Do You Need SAP?
We have all heard about the large (and very large) companies who have implemented (or are still busy implementing) SAP R/3. But SAP is gaining acceptance by smaller companies too.
There are many reasons a company selects and implements SAP – some are good and some are bad. The good ones include replacing an out-dated and inefficient IT Architecture (including the CIO’s nemesis … the burning platform), enabling business process change, and to gain competitive advantage. The bad ones are too numerous to go into here but would include the "why are we the only semiconductor company without SAP" question. More on the good reasons follows:
1. Replacing an out-dated and inefficient IT Architecture: In the beginning, computer systems were developed by individual departments to satisfy the requirements of that particular department. When someone finally realized that benefits could be had by linking these systems together, interface heaven was born. There are some companies today with literally thousands of interfaces, each of which needs to be maintained (assuming of course that there is someone around who understands how they work!). Sweeping them away and replacing them with an integrated system such as SAP can save much money in support. Of course, if you have a burning platform as well the question becomes even easier.
2. Enabling business process change – From the start, SAP was built on a foundation of process best practices. Although it sounds absurd, it is probably easier (and less expensive) to change your companies processes to adapt to SAP than the other way around. Many companies have reported good success from combining a SAP implementation with a BPR project.
3. Competitive advantage – The CFO types around have heard this old saying from the CIO types for many years now. The question still has to be asked … can you gain competitive advantage from implementing SAP? The answer, of course, depends on the company. It seems to us, however, that:
* being able to accurately provide delivery promise dates for manufactured products (and meet them) doesn’t hurt ... and
* being able to consolidate purchase decisions from around the globe and use that leverage when negotiating with vendors has gotta help … and
* being able to place kiosks in stores where individual customers can enter their product specifications and then feed this data directly into it’s production planning process is pretty neat
* etc etc
Ok. So you want SAP, you need SAP, you gotta have SAP.