In practice, many businesses running SAP struggle with finding the optimal balance between systems adaptability with systems stability. The SAP department often is predominantly focused on servicing and operating the existing ‘live’ SAP estate rather than on catalyzing business growth. The SAP department even not rarely is perceived to be a road block, an obstacle to swiftly adapting systems functionality to changed business circumstances. Businesses thus on the one hand require stable systems to support executing their business processes. On the other, they want their systems functionality to be changed in like the blink of an eye. One to chew on, huh? Well, one of the answers can be found in properly organizing for this.
The challenge at hand thus is to design an organization capable of meeting the omnipresent business demand for both SAP agility and stability, while delivering best value for money and facilitating instant change. An SAP organizational unit capable of efficiently servicing, supporting, and maintaining SAP whilst also enhancing and further improving existing functionality and in parallel deliver projects.
Now, how to design such an organization? I had the pleasure to be involved in answering this question on various occasions and here are 14 strategic design principles I believe to be essential in arriving at such a balanced SAP organizational unit or Competency Center, referred to by SAP nowadays as Customer Center of Expertise (CCoE).
- Consider the business as the customer with an IT demand, and IT as supplier
- Supply IT in an end-to-end business function oriented fashion
- Discriminate between a RUN, a CHANGE and a SERVICE function in IT
- Align between CHANGE and RUN through SERVICE
- Separate RUN from CHANGE on an operational level
- Keep accountability for RUN and CHANGE in one hand on a tactical level, through SERVICE
- Consider RUN and CHANGE to be delivery capabilities, fed by (strategic) portfolio’s (PLAN)
- Have well-defined operational and tactical touch points at the IT demand side for RUN, CHANGE as well as SERVICE
- SERVICE evaluates business value
- Organize for an overlapping hand-over between RUN and CHANGE – hit the floor running
- Operationalize SERVICE in customer-centric manner providing customers with the easiest possible access to the services
- Keep tooling as simple and intuitive as possible, but no simpler than that
- People are key, developing competences has an explicit place in the organization
- Build in a continual improvement capability
Should you consider or be legally obliged to go for the SAP CCoE Primary Certification, here are the main areas you need to have under control:
– Information Management
– Contract & License Management
If need to get better control over your SAP solution lifecycle, drop me a note to learn how I can help!