Covics, one of the leading SAP local partners in China, is a solution and service provider with extensive experience in enterprise IT service and business consultancy, as well as mobile business. Headquartered in Beijing, it has four other offices in China, with over 120 staff, including 70 SAP consultants, 20 developers, and six technical support engineers. Covics has provided applications for more than 70 customers.
Small and midsize businesses (SMBs) in China were seeking an enterprise information platform with low implementation risk and low implementation cost to meet their growing business requirements. Covics, well aware of the value of a prepackaged solution, saw mySAP All-in-One as a way to help SMBs set up a working ERP solution. Covics also believed that developing products in addition to acting as a solution and service provider was the correct strategy for the company to sustain its leading position and highlight its competence in China.
The Covics CSE solution
As a result, Covics developed the Collaborative Smart Business Engine (CSE) solution, based on SAP Best Practices, and produced the industry-specific versions CSE-Auto parts, CSE-Pharmaceutical, and CSE-Hi-Tech as successful prepackaged solutions. Covics can provide standard and efficient project implementation based on industry-specific knowledge.
A noteworthy example is the implementation of CSE-Pharmaceutical for Bracco-Sine Pharmaceutical Corporation, a joint venture between Bracco Italy Ltd. and Sine Shanghai Ltd. Bracco-Sine chose the mySAP All-in-One-based CSE solution to set up its enterprise information platform. The implementation by Covics took three months in late 2003. Because of the standardized project documents and system configuration, the effort required only 180 man-days. Using the traditional SAP implementation methodology, claims Covics, it might have taken 300 man-days.
Because Bracco-Sine is a new joint venture, the preconfiguration and management pattern of mySAP All-in-One played an important role in standardizing and optimizing its business processes. The pharmaceutical firm has deployed mySAP All-in-One as the baseline on which to standardize its management system and train its internal staff. The implementation was successful, generating low total cost of ownership and high customer satisfaction, according to Covics.
Management, teamwork, and SAP Best Practices
As the first major step in bringing its development project to fruition, Covics created a dedicated solution development team, sponsored by top management. Covics indicates that the key ingredients in project success are the integration of product functions, project management, knowledge management, and excellent team members. But to make it all work, management must put together a qualified, professional research and development force to ensure R&D resources and progress. And they must also find a way for the team to focus on the future when they need to simultaneously support front-line business. Following implementation, there must be continual adjustment of R&D in response to actual post-implementation use to ensure that the product is constantly improved.
SAP Best Practices played an important role in the building of the CSE solutions, especially Best Practices localized for China and Best Practices for the individual industries targeted by the CSE solutions – auto, hi-tech, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals. As a company spokesperson put it, “SAP Best Practices and other SAP products help us to look at the world from the shoulders of a giant and reduce our workload and time significantly. From SAP Labs China, we learned the professional development methodology and how to develop a high-quality solution leading to low TCO.”
Support from SAP Labs China helped Covics better understand the SAP Best Practices methodology and how to develop a vertical solution based on SAP Best Practices. Covics was involved in Best Practices workshops, Best Practices testing, and on-site support from SAP Labs China. Covics did make some adjustments to the preconfiguration in order to accelerate the development of the CSE solutions.
Best Practices documentation and the concept of Building Blocks in solution construction helped Covics set up its own documentation structure for CSE with a minimum of effort. Documentation such as the Scenario Overview turned out to be well suited to the presales phase as a tool to promote easy communication with potential customers, increasing the opportunity to gain customer commitment.
A record of successful project implementations demonstrates that the prepackaged solution is the right approach to reducing implementation risk and cost and gaining high customer satisfaction. Covics predicts that the joint efforts of SAP and its mySAP All-in-One partner will lead to the success of ERP implementation in the entire China SMB market in the future.