Why SAP Consolidation Projects Should be on Every CIO’s Agenda

Last week SAP hosted their Sapphirenow conference in Orlando, a conference that I was fortunate to visit this time last year. It was quite clear last year that SAP were making a very big push towards promoting their cloud, mobile and data analytics based services. Then just after the show they announced that they would be acquiring Ariba. One of the highlights of the show for me was seeing what HANA could do. Now this is not a name of a robot out of a 1950s sci-fi film, it is actually the name of SAP’s in memory database. HANA is expected to be at the core of SAP’s product offerings in years to come and the intention is to move customers onto a common ERP platform that will allow their customers to ‘fully’ take advantage of the power of HANA.

Perhaps SAP’s new direction provided a distraction to many CIOs over the past year especially as a recent report by the Indian service provider HCL, shows quite clearly that many companies still have a significant way to go in terms of getting onto a single instance of an SAP ERP platform. Their report contains some interesting statistics from a survey of 225 global CIOs. For example only 6% of those CIOs surveyed use a single SAP instance and 90% of the CIOs expect HANA to play a big role moving forwards. On average it was found that survey respondents had five separate instances of SAP and increasing complexity still further, some 39% stated that they were running more than six instances.

There are many benefits of running a single SAP instance but the most important one is cost, it was estimated that on average up to 25% could be saved.

So with this in mind, why should GXS have an interest in this potential opportunity for SAP instance consolidation? Well put simply we believe that B2B helps to complete ERP as it provides secure and highly reliable connectivity to an external trading partner community. When a company is thinking about SAP consolidation, this will also provide the best opportunity for integrating to a B2B platform. SAP environments are incredibly complex and the last thing you want to do after upgrading users to the latest version of SAP is to then interrupt business and production processes once again.

Implementing an outsourced approach to managing the integration between SAP and your B2B platform will help to ensure that your business realises even greater levels of return on your investment. Cloud, mobile and HANA may provide a good incentive to upgrade and consolidate SAP instances but integrating seamlessly to a trading partner community should also be high on a CIO’s agenda.

Here at GXS, our B2B outsourcing environment has been implemented across many companies from a variety of different industry sectors. We have undertaken many SAP integration projects in recent years and in fact we recently renewed our SAP Netweaver certification which will provide peace of mind when companies are looking to upgrade their SAP platform. GXS supports version 4.2 and version 6.0 of SAP.

So now that every CIO across the world has seen that a single instance can save considerable amount of time and money, I expect we will see a mad rush of SAP consolidation projects taking place. After all, they are keen to simplify the user experience, make SAP more widely available via the cloud and accessible via mobile devices and more importantly undertake data analytics.

But when a CIO diverts resources to undertake a SAP upgrade or consolidation project, it means that the B2B platform could be exposed. For example who would undertake the on-boarding of new trading partners? Who would create any required document maps or who would undertake any trading partner connectivity that may be required to support an important customer project on the other side of the world?

Well help is at hand. To learn how GXS Managed Services can help your business then please click here to review our on-demand webinar – “How B2B Completes ERP” or alternatively visit GXS’s SAP integration web page for further information.

Mark Morley

As Director, Strategic Product Marketing for Business Network, Mark leads the product marketing efforts for B2B Managed Services, drives industry and regional alignment with overall Business Network product strategy and looks at how new disruptive technologies will impact future supply chains. Mark also has over 23 years industry experience across the discrete manufacturing sector.

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