SAP, the Digital Future Navigating Business Excellence

Sachin Songaonkar, Head - Information Technology, Indo Count Industries (Group) | Friday, 01 September 2023, 10:46 IST

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In an interaction with CIOTech Outlook magazine, Sachin Songaonkar, Head - Information Technology, Indo Count Industries (Group) shares insights on thriving the industry 4.0 era with SAP's relevance. He emphasizes SAP's role in digital transformation, integrated business processes, and agile methodologies. He highlights SAP S/4HANA, RPA, Cloud Solutions, Data Intelligence, and AI. Sachin discusses risks, security, authorizations, API management, and cloud integration in SAP projects.

Sachin, a new-gen avid IT leader brings with him 17 Years of hands-on experience into IT Leadership, Strategic Management, Business Consulting, Program, Project Management and more. With this below article he is guiding us through the possibilities around SAP. Let’s read through-

Today the mankind is sailing through 4.0 era of the industrial revolution, where being smart is not smart enough. Here, the real game is about being ‘outsmart’ by rising above the noise. In general, to feed the changing demands of customers, nature of clients and market expectations in this increasingly digital world, businesses entail tools to adapt and stay competitive. This is where SAP (Systems, Applications, and Products) enters into the frame and proves it relevant for today's generation. With its ability to drive digital transformation, provide data-driven insights, streamline operations, and adapt to the demands of a global, tech-driven business landscape SAP equips organizations with the tools needed to thrive in an ever-evolving market. Being a powerful software suite, it helps businesses streamline their operations, manage resources, and make informed decisions. And, its importance lies in its ability to integrate various business processes, such as finance, HR, supply chain, and more, into a unified platform, enabling organizations operate efficiently and effectively to drive growth.

Shed some light on the cruciality of SAP project lifecycle methodologies (such as ASAP&Agile).

SAP project lifecycle methodologies play a crucial role in the successful implementation and management of SAP projects. These methodologies provide a structured approach to guide organizations through various phases of a project, from planning and design to implementation, testing, and maintenance. They help ensure that projects are delivered on time, within budget, and with the intended functionality. Below two are the most commonly used SAP project lifecycle methodologies.

ASAP (Accelerated SAP): ASAP is SAP's own project management methodology. It provides a phased approach that aligns business processes and technical components, enabling a smooth transition to SAP solutions. The key phases in ASAP include Project Preparation, Business Blueprint, Realization, Final Preparation, and Go-Live & Support. The importance of ASAP lies in its emphasis on a structured approach, clear documentation, and alignment of business and IT goals.

Agile Methodology: Agile methodologies, such as Scrum or Kanban, focus on iterative and incremental development. They prioritize flexibility, adaptability, and collaboration between cross-functional teams. Agile is particularly useful when dealing with complex and dynamic SAP projects, as it allows for continuous feedback, quick adjustments, and the ability to address changing business needs during the project lifecycle.

Brief about some latest SAP technologies & trends.

Staying up to date with the below trends and technologies can help organizations leverage the latest tools and methodologies to optimize their SAP projects and stay competitive in the rapidly evolving business landscape.

SAP S/4HANA: S/4HANA is SAP's next-generation enterprise resource planning (ERP) suite. It is built on an in-memory platform, enabling real-time analytics, simplified data models, and improved user experiences.

Intelligent Robotic Process Automation (RPA): SAP has integrated intelligent RPA capabilities into its solutions, allowing organizations to automate repetitive tasks and streamline processes.

Cloud Solutions: SAP Cloud Platform offers a range of services for application development, integration, analytics, and more. Cloud-based solutions are becoming increasingly popular for their scalability, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness.

Data Intelligence and Analytics: SAP's data intelligence tools provide advanced analytics, machine learning, and data management capabilities to help businesses make data-driven decisions.

AI and Machine Learning: SAP is incorporating AI and machine learning capabilities across its solutions to enable predictive analytics, automation, and improved decision-making.

How do you manage and mitigate the risks related to SAP projects and IT delivery?

Risk management is an ongoing process, and managing risks in SAP projects and IT delivery is crucial to ensure successful outcomes. However, it should be integrated into every phase of the project to increase the likelihood of success. Generally, every project manager lists down the risks in a risk register that is a standard practice experience, but there are certain risks we can talk about certainly in every project is, not capturing the requirements properly. If the requirements are not properly recorded eventually the results or outputs which are going to be seen in the UAT phase will differ. So, requirement gathering is something that is very crucial. Second major risk is deadlines. Every project comes with certain deadline to meet butwhen the deadline is been missed for a particular milestone of the project, the entire project goes on a risk. Another major challenge is to get a right implementation partner or the functional or the technical consultant. The vitality of having adequate knowledge regarding the function or particularly the modulesas a whole in SAP for the technical consultants is immense. Also, they should know their business, their functional areas and how this can help them, so knowledge from both ends is required.

How do you make sure that the security and authorizations are appropriately implemented in SAP solution?

SAP security is a very secure and multi-layered system wherein it is crucial to ensure that the data which is residing inside the servers is located safely. This is why most people host their servers and their DBS into a collocated data warehouse nearby, so do we. Next comes the roles and authorizations.When it is given to the respective users, that's where tools like GRC (available within SAP and outside SAP) helps govern the entire security, user’s data viewing and the application authorizations.Therefore, authorizations help individual users to get a controlled access.

How do you manage integrated API management and cloud integration into business technology?

API management is an entirely new concept. Earlier days were all about the process integrated PI or POPI. However, with the advent of cloud concept, CPI the cloud platform integrator walked into the frame. Keeping API management at its core, the SAPCPI platform helps managing all the integrations and it further helps to decide which system to integrate with. Moreover, SAP CPI is an integration platform-as-a-service, walks in with a capability to publish promote or oversee API in a secure and scalable environment and supports end-to-end for process integration regardless a cloud based or on-premises system. This subscription-based tool given in the S/4HANA is helpful in almost everything is possible, such as design development, operating the integration scenarios, managing APIs, ensuring connectivity between different non-SAP systems and more. Indeed, with these tools managing integrated API and cloud integration becomes a cake walk.

In conclusion, SAP's impact on the business world is undeniable, revolutionizing how organizations manage their operations and data. With its suite of enterprise software solutions, SAP has empowered companies to streamline processes, enhance efficiency, and make informed decisions. As businesses continue to evolve in the digital age, SAP's innovation and commitment to excellence position it as a pivotal player in shaping the future of enterprise technology while ushering in a new era of efficiency and connectivity.

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