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SAP on SAP: Advice for delivering successful SAP projects in 2011

SAP’s chief information officer, Oliver Bussmann, and Martin Heisig, vice president of enterprise architecture, shared their tips on proving SAP ROI and delivering successful SAP projects in 2011. Many of our readers tell us they are challenged to prove the ROI of SAP applications. Do you face that at SAP? And how do you do it?

Oliver Bussmann: Yes. We have an ongoing conversation with the business in relation to hard versus soft commitment. This will be an ongoing discussion as to how big of a business commitment at the end for certain revenue, and then also for efficiency improvement.

On the other side, if you work in an environment that has a huge demand, that’s the way that you can select your project. Can you share some tips for delivering successful projects in 2011?

Bussmann: I think it starts with the right selection of the projects. My experience is, you can keep the IT organization busy 24 hours a day, and everybody feels good about working really hard and delivering. Does it have an impact on the overall business? That’s a big question mark. So spending time and effort in teaming up with the business to figure out what’s on their agenda for the following year and how can you help the business to achieve their goals, is absolutely important as a CIO.

Also, working in the high-tech companies, you figure out which area the innovation will come through. Looking at external market research, plus what’s going on on the development side, is critical for our success, to embrace new trends at an early stage. You have to have capacity ready to do the innovative stuff to generate instant value for our business users, to say, hey, there is something you can use as a differentiator.

Martin Heisig: You have to focus on what the corporation wants to achieve. It’s not only the LOBs [line of business], but how the overall company is getting the benefit from all of these activities.

The other thing is certainly not only focusing on the big projects. There are also a lot of things you can do with the smaller projects, leveraging new, innovative technologies, especially the new on-demand platforms, which are really providing the new benefit already with instant value. Nothing to install, within days you can already achieve a lot of benefit. We tend to focus on these big projects; you have to find the right balance with the big initiatives to create the foundation, but also the smaller ones to leverage the new innovation.

Bussmann: At the end, it comes down to ‘can I generate value to the business?’ Me, as a CIO, our job is to orchestrate different services to deliver the maximum value out of the investment.


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