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SAP’s IT chiefs on how they build a business case for SAP projects

In this video, SAP CIO Oliver Bussmann and Martin Heisig, vice president of enterprise architecture, share their tips for building a case for SAP-related projects.

Read the full transcript from this video below:  

SAP’s IT chiefs on how they build a business case for SAP projects

Interviewer:     Hello, and thank you for watching this video. Today we are at SAP TechEd in Las Vegas, and we are here with Oliver Bussman, who is SAP’s CIO, and Martin Heisig, who is the Vice President of Enterprise Architecture at SAP. They are going to talk to us a little bit about what it is like to run SAP applications within SAP. Thank you for joining us today, gentleman.

Oliver Bussmann:        Thank you for having us.

Interviewer:     Can you start out by telling us a little bit about some of your keys and best practices for making a business case to the board of directors, or CEOs, or CFOs when you are starting new projects.

Oliver Bussmann:             I think I want to start with how we do project selection and world mapping at SAP. What the Enterprise Activity Team did at the beginning of the year was spend time with the different lines of business to figure out what their objectives, their business roadmaps for the next two or three years and try to align these roadmaps with the IT activities, IT road mapping of the entire architecture. We went through a really intensive development over the last six or eight months, so we had a pretty good understanding of what are the key initiatives for SAP product for the next three, four, five years.

It helped us also to identify the demand, capacity-wise, also potential overlap by process areas, by functional areas to simplify it. Also to figure out are we, from a skill set prospective, ready to support this kind of portfolio going forward. Then we use this information as a starting point for the 2011 portfolio discussion, and see how does it fit together with the target setting for 2011 from a growth perspective, efficiency and business perspective. All the projects have to go through a business case validation. This is a joint effort between the heads of the lines of business and their respective chief operations officers, the IT organization and, at the end it will be the executive board of SAP who makes the final call on the project selection and allocation for the upcoming year. It is a very thorough, structured approach that we established since the beginning of the year to drive up our entire project portfolio.

You want to add something, from your perspective.

Martin Heisig: No. I think that the main, naturally you could say that you want to move away from this tactical project selection approach, which we had maybe two or three years ago, where we are just order-takers. The business comes up with nice ideas, and we implemented these activities, and now we are coming towards more of an understanding of how the different LOBs are linked to the corporate strategies, what IT issues are needed to make that happen, and from there, make recommendations to what needs to be done to support the corporate goals best.

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