How do the others do it?

A brief introduction to RBE Plus Benchmarking 2.0


The practice of benchmarking has firmly established itself internationally in the field of business analytics. After all, it just makes good sense to use benchmarking to identify general trends and metrics and systematically apply these to one’s own organization and business processes. Particularly when the statistical population of available data is large enough, benchmarking ought to offer clear answers. That said, probably everyone would agree that anyone who has worked with these kinds of statistical indicators knows that the quality of benchmarking can vary immensely.

Selection of meaningful data is the first step that quickly separates the wheat from the chaff. Poor decisions about which data to use result in fairly meaningless metrics that will often lead in the wrong direction and turn out to be counterproductive.

In the following article, we’d like to familiarize you a little bit with RBE Plus Benchmarking 2.0, an extensive library with thousands of key figures based on a variety of projects. RBE Plus Benchmarking 2.0 offers more than just meaningful reference data. It adds true analytical value.


User activities in business processes

When examining measurable user activities in business processes, a number of indicators and findings can be used to create a factual basis for decision-making.

How many transactions do SAP system users really execute?

Which processes has SAP ERP software virtually automated?

To name just two examples. RBE Plus Benchmarking 2.0 has the capabilities to answer these questions objectively – based on data culled from RBE Plus usage analyses, from more than 250,000 users. The solution shows areas of intense usage and categorizes concrete user types. It delivers reliable data that helps identify sub-processes in need of improvement.


RBE Plus Benchmarking 2.0

SAP ERP software has penetrated much of the corporate world, and is used more extensively than ever before. In turn, methods of company organization have taken on representative value and gained significance. Assuming that in the 90’s, numerous business processes and data were handled without the help of ERP solutions, the relative degree of coverage in many organizations has sharply risen in the past decade. This is also apparent in the RBE Plus usage analysis data gathered over the past ten years, and is especially true for Germany and the U.S.A. During this time, the number of SAP users who work with end-to-end solutions has grown continually in German DAX corporations.

The new RBE Plus Benchmarking 2.0 database contains over 100 data sets from current RBE Plus analyses that include the necessary indicators of usage. Each data set consists of about 4,000 separate metrics, mainly from industrial enterprises that use end-to-end solutions for accounting and logistics.

In the interest of confidentiality, data was double anonymized. User data was aggregated and all descriptive data was eliminated to prevent identification of any one company. Plus, very specific data (such as minimum and maximum) was rounded or depicted as ranges in order to protect companies’ identity. All other statistics – such as the mean and the standard deviation – remained unchanged.


Categories of complexity

To draw significant conclusions from the data pool, each data set was categorized with respect to complexity. The six indicators of complexity include:

  1. Number of active users,
  2. SAP modules used,
  3. Released innovations,
  4. Interfaces implemented,
  5. Number of active organizational units,
  6. Number of countries where financial statements must be submitted.

Categorization assumes several premises. All international corporations were classified in the Complex Companies group because they reveal a high degree of individualization, a large number of activities per user and hundreds of disparate organizations. They also have a mean of 8,010 active users. The larger midsize companies and corporate subgroups all have upwards of 907 users. These comprise the Normal Companies group, whose usage focuses primarily on a country or a division.


User activity

User activity can be determined by counting the number of different transactions a user executes. These include ERP transactions executed by dialog users, such as SAP and customer transactions.

Users are grouped into the following categories:

  • The proportion of users who execute only one transaction is approx. 10% in both groups. But here the standard deviation is very high. It’s important to check whether the company really needs the dialog users who only executed one transaction over a longer period. If so, this user type probably has a very specific task assignment. These may be call center employees responding to inquiries or entering feedback.
  • The largest group – with percentages around 60% — are users whose spectrum includes between two and 20 transactions. Either their access is very narrowly defined, or they do not use the transactions to the extent that they could.
  • The third group – approx. 20% — consists of specialist users, who have knowledge of and are familiar with the system along one process chain, or have in-depth knowledge of one user department.
  • The last group – approx. 10% — are super users, who execute more than 50 transactions, and include mainly IT specialists. The primary issue here is whether this type of usage is desirable or efficient.

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