SAP is the backbone of many business operations that include resource planning (ERP), logistics, financial and human capital management. Its adoption can play a vital role in the digital transformation of enterprises across such industries as manufacturing, automotive, telecommunication, healthcare, and more. However, if not handled properly, the SAP adoption can fail to deliver desired results.
Many enterprises lack the right expertise to run such extensive projects or don’t have the time required for such an undertaking on their own. That is why they turn to SAP outsourcing companies that can run such projects with respect to their budget and time constraints.
So, if you are looking to implement SAP within your organization, outsourcing might be the best course of action. Let us take a look at how you can approach this process, how to select the best vendor for your project, and how to address the challenges of SAP adoption with a reliable partner at your side.
Resolving the complexity and challenges of SAP adoption through tech partnerships
SAP is one of the world’s most well-known and most efficient solutions for enterprise resource planning (ERP), human capital management, customer relationship management (CRM), and other enterprise areas. But it is also a rather complex ecosystem that is associated with considerable investment of time, resources, and effort. Some of the most critical challenges of SAP outsourcing and adoption are:
- Time - SAP projects often require a great deal of time and effort. It is important to manage expectations and be prepared for months, and possibly years, of development.
- Cost - Implementing a new system is often seen as a cost-saving measure. However, the cost of implementation must be weighed against the benefits of the new system.
- Change management - Keep in mind that implementing a new system often requires changes in the way the business operates. This may require changes in processes, roles, and responsibilities.
Of course, all of the challenges can be addressed by experienced consultants. The experts who specialize in SAP outsourcing services have the necessary knowledge and skills, and that is exactly why enterprises would rather partner up with a reliable vendor than attempt such an undertaking on their own. Of course, these are not the only challenges to the adoption of SAP.
Matching technology with business processes and needs
One of the common barriers to a successful SAP project is not having a thorough understanding of the existing business needs and the technology that could aid those needs. To properly integrate SAP within a vast ecosystem of your enterprise, you need a partner who can dive deeply into the current system, data flows, processes, and user requirements. All of that is a part of the Product Discovery that helps SAP outsourcing experts at N-iX to evaluate the current specs of the system and map out the necessary technical tools for meaningful change.
The complexity of system design
Once the current process and needs are understood, the next challenge is to design a system that meets the requirements of the business. The system should be designed to meet the business’s current needs, as well as anticipate future changes.
Our team conducts a careful analysis of the current state of the system and plans the desired one. The design process should include both technical and business considerations, such as workflow, user interface, security, scalability, and data integration. Only after the system has been thoroughly designed can you move forward to the development stage.
Integration with existing systems
Another complexity of SAP projects is integrating the new system into the existing landscape. This may require complex data mapping and integration of different third-party solutions. Additionally, it may require the use of specialized tools such as middleware and ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) tools to facilitate the integration. SAP offers their native middleware solutions such as SAP PI or CPI, though in some situations 3rd party offerings might be a better option.
The development of interfaces between the different systems can be complex and time-consuming. That is why you would need a reliable technology partner who has a profound understanding of SAP as well as other third-party solutions that often integrate with SAP, such as the SAP Commerce Cloud (former Hybris platform), OpenText, Salesforce, and more. The N-iX team gives you the system integration expertise you need.
Important considerations before outsourcing SAP project
The implementation of SAP solutions offers many benefits for enterprises, including higher efficiency, improved control over assets, better customer service, security, cost saving, and more. All the while, you need to remember that SAP implementation is an expensive, complex, and time-consuming process. The project may take years and extensive investment to complete, and a trustworthy consulting and development partner will have you note the following considerations:
First, you need to identify whether SAP is the right match for your business needs. Businesses that benefit from SAP solutions typically include those in the manufacturing industry, retail, finance, and logistics sectors. These enterprises need software to help with their complex supply chains, financial operations, and inventory management. For such companies, SAP can indeed be an invaluable solution to major problems.
For certain businesses SAP offering would be an overkill. Such companies include those that do not manage complex operations, such as small and mid-size organizations. You need to work with a consulting partner who would help you identify whether SAP is the right choice for your business needs, fair and square.
Cost of SAP services and implementation
A major challenge for any SAP project is the cost of implementation. Companies must consider the high costs associated with training, maintenance, and support of the software. SAP offers a broad range of pricing models, which depend on the number of users, their tier, the use of SAP cloud, and additional services. Depending on the needs of your organization and the number of users, you might be paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual expenses on SAP alone. Add the cost of implementation on top of that, and you’d be looking at hefty annual expenses.
You would need a partner who would treat your budget with respect. Assuming your business needs SAP and you are ready to pay for it, you would want to work with people who treat your investment with due diligence. Partner with an SAP outsourcing vendor who would make that investment worth the while and help you generate ROI in the foreseeable future.
Complex data migration
Transferring data from legacy systems to SAP can be a challenge in its own right. You will need a partner with the necessary expertise to use the data migration tools such as ETL.
The N-iX experts use ETL tools to move data to and from SAP systems and integrate multiple systems. These tools can convert data from one format to another and perform checks to cleanse the data (for example, ensuring a name field is populated). Additionally, ETL tools can keep the rules for extracting and transforming data outside of the application, which makes it easier to maintain.
Companies must ensure that their staff receives adequate training in order to use the system effectively. Training can be expensive and time-consuming, and you might not have the in-house experts to conduct the knowledge transfer. N-iX can help you with the knowledge transfer and conduct the necessary training for your staff. This will help you take full advantage of the capabilities of SAP.
By taking these considerations and by following the steps described above, you can successfully outsource your SAP project. Make sure to do your research and select a vendor that can provide the services you need. Also, consider the needs of your business and evaluate all the factors that lead you to choose SAP. With proper planning and evaluation, you can ensure that the project is completed on time and within budget.
How to approach SAP outsourcing
Yes, SAP is a fairly complex ecosystem that requires considerable time and effort investment to implement. Most importantly, it also requires unparalleled technical expertise to implement successfully. That is why you will need a reliable SAP partner who can put the adoption process on the right track and support it all the way through. Here are the important things to consider:
- Understand your business needs: Before you decide to outsource SAP, it’s important to understand your business needs and determine which capabilities are essential for your company’s success. Consider the type of services you need, the scope of the project, and the budget you have to work with. You don’t invest in SAP software just because your competitor did, you invest only if your business really needs it. A reliable SAP consulting partner will help you decide whether you need to invest money, time and effort into the adoption of a certain SAP solution.
- Research vendors: Once you have a clear understanding of your needs, you can start researching potential vendors. Look for companies with experience in SAP, as well as expertise in your particular industry. Check their portfolio and client reviews to make sure they can provide the services you need. SAP consulting companies like N-iX often provide development services too, so you can work with the same partner for both consulting and development.
- Contact potential partners: Once you’ve identified potential vendors providing SAP outsourcing services, create a Request for Proposal and contact them. During further conversations, provide detailed information about the scope of the project, timeline, budget, and any other relevant information. All of that information must be on the table for both of you, and you will have to discuss all the aspects of the project with the vendor.
- Select a vendor: After a thorough discussion with the SAP outsourcing vendors, you will have to select the one that best meets your needs. Make sure the vendor has the necessary experience and expertise to complete the project on time and within budget. Once you’ve selected a vendor, it’s time to negotiate the terms and conditions of the agreement. Both parties must be clear on the project timeline, costs, and any other important details.
- Implement the project: Once the agreement is finalized, you can start project implementation. Ensure that the vendor has the proper resources and personnel to complete the project in a timely manner.
Factors for choosing a reliable SAP partner
As said, you will have to select a vendor for outsourcing the SAP project, but how do you find an SAP outsourcing partner who would help you adopt the solution in a way that benefits your business with respect to your budget? We have compiled a list of factors that you should consider when evaluating SAP outsourcing companies:
- Experience: Look for an SAP implementation partner with a track record of successful SAP projects and expertise in your particular industry. It is not only about SAP expertise alone, it is also about knowing exactly what the business in your particular business domain needs. The combination of technical knowledge and domain expertise will be a strong benefit for your SAP outsourcing project.
- Eye on the big picture: Consider a partner who offers more than just SAP outsourcing services. SAP can be integrated with a number of third-party solutions, and it is always better to have a partner who has experience working with those solutions. You have to keep an eye on the bigger picture and the future of your enterprise, and remember that at some point, you might need to integrate SAP with Salesforce, Hybris, OpenText, or other third-party solutions. That is where you would definitely need a partner with broader expertise.
- Portfolio: Evaluate the partner’s portfolio and see what kinds of projects they have worked on before. It will tell you a lot about their real experience and the types of services they actually provide. Go through their case studies and see what kind of hands-on experience they have.
- Reputation: Naturally, after reviewing the vendor’s portfolio, you would want to know whether their clients were satisfied with the service. You can go to different ranking websites and see the average satisfaction rates and some comments from real clients. This will help you cement the confidence in the SAP outsourcing companies you have shortlisted as your potential vendors.
- Flexibility: Make sure the partner is flexible and able to accommodate any changes that may arise during the implementation process. This would require a large number of experts on the vendor’s side so that they could expand the development team if need be. That is why it is better to select among the vendors who have a larger talent pool of at least 1,000-1,500 experts. This would guarantee the flexibility and scalability of the development teams.
Final thoughts: reaching the desired results with N-iX
N-iX is a global provider of comprehensive SAP services. These services range from consulting and custom development to application management and third-party integrations such as Salesforce and OpenText. Additionally, N-iX provides expertise in ABAP development, SAP data (BI/BO, BW), SAP Application Managed Services (AMS), global template rollouts, migration to the cloud. Businesses can rely on N-iX to digitally transform their operations and maximize the value of SAP investments.
Read more: Make your data work for you with ETL on AWS
We also help our clients extend the functionality of their SAP ecosystems, optimize costs, process change requests, and roll out their products within realistic timelines and with respect to their budgets. With 20+ years of market experience and over 2000 technology experts, N-iX provides high-quality services for large-scale enterprise projects and delivers tangible value to clients.