the solutions that run your business. This ensures that your investments are protected, your solutions are continuously improved, and your team has the fundamentals to ensure the stable operation of your solution landscape. And we offer you knowledge transfer directly from SAP's experts and specialists. SAP can provide you with the best practices and experience of thousands of installations, giving you expertise that saves time, reduces costs, and keeps your SAP solutions running smoothly.

Getting on the Path to Value

SAP shows true commitment to customers beyond the selling and implementation of software. SAP Active Global Support offers comprehensive services for every aspect of your software implementation and operations, including quality management, problem resolution, and knowledge transfer. We help you continuously improve your operations, deliver training, and share knowledge across your organization.

SAP Active Global Support assists over 20,000 customers worldwide, and completes more than 3,000 implementation projects per year. And we're backed by the global resources of SAP, a company with more than 30 years of industry leadership, more than 20,000 customers, and a strong investment in research and development.

To provide your world-class solutions with world-class support, contact SAP Active Global Support today by visiting or

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Effective Knowledge Transfer Drives Success!

George Oertel,
Senior Vice President,
SAP Education

Strategic investments in business solutions such as SAP deserve and require close monitoring of business returns. Your objective is to ensure that your company uses its world-class business process software with maximum performance, speed, and success. The mission of SAP Customer Services Network is, in effect, to help you ensure that your organization achieves the maximum return from your SAP investment — not just at go-live, but continually, as business and technology change. Our particular role in SAP Education is to make sure your implementation teams, technical personnel, and end users have the skills and understanding necessary to grow and sustain that value, now and in the long term. Let's take a closer look at this task.


SAP Education: Get It from the Source

SAP Education is a global business unit with training centers and professional staff in 40 countries. Its portfolio spans the whole wealth of SAP solutions for target groups such as project teams, consultants, support staff, super users, and end users.

SAP Education can customize learning units to your specific needs and deliver them via several channels, including onsite training, Web-based asynchronous and synchronous or offline training, and, of course, public, instructor-led learning. The portfolio also comprises education consulting and assessments. For more information on SAP Education's comprehensive training portfolio, please visit

Training Across the Entire Solution Cycle

The name Michael Doane is likely to be familiar to many SAP Insider readers. Mr. Doane is a Vice President of the analyst organization META Group and author of The SAP Blue Book. Speaking at the 2004 Americas' SAP Users' Group (ASUG) conference, Mr. Doane shared some illuminating findings: most companies, he reported, budget for training to take place during the early portions of an implementation project, at least for their project teams. However, those budgets all too frequently don't include planning for long-term, continuous training, and for the extension of this training to end users.

In 2003, META carried out a study of ERP competency in the end-user community. Of the only 24% of companies classified as "competent" or "highly competent," 87% provided refresher or new upgrade training. IDC Corporation corroborates this conclusion; it cites a Carleton University study of SAP customers, which states that "of all critical success factors, 'training and knowledge development' has the strongest positive relationship with achieving desired process outcomes."1

So creating an overall long-term plan to drive user performance appears to be a valuable exercise. It is clear that challenges such as access to original expertise and continuous user reinforcement cannot be met by traditional one-time instructor-led learning alone, but require the application of technologies that support simultaneous, repetitive, and flexible delivery.

Therefore, Michael Doane strongly advocates blended learning. In fact, META Group considers "lack of a blended training strategy" the very first of its reasons why project-team and end-user competencies degrade.2

Get the Most Out of Your Training: Continuous Blended Learning

Blended learning isn't anything exotic; it's simply a way to take advantage of the best of both new technologies and traditional learning methods. It's a way of combining different methods of knowledge transfer to ensure that learners receive precisely the skills and knowledge they need in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible. Blended learning combines traditional instructor-led learning, e-learning, simulations, and ongoing assessments in a way that acknowledges different learning styles and maps specific objectives to particular types of delivery.

To be effective, blended learning needs to make use of the established principles of effective instructional design:

  • Activation of existing learner experience and knowledge
  • Demonstration of new content
  • Application of new knowledge to problem solving
  • And finally, integration of new learning into routine tasks
Figure 1 Example of a Blended Learning Path

By combining delivery methods or offering alternatives from instructor-led training, e-learning, software simulations, and other learning media, companies can determine the ideal blend for their own workforces. They can offer their employees safe scenarios for practice, easily accessible information, and the ability to retake training as necessary. SAP Education offers the possibility of blended learning with, for example, e-learning, traditional instructor-led training, self assessments, and certification, among other educational offerings. See an example of how these are blended together in a single training process in Figure 1.

5 Critical Questions As You Evaluate Your Training for SAP Solutions

  1. Do you have a plan in place to continuously increase productivity related to SAP usage?
  2. Do you believe you spent enough of your total investment budget in the areas of education and change management? Many customer reports and identified best practices indicate that 10% is the minimum for initial competence.
  3. Was a detailed skill analysis in place to support training planning and to guide your investments?
  4. How do you define, measure, and report the success of education in your company?
  5. Did you recognize that — after going live — the business results come from a productive use of your system and are driven by your end users?

Make Assessment Key to Your Training Efforts

A critical element of continuous learning — and even more applicable to a blended learning scenario — is ongoing assessment. All learners can complete a "pre-assessment" that establishes their existing knowledge and their readiness for the information and skills to be presented. It also enables more personalized instruction, helping diagnose the precise needs of individual learners. Perhaps we don't always think in these terms, but in any company, elimination of unnecessary training can save substantial time and money.

The last part of the ideal learning process is post-training assessment. When learners complete post-tests, they provide valuable feedback for themselves and for their companies. Individuals and training managers can see where additional work needs to be done, HR departments can help determine the "return on education," and project managers can feel assured that their end users have the competence and confidence necessary to succeed.


Michael Doane summed it up succinctly: "Bottom line," he wrote, "end users drive your business processes every bit as much as does the software." It's your users who are in the driver's seat. Blended learning gives them the tools and ability to be more effective.

1 "Knowledge Transfer Enables Enterprise Performance," IDC, 2004.

2 "Gaining Continuous Value from ERP with a Comprehensive, Continuous Education Strategy," META Group, 2003.

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Enhancing Your SAP Solution? 4 Ways SAP Custom Development Can Help

Harald Stuckert
Global Senior
Vice President and General Manager,
SAP Custom Development, SAP

As an SAP customer, you know that SAP offers comprehensive software that addresses a great range of business needs. However, there are almost certainly those unique and often competitive aspects of your business that standard SAP solutions do not capture — nor does any other standard packaged solution, for that matter. To close the gap between the standard solution and those unique needs, SAP Custom Development offers services to deliver custom solutions that extend the reach of (and leverage) your existing SAP investment.

Don't Paint Yourself Into a Corner

The worst thing you can do is over-modify your SAP solution — or not develop your enhancements in the right way. At SAP Custom Development, we like to say, "The best modification is no modification." However, when you find that you must create an enhancement, you need to ensure you do it in a way that doesn't lock you out of your future upgrade efforts. Your custom development project must address your immediate business need, but it also must enable you to remain innovative with both your business and your technology — while, of course, keeping your costs in check.

If you engage the services of SAP Custom Development, we make sure that each custom solution is delivered as an add-on on top of the mySAP Business Suite (rather than a modification) within the framework of SAP's standard software development methodology, and that it is synchronized with SAP's product roadmap and future release strategy. We even offer services for long-term, hassle-free maintenance of your custom solution! We do all we can to ensure that when you do indeed decide to make an enhancement, you don't get painted into that proverbial corner.

At SAP Custom Development, we like to say, "The best modification is no modification." But when you want to create an enhancement, your custom development project has to address your immediate business need and must also enable you to remain innovative with both your business and your technology.

4 Questions to Determine If SAP Custom Development Is Right for You

So how do you know if the services offered by SAP Custom Development are right for you? Perhaps these four questions can help you decide:

  1. Does your SAP solution need to accommodate a unique or
    competitive business process?

    Most organizations have aspects of their business that are unique, and they must be innovative in order to stay ahead of the curve. At SAP Custom Development, we help to make those unique aspects part of your SAP solution. Whether you find yourself requiring a solution to be built from scratch, or you need a solution today that will be available in a future release, our team of over 600 employees — backed by the strength of the entire SAP standard development and partner organization — is ready to help you get the most out of your SAP investment.

  2. Would you like to lower the cost of ownership and development for your new and existing custom solutions?

    There can be many cost-related reasons why a custom application that is fully integrated with your existing landscape and running on SAP NetWeaver is the best answer for you. For many SAP customers, this starts with an evaluation of your existing set of custom applications, and the realization that you are spending too much money maintaining different or outdated technologies. To reduce your cost of maintenance, you can reengineer the existing custom applications so that they run on an SAP NetWeaver platform. This will allow you to leverage your existing SAP software, related hardware, and people investments, and, ultimately, will lower your total cost of ownership.

    Once you make the decision to move forward with custom applications on SAP NetWeaver, SAP Custom Development does everything it can to make sure the costs of your custom development projects are kept as low as possible, without compromising the quality of your solution. One way we do that is by distributing our employees around the globe. With custom development centers in the United States, Germany, India, China, and Japan, we not only can be closer to our customers, but we also can leverage a global delivery model that draws on the specific strengths of each location. At the same time, we ensure that your costs are kept to a minimum.

  3. Are you concerned that custom solutions will place your business and your ability to upgrade in jeopardy?

    One thing is for sure — if you do require an SAP custom solution, you don't want it to put your business at risk, and you don't want it to get in your way in the future when you decide to upgrade.

    SAP Custom Development takes your proposed solution and synchronizes it with the SAP future release and upgrade strategy. We make sure that the solutions we create for you are in harmony with SAP standard solution development. In the long run, you aren't stuck with inflexible solutions that can't keep up with business change and expanding SAP offerings.

    In order to ensure the quality of the solution that we deliver to you, we develop every solution within the framework of SAP's proven development methodology. And once the development is complete, we don't leave you all alone. If you would like our support — whether it be to continually enhance the solution as your business evolves or to support you through an upgrade — we will be there.

  4. Do you have limited IT bandwidth to deliver a custom application from start to finish?

    With budgets so tight, you may find yourself with the need to develop a unique solution but without all of the resources to execute your project. With SAP Custom Development, you decide how much or how little assistance you want. You can choose to retain overall control of your custom development project, or you can turn the whole project over to SAP Custom Development. We can provide project management throughout all or part of the development life cycle — from conception to completion, with ongoing maintenance. Or, if you have chosen to develop the solution yourself, we can provide you with specialists to enhance your own development team. These specialists are equipped to help you through the various stages of your development project — from planning and strategizing to assessing its quality and risks.

Maximizing the Value of Your Business Today

By teaming with SAP Custom Development, you can be sure of high-quality custom solutions that:

  • Address your unique business requirements and give you competitive advantage

  • Accelerate your time to market with solutions that fit your needs

  • Support your business innovation with custom solutions

  • Increase the return on your SAP investment by leveraging your existing hardware, software, and people

  • Leverage the knowledge of over 30 years of development experience

  • Ensure solution quality and speed of delivery by developing within the framework of SAP's proven development methodology

  • Mitigate business risk by synchronizing custom solutions with SAP product strategy

  • Are protected by long-term maintenance options

Make the Most of Your SAP Solution

Every customer organization I speak with wants to optimize the value it derives from its existing infrastructure and to reduce total cost of ownership. This is precisely the premise upon which SAP Custom Development is built. It is our job to help you drive more value out of your SAP investment by developing your unique business process requirements on the SAP platform.

To learn more about SAP Custom Development, please visit, call us at +1 866 633-3413, or contact your SAP Account Executive or SAP Customer Engagement Manager.

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Limited IT Resources, New SAP Projects, and 6 Other Reasons to Call SAP Hosting
Q&A with Gary Fromer

Gary Fromer
Senior Vice President,
SAP Hosting,
SAP America, Inc.

Q. When you look up and down the list of reasons SAP customers are now calling the SAP Hosting organization, which are the most prevalent or pressing?

In general, all information technology buyers are under pressure to do a whole lot more for their businesses, with a whole lot less than they had in the past in resources. Our customers selected SAP based on our innovation — past, present, and future. Our SAP Hosting team offers a portfolio of services that assists our customers in delivering that innovation to their businesses, at an investment and cost of ownership that is consistent with the resource constraints they face every day.

As a result, very often customers call on SAP Hosting to help them extend their SAP investment with additional innovative capabilities, for example, mySAP Customer Relationship Management or SAP NetWeaver. SAP Hosting already has best-in-class expertise in areas that may be brand new even to an existing SAP customer, and we provide global, around-the-clock service for businesses that have those requirements.

This service, which we call SAP Implementation Hosting, makes it much easier for a customer to commence a project with wider capabilities to help drive their businesses, while the company's staff continues to operate its day-to-day business. It provides the hardware for customers' development and quality assurance software environments, technical installation, basis administration, and data center facilities, and can include project services from SAP Customer Services Network. When the project is completed, the configured software can be transitioned to the customer's site or maintained for a longer term with SAP Hosting's Application Hosting service. Customer projects come in many forms — an upgrade to a new version, expansion of SAP solutions to a new division or business unit, deployment of additional capabilities — but in each case, SAP Hosting's Implementation Hosting service can be exceptionally useful to balance resource constraints.

The customer need for a "technology refresh" is certainly also a common rallying point. We receive many calls from customers who tell us that the cost of maintaining older systems is a problem for them. SAP Application Hosting addresses this specific challenge. Through this service, SAP Hosting assumes the burden of purchasing the hardware you need to run your business applications, and we then maintain those systems. We operate and maintain your solution at a centralized facility, but with SAP staff globally deployed managing the systems on a 24x7, 365-days-per-year basis. The facility is a world-class data center — with expert staff, state-of-the-art management and monitoring tools, and security and easy access that makes this transparent to end users. The cost and overhead shifts to SAP and, as a result, is predictable. For most IT organizations, one fixed, predictable, monthly fee is highly advantageous.

Q. Many SAP customers are considering software upgrades now. What does SAP Hosting offer to support customers during upgrades?

Customers certainly want to leverage capabilities offered by newer releases of SAP software, but cannot afford to incur any disruption of their business during an upgrade. Some customers may not have resources available to staff the upgrade effort. Resource constraints may also make it difficult to invest capital in new hardware systems when necessary.

With our SAP Upgrade Hosting service, we literally take a copy of the customer's existing production environment and manage the technical side of the upgrade process for the customer. The customer can focus on working with their end users on the business benefits of the upgrade, and on the project effort to support those business benefits. At the same time, their staff continues to run the business from their existing system until we have completed all implementation and testing of the upgrade in our hosted environment. When stress testing is complete, the customer is in a position to transition to the new system, in-house, with its existing staff.

Q. What if a customer already has its own data center facility, but would like to take advantage of SAP Hosting's breadth of knowledge and staff?

Not all SAP Hosting engagements start with applications running at our central facilities. Our SAP Remote Applications Operations service allows us to come to you, so to speak. This is a service we recommend in response to customers who are finding they don't have the time, budget, or resources to keep their SAP systems running optimally, but already have a significant investment in managing their own data center. Some may not have sufficient manpower to manage their systems 24 hours a day, or may lack the specific skill sets to manage and maintain particular systems proactively. With SAP Hosting's Remote Application Operation service, we fill that void. The service provides daily monitoring and maintenance of the SAP system (database administration, basis administration, and help desk).

Q. A large number of IT organizations are undertaking consolidation projects to cut costs and improve operating efficiency. What role, if any, would SAP Hosting play here?

Certainly, when customers are looking to consolidate they are looking at all elements of their IT investment — implementations, hardware, staff optimization, and the list goes on. It is important to understand that the demand from the business — from the end users — continues. In fact, business executives need and expect more support than ever from their business systems, in full alignment with the company's overall business goals. So we see a constrained budget for spending, but an increasing demand for business value from IT.

That combination of forces is driving the need for consolidation of systems, and for focusing internal resources where they provide the highest possible value to the business. I believe that all of the services offered by SAP Hosting, from implementation hosting to enterprise application hosting (see Figure 1), are exceptionally supportive of our customers' needs in the face of these pressures.

Q. What about divisions or business partner sites, where separate systems may be required? What role would SAP Hosting play there?

Many of our customers are deploying SAP capabilities for use by their extended business ecosystem, including their smaller divisions, suppliers, and distribution partners. Most often, the business benefit to our customer is establishing a complete, consistent, and repeatable business process, for example the quote, sale, and fulfillment of a product or service to an end customer that occurs through a distribution partner or network. Having a system environment and resourcing model that is flexible, that can support substantial (but unpredictable) growth at predictable cost, is absolutely critical to support such a business model.

In some cases, our customers would like certain divisions or business partners to deploy specific SAP capabilities for the benefit of their own independent businesses, but perhaps with certain process links back to the customer's separate SAP system. As a community, these divisions or business partners may need assistance in deploying these systems.

Managed Solutions is a great way we help smaller companies take advantage of industry-proven best practices. It's a comprehensive offering for specific industries that covers the implementation services, hardware, data center facilities, and ongoing support, all at a defined monthly cost.

This brings all of the industry-specific capabilities of SAP to bear for midsized businesses, at a cost point that meets with their resource constraints, and also enables us to build in business process relationships within a business ecosystem.

Q. How does SAP Hosting help customers unlock the value of their SAP investment?

Our solutions are all designed to help customers get the most out of their SAP investment. We leverage all of our knowledge and skills to offer customers a clear, specific understanding of how their business can be improved by using SAP Hosting services. At SAP Hosting, we provide complete solutions for our customers that solve their unique business problems at a predefined total cost of ownership and operation. No other company in the enterprise-software business has the industry knowledge and capabilities — and the business-platform scope — that SAP brings to the table.

Service Description SAP Hosting North America SAP Hosting EMEA
SAP Application Hosting This comprehensive service package includes: initial infrastructure sizing, facility and data center management, hardware and telecommunication provisioning, and ongoing technical support of your selected applications.
SAP Implementation Hosting This interim hosting solution provides a faster, more seamless implementation with lower risk and higher quality, while providing time to solidify a long-term strategy for technology and infrastructure deployment. It is also available to support customers participating in the SAP Ramp-Up of new solutions.
SAP Remote Applications Operations SAP Hosting remotely manages the necessary daily operational activities and provides a round-the-clock call center and technical support. The customer maintains responsibility for the hardware, but benefits from SAP Hosting's SAP operation expertise when utilizing this service delivery model.
SAP Application Management Post-productive Functional Application Management help desk and support is designed to handle day-to-day inquiries and module configuration needs.
SAP Upgrade Hosting The SAP Upgrade Hosting service provides the appropriate infrastructure to execute a technical upgrade in one of our data centers. If necessary, we'll also support with functional upgrades. This service also includes a test upgrade and helps rule out unexpected situations and risks when upgrading live.
Managed Solutions This bundled solution offers implementation services, hardware, data center facilities, training, ongoing technical support, and post-go-live functional support.
Figure 1 SAP Hosting Services

Q. What happens if a customer outgrows the hosted application?

Our SAP Hosting customer base includes some of the largest and smallest SAP customers. Accordingly, our services are designed to scale right along with our customers' businesses. We routinely monitor disk storage utilization along with other resources. Allocation of additional resources is handled via a simple service request as capacity changes.

Q. There are a lot of experienced outsourcing firms in the market. When and why would an existing SAP customer turn to SAP Hosting?

Let me tackle the first part of your question — when to turn to SAP for hosting services. Among the top eight reasons I see are these:

  1. You are about to perform an upgrade and may have insufficient staff bandwidth to perform the upgrade and manage the existing systems.

  2. You are considering adding new mySAP capabilities and may have insufficient staff knowledge and bandwidth to support the new capabilities.

  3. Your company is in growth mode and you need to supplement limited IT resources.

  4. Your company is running multiple SAP systems, but not optimally.

  5. You need an SAP system up and running at a business unit, but do not have the resources to implement and manage that instance.

  6. Your company has business demand to deploy SAP capabilities for the benefit of, and to integrate business better with, business partners.

  7. Your company does not have a sufficient disaster recovery plan.

  8. You are considering consolidating systems and/or data centers.

As you may be aware, SAP has many business partners that offer hosting services at a high quality; in fact, those partners are qualified by SAP globally and are listed in our Partner Directory at SAP Hosting is focused on providing a very high level of support for customers with global businesses, and for customers using, or intending to use, all of the advancements and innovation SAP has to offer. Being part of SAP, we are very focused on making our customers successful with SAP.

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by SAP and Partners SAPinsider - 2005 (Volume 6), January (Issue 1)

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