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April 25, 2012

Business Transformation Enabled by IMPACT Framework and Methodology and VRM (Value Realization Model)

By Dale Strickland

Traditional implementation methodologies have historically focused on gathering requirements. At Infosys we utilize an innovative approach that leverages our business transformation framework (IMPACT™). Based on our experience assisting clients through Business Transformation initiatives, Infosys has developed a comprehensive, customizable, modular framework for business-focused transformations of wide ranging objectives that impact customers, employees, business processes and underlying systems and technology.

Infosys' IMPACT™ Method for Business Transformation has been designed and developed specifically to drive value out of Business Transformation programs. It provides a comprehensive, holistic approach to achieve organization transformation, cutting across business and/or functional lines. It outlines a guiding framework and key principles for the effective governance, communication and integration required for transformation programs to succeed. The framework, allows us to balance our focus across key impact areas - Impact on Company, Impact on Capabilities, and Impact on Transformation - across the commonly understood software development lifecycle phases. It does so, by enforcing equitable focus on all workstreams that constitute the implementation agenda. Underlying IMPACT™ is a host of best practices, tools, templates and methods on the "WHAT, HOW and WHEN" of enabling business transformation.

Business transformation initiatives are highly complex and present enormous challenges for our clients.  While it is relatively easy to usher in technology change, success is greatly defined by how well people and process related changes are managed such that the transformation is less risky, and more effective from a value realization perspective.  In other words, orchestration of this change is critical to the success of the transformation.  Leveraging Infosys' IMPACT Framework™ will help our clients reduce the inherent risk with such initiatives by driving transformation activities throughout the business and program in a consistent and organized manner. It is designed to accelerate and standardize activities, and ensures business processes, systems and organizations are transformed according to companies' strategic objectives.  Infosys and IMPACT Framework™ are a combination that will help to ensure Business Transformation initiative success.

 

About the Author: Dale is a Senior Prinicipal in Management Consulting under Consulting & Systems Integration Unit in Infosys. With a varied experience in IT industry, Dale is currently in the Process Transformation track and working on Business Transformation solutions for Infosys.

 

April 23, 2012

Disruptive Innovation through SAP MDG! Is your Organization ready?

By Promodh Narayan Ravichandran

Before MDM became what MDM is today data ownership had little conflicts as most of the responsibilities were clearly defined in Enterprise Applications and the Data Warehouse as far as Master Data was concerned. With the advent of enterprise applications it orchestrated applications as per functions such as SAP ECC, SAP SCM, SAP CRM and suddenly data governance that was taken for granted earlier took an ugly turn as far as data territories were concerned. It propagated composite applications, service oriented architecture and suddenly organizations were forced to resolve conflicts that spanned length and breadth of the enterprise.

With this conflict it also gave birth to various data governance models across all types of Data Governance setup such as Operational Governance, Solution Governance and Project Governance. The various models of data governance included -

1) Centralized Data Governance - A model with Central Data Management Organization and respective function Business Users place a change order workflows and request for approval before Master Data is consumed.

2) Decentralized Data Governance - A model where Business Users within each function are responsible within their own system to maintain Master Data based on established standards and guidelines. There is no Master Data Management organization to establish a uniform set of guidelines and procedures. 

While Centralized model enables economies of scale and synergies by bring people who are doing the same thing into a group with a common focus, objectives, and metrics the Decentralized model gives Business areas greater visibility and control of setup and maintenance process and avoids "Watering down" of area (BU, Product Class, etc.) expertise.
Enter the Digital Transformation age it has caused more than a few disruptive innovations breaking the ranks of conventional notions and practice. SAP MDG is one of them and could be akin to what Apple has done to its own products- Obsolete one's own product with new product. The case here is what if SAP MDG could replace SAP MDM?

 

About the Author: Promodh is a Principal Consultant with Manufacturing vertical. He has spent more than 12 years in solution consulting and implementation in domains like master data management (MDM), core merchandising, supply chain and logistics systems.

 

SAP Supplier Lifecycle Management: Filling a long pending gap in SAP SRM business suite - Part2

In part-1 of this blog post, I had given an overview of functionalities in SAP Supplier Lifecycle Management.
In Part-2 of this blog, I am going to write briefly about architecture and various deployment options, that comes with SAP SLM version 1.0.
At a high level architecture, SAP SLM is based on SAP NW 702 platform. It is basically composed of two components - Buy Side and Sell side. Buy Side is the component, which is accessed within buying company by purchasers, category managers and other internal stakeholders. Buy side is located within the firewall of company and is available on intranet.
Sell side is accessed by suppliers for various external processes and is located outside the firewall of the company. Sell side is available on open internet for registered and potential suppliers.

Broadly following processes are executed on the two sides:

Sell Side:
  Supplier self registration
  Supplier data maintenance
  Supplier qualification response submission

Buy Side:
  Supplier registration approval
  Supplier portfolio maintenance
  Supplier qualification

The two components are connected via RFC connection for data exchange. There could be a little concern from security standpoint here, as RFC connections may not be encouraged via supplier systems to customer secured systems and even SAP recommends asynchronous communication using SAP PI or middleware.

SAP SLM - Buy side is connected further to a backend system, which can be an SAP SRM server or SAP ECC server. This is basically to synchronize supplier data to backend systems.


Overall, SAP SLM V1.0 can be deployed in multiple flexible variants as below:


1. Integrated Deployment:

Under this, SAP SLM is installed as an add-on to SAP SRM (Version 7.0, EHP1) server. On the sell side, SAP SLM is installed as an add-on component to SUS (Supplier self services), which is supplier collaboration solution for SAP SRM v1.0.

On the buy side, SAP SLM is installed as an add-on to SAP SRM procurement component. The backend system is SAP ECC server(>= version 6.0) in this case.


The benefit with this deployment is that, it allows 'Order collaboration' along with Supplier data management on one platform. Using Portal, both SUS and SLM can be accessed uniformly. Of course, this requires a pre installation of SAP SRM(version 701) and SUS to capitalize upon.


2. Standalone Deployment:

Under this, SAP SLM is installed as an standalone server with Buy side and sell side as two  independent components. The backend in this case could be SAP SRM server (version 5.0 to 701) or SAP ECC (>= 6.0).

The benefit with this deployment is that, SAP SLM can be used with lower SRM versions like SRM 5.0.


3. Mixed deployment:

This is basically hybrid deployment, wherein either the buy side or sell side is standalone and the other component is installed as an add-on to SAP SRM (701) server. The backend system can be SAP SRM server or SAP ECC server.
This deployment variant could be useful, where either only SUS component or only SAP SRM procurement (EBP) component is used by a company. For e.g. in MM-SUS scenario, this deployment can be useful.

 

Finally, the decision for a deployment option would depend upon the existing landscape components and the business scenarios applicable. SAP SLM in future releases would also be provided with option of installation as an ECC add-on. So this would provide another flexible option for customers to decide upon the deployment variant.

April 19, 2012

BI of the future: Are you thinking about it today - Part 1

By Nitin Vilas Kulkarni

Today, there is an unprecedented focus on Business Intelligence and it is on the top of investment list for CIOs. While there is no need to emphasize need for BI solutions and its criticality to organizations, it is important to have right investments in place to ensure value from investments.  Before we delve into what are the key components of future BI solutions and platform, let's see today's key challenges in BI.

These include

• Low BI Adoption - Despite big investment in BI tools and technologies, the penetration of BI in the organizations remains low. This has raised questions on the return from BI investments. The reasons for BI adoption can range from lack of self service tools to data quality issues. The outcome is that we have not come out of the 'spreadsheet world' yet - the promise of BI tools. BI capabilities deployed must link to business objectives. The lack of alignment between IT and business leads to expensive technological capabilities that do not deliver value leading to much frustration for sponsors and low BI adoption.

• Lack of agility - Most organized built layered and scalable architecture and put in strong governance processes. While, this was extremely important, it has resulted in lack of agility. IT is not able to catch up with business needs and power of BI remains underutilized as a result.

• Lack of advanced analytical capabilities - While BI has come long way from operational reporting, most organization do not have visibility of the entire data that impacts their performance like external data. Also, advanced analytical capabilities involving predictive analysis is not leveraged to take full advantage of BI. Thus, today's analysis is largely analyzing past data leaving predictive analysis to imagination of users.
I believe that the future BI solutions must address these challenges and deliver value. The following will be key areas in 'BI of the future'

  • Real Time Analytics
  • In-memory Solutions / Appliances / Big-Data Solutions
  • BI on Cloud
  • Mobile BI
  • Agile BI
  • Event Correlation / Predictive Analysis
  • Next Gen Architectures
  • Social Media Analytics

We will discuss on each of the above in the next part of this series. Watch this space for more. We will also explore how the key trends for the future may help in overcoming today's challenges. Any views from the readers in the meanwhile would be appreciated.

 

About the Author: Nitin is  Principal Consultant currently part of Retail, Logistics and Life Sciences unit at Infosys. His areas of expertise include Business Intelligence with special focus on In-memory solutions and BI architecture.

 

April 16, 2012

SAP Supplier Lifecycle Management: Filling a long pending gap in SAP SRM business suite - Part 1

With the launch of SAP Supplier life cycle management, SAP has addressed a long pending business need for a full-fledged supplier management application. This has been on the wish list of most of the procurement executives working with SAP solutions, however SAP did not have very solid offer in this area earlier.  Customers using SAP SRM, had the option of using Supplier Registration functionality which is delivered as part of Supplier collaboration solution in SAP SRM. However, Supplier Registration functionality till SAP SRM 7.0 (EHP1) was offered at a very basic level with limited functionality. It lacked critical features such as approval workflow for potential suppliers, seamless integration with backend systems, upload of attachments etc.. Due to such obvious gaps, this functionality was not much used by customers or needed extensive customization and development to get the desired functionality.

With the launch of SAP Supplier life cycle management, SAP has addressed a long pending business need for a full-fledged supplier management application. This has been on the wish list of most of the procurement executives working with SAP solutions, however SAP did not have very solid offer in this area earlier.  Customers using SAP SRM, had the option of using Supplier Registration functionality which is delivered as part of Supplier collaboration solution in SAP SRM. However, Supplier Registration functionality till SAP SRM 7.0 (EHP1) was offered at a very basic level with limited functionality. It lacked critical features such as approval workflow for potential suppliers, seamless integration with backend systems, upload of attachments etc.. Due to such obvious gaps, this functionality was not much used by customers or needed extensive customization and development to get the desired functionality.

Through another product SAP Sourcing, SAP offered a more advanced supplier management functionality than SAP SRM.  This contained approval workflows and integration of supplier performance management within supplier management application. But still it did not offer a complete holistic approach to supplier management.
However with the launch of SAP SLM, SAP has taken a giant leap in supplier management functionality and presented a complete and dedicated solution in this area. Even though in its first version SAP SLM 1.0, SAP has only come out with limited set of supplier processes, it spells of a grand vision and clear roadmap in realizing full scale supplier lifecycle management through versions 1.1 and 1.2 which would come in later part of the year.

As of SAP SLM version 1.0, following business processes are covered:

  1. Supplier Registration
  2. Supplier Qualification
  3. Supplier Portfolio Management
  4. Supplier  Order Collaboration

Supplier Qualification and Supplier Portfolio Management are two very important processes which have been significantly enhanced in comparison to earlier offerings of SAP SRM supplier management functionality.

Supplier qualification process is workflow driven and provides a much needed control in managing supplier qualification. Purchasers or Category Managers can create qualification requests either for a potential supplier or for qualified suppliers based on specific projects. Suppliers receive notification in email and respond by submitting qualification response through portal. After receiving supplier responses, Category Manager can approve the supplier status to be changed based on response review.

Supplier Portfolio management provides an advanced supplier data management platform where different dimensions of supplier data can be stored under different sections e.g.  Classification, Financial data, Qualification data etc.  Suppliers can also do self service data maintenance, which can be routed through approval workflow and gets synchronized in backend systems upon approval.

Going further, versions SAP SLM versions 1.1 and 1.2 promises even more exciting features, like supplier evaluation , content tagging and third party integration, Supplier development and Supplier phase out.

In part-2, I shall write more on that and also on deployment options for SAP SLM which would be critical factors in deciding for taking the plunge into SAP SLM.

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