Blog Series Fitness Plan: The performance potential of SAP systems


Taking our last article in the series “Fitness plan for your SAP system” as the starting point, we know how efficient we once were. We can see this with the help of data relating to the past and specific events which we obtain directly from the relevant SAP systems. But when the matter in question relates to a reasonable fitness plan, then we must be guided not only by the requirements and possibilities of the past but, in particular, by the current performance potential.

Performance potential KPIs

We can check our own physical fitness down to the last detail. Innumerable tools are available – from a blood pressure monitor or pedometer through to a nutrition app. But we treat these more or less in the same way as we treat the New Year resolutions I have already mentioned. As we all know, we rush to make the resolutions or buy the apps but most of us fall by the wayside when it comes to keeping our promises and plans systematically. It is extremely helpful not only for lay people to identify the status quo using an objective vantage point. Nowadays self-diagnosis is quite possible – as we all know, Google and other search engines make it possible. But who really trusts the quality of self-diagnosis? It might be OK for flu but a surgical intervention performed by an enthusiastic amateur? This is hardly conceivable even if my GP can tell you one or two interesting stories on this subject. 🙂

 

The possibilities of defining the performance potential of SAP systems are quite similar. At the end of the day, countless tools and programs are available – not to

mention helpful consultants. But what is crucial here is to be aware of the precise operating parameters. In short: what all these approaches can and cannot do. Everywhere that American English is spoken you can hear a very apt proverb which I would like to quote: “A fool with a tool is still a fool.”

  • In a complex system landscape it is vital to examine not only the isolated components but also the all-embracing interaction of the overall system. The technical nature of the linked systems is particularly important during this examination – for example a transactional analysis slanted towards ERP systems cannot properly capture web GUI oriented CRM systems.
  • It is also essential to prepare the results in such a way that they can be understood and used by the target group. System-oriented information and technical lists will confuse users in the Business Units rather than explain relevant process relationships to them.
  • In the absence of a logical assessment of the various capabilities of Business Units and Regions, each system analysis will become a mixture of a game of battleships and sleight of hand. It is precisely when reviewing the focus of organizations that the devil lies really deep down in the detail. From a higher level, process exceptions such as cancellations can disappear in the statistical average.

These are just a few examples to demonstrate that even with work-based approaches, in-depth knowledge is necessary for the logical derivation of strategies for solutions. Every other course of action leads inevitably to misunderstandings and problems.

 

The problem

This time, as before, we have selected three meaningful key figures to illustrate the performance capability of a properly executed analysis of the actual situation.

On the average, 20% of all purchase documents are created via interfaces. At first sight twenty percent may not sound a lot. But when measured against the number of purchase documents, we are talking about a huge amount of data transmitted using interfaces. In principle, the measurement of the degree of integration indicates redundancies and helps in circumventing coordination problems and testing effort. If we have to put standard functionalities to the acid test, how do individual enhancements look?
Four out of ten production ­orders do not relate to a planned order. When the efficiency in use of a SAP system is under consideration, it is certainly worth-while to take a closer look at the supporting functions. Reference documents, levels of automation and load balancing are just three examples for the sustainable increase of process efficiency.
On the average, 1,259 Z and Y transactions are available in customers’ systems. Keep it simple! Unnecessary complexity robs processes of transparency and renders them difficult to monitor. In the long term it is increasing documentation and testing effort which makes a customer-specific system enhancement (which is still good) expensive. The important point therefore is to check upgrades regularly and thoroughly – because who can say today what tomorrow’s standard will be able to do?

 

Conclusion

Even when considering the current situation, it is important to understand that user experience of analytic tools represents the key for lasting success. It is precisely in elaborate key indicator systems that wide-ranging explanations and information are essential. The reason is that at the end of the day it is only on the basis of an accurate appraisal that it is possible to adopt the correct measures to achieve the goals we have set for ourselves – irrespective of whether they concern physical fitness or the capability of our SAP systems.

 

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