Having worked for and consulted within many companies that run SAP's ERP and having worked with the software for the majority of my career, I have one really big ‘pet gripe’. Whenever I talk to customers, colleagues or even friends, there is this misconception that SAP is only useful for large companies with deep pockets. Wrong.
While SAP’s ERP delivers great and wonderful integrated technologies for the Unilevers, Sonys and Deloittes of this world; it would be a gross understatement to say it stopped there. SAP is flexible and scalable, especially with the growth of the cloud and HANA solutions, and is genuinely targeted at smaller firms too.
The numbers don’t lie either: SAP has an 18.1% market share of small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMB). When you compare that to Sage (7.3%) and Microsoft (6.2%), then clearly a lot of SMBs are realising the value of an SAP ERP to help them grow.
If that wasn’t enough, then here are my top five reasons why you really can run SAP:
- Configured – Years of extensive experience with SMB specific needs has produced a comprehensive template that delivers preconfigured industry specific best practices. The design gets you up and running quickly, achieving business continuity. The template can still be tailored to meet your unique business needs; however, this can be done before or after the go-live phase, making sure that the right priorities are targeted.
- Affordable – The template can be implemented in 12 to 16 weeks. This does away with the misconception that deep pockets are needed. SAP’s ERP has been around for a long time now and there really are industry experts with decades worth of technical and project experience who know how to deploy the right ERP solution into your organization fast.
- The SME – I think the term Subject Matter Expert is over used. It seems like everybody uses it regardless of their background, experience and achievements. I guess everybody has their own opinion of the criteria. I think “experience” and “achievement” are more obvious. You don’t become seasoned overnight and having lots of successful go-lives under your belt gives you credibility. However, for me, the key differentiator is the “background”. It is those SAP ERP professionals who really understand from a ‘ground-up’ business perspective and can ‘walk the walk’. As an example, the best Sales & Distribution consultants may have been a Customer Service Representative. A Logistics consultant could have been a Warehouse Manager and a Finance & Controlling consultant would have been an Accountant; all before they transitioned to a career within the SAP ERP industry. It makes a huge difference not just being a technician, knowing how to unlock SAPs real value at the business level. It is these types of professionals’ who are best placed for designing a fast deployment template.
- Adaptable – SAP has been around for 42 years, so there is no reason “to start from scratch”. The maturity of the SAP ERP solution should enable you to implement a solution that meets your core business needs straight out of the box, but is flexible enough where it can be customized to meet your unique requirements. Finding the right solution should give you the best of all worlds, a template that can be deployed fast, saving you time and money, but one that doesn’t compromise your flow of business, but in fact enhances your day-to-day operations.
- The Package – Implementing SAP’s ERP doesn't simply consist of the transactional design and understanding how users will interact with the system, although it is a large part of it. Hosting, the everyday monitoring and maintenance, the business support, solution enhancements and optimization plus many other considerations, are also a critical part of your ERP journey. In today’s market, there is no reason why all your ERP needs cannot be handled by a ‘one-stop shop’. By choosing your partner carefully, you will significantly reduce the pain points, get more bang for your buck and have an all-round more enjoyable experience.