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How should I do a fit-gap analysis with the SAP landscape in mind?

Now, more than ever, business and IT teams need to have a common vision to prevent missed business opportunities, false starts and unnecessary costs. Here's what to keep in mind.

While it's easy to jump on the technology bandwagon based on perceived business benefits, not knowing or taking...

the time out to evaluate your existing business processes and to conduct fit-gap analysis will surely lead to missed business opportunities, false starts and higher costs.

When it comes to the expectations that business and IT teams have of each other, there has been a vicious cycle of expectation gaps. The business needs IT to propose solutions that meet the ever-changing sales and marketing needs of the company, such as using social media to effectively position their products to customers. The IT team, in turn, expects the business to extensively evaluate their existing business processes to help identify shortcomings and better enable the creation of a collaborative technology roadmap. Working together, these groups can use a fit-gap analysis to determine which areas of the business could use improvement, and the best technologies to help achieve that improvement.

To that end, for business and IT teams that are considering SAP products, here are four focus areas that should make a productive fit-gap analysis.

Applications

Your fit-gap analysis will highlight business processes and functional areas that need new technology to better accomplish your company's goals. For those interested in the SAP landscape, for example, the latest SAP S/4HANA software, such as Simple Finance for faster and simpler business consolidation, or SAP Hybris for end-to-end sales and marketing solutions, may be worth considering. Similarly, mobile capabilities and rich user experience may be of interest. In those cases, Fiori apps or Screen Personas may be considered.

Regardless of which products your company has interest in -- whether from SAP or from another vendor -- before making a buying decision, you should opt to see demos and prototypes of proposed or expected software, as this can significantly improve the application selection and adoption process.

Infrastructure

Cloud has greatly changed the way a company can manage its infrastructure, often leading to significant cost reduction, while having the flexibility to scale out (or scale in) as and when needed. Even if the business-critical applications stay in-house due to security or uptime consideration, the option to go for a hybrid model may make business sense by moving noncore ERP operations out to the cloud.

While evaluating the current infrastructure and conducting a fit-gap analysis, the priority list should still include security, data governance and integration among various applications.

Licensing costs

While your company is striving to adopt the best technologies or digital solutions, as well as the lowest associated licensing costs to use them, it only makes sense to assess your current licensing agreements to prune those that are either no longer in use or that fall into different license categories.

Using a third-party licenses' audit tool can provide good insight into the use of current licenses, along with ideas on recategorizing them when applicable or necessary.

Also, paying attention to SAP's licensing models, such as a change from user-based licensing costs to memory usage-based SAP HANA pricing policies, can prevent companies from over or underestimating license costs.

Reporting

Realizing that one purpose of carrying out as-is and gap analysis is to eventually have access to timely and reliable reporting that can help them make more informed business decisions, business and IT teams must take a critical look at how many reports they really need and how often they are used. Far too many reports and analytics are developed for a limited time or a limited purpose only, and are then never or hardly used again.

Evaluating frequently used reports and the gaps in existing reports that often lead business users to resort to out-of-system applications or Microsoft Excel is important. This is possible and practical due to the large number of reports available in S/4HANA, as well as other SAP applications.

It also makes sense to focus on change management to use standard-delivered reports, instead of going for another round of customization in the next-generation SAP software.

Next Steps

How to implement HANA the right way

A cloud implementation HANA roadmap for you

SAP offers chatbots for faster self-service

This was last published in March 2017

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