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How helpful is an SAP proof of concept?

An SAP proof of concept helps bridge client and system integrator gaps.

A company embarking on implementing a new SAP ERP system, or its components, looks for client testimonials, success...

stories and failures to gauge how well the new ERP will be able to address business needs. An SAP proof of concept often proves to be an effective benchmark to demonstrate a system integrator's understandings of your business processes. An SAP proof of concept is a process by which a systems integrator (SI) and the company mutually agree to map and demonstrate a prototype of a few critical business processes in the yet-to-be-implemented ERP system.

Here's how to make the SAP proof of concept a win-win effort for both the company and the SI:

  1. The company and the SI can agree to demonstrate selected business processes that are the company's biggest pain points. For example, in pharmaceutical, food industries or meat processing, effective and efficient batch traceability is of paramount importance. For others, a production stoppage due to capacity constraints or unavailable components (missing parts) required for smooth production are critical bottlenecks, and they may want to see how the proposed ERP system addresses these issues.
  2. A company should provide the necessary sample data so the SI can demonstrate the ERP system's capabilities using the company's own data, which the company can easily relate to. If needed, the SI can sign a non-disclosure agreement to ensure privacy.
  3. A company representative should be available to address the SI's request for additional data or information.
  4. Before presenting the SAP proof of concept, the SI can present an informal demo or a mock dry-run. This step helps to identify and address any perceived gaps in the proof of concept and can bring to light areas where the actual proof of concept demonstration might need improvement or emphasis.
  5. Before the actual demonstration, the company should align stakeholders' expectations to prevent everyone from deviating from the agreed-upon demo of critical business processes.
  6. Pay close attention to the system's integration of one component with another that eliminates or minimizes redundant data entry and ensure that data and information flow correctly from one process or ERP component to another.
  7. To gauge whether the ERP system is a good fit, prevail upon the SI to demonstrate a maximum number of standard reports, features and dashboards because these are often given enormous weight by decision makers and senior management.

Although an SAP proof of concept may not immediately or comprehensively address all the important business functions, it does provide a better view of the ERP system's and consultants' capabilities, which may not be obvious in the SI's sales and marketing presentations.

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