Country-Specific, Industry-Specific

Feature Article | August 18, 2004 by admin

Mahindra Consulting of India is a global IT consulting firm specializing in SAP implementation, support, and integrating technologies. A division of the $1.5 billion Mahindra & Mahindra Group – one of India’s top ten business houses, with interests ranging from the automotive and technology to the financial sectors – Mahindra Consulting (MC) has three offices in India, plus others in Houston (USA), London, Waldorf (Germany), Singapore, and Qatar. Expansion to the European market is planned to take place shortly.
MC has SAP implementation expertise in the automotive, oil and gas, consumer packaged goods, and pharmaceuticals sectors. Its three practices focus on extended enterprise solutions, enterprise application integration, and IT infrastructure and application management. The company has implemented more than 45 SAP and mySAP solutions on schedule in India and other countries and is now developing a mySAP All-in-One solution for the automotive supplier sector.
MC sees the mySAP All-in-One solution for small and midsize businesses (SMBs) as an opportunity to reduce implementation time and ensure risk-free and stable implementation, thus helping reduce implementation costs – a major driver in the SMB market. The firm is using its accumulated knowledge of the automobile industry to development the vertical industry solution, helping to improve its standing in the market as a partner with a difference.
MC points to several factors as important to the success of its mySAP All-in-One initiative. Internally, top management sponsorship has led to the creation of a full-time team of eight SAP-dedicated consultants covering functional, ABAP, and Basis resources. The team is headed by a senior member who takes full responsibility. Two business-development executives now concentrate fully on the SMB market; two others cover it part-time in two regions. The firm plans to add at least 12 consultants, depending on market and implementation needs.

mySAP All-in-One development process

MC started mySAP All-in-One development in July 2003 and the team completed development of its automotive solution over a period of six months. The SAP Vertical Software Development Kit (VSDK) served as a guide and structured methodology for product development, providing defined activities and output expectations in a step-by-step approach. It also provided detailed processes for each step, which helped steer planning and improve product quality, according to MC.
Best Practice training from SAP Labs, Shanghai, along with other SAP training tools, also added great value. Further backup in the form of regular reviews and improvement suggestions bolstered both efficient development and product quality. MC notes that product qualification was an important benchmark during development.
The solution managers from SAP Labs China and SAP India helped set standards and conducted periodic reviews that kept the development process systematic. Because of this broad-ranging support from SAP, MC is confident of the core quality of its mySAP All-in-One solution and the firm’s ability to manage future challenges.
At the time, “Best Practice-Auto” was available in SAP R/3 version 4.6C, but without Indian localization. To reference and reap directly the benefits of “Best Practices”, MC was able to micro-verticalize its mySAP All-in-One solution by docking it on “Best Practice”. Upgrading “Best Practice” to version 4.7 and modifying it for Indian localization was an option, but it would have been a complex task. MC therefore opted to develop its product from scratch, but to benchmark a packaged solution like “Best Practice-Auto”. This approach had the added advantage of providing the company with an in-depth understanding of the development process, which could be used to more precisely match the specific requirements of the automotive supplier industry.

Review and conclusion

The automotive supplier industry involves complex processes ranging from casting, forging, and fabrication to metal pressing, machining, and assembly. MC studied the business processes of a representative range of suppliers to identify key business processes within the vertical.
Fortunately, the company has several consultants with extensive experience in the industry, and the firm has considerable experience with SAP implementation in the same vertical and in the discreet industry sector. “SAP Best Practices” served as the basis for design, which was then modified and supplemented by add-ons to meet country-specific requirements. In some cases, the team designed entirely new processes.
MC notes that the “Best Practices” foundation helps to enhance the mySAP All-in-One image as a functionality-rich system with a specific-industry focus. Furthermore, the Building Block technology and extensive documentation supplied by “Best Practices” enables a structured packaging of the product and enhances the firm’s ability to continue developing enhanced functionality to meet both industry and customer-specific needs. As it now moves from development to implementation, the company sees mySAP All-in-One as a well-structured and trouble-free product.

Derek Davis

Derek Davis

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