How does SAP intend to achieve its goals relating to SAP GCDS?
Rösinger: The SAP GCDS offering meets today’s market requirements, which are characterized by low IT budgets and the desire for a fast return on investment (ROI). With SAP GCDS, SAP provides highly-qualified expertise to meet these requirements. SAP GCDS is a global undertaking – and as such, it can make global use of synergies relating to resources and processes.
Why was SAP GCDS established in the first place – were customers previously receiving too little support from SAP?
Stuckert: At SAP, there are a lot of different groups that carry out customer-specific developments. This is a situation that will not change. However, with SAP GCDS, SAP is now channeling and institutionalizing customer-specific requirements. For example, we are defining a procedure that lays down ways in which customer-specific developments can be carried out more effectively. The spectrum here ranges from contract issues and the necessary specification right through to the documents that the customer is to be issued with.
What do these specific software solutions offer SAP customers? Is SAP planning to replace the standard system?
Stuckert: No, on the contrary. A function is only included in the standard system if the majority of customers believe it to be a solution that can be generally used for a specific task – that is to say, for “best business practices.” Looking at it from the other direction, of course, this means that the requirements of just a single customer or a very small number of customers do not qualify for inclusion in the standard system.
In one of his recent speeches, Hasso Plattner referred to the fact that SAP also has functions in the standard system that were originally developed for individual customers and are not used by anyone else. We need to avoid this in future – because once software functionalities have been installed and delivered to thousands of customers, they can only be removed again with great difficulty.
When does standard system make sense – why do customers “need” functions in the standard system?
Rösinger: The answer is easy: the standard system makes sense when it comes to problem-free software maintenance. This is the case for around 99% of customers. However, practically every customer will eye up specific enhancements sooner or later. Usually, such add-ons will involve additional effort for maintenance and release upgrades. Customers then often call for everything to be included in the standard system. However, this is a very short-term approach.
Individual customers forget that if everything really was included in the standard, then they would be faced with considerable effort for maintenance and release upgrades for functionalities that they do not need. Good and well-made individual functional enhancements, on the other hand, only result in a comparatively small amount of work for maintenance and release upgrades. In addition, at SAP GCDS we reduce the maintenance risk by offering to maintain the enhancements that we programmed ourselves.
Where do the benefits lie for SAP customers?
Rösinger: The main benefit of a functional enhancement carried out by SAP GCDS is the speed with which the enhancement is available. The time saved compared to a standard solution with its release cycles is around one to three years. This is not because standard development is too slow, but rather because far more factors need to be taken into consideration in the standard system. This list of factors starts with multi-lingual considerations and the specific legal requirements of all the countries that are supported, and does not end with compatibility with all the other standard modules. With a single, customer-specific enhancement, the environment is much smaller, and yet the customer is in no way restricted. And of course, a solution like this can be implemented much more quickly. Another significant advantage for customers is that they get one-stop functional software, even when they need an enhancement.
What concrete services lie behind SAP GCDS?
Stuckert: Customer development projects, which are implemented in full by SAP GCDS, from concept definition to delivery, are what mainly lie behind the services offered by SAP GCDS. SAP GCDS also offers Premium Services, such as risk management or project management during customer-specific development. Customers therefore have access to SAP’s full range of expertise.
How quickly and to what extent do the measures implemented by SAP GCDS affect the ROI?
Stuckert: The much faster availability of a customer-specific enhancement is of course directly connected to a faster ROI. In addition, SAP GCDS customers only ask for the additional functionality, and only pay for what they actually need.
Is there a connection between SAP GCDS and SAP Global Professional Services Organization (SAP Global PSO)?
Rösinger: A lot of people think we are in competition with SAP GPSO. However, this is certainly not the case, since we have clearly different objectives: SAP GPSO’s job is to implement SAP software and to integrate it in the customer environment. This includes writing customer-specific reports or interface programs in the customer environment, for example.
SAP GCDS, on the other hand, is responsible for developing customer-specific functionality. Our tasks are related purely to development, and include specification and design, as well as maintenance where necessary. These tasks are also coordinated with the industry and generic business units at SAP, to ensure that SAP GCDS does not develop something itself that is already being planned or developed as a standard solution.
How would you rate the success of SAP GCDS, six months on from its creation?
Stuckert: The number of orders is growing by the week. SAP Global Custom Development Services are popular with customers.