Optimize Operating Cost of Pharma ERP Support Setup
This blog is based on the experience of working in Pharma ERP Projects and Support environment. In this case ERP system used was is SAP R/3 system. One of the observation is Pharma companies have to follow and built in Validation and Compliance steps in both SAP Projects and Production Support processes. Validation and Compliance ensures detailed electronic records and audit trails are maintained for system setup, design, specifications, testing, defects, modifications and are ensured through Validation Plan & Report for SAP Projects and through Validation Audits for SAP Production System. Validation and Compliance procedures also ensures Implementation and Maintenance of GxP business processes as per defined operating procedures in the underlying systems. This translates into presence of multiple tools and presence of complex processes which adds up to the cost of SAP Support setup. This blog examines and present ways to reduce such costs.
Apart from SAP ERP system, the support setup uses multiple tools and major amongst them are listed as follows:
a) Helpdesk and Ticketing tool for logging of suppport ticket and associated details from initiation to closure
b) Document Repository tool for maintenance of Project documentation, Functional specifications, Design, Test specification, Test results and other host of documentation associated with SAP Project and Support setup
c) Change Request Management tool which is particularly complex in Pharma companies as requirement is to maintain change details, assessment details, proof of approval before it is actually executed in system, proof of testing, and proof of approval before it is moved into productive system.
Pharma companies may have different tools for all the above. The tools have their own infrastructure in terms of servers, development, production environment and databases. There is substantial amount incurred on maintaining these tools and the associated processes. Moreover, since tools were implemented quite some time in the past these tools may have gone down in both business and technological value in last few years keeping in view rapid technological advancement and changing business environment.
For the Pharma companies having SAP ERP there is way to reduce the cost incurred on above tools. The solutions lies in moving to SAP Solution Manager for requirements mentioned above which so far for lack of alternatives were met by different tools. Apart from host of other features, SAP Solution Manager also provides matured functionality and capability for:
a) Helpdesk and Ticketing functionality with seamless link to SAP Customer support
b) Document Management with e-signature approval capability
c) Change Request Management capability with e-signature approval capability
IT Managers can cut costs by implementing above features of SAP Solution Manager to meet the requirements which were previously catered by variety of legacy tools. Due-diligence exercise should be performed to analyze which all tools and processes can be replaced by Solution Manager.
SAP Solution Manager is integrated with SAP ERP Applications and thus provides streamlined ways of working i.e. shortens the cycle time and brings efficiency due to less and easy process steps as compared to working with legacy tools. Infrastructure cost is reduced as SAP Solution Manager can be implemented to share the same infrastructure and skill set as required for SAP ERP application. These benefits will form the basis for the business case.