Capping IT Off

Capping IT Off

Opinions expressed on this blog reflect the writer’s views and not the position of the Capgemini Group

A Call for Agile Value Streams in Lean SAP Engagements

Category : Agile

Our competitive advantage as SAP consultants is that we know how to leverage off-the-shelf solutions to rapidly deliver game changing value — so let’s get the message out.

Capgemini is at the forefront in applying Lean manufacturing concepts to SAP consulting. Our proprietary industrialized SAP approach — iSAP — codifies such fundamental Lean principles as:

Value streams. Rather than organize SAP projects around implementing modules for the sake of modules (e.g., FI, MM, HR, SD), we organize them around the actual end-to-end customer journeys (e.g., order-to-cash, procure-to-pay, hire-to-retire, maintain-to-settle) that produce ultimate customer value, regardless of the modules involved.

Kaizen. Lean proponents use this term to advocate how continuous improvement of a product by focusing on the relatively few “exceptions” that create most of the waste in its production process (e.g., defects, overproduction, unnecessary effort). iSAP advocates a similar idea, “Management by Acception™,“ to focus on the relatively few software customizations or “difference makers” that give the client true marketplace advantage.

Reuse. Focusing 80% of the effort on the 20% of packaged software that creates 80% of the impact means reusing the rest of the software that — although necessary to run the client’s business — is not differentiating.

Applying Kaizen and reuse to client value streams gives us tremendous leverage. It puts us in the game changing business rather than the wheel reinvention business. That differentiates us as SAP consultants. But if we only focus on improving the client’s value stream we are not seizing the whole Lean opportunity. What about the SAP consulting value stream?  That’s where Agile comes in. That’s differentiating too.

Read All About It

Very few SAP customers would say an SAP implementation is, or could be, an Agile process.  But we can say it. That’s because Lean — or really iSAP — opens the door to Agile SAP implementations. And because we can say it, we should say it — loudly, clearly, and often — not only because it does differentiate us in a competitive SAP consulting field. But because it also changes the SAP consulting game itself — which can bring millions of dollars in added value to SAP customers. That’s value in the form of better outcomes like:

·        Higher quality software

·        Software more aligned with the client’s business priorities

·        Much shorter project timelines

·        Much greater collaboration between consultant and client teams

Getting that message out starts with all of us — in our daily interactions with colleagues and clients, in our presentation decks to prospects, and in our blogs and white papers. Earlier this year, we published a white paper titled, “Agile iSAP Improves Project Outcomes with Richer Customer Collaboration.” It was the first in a series, and will be followed by a second white paper, to be published this month titled, “Packaged Software Implementations Require a Leaner Approach to Agile.” Three more white papers on this theme are already in the pipeline. Thought leadership obviously plays a key role in our ability to market our services, but (more importantly) to actually move the needle when it comes to propagating best practices across the industry. That’s certainly true when it comes to what is — at least in some quarters — still a radical idea.

Making SAP Agile

We make the case in our white papers that Agile is the best and easiest way to implement SAP software within a Lean methodology like iSAP. Agile not only results in better outcomes for the client than Waterfall, but consultants find the experience much easier and less frustrating. iSAP enables Agile by focusing on the small — “sprint size” — pieces of functionality that deliver true value stream impact. So every two weeks or so consultants are demonstrating difference-making functionality to clients. That means clients see early and often that their dollars have real impact. Unlike Waterfall, clients don’t wait months to be (almost inevitably) disappointed because requirements changed in the meantime or because of a miscommunication in requirements definition.

Small fixes early are much easier to make than big fixes late — after initial faults have already been included in or invoked by other software.

Whatever is not difference-making is reused, not reinvented. That includes project deliverables besides software — like functional design documents, KPIs, unit tests and the PRICEFW artifacts of portals, reports, inputs, conversions, enhancements, forms, and workflows — all of which persist in iSAP’s Error Proofing Tool and can be auto-generated with a mouse click. Whatever parts of these items must be revised for a client can be — and then the entire deliverable regenerated.

Who Wouldn’t Want To Do SAP Projects This Way?

The only reason teams would not want to do a project this way is because they didn’t know it was possible. That’s why communicating the Agile iSAP approach is so critical. So let’s get the message out. Our white paper campaign is just a start.

 

 

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Herbert Goertz

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