There are more than enough stress factors in IT projects. Expert support can go a long way towards easing the situation. The implementation of new business software is easier for an enterprise with the knowledge that its project risk is under control and it has broad access to comprehensive support.
This is where SAP Ramp-Up comes in. The program offers participants a standardized process for implementing new SAP solutions six months before their unrestricted availability, giving these enterprises a competitive advantage. At the same time, an SAP led close-knit support network reduces the risks in the IT project to a minimum. This network consists of individual, intensive support in the form of an SAP Ramp-Up Coach from SAP Consulting and the SAP Ramp-Up back-office, which has close ties to development and monitors all customer projects.
Participating customers can also influence the further development of the solution by passing on additional solution requirements to SAP. Last but not least, these Ramp-Up customers are extremely important to SAP and SAP’s interest in their success is correspondingly high, as demonstrated, amongst other things, by the speed at which error messages are processed.
Innovation with safety net
It is SMEs that benefit most from these advantages as they generally have smaller IT departments and limited financial resources for implementation projects. The project risk is higher for them: If things don’t go to plan they cannot simply increase the budget.
At the same time, small and midsize enterprises are usually more flexible than larger organizations and are more dependent upon and willing to pursue new channels to drive their competitive differentiation and advantage – and that goes for IT too. “SMEs are highly innovative. Their willingness to set themselves apart in global competition is great,” says Harald Eckert, Vice President Product and Services Introduction for the EMEA region at SAP. SAP Ramp-Up is therefore ideal for them. The program enables them to implement the newest IT with controlled risk. “SMEs that have implemented a solution with SAP Ramp-Up become big fans of the program and are often the first to take part in the next release,” states Eckert.
Well advised from step one
All SAP software goes through the SAP Ramp-Up program before its general availability, by which point it has already been carefully tested. At the moment, almost 30 solutions are in this stage, including the latest releases of SAP Business One and SAP ERP Enhancement Package 2, SAP Customer Relationship Management 5.2 or SAP Supply Chain Management 2007. In 2007 a total of 60 software products will be launched via the program, according to Eckert.
Enterprises interested in participating in SAP Ramp-Up may contact their sales advisor at SAP or contact SAP directly via the web at www.sap.com/rampup. They then apply for the program by outlining their project description, including information on the scope and technical basis for the implementation, timeframe, as well as the implementation partner. SAP uses this information to perform a “scoping check” which helps to determine whether a project can be implemented with Ramp-up on the basis of the stated prerequisites, what risks are involved, and an analysis of whether the benefits outweigh those risks or vice versa. In this way, the customers receive a well-founded evaluation and risk analysis for their project at a very early stage. “SAP Ramp-Up offers assistance from the outset. An enterprise also benefits if an expert advises against the project, for example because it cannot be implemented with the planned level of detail within schedule and budget,” Eckert points out.
Intensive on-site support
Information plays an important role in an SAP Ramp-Up project. SAP organizes and manages comprehensive knowledge transfer relating to the new solution for the customer and its implementation partner. For example, this SAP Ramp-Up knowledge transfer provides an open forum for dialogue on which functions are currently covered by the new solution and in which areas value can be added, while allowing the Ramp-up participants to gain those functional improvement benefits in the nearest term possible. In addition, SAP offers the implementation partner workshops on the solution so that the partner also gains market leading knowledge and skills.
During the project, an SAP Ramp-Up coach is available to the participating enterprise on site. The coach provides customer-specific support and serves as an interface to other resources within the SAP organization. These include the team in the SAP Ramp-Up back-office, where experts from Development work together. The project is also supported by the SAP Ramp-Up owner, who is responsible for all the projects for a particular solution in a region.
Hotline to SAP
The SAP Ramp-Up coach coordinates communication between the customer and SAP and provides weekly reports on the current project status to the SAP Ramp-Up team. The SAP Ramp-Up back-office, which evaluates the information, gives the customer recommendations, and if necessary proposes corrective measures. If critical situations arise, this procedure enables countermeasures to be implemented immediately.
The SAP Ramp-Up owner puts together an overall picture from all SAP Ramp-Up projects in his or her area of responsibility. This shows for example where SAP needs to change the information flow or make improvements to the solution or documentation. Thanks to the status reports from the projects, the SAP Ramp-Up owner can also take preventive measures. For example, if there is a problem with the performance in a project, the SAP Ramp-Up owner informs the coaches and gives recommendations on how to proceed. This feedback is an invaluable benefit for Ramp-Up customers, as Eckert explains: “Enterprises can only access this kind of support infrastructure within SAP Ramp-Up. The program means customers can rest well in the knowledge that their project is under control and that the right measures are taken in every situation.”
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