Companies today aspire to a strong connection—with employees, partners, and suppliers and—most importantly, with customers. They choose business solutions to bring people and processes together across geographies and cubicles, across roles, and teams. But many organizations that rely on the SAP Business Suite (SAP) have found that their vision of a unified system that manages all business processes in all geographies across all business units is becoming ever more elusive. They struggle with:
- Lack of flexibility. The sheer size and complex nature of SAP has negatively impacted the flexibility of the solution. With millions of lines of code in a monolithic architecture, it’s tough to adapt to changing needs and to support subsidiaries or divisions that do not run the same business processes.
- Time to value. SAP can take inordinate time to set up and configure, making it hard to meet business goals in a timely manner. In addion to this, many IT departments struggle to keep up with new business requests for system enhancements or even routine reporting. The combination of these often leads to the proliferation of homegrown, departmental and parallel applications as business leaders take matters into their own hands.
- User adoption. When user experience and workflows are unintuitive, productivity and job satisfaction suffer. The choices are unappealing: accept the detriments of suboptimal interfaces, develop new, custom frontends to SAP, or limit the rollout to “power users” hereby limiting the value of an integrated ERP solution.
- High cost. Licensing, hardware, implementation, maintenance, updates, and internal resources —can make it prohibitly expensive for companies to expand beyond the initial roll-out and certainly not to smaller subsidiaries or divisions. This means that only a fraction of your organization benefits of the solution.
Any one of these issues can slow growth and drive up IT costs. Together, they may prevent companies from achieving their full potential. How can these companies get the full value of their investment? How can they achieve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness that made them choose SAP in the first place?
Over the next few months, we’ll show you how some companies are making it work. We’ll showcase SAP customers that are committed to using the right tools for the right task, effectively extending their business applications to subsidiaries, operational units, lines-of-business, and so on. And they’re doing it without the cost and complexity of building out an already monolithic SAP implementation. Without sacrificing long-term flexibility. And without building, integrating, and supporting dozens of custom-built point solutions.
This series will explore these challenges in detail—and provide examples of how some of the world’s leading companies have deployed Microsoft Dynamics AX alongside SAP to achieve their vision of a unified enterprise while leveraging their existing investments in both SAP & Microsoft solutions like Windows, Office, SQL, SharePoint, etc. that many companies already own.
We hope you’ll continue reading, and share your own experiences in the comments!