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Who should be responsible for SAP after implementation of SAP R/3 and BW?

Learn how responsibility should be divided in an organization implementing SAP R/3 and BW. Executive advice expert Joshua Greenbaum says it depends on how SAP's roll will evolve in the organization and if R/3 and BW will operate seperately.

My organization is now planning to implement SAP R/3 and BW.

We would like a second opinion about who should be responsible for SAP in our organization. Should IT infrastructure...

people take responsibility for an SAP system? Or it should be separated from IT, and function as a unique unit which serves the SAP staff members with integration to the IT infrastructure department?

I must say that we're a big organization, so R/3 is not going to be the major IT application of the organization -- but it's still big.

Your question really begs another one: How will SAP's role evolve in your organization? It sounds like R/3 and BW are going to function largely as stand-alone systems, insofar as R/3 won't be the backbone of your entire enterprise software system. If there has been a specific strategic decision that this is the status of R/3 for the foreseeable future, then it makes sense to separate the SAP group into a miniature "center of excellence" and leave IT out of the mix.

But if there is some interest in having SAP become an integral part of a complex applications infrastructure – even if that interest is theoretical or won't be realized for a number of years – then I would advice against isolating SAP support and SAP users from the rest of IT. The lessons to be learned from the active involvement of IT in the day-to-day functionality of your SAP system will be a good investment when an expansion of SAP in your company eventually takes place.

This was last published in August 2005

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