James Thew - Fotolia
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 a fit-gap analysis will surely lead to missed business opportunities, false starts and higher costs. As such, performing a fit-gap analysis of SAP products before you implement them can help prevent major headaches for your business down the road.
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 SAP fit-gap analysis.
Your SAP 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.
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 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.
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.
How to implement HANA the right way
A cloud implementation HANA roadmap for you
SAP offers chatbots for faster self-service
Dig Deeper on SAP implementation
Related Q&A from Jawad Akhtar
Many SAP customers are taking a wait-and-see approach to the vendor's next-generation ERP business suite. One expert shares three reasons why. Continue Reading
The need for dedicated and completely integrated real estate management software is more important than ever as the drive for urbanization and ... Continue Reading
The S/4HANA digital core is an initiative of SAP to help companies turn big data emanating from various sources, such as sensors, into actionable ... Continue Reading
Have a question for an expert?
Please add a title for your question
Get answers from a TechTarget expert on whatever's puzzling you.