Essentially it can happen to us all – the first signs start appearing after a few really nice days of peace and quiet combined with rich food. Our trousers no longer fit and stairs start becoming more problematic. A totally normal situation that we often have to face, whether we like it or not, towards the end of the year. Then we make good resolutions and try to keep to them with more or less willpower. Unfortunately we so often fail, because keeping to them is often more difficult than embarking on something new …
This can become significantly easier with appropriate planning – in the form of a fitness plan or, as we call it here, a fitness strategy.
Let’s now take this basic approach and apply it to complex business management systems. Naturally there’s not a real equivalent in this scenario for days-long rich eating – or is there? Our experience has shown that the majority of ERP systems are not constantly checked for their innovation capacity and that their provision of business management functions can definitely be subject to a certain decline (insidious requirement changes). In this respect, a fitness strategy is a totally helpful approach for business management systems, from detailed check-ups to results-orientated changes of use and continuous performance measurements (No, we’re not just looking after your systems, but make a preventative health note in your diary now – surely that can’t do any harm).
Not yet convinced? No doubt you’re like the majority of people responsible for the operation of an ERP system in a largish or smallish company. You know precisely which functionalities and processes your system provides. To say nothing of the efficiency of your organization and knowledge and expertise of your employees. But, be honest, do you really know this that precisely? Allow me to put a few questions to you.
- Which of your customer-specific changes are actually used by your employees? And how intensively?
- Are there any gaps in your application processes? If yes, then where?
- How many functional upgrades have you carried out in the last two years?
- What is the percentage of unused but expensive licenses?
- Does your test management system really cover the entire functional breadth of your processes?
- What differences are there between the work carried out by different sites or Business Units?
These are just a few examples of issues worth considering. They suffice for now. However, they have significance particularly in view of the experience we have gathered in over a thousand customer projects. Far too often, decisions are based on assumptions and estimations. This makes processes inefficient and the real circumstances increasingly deviate from actual possibilities. Rather like the feeling of being a ‘couch potato’ over the festive season – it’s much more efficient to objectively check your actual use based on a wealth of facts that are readily available – your own data.
Our series of articles entitled “A fitness plan for your SAP system” highlights how the available information can be used in a targeted manner– against the background of specific problems and issues. Key in this is consideration of different users’ viewpoints.
- Past (Lessons Learned) – derive knowledge from the past
- Present – Evaluate and document use
- Future – Plan innovations and developments
- Strategy – Gather operational information as an aid to decision-making
- System Operation – Improve security for users and their work
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Find more articles on this topic here.