SAP centre of expertise 'crucial' for procurement clients

bioMérieux analyst and SAP professional Bob Bucy urges SAP customers to establish SAP centres of expertise to optimise their procurement tech investments

SAP procurement customers should establish a centre of expertise around SAP solutions if they are to get the most from them, a leading SAP expert has urged.

Bob Bucy is a SAP professional and Supply Chain Business Solutions Analyst for multinational life-sciences diagnostics company, bioMérieux, which operates in 44 countries and has 14,000 employees.

Bucy urges SAP customers to set up a centre of expertise dedicated to SAP solutions, saying this is “a necessary first step to providing maintenance and support, post-implementation”.

“A surprising number of SAP customers don’t have one,” he adds.

Bucy was writing for SAPinsider, the largest and fastest-growing SAP membership group, with around 500,000 members across 205 countries.

Among SAP’s global spread of customers are those who use its procurement and supply chain solutions.

In procurement, SAP's headline products are SAP Ariba, for buying and invoicing, and SAP Central Procurement, for enterprise-wide visibility of purchasing processes, to maintain compliance and control costs. 

SAP’s supply chain products include solutions to manage and optimise supply chain planning, logistics, manufacturing, lifecycle management and asset management.   

'Too few firms have a SAP centre of expertise'

Bucy says: “Too few implementing firms properly plan for post-go-live operations and fail to refresh their to-be vision. 

“As a result, they do not benefit fully from their SAP investment. 

Bucy says that, in his experience of working with SAP customers, his focus is on “decision-making and best practices required for sustained customer success”. 

He adds: “This is particularly for ongoing maintenance and support required post-SAP systems implementation”, and says The SAP Green Book by Michael Doane is still “a go-to source for the effective management of a company’s SAP assets”. 

Bucy says: “The starting point for any SAP system post-implementation maintenance and support is a centre of expertise. 

He writes that such a centre can include customers who are:

  • Evaluating initial SAP implementation

  • Gauging how the system will be supported post go-live

  • Determining the best way to provide the necessary maintenance and support

Firms need SAP experts with deep skills

Bucy adds that SAP defines customer centres of expertise as: ‘A core team of experts with deep SAP skills and knowledge and that generates tangible business value through sustainable and strong collaboration with the lines of business.’

He adds: “Without a centre of expertise the business community might not know who to engage for addressing new business requirements. It provides a single point of contact for everything – from incident management to minor changes, major projects, and overall system governance.”

Bucy says among the benefits of a centre of expertise are:   

Protecting and securing mission critical SAP assets that often represent an organisation’s largest IT investment. 

Coordinating between business and the overall IT organisation to develop the right policies and provide the business with a process to meet the business needs.

Providing an opportunity for IT to implement best practices, to support and direct the business toward optimal solutions.

He adds: “A centre of expertise coordinates and aligns resources and business functions, and provides ongoing visibility across all functional areas, allowing better overall cost and capacity planning. “

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