Mapping the Road with SAP

OK, most small and midsize businesses are not that badly off. There are some miles left in the old systems yet, and the wire will hold for a while. But with the economy turning into a drag race, it’s a little scary to see those superchargers gaining in the fast lane.
What to do? Let’s take a trip to the showroom and look around. And then sit down for those webinars.
The basic mySAP All-in-One model comes with a complete enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutiontuned to your specific industry. This is what most outfits choose to start their SMB solutions journey. Go ahead, kick the tires. But it’s what’s under the hood that really counts: 30 years of SAP experience in ERP solution production in over 20 industries, combined with the savvy of a SAP Business Partner who knows your industry inside out.
Plenty of power and speed in this compact. Trade in your sputtering back-end bits and pieces for an integrated business solution, financials, manufacturing, logistics, and purchasing. No more quick-fix connections, no more backfiring (some of you, we know, may still be turning a crank every time you input new information). Each driver in your company can handle the sleek controls, and you won’t be needing all those mechanics waiting around to fix breakdowns and track down spare parts. Plus, all SAP models come with extended warranties and dedicated support team.
You’re sold? Great. You’ll get your mySAP All-in-One solution delivered pronto by your SAP Business Partner for a quicker return on investment.

Adding options down the road

Your mySAP All-in-One solution has been humming along for a few quarters or more for a now. The ride’s smooth and easy, and the system’s been fine-tuned to handle the curves on your company road. Who could ask for more?
Your employees could. How about a human capital management (HCM) system that turns them into mini-mechanics, able to fix their own problems and update their own data? It’s like having seat controls that extend through the whole vehicle and hitch right into the central system.
Employees can change their profiles, set up their vacations, figure out their sick leave at the touch of a button. Not only does it save time (which saves money) but it makes them feel a bigger part of the whole operation. Don’t take our word for it – there’s a SAP hosted webinar that tells you about Human Capital Management for Small and Midsize Businesses: Empowering Your People to Power up Profits (featuring mySAP HR) on Wednesday, October 15, at noon, Eastern time. (The customer speaker will be Dave Hapner, IS Business Analyst, PGT Industries.)

Making the passengers comfortable

The SMB solutions journey doesn’t end with the internal managers or employees. Everything’s tight now inside the company, but some of the passengers – the customers – aren’t too happy. They bring in their orders and somehow they get lost under the seat or somebody’s driven off with their sheet of paper. When you stop by to pick up customers, they need to know the exact time you’ll be dropping them off at their destination, how long the trip will take, and what the fare will come to. No “maybes” or “We’ll get back to you,” or they’ll end up calling a more efficient, user-friendly service.
Fortunately, SAP has customer relationship management (CRM) components that snap right onto your mySAP All-in-One solution, because it’s based on the integrated mySAP Business Suite. The customer’s order flows into the main engine, where it’s automatically logged with all the customer’s vital information and set up for delivery and billing.
Then you could add a CRM call-center module, so if a customer calls or emails with a question, any employee in the company can pull up the order and customer history for a quick diagnostic. And you might want to think about a mobile sales attachment. It makes it a lot easier on your sales force to keep the customer satisfied – they can visit the customer at home and still have all that information available, plus, they can get new orders in on the spot.
That’s right, the whole customer/passenger experience can be automated, with central sales and order information available everywhere in your fine vehicle. When you pick up a passenger next time, they can lean back and look at the scenery (or at their own order information), and your employees can get their work done, instead of searching for lost information. Time saved, money saved, contented customers.
You want to know a little more? There’s a webinar on CRM too, Customer Relationship Management for Small and Midsize Businesses: Turning Best Practices into Profitable Growth (featuring mySAP CRM) , Wednesday, October 29, again at noon Eastern time (customer speaker to be announced).

Mapping the journey ahead

Everything’s connected now: the financial back end, the employees, the customers. The company vehicle’s integrated and moving like the wind. But where exactly is it headed? Where are the customers going to want to go next week? Next year? What’s the best route to take to avoid potholes and roadblocks and construction delays?
The systems are shooting data back and forth at peak efficiency – you can tell that from the gauges – but you can’t make full human sense of it yet. What you need at this stage of the journey is business intelligence (BI) to turn that data into information, which then becomes knowledge. All those confusing coordinates are translated into clear road maps with the proper turns and twists flagged for your attention.
With this kind of analysis on the dashboard, you’ll feel confident behind the wheel. Which way to turn isn’t guesswork anymore, it’s a clean, informed decision leading you to the smoothest roads. A webinar will give you the nitty-gritty, Business Intelligence for Small and Midsize Businesses: Using Your Information Wisely (featuring mySAP BI) , Wednesday, November 5 at noon Eastern time (with customer speaker Geoffrey Vines, IT director, Integrity Media, Inc.).

Keeping the vehicle up to date

The most interesting thing about the SMB solutions journey is that it’s never over. Efficiency is always increasing, new components are always coming on the market that make the ride smoother, faster, cheaper. So make sure you get the best you can, because your competition is still on your tail.
What else is on your SAP horizon? At some point you’ll want to invite your suppliers into your vehicle with mySAP Supplier Relationship Management (mySAP SRM). Then, like your customers/passengers, your suppliers will be riding by your side, hooked directly into your system for automated purchasing and delivery. All those middlemen, all those niggling phone calls and faxes – gone, along with the time and costs of processing them. But it’s not just what’s removed through SRM, it’s also what’s gained. You’ll be able to actively collaborate with your partners and suppliers without taking your hands off the wheel.
And no matter how well your vehicle is running, don’t neglect its maintenance and tune-ups, or the possibility of trading up to the latest model. In the world of IT solutions, these come in the form of software upgrades. Your SAP Business Partner will let you know when the next inspection’s due and be there with you for the upgrade. If you’re not quite sure where this road leads, stop by for the webinar on Upgrade Strategies for Small and Midsize Businesses: Getting Ready for the Next Level of Integration (featuring mySAP ERP) ,Wednesday, November 12 at noon. (The customer speaker is Michael Labriola, vice president of information technology, TriVirix International.)

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Derek Davis
Derek Davis