Are you letting some old myths

get in the way of a 

better future?

There's an old saying that "you never get a second

chance to make a first impression"

Beneath this aphorism lies the reality that myths and perceptions can be notoriously hard to change (although conversely, reputations can be dashed with a single misstep). For a company that has been around for as long as SAP, in an industry that changes as fast as IT does, there are a few myths attached to SAP that are now less credible than a politician’s promises. Let’s dispel a few of these myths to ensure you are not unnecessarily shutting the door on your opportunity to run better.

The Myth that SAP is only for large enterprise

Some people still believe that SAP solutions are only relevant for very large enterprises. Whilst it is true that many of the world’s largest companies and globally recognised brands rely on SAP for their success the reality is that over 80% of SAP’s customers around the world are SMEs. That’s important to recognise if you’re in an emerging economy where SMEs dominate the landscape.

Today, across the African continent there are over 3,500 small, medium and large organisations using SAP software to run their businesses effectively and efficiently so that they can compete and grow on the global stage. Some these companies have less than a dozen users on their SAP system – dispelling for once and for all the myth that SAP is only for very large organisations.

For example, in Ghana, Esoko uses a simple text-messaging system and the power of SAP Business One on HANA to bridge the information gap faced by farmers across Africa. Esoko enables impoverished farmers to get access via their mobile phones to crop tips, weather info, credit, and fair market price of their crops, so they don’t get cheated by middlemen. It also ensures the government that the right people are getting subsidies.

 

This information flow improves farmers’ credibility and increases their productivity and, in this way, at the bottom of the pyramid, SAP technology helps make small-holder farming profitable, improves farmers’ ability to get credit access and ultimately, through Esoko, helps farmers in Africa earn 10-30% more per year.

 

The myth that SAP implementations are long and costly

Another lingering perception is that SAP implementations are long and costly. This stems from the early 1990s when SAP implementations were often conflated with complex, change-intensive business re-engineering projects.  It’s also fair to say that, back then, in early days of ERP systems, the software itself had not yet matured to the point where it offered all the required functionality and therefore many projects also had a significant software development component to them.

Today, that has all changed and SAP’s solutions are recognised as repositories of best practice based on the lessons learned from enabling 77% of the world’s business transactions across 25 industries.

Today SAP’s customers benefit from massive investments in tools, content methods and accelerators that enable implementations to be as fast as 8 to 12 weeks for an ERP implementation.

Today it’s all about getting to value fast and continually innovating so you can stay ahead of the pack. SAP helps you do that. SAP’s portfolio of cloud solutions including the world’s leading Digital Core (the next generation of ERP – architected for the 4th Industrial Revolution’s demands

for a Market-of-One and a Lot size-of-One with Zero latency) and the SAP Model Company approach enable companies to adopt best-in-class capabilities in days and weeks rather than months and years.

Even very large companies are benefitting from these innovative approaches. For example, a larger steel producer with 74,000 employees went live with the full scope of the SAP S/4 HANA Digital Core in 8 months. As recently as 5 years ago that would likely have 2 years or more.

Or, take the case of Hunter Douglas, a wold leader in architectural products such as ceilings, window coverings such as shades. screens, shutters and blinds and an innovator in solar heat solutions and high-end window coverings. Hunter Douglas employs 22,750 people across 132 companies in 100 countries and generates $3.2bn revenue. Hunter Douglas has grown rapidly through mergers and acquisitions and was looking for a single platform that would enable it to keep doing so with adding complexity and cost. Even in this complex business they were able to go live in under a year whilst realizing many valuable benefits as depicted in the Diagram below from Hunter Douglas - Achieving Real Business Value quickly

 

The myth that SAP only does ERP

And then there’s ERP itself and the idea that this “all” SAP does. The unrivalled success of SAP R/3 certainly means that SAP leads the ERP market. But it’s only a single part of SAP’s offerings for the Intelligent Enterprise.

In the Digital Economy the real challenge for organisations is to ensure that they can run the existing business as lean and efficiently as possible whilst simultaneously innovating and even disrupting themselves and their industry. And they must do this for and with customers, business partners, employees and regulators and often across industry boundaries with rapid cycles of experimentation.

This requires Mode 1 and Mode 2 behaviours in each area of the business, but, at the same time, you can’t afford to create duplication, complexity and costs by underpinning each mode and line-of-business with a diverse set of technical capabilities, systems and data.

You need a platform approach – one that enables you to do Mode 1 and Mode 2 with a high degree of efficiency and re-use – so that today’s disruption can be easily embedded in the fabric of your business to become tomorrow’s “new normal”. This is exactly what SAP’s Intelligent Enterprise Framework helps you to do. As can be seen from Diagram 2 below the applications within SAP’s Intelligent Enterprise Framework address business operations, finance, spend, people, manufacturing, supply chain and customer engagement and experience with an integrated suite of best-of-breed solutions. It does this in such a way that you can start wherever is right for your business and build your unique roadmap to the future on a single platform. 

Diagram 2. The SAP Intelligent Enterprise Framework. Choose your destiny – get there quickly and safely.

 

The myth that SAP software is difficult to use

Another perception you may have is that SAP software is difficult to use and requires a lot of training. Twenty years ago, that was true; SAP tended to focus on functions and integration rather than usability.

Today, however, usability is a breeze thanks to the SAP Fiori User Interface. SAP Fiori applies modern design principles for a reimagined user experience and is the new face of SAP to business users in all lines of business across devices. It provides a personalized, responsive and simple experience on any device. Did you know that SAP has even won numerous, coveted Red Dot awards for it User Interfaces or that SAP is the first ERP vendor in the world with a conversational user interface? That’s right! Today you can talk to or text your SAP Digital Core. And this is because SAP is a leader in the field of Artificial Intelligence with a special focus on how technologies like Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing can be used to dramatically improve business productivity and employee engagement.

 

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