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How can SAP Commercial Project Management help project planners?

For large, complex projects, planners may want to take advantage of the features in SAP's Commercial Project Management system. An expert outlines its capabilities.

Project planners responsible for large construction projects and other service-oriented projects can use SAP Commercial...

Project Management to monitor the project's cost, revenue, timeline, resources and issues. SAP Commercial Project Management (CPM) is an add-on to the SAP Project System (PS) component and integrates additional SAP functions, such as SAP Document Management System, to provide a comprehensive system suitable for handling large, complex in-house and customer projects.

The three sub-components of SAP CPM are:

Project Cost and Revenue Planning. Project planners can estimate a project's direct and indirect costs via the user-friendly Microsoft Excel and SAP BusinessObjects interfaces. This functionality is especially useful when the company is in the bid and proposal preparation phase of a potential project and needs an in-depth cost estimation that accounts for all the various costs, such as manpower, labor, machinery and overhead. On the revenue planning side, CPM provides forecasting models and simulations that show how a project's costs stack up against potential revenue.

Project Issue and Change Management. With large projects, planners need a way to keep track of a large number of issues -- particularly those issues that tend to escalate costs and require extra time. In CPM, it is possible to evaluate an issue to see if it has any cost or time implication. If it doesn't, then the system archives the issue after its resolution, while keeping it available for future reference.

If an issue has time or cost implications, then CPM lets users convert the issue into a change request that needs to go through new cost estimation and approval processes, finally resulting in an update in the project's budget. Then the system allows the change request to be converted into a change order.

Project Workspace. CPM's Project Workspace is an intuitive dashboard that displays a project's various phases, elements and statuses to the project's participants. For example, it can show a holistic view of procurement processes for a specific project, including the costs incurred and how those deviate from the budget. Other user-centric dashboards cover project scheduling, resources, documents associated with a project, and issue and change management.

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