My name is David De Los Reyes Canovas, and I have been a SAP consultant for the past 12 years. My areas of expertise are mainly in finance and controlling modules. During these 12 years, like other “SAPs”, I have seen (and gone through) many changes, new tables, new processes, new transactions, even new modules. Without forgetting new technologies such as the in-memory database and new user interfaces such as NWBC first and now FIORI environments.
With all this I want to emphasise that when you do down the SAP route you have to be willing to learn and to adapt as fellow travellers if you do not want to fall by the wayside at the first change.
The latest challenge? Evolving from a “classic” consultant to a consultant in the cloud. It’s not an easy task. At first, as I suppose many other consultants were as well, I was sceptical. I heard, as I’m sure you have as well, comments like:
“You can’t parameterize anything.”
“It’s all restricted”
“It’s high school…”
“What are we consultants going to do now?”
None of these comments are entirely true or entirely false, but they are all logical. That is, it is within human nature to reject changes, at least as long as they can be rejected. But one of these comments is more true than the others, and I mean that, as consultants, we must respond to the question, what do we do now?
Consultants have always orchestrated our power around technical knowledge: knowing the BAPI, knowing the exit, knowing the BTE, knowing how to debug or even programming.
If they suddenly take all that away from us, what do we have left? It’s as if we were returned to Krypton after 10 years on Earth. Initial rejection is therefore inevitable.
I’ve been working on CLOUD projects for two years now, in the MTE version (multi-tenant edition). And I want to share 5 lessons I’ve learned:
1 – Never offer cloud to someone who doesn’t want cloud
The cloud isn’t for everyone. It has a series of very specific advantages that must be appreciated by the target audience and has a series of very specific drawbacks that this target audience must also understand, accept and adopt.
In reality, companies that want to opt for a cloud installation must go through a validation process called Brand Guardian which ensures that they are suitable candidates for it.
If the client company is not committed to the continuous innovation, standardization and simplification of its processes, it is not a Cloud client.
2 – Knowing the product (and I mean the one released with the CLOUD solution) is essential
It takes time and an open mind to rediscover standard processes and put them to use. We must know and understand each process and their why. The website https://rapid.sap.com/bp/ can help us a lot. This page shows the best practices of all processes, perfectly explained and also contextualized with business examples.
3 – Not all processes are the same and not all offer the same.
Many clients and consultants express to me their concern about how they will differentiate themselves if all the processes are standard. Well, let me tell you something, it won’t be because of how well calculated your repayment is or how well defined your SEPA payment process is.
The important processes, those that provide real added value, are those that our client perceives as such. We must invest in these and for this the cloud offers us a tool, called SCP, where the processes that contribute the most can be personalised.
We must invest more in the processes that contribute more. In other processes, in those that contribute less, it is better to invest elsewhere.
4 – Eyes on the horizon
This tool is precisely characterised by innovation and continuous improvement. A Cloud consultant should always know the SAP roadmap, the new features that will be released a year from now, for this the page https://go.support.sap.com/roadmapviewer/ can be very useful, where these improvements are released as the calendar progresses.
If we don’t invest in maintaining the processes that do not contribute anything, we can invest in integrating things that do – what about machine learning, or predictive analytics, or new KPIs? By the way, the latter, as well as numerous reports, can be easily created using CDS (Core Data Services).
5 – Learn the implementation methodology and work side by side with SAP
In a cloud implementation the methodology is everything, that and knowing and working with SAP. We must always work following the ACTIVATE methodology for Cloud, which can also be found on this page https://go.support.sap.com/roadmapviewer/.
This methodology structures the different implementation stages, the required documentation, the collaboration points with SAP and even advice for facing complex meetings in the area of standard adaptation.
We must know and take advantage of all the documentation that SAP makes available to us and which is updated every 3 months with each new upgrade.
To conclude, let’s reflect. I believe, and have always believed, that a consultant is the result of their mentors, their experience and their attitude. When I started I had no experience, but I had the right attitude and also luck, luck with the mentors who assigned me and who instilled in me a natural predisposition to use standard processes. In the words of one of those mentors:
“A good consultant is able to adapt the system so that it behaves as the client says, but a great consultant is able to convey standard processes to the client and place value on them, so that ultimately it is the client who chooses to adapt to the system.”
Maybe because of that predisposition when I start to hear “Public Cloud” I’m not too worried.