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SAP for CIOs - Jon Reed's analysis

This section of JonERP.com contains pieces Jon Reed specifically wrote for CIOs, including for ERPtips. If you're interested in more content Jon publishes for SAP leaders, Jon is now the Editor in Chief for The ERP Executive - Panaya's Magazine for SAP Managers. See Jon's ERP Executive articles here. You can subscribe to ERP Executive content and check out the original content Jon and his team create each month for SAP managers.
SAP for CIOs
Driven to Perform - Can SAP Bridge the Gap Between Strategy and Execution? Print E-mail

jonerp_full_logo.PNG"Driven to Perform" in an ERP World:
Can SAP's GRC and EPM Suites Address the Gap Between Strategy and Execution?
by
Jon Reed
Unabridged Edition, Never Before Released


If you ask veteran IT directors what their biggest beef with ERP is, one of the most common complaints you're going to hear is: "We don't get enough business value." ERP's success in automating transactions is tempered by its struggle to deliver value from that transactional data - especially when executives start asking for actionable, real time information that can support decision-making. Former SAP Vice President Nenshad Bardoliwalla has an answer to this "ERP value problem": align execution with your strategy.

In his recently-released book, Driven to Perform: Risk-Aware Performance Management From Strategy Through Execution, co-authors Bardoliwalla, Stephanie Buscemi and Denise Vu Broady outline a methodology for how to tie strategic, "risk-aware" management approaches into day to day business operations.

Read more...
 
Making the BPX Business Case for SAP TechEd 2009 Print E-mail

jonerp_full_logo.PNGMaking the BPX Business Case for SAP TechEd 2009: Assessing the Relevance of TechEd for Business Users
by Jon Reed
Unabridged Edition, Never Before Released

In my last article for ERPtips on "Making Sense of SAP Value Scenarios," (ERPtips July/August 2009) I made the case that "business process expert" skills are essential to realizing the benefits of the more sophisticated aspects of SAP Business Suite functionality. Assuming that's true, then how do you go about obtaining those BPX skills? I've already touched on that in a previous ERPtips article ("What Does It Take to Become an SAP Business Process Expert, " ERPtips, Feb/March 2009), but I didn't cover all the bases. One thing I didn't get to was the issue of SAP TechEd, and its relevance to BPXers. And what if you do want to go to TechEd? How do you get a manager to sign off on your attendance? 

(note: this article relates to a podcast I did with Marco ten Vaanholt of SAP on Building a BPX Business case for SAP TechEd, so you may want to listen to that too.)

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Making Sense of Value Scenarios: Lessons from Sapphire 2009 Print E-mail
jonerp_full_logo.PNGMaking Sense of Value Scenarios:
Lessons from Sapphire 2009

by Jon Reed
Unabridged Edition, Never Before Released

Sapphire 2009 put SAP in a tricky spot. On the heels of the general release of Business Suite 7 (BS7), arguably the most visionary software release SAP has ever issued, customers wanted answers. They came to ASUG/Sapphire 2009 in search of immediate benefits they could bring back to their projects. The general availability of BS7 didn't qualify as such for most who attended.

That's why we heard a lot more about "Best-Run Now" during the Sapphire keynotes than we heard about "Value Scenarios," which are, by comparison, a more forward-thinking concept, involving a sophisticated use of the SAP Business Suite. Value Scenarios were widely discussed on the blogosphere after the Business Suite 7.0 announcement in New York City in February of 2009 (an event I attended). The most common reaction to these so-called "Value Scenarios" was confusion or buzzword withdrawal.

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Business Suite 7 - What SAP Customers Need to Know Print E-mail

jonerp_full_logo.PNGBusiness Suite 7 - What SAP Customers Need to Know: Lessons Learned from the Business Suite Event Announcement in New York City
by Jon Reed
Unabridged Edition, Never Before Released

On February 4, 2009, I was amongst the members of the media invited to New York City to cover SAP's official announcement of the release of Business Suite 7 (BS7). Dubbed the largest application release in SAP's history, the BS7 announcement received its fair share of criticism in subsequent coverage. The controversies surrounding that day were interesting, but to SAP customers, that was nowhere near as important as this simple question: "How can BS7 help us?" In this article, I'll do my best to answer that.

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Reducing SAP Consulting Costs: BW Implementation on a Budget Print E-mail

jonerp_full_logo.PNGReducing SAP Consulting Costs:
BW Implementation on a Budge
t
Unabridged Edition, Never Before Released

by Jon Reed

Jon Reed notes, January 21, 2008: Last summer, we published a piece on JonERP.com in our "SAP for CIOs" section featuring Renfeng Ma and his team at Sedgwick County, Kansas. Entitled "Who Said SAP Was Expensive?" , the article shared the story of how Ma's team implemented a BW-based dashboards project that came in dramatically under budget. The article drew on an in-depth interview with Ma that I never published - until now.

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What Does it Take to Become an SAP Business Process Expert? Print E-mail

jonerp_full_logo.PNG What Does it Take to Become an SAP Business Process Expert?
by Jon Reed
Unabridged Edition, Never Before Released

When it comes to building skills on SAP project teams, there are two main approaches. In the top down approach, the management team invests in skills development for team members. In the bottom up approach, individuals take the initiative and invest in their own skills.

One of the exciting things about the SAP "Business Process Expert" skill set is that you don't have to wait for company-wide programs to improve your skills. Another appealing aspect of Business Process Expert skills (which I will refer to as "BPX" frequently during this article) is that whether you are a hands-on SAP person or a higher level manager, there is something in this skill set that you can incorporate. 

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The Role of the SAP Business Process Expert Print E-mail
jonerp_full_logo.PNGThe Role of the SAP Business Process Expert:
How the "Process First" Book Emerged from the SAP Business Process Expert (BPX) Community
by Jon Reed
Unabridged Version, Never Before Released

When it comes to the question of "what's next" for SAP, there's no question that "BPM" is a big part of the answer. At the fall 2008 TechEd conferences in Las Vegas, Berlin, and Bangalore, BPM (Business Process Management) was one of the most prominent themes during keynotes and workshop sessions. SAP is focused on BPM (Business Process Management) because without a well-thought approach to business process execution, all the fancy SOA tools in the world can't make a difference. SAP customers want bottom line results, and SAP is counting on SOA, running on the latest versions of NetWeaver and informed by smart process management, to give SAP customers the combination of stability and adaptability they have always wanted from their SAP systems.  

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Making the SAP Plant Visible Print E-mail
jonerp_full_logo.PNGMaking the Plant Visible:
Lessons from the New Book "In Pursuit of the Perfect Plant"
by Jon Reed
Unabridged Edition, Never Before Released 

Introduction: Why Does Plant Management Matter?

Manufacturing plants have been around for much longer than ERP systems. But the gulf between ERP and plant management has always been vast. Even in the latest ERP software, you can't always drill into the systems than run individual plant operations. In today's economy, there is a new urgency to optimizing plants and making plants "visible" to ERP users. The reverse is also true: today's plants want a better view into the ERP system that was not historically extended to plant operations.

Read more...
 
Who Said SAP Was Expensive? Print E-mail

jonerp_full_logo.PNGWho Said SAP Was Expensive?
How Sedgwick County, Kansas
Spent Less Than 10 Percent
of Their SAP Consulting Budget
(While Maximizing User Buy-In)

Unabridged Edition, Never Before Released
by Jon Reed

I’ve been writing about the SAP market since 1995. That’s a lot of verbiage, and there are times when I think all the groundbreaking stories about SAP have already been told. But at this year’s Sapphire, I stumbled upon a new one. At the conference, I met up with an ERP Director by the name of Renfeng Ma, and he told me about how his project managed to implement a BW dashboard system with more than 800 KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). They did this while achieving a high level of user buy-in, bringing a greater transparency of information to taxpayers, and, drum roll - they spent under 10 percent of their projected consulting budget for the project. He had my attention.

Site Editor's Note: For those readers who want to read more about this implementation, Renfeng Ma has kindly provided a downloadable PowerPoint Presentation (776K) about the Sedgwick County BW Implementation to JonERP.com visitors. This PowerPoint will also give you a closer view of the two screen shots used in this article - Figure One below is slide 3, and Figure Two (on page 2) is slide 5.

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eSOA from the Outside In Print E-mail

jonerp_full_logo.PNGeSOA from the Outside In:
Lessons from "Mashup Corporations"

Unabridged Edition, Never Before Released
by
Jon Reed 

Jon Reed notes: I recently discovered that this article I did on eSOA for SAPtips in the Spring of 2008 did not find its way to this site. Paul Kurchina, co-author of Mashup Corporations and the recently released In Pursuit of the Perfect Plant, took the time to review and proof this article so I'm glad to have a chance to feature this article now. I hope you find it as interesting as I did while I was writing it.

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Best Practices in SAP Programming Print E-mail
Best Practices in SAP Programming:
How to Keep Your Development Shop in Tune with Where SAP is Headed
Unabridged Edition, Never Before Released
by Jon Reed

SAP development has become more confusing and more promising at the same time. Not long ago, the SAP development process came down to deciding which parts of SAP to customize and how to hire the ABAP programmers who would do the work. Now, in the Enterprise SOA (eSOA) era, the amount of SAP development options are dizzying.
Read more...
 
Say What? A Guide to the SAP Terms You Need to Know for ASUG 2008 and Beyond Print E-mail
Say What?
A Guide to the SAP Terms You Need to Know for ASUG 2008 and Beyond
Unabridged Edition, Never Before Released
I have a running joke with a friend of mine who insists on pronouncing ABAP "Ayy-Bop," as opposed to the more commonly heard pronunciation "Ahh Bop." He says it's just a case of "you say tom-A-toes, I say "to-mah-toes." I say that how we pronounce terms in the SAP world sends a clear message as to how much we know about the software.
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Enterprise SOA Mashups The Easy Way Print E-mail

eSOA Mashups Don't Have to Cost A Fortune:
How to Find Success with SOA and NetWeaver BI
Unabridged Edition, Never Before Released
by Jon Reed 

In the October/November 2007 Edition of the SAPtips Journal, I wrote about how Enterprise SOA (eSOA) has the potential to "turn ERP on its head." I'm not going to take back those predictions, but I do have to acknowledge that eSOA comes with some drawbacks. The upfront investments in architecture, governance, and organizational change - all necessary to build a true eSOA platform - can be daunting.

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Changing the Way Companies Approach ERP Print E-mail
Turning ERP On its Head:
Can SAP eSOA Change the Way Companies Approach ERP?
Unabridged Edition, Never Before Released
by Jon Reed

Attendees of SAPPHIRE 2007 got one message loud and clear: Enterprise SOA (eSOA) has arrived. Or has it? True, we saw a number of case studies from SAP customers who have taken the Enterprise SOA plunge. But as of today, most companies are either in the “hypothetical” or pilot project phase. This provides us with an ideal opportunity to assess the value of eSOA before more companies dip their toes into that powerful current. In this article, I’ll take a look at the reported benefits from actual SAP eSOA projects that have taken place thus far. We’ll examine the true merits of eSOA, and by the end of this piece, we’ll have a better handle on what eSOA can do and why it may actually be one technical advancement that ends up living up to the hype.
Read more...
 
The "Human Side" of Midsize SAP Implementations Print E-mail

Talk Before You Leap:
What Midsize Companies Have Learned About the "Human Side" of SAP Implementations
Unabridged Edition, Never Before Released
by Jon Reed

Midsize companies are giving SAP serious consideration for their ERP installations because SAP has proven itself. Gone are the days where SAP’s price tag and implementation challenges were enough to scare smaller companies away before they could give SAP a serious look. At this year’s combined ASUG/SAPPHIRE conference, I had a chance to hear from a number of managers at mid-size companies who were in the process of implementing SAP. My goal was to find out what worked and what didn’t and to come away with some "lessons learned" about SAP’s expanding role in the ERP midmarket. Some of what I learned confirmed what we would all expect to hear about SAP’s ability to deliver value through one integrated software instance, and some of what I learned genuinely surprised me.

Read more...
 

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