One of the biggest challenges of business software implementations is their unpredictability. Total costs and deployment time can vary from one project to another, while complex, collaborative blueprinting processes can seem frustratingly inconsistent with actual post-implementation results. It’s these unknown factors that prevent many companies from expanding their enterprise software implementations as quickly or as broadly as they’d like to.
But imagine if you could say, “I just want this particular piece of software to meet the needs of a specific line of business, and I want to implement it this quarter, knowing exactly how much it will cost. It also needs to seamlessly integrate with the solution I am already using and meet the expectations of line-of-business leadership.”
SAP Rapid Deployment solutions were developed to meet precisely these needs. This new category of solutions combines preconfigured software, predefined services, and other end-user-focused enablement content to provide predictable solution deployments in less than 12 weeks, all at a fixed price.
Goodbye, Scope Creep
The targeted scope of these new solutions reflects a shift in the IT buying process. It’s no longer just the IT organization making decisions about what software should be deployed in the enterprise. Today, line-of-business leaders have a larger say in identifying the IT solutions that will transform their part of the business and drive them toward their long-term goals. According to a Forrester Research study, 56% of line-of-business executives indicated that they were involved in the requirements definition phase of the IT sourcing process, and 60% said that they were involved in authorizing the final IT purchase.1
SAP Rapid Deployment solutions support this trend, targeted at specific lines of business within the enterprise while making it easier to see the value of a given solution. The scope of these solutions reflects input from customers and is based on real business needs, and the predefined services come with a standardized statement of work that outlines exactly which services are included in the quoted price.
Concerns that these line-of-business solutions won’t integrate with an existing IT infrastructure are also addressed. These are SAP solutions, so integration is fast and predictable.
At their core, SAP Rapid Deployment solutions help you manage risk. They reduce the risk typically associated with software implementations by letting customers know upfront what they will be getting for their money and in what timeframe.
Not far behind predictability on the CIO’s wish list are scalability and flexibility. In fact, they’re also high on the priority lists of business-unit IT users, who want solutions that are scalable and can grow with their business to provide the functionality they need today and in the future.
SAP Rapid Deployment solutions provide the scalability and flexibility that line-of-business IT users are demanding. The solutions are not sold as a prepackaged suite, but can be combined, bundled, and layered on top of each other as needed to solve specific business problems. Integrations with other SAP solutions are built in.
Both new SAP users and existing users looking to expand their landscape can buy and deploy these solutions in the model that suits their needs: hosted or on-premise, with flexible pricing models. SAP will roll out new SAP Rapid Deployment solutions every quarter, and customers will have a clear vision of the roadmap (see Figure 1).2
||The solution roadmap for SAP Rapid Deployment solutions: what’s available now, and what will be available soon
In addition to targeting specific line-of-business requirements, SAP also plans to offer customized versions of SAP Rapid Deployment solutions for different industries, such as banking or wholesale distribution.
SAP Rapid Deployment solutions will also be useful to SAP customers who have already bought certain solutions but have not yet turned them on. Those customers can buy a predefined service to activate that solution through a streamlined, fixed-price implementation. What’s more, the fixed price includes training costs, so “up and running” really does mean up and running.
The way we create, offer, and deploy SAP Rapid Deployment solutions will likely become the new default for many things SAP does today and will do in the future. For example, we follow the same approach in the small and midsize enterprise (SME) market with SAP Business All-in-One, which creates synergies that accelerate portfolio growth and customer value.
SAP Rapid Deployment solutions are developed at SAP by the Solution Assembly and Packaging team, bringing together representatives from all phases of the software development and deployment cycle, as well as from marketing and partner organizations. The Solution Assembly and Packaging team combines preconfigurations of SAP software with predefined services and content to provide solutions to line-of-business and industry-specific problems.
SAP customers can run an automated check of their existing landscape through SAP Solution Manager to compare the components required to deploy a certain SAP Rapid Deployment solution with what they already have in place. In addition, the predefined scope of SAP Rapid Deployment solutions is explained through simple process descriptions, recordings, and demos that make it easy for customer project teams and users to understand exactly what they will get out of the box. Clear guidance for customer-specific adjustments is also provided — focusing customization on exactly (and only) the areas where it is really required. As a result, companies can greatly reduce the time and cost of otherwise complex blueprinting, as well as create firm expectations for the post-implementation status.
SAP Rapid Deployment solutions represent an exciting new model for SAP, its partners, its customers, and the software industry as a whole. They’re an integral part of our broader strategy: to provide instant value to customers at a realistic price point and through whichever delivery model they prefer — on-premise, on-demand, or on-device. SAP Rapid Deployment solutions mirror the SAP product strategy, so customers can expect more in this area in the future.
Robert Viehmann (email@example.com) is Senior Vice President at SAP AG, responsible globally for SAP Business One, SAP Business All-in-One, and the newly formed Solution Assembly and Packaging unit, which delivers SAP Rapid Deployment solutions. He has over 18 years of experience in software development and solution management. His professional career began at a start-up company in Germany (where he served as the head of sales operations) before he joined SAP in 1994. Robert holds a master’s degree in industrial engineering and economics from the German universities of Hamburg and Kiel.
1 “Technology Buyer Insight Study: Executive Involvement in the Buying Process” by Scott Santucci with Eric G. Brown, Christina Lee, and Robert Muhlhausen (February 18, 2010). [back]
2 Among the first available SAP Rapid Deployment solutions are several customer relationship management options. To learn more, see “Build Your Own SAP CRM Solution — and Know Exactly How Much It Will Cost” by Randi Tumlin in this January-March 2011 issue of SAPinsider. [back]