Companies are under ever greater pressure to make their business processes flexible to respond quickly to increasingly dynamic markets. IT is a great asset in this respect. It helps companies speed up innovation cycles and achieve strategic goals – whether it is a matter of boosting profitability, meeting legal requirements, or quickly adapting business models to new challenges.
For many companies, IT has long been important for much more than simply increasing productivity. According to a survey by the British weekly “The Economist”, a total of 82 percent of the companies responding also considered it a key factor in creating competitive advantages. For example, a number of businesses automated their processes in the early 1990s by introducing ERP systems. At the time, these innovative companies gained a clear competitive edge by using IT in this manner. Demands are now tougher, but SAP Custom Development specialists help companies to make profitable and innovative use of their IT investments today.
The profit lies in the special features
Businesses can use IT to their advantage with the help of customized functions covering work processes that make them stand out from the competition. SAP Custom Development is the ideal partner when it comes to customizing specific IT enhancements. This service has been offered by SAP since 2002. The rapid growth of SAP Custom Development over the past year demonstrates the strong demand for customized developments – sales were up 45 percent and the global workforce rose by 300 in 2006. Nearly 1000 developers, IT architects, and designers currently fulfill customers’ special requirements – and the international team at SAP Custom Development is looking to take on its one thousandth employee soon.
To ensure customer proximity and exploit the worldwide potential of IT specialists for its customers, the scope of SAP Custom Development extends beyond its two German development centers in Walldorf and St. Ingbert. The organization also operates eight additional development centers in the United States, Canada, Brazil, India, Japan, and China. The market engagement team is responsible for project procurement and examines offering solutions for specific customer requirements, taking the SAP release strategy into consideration. The planned project is then analyzed in detail. Solution architects prepare the solution specifications and when the customer is ready, implementation is done by developers at the various centers following their proven global development methodology. The final step is customer approval.
Over the years, the international teams have developed a host of customized enhancements – from relatively small jobs with limited scope to large projects that touch the very heart of a company’s mission critical business processes. With hundreds of projects under its belt, SAP Custom Development satisfies SAP customers by improving their ability to innovate and become more competitive in their industries. Whether a customer is looking to optimize warehousing or needs an innovative application for specific processes in the automotive industry, SAP Custom Development tailors the customer solution it has been asked to provide to individual requirements, develops it, and integrates it into the existing IT landscape. Once the solution goes live, the customer not only saves money, but also requires less maintenance and can implement system upgrades more easily because all customer solutions can be synchronized with core development at SAP. The profitability of IT investments can be maximized; the enhancements are suitably future-proof and operational risks are cut significantly.
It is particularly important for the customer to accept SAP Custom Development as a trusted advisor. Only customers who feel that they are receiving expert advice and obtaining dedicated SAP solutions of the expected quality geared specifically to their requirements will continue to turn to SAP Custom Development.
Siemens – quick reporting improves business monitoring
Trust in the know-how and experience of SAP developers was the crucial factor that led Siemens AG to opt for SAP Custom Development. The order was placed by the Siemens Application Management Center (AMC) South West Europe in Madrid, which helps optimize the technology group’s many different business processes and models. For example, the AMC is responsible for consolidating and operating the ERP systems for Belgium, France, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, and Spain.
“It is no easy task to handle our many different business processes – from complex make-to-order production and series production to sales – in a single IT system,” states Alf Franzoni from AMC South West Europe. “Merging our ERP systems naturally caused the volume of data to grow exponentially, with an additional five million or so items a year for customer orders alone.” With large numbers of order items, the results analysis and subsequent accounting processes often take quite a while. Consequently, such evaluations are normally performed once a month. Siemens, however, decided to carry out the analyses on a daily basis to control business even better and react quickly to discrepancies between target and actual figures. Some of the programs running in the background took 12 to 14 hours. “As a result, the evaluations could no longer be completed overnight, and the relevant data from controlling was often not available in time for day-to-day business operations,” explains Franzoni.
Because only around ten percent of customer order items actually change from one day to the next, a scope was provided to identify possible improvements. SAP Custom Development introduced a made-to-measure code. The programs were adapted so that only customer order items that have changed since the previous day are used for the calculations. This approach cut program run times by approximately 60 percent.
Franzoni is very happy with the input from SAP Custom Development. “With the help of our expert partners at SAP, the introduction of the specially developed software went very quickly and smoothly. Thanks to the analytical and accounting processes tailored to Siemens’ requirements, we have been able to provide our internal customers with up-to-date reports, thereby improving the basis for their business decisions,” Franzoni says.