Wednesday, November 12, 2014

SAP Cloud 4 Customer; is it really a business solution?

With the arrival and fast growth of the SAP Cloud 4 Customer solution, a big change is happening and this is not just solution wise. Consultants, who have been working with different versions of the on premise SAP CRM solution need to adapt to a different style of working and thinking.

I myself, am one of those consultants who is making the transition from consulting in on premise to cloud. It's a path full of adventures and challenges. This is caused by the fact that an "old school" on premise consultant is used to knowing that basically anything can be realised with custom coding in an on premise solution of SAP but when consulting the cloud, this is not the case…… or is it?

The cloud solution is positioned as a business solution whereas on premise is positioned as an IT solution. The difference between these two should be extracted from the fact that development is limited in the cloud solution which should result in less demand in IT capacity. 

Also, during implementation the focus should be on business consulting to make the system work properly. Knowing this, a consultant and the client he/she is working for, should be much more focused on making sure the business process fits the system. And this should then lead to more efficient business process changes rather than developing difficult, and expensive, IT solutions.

But what I found is that neither the client or the consultant have yet properly adjusted to this new way of thinking, this includes myself of course. So, now we have this situation where a cloud solution is presented to the world as a business solution with low IT dependency but in reality we still too often depend on developments and custom adjustments.

So, the big question is of course: how do we change this….? Or should the question be: So what?
So what, it happens that a lot of developments are done in the SAP cloud 4 customer solution? What's the real problem then?
I obviously don't have the answer at hands just like that and perhaps it is a matter of time until this transition is made and perhaps it's not.

But I do believe that, even though as a consultant you cannot influence everything within a project or assignment which involves an implementation of the SAP Cloud for Customer solution, one should be much more focused on business process consultancy. Because then a situation can be created where a knife cuts both ways: a cost reduction during implementation and possible process efficiency changes which will also lead to cost reduction in operations.

So therefore my advice is to be much more critical regarding custom made developments and look more to the business process that should be supported by the cloud solution. 
Look where the inefficiencies are and try to straighten those. It's a challenge but it will be a rewarding one!