This January I was invited by SAP to co-present as a keynote speaker at the yearly ASUG (Americas SAP User Group) volunteer meeting in Nashville, TN. I was asked to offer my perspective as an SAP customer for their business transformation service, the SAP Optimization and Pathfinder Report. This report takes a 30-day capture of the usage of your SAP® ECC, analyzes it, comes up with recommendations on how to: take advantage of SAP functional enhancements, move to the cloud, implement the SAP award-winning UX “Fiori”, and migrate to the SAP in-memory database HANA. I just so happened to be one of the first SAP customers to run the report when it was released last year, and I am fairly active on the SAP and ASUG community forums (although nowhere near as active as I am on THWACK®). So, I naturally drew the attention of the SAP Services and Support teams, thus my invitation.
One of the many hats I wear in my company’s IT department is that of the SAP Basis, Security and Access Manager. For those of you not familiar with SAP Basis is the equivalent of Microsoft® Windows® and Active Directory® administration. I take to this role with all the zest and enthusiasm that I take to my role as the only monitoring resource for my company (hence my heavy involvement with the SolarWinds® product suite, my SCP certification, and my MVP status on THWACK). I am always on the lookout for any and all services and tools that are part of my company’s SAP Enterprise Support contract. Because if you are an SAP customer the one constant is that you are overwhelmed and confused by the arsenal of services and tools available to you from SAP.
Okay. Okay! So why am I talking about SAP so much in a THWACK blog? Great question! Here is where the roads intersect. The audience for my presentation was a mix of ASUG volunteers representing special interest groups (SIGs) for: Human Resources, Supply Chain, Sales & Distribution, Finance, IT, Warehouse Mgmt, and other others. Additionally, these SIG’s were comprised of VP’s, C-level, directors, and managers from all industries. My presentation about business transformation had to reach all of them. SAP, SolarWinds… it didn’t matter the technology. My message had to be that business transformation traversed all departments and required stakeholders buy-in from each.
Fortunately for me I work for a wine and spirits distributor. Alcohol is a great icebreaker. Everyone it seems has a great story to tell involving alcohol. So as I went through my presentation outlining the business transformation opportunities of this report I periodically stopped and would query the audience: “Show of hands! How many of you subscribe to the SAP Enterprise Support newsletter?” Out of 450 only about 30 raised their hands. “Show of hands! How many of you are SAP Certified Center of Excellence?” Maybe 10. “Show of hands! How many of us regularly initiate the SAP Continuous Quality Checks?” About 15. “Show of hands! How many of us are aware of openSAP? SAP’s free training available to everyone?” Maybe 10. “WOW! You people got some homework!” Laughter ensued.
Before I finished my presentation it dawned on me that technology in the business landscape is still expected to be championed by IT. These are ASUG volunteers I was presenting to and even they aren’t taking advantage of SAP’s services and tools. These are meant for the entire business to innovate, transform, and grow. But my “show of hands” exercise not only revealed that the services and tools are not only not being utilized but the business isn’t tuning in to their strategic vendor’s communications. The realization of the value of enterprise services is lost.
So that leads me to you my fellow THWACKsters. Obviously you are tapping in to the awesome value of the THWACK. But what about the enterprise services of your other vendors? Microsoft, VMware®, Cisco®, Verizon®, and so many others. Show of hands…