Have you ever wondered how to choose a SAP Service Partner?
Confused by all the SAP Partner Service offerings; not sure what the difference is between the SAP giants (Big 4) and the niche SAP players? Need some guidance when it comes to choosing your SAP Partner? As Senior SAP Project/Program Managers, we have been on all sides of this process and wanted to share what we have learned.
Breaking Down The SAP Partner Eco-System
- SAP Partners are not set up according to a ‘Franchise Type Manual’ provided by SAP.
Strangely enough, especially when it comes to pure service play partners (SAP Consultancies), the only real guideline SAP provides SAP Partners is for them to come up with an annual business plan-on the part of the partners! Sure, there are a ton of partner resources out there, but there is no set ‘Partner University’ that dictates every single aspect of their business operations.
- SAP has many partners, both official and ones that are ‘just’ out there.
- The big SAP Partners may claim to have 18 to 20 thousand SAP consultants on staff. However, many of those ‘on staff’ consultants are not actually in the U.S. or are ‘in-training’.
- SAP Partners do not have all that many SAP Certified Consultants. This has consequences.
- Customers need to understand they are most interested in the availability and quality of SAP consultants and that the company they come from is secondary.
- High-end SAP consultants are in short supply. The primary job of your SAP partner is to find the best and get them on your project.
- High-end SAP consultants do not come cheap. If you find a good one who is available, price is secondary. Your primary goal is to get that person to spend time on your project.
SAP service partners, especially niche specialists, typically know or have on staff, most of the high-end SAP consulting experts within a particular SAP sub-speciality, such as SAP Transportation Management, SAP Merchandise Planner or even SAP Trade Performance Management.
- New SAP functionality, which is released every 6 months, via enhancement packages, is something high-end SAP Certified consultants will know about. However, their greatest value is their experience from all their past projects and their ability to integrate the new functionality into your solution. Integration among systems is a powerful tool that SAP consultants must master.
The SAP business technology platform (SAP BTP), is constantly undergoing updates and changes. SAP solutions are also continuously being updated. But the senior SAP solution architects will be able to create unique business process solutions by combining past project experiences with your current business process requirements.
- Top SAP consultants will manage their time as well as their customers' time on the SAP ERP project implementation so that everybody has a life. They don’t need or do death-march projects.
What's a 'death-march' project? In this Senior SAP project manager's experience, it is one where the capabilities of software have been way oversold resulting in unrealistic customer expectations, and usually, very tough project environments.
For example, on one of my projects, which involved a major 'big box' retailer out of France, we had consultants from the United Kingdom, Holland, the U.S. and India, all working on site in Madrid, Spain. Due to misaligned data-models between the French built warehouse management system, the SAP Order Management System, and in this case, the i2 Transportation Management Solution, the project had turned into a 'death-march' project with way more development involved that budgeted for.
- Of all the capabilities high-end SAP consultants bring to the table, none is more valuable than the ability to communicate effectively.
SAP Partners should be able help SAP experts and SAP Customers communicate more effectively.
In conclusion, choosing the right SAP service partner can be a daunting task, but understanding the SAP partner eco-system and the value high-end SAP consultants bring to the table can make the process easier. At our SAP Consulting company, we pride ourselves on our ability to deliver outstanding SAP service and support, and our expertise with a portfolio of industries, including Aerospace & Defense, Professional Services, Logistics, Travel and Transportation, and Engineering and Construction. Our team of SAP certified consultants has the knowledge and experience to help you communicate effectively and achieve success. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your business thrive with SAP.
SAP Certified Partners and Consultants
There you have it. SAP Partners bring a lot to the table. The most important of which are SAP consultants. The evidence is that the more SAP certified consultants you have on a project, the higher the probability of customer success.
All comments and links are welcome!
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