Onsite Observations

By Jim O'Farrell on May 21, 2012

As many of you know, part of Winshuttle’s core value is the capacity enablement or productivity gains associated with the variety of ways you can manage SAP data (e.g. data extraction, upload, workflow use cases). Recently, we conducted several onsite value assessment projects where we analyzed SAP transactions, identifying key processes and users. Then we spent 20-30 minutes with each of them to uncover more details about the specific ways they are using the identified processes. Man assisting woman in computer room

This post is really just about some of the observations from these onsite discussions with real SAP users that process business transactions on a daily basis and some of the related insights.

Common broad use cases that tend to emerge: By zeroing on the top 20-30% of the users identified through the BVA process based on transaction volume, we are usually able to identify at least a dozen or so key areas of process improvement. These generally fall into three areas such as master data creation and mass maintenance, various types of workflow – usually order to cash or procure to pay, and “round tripping” – involving research and analysis of production data (extraction in Excel), manipulating the data and then the “return trip” update back to SAP. These round tripping transactions occur mostly in the finance and control area, but can easily show up in supply chain, HR and or operations areas too.

User SAP accommodation: Another recurring theme is how people view their day-to-day dealings with SAP – the ways in which they accommodate some of the more challenging aspects of the user interface is always interesting. During these interviews, it’s enlightening to note the documentation or what’s going on “outside the screen” (e.g. notebooks, post-it notes, hand written short cuts) that usually surrounds the screen or at least is within arm’s length of the user. These bits of notes and useful practices are nuggets of insights into areas of potential process improvements.

The bottom line: The key observation from these interviews is that people work hard and are very diligent about “staying in line” with the SAP system requirements. They go to great lengths to adhere to the process … but when it is suggested that they could reduce the number of steps, or upload mass changes with a single transaction, or streamline a workflow that adapts easily to a change in their business or using an English data dictionary to extract SAP production data into Excel for reporting – it is often met with a wide-eyed look at one of their colleagues and a very quiet whisper… “I want that…!”

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