In the world of traditional enterprise resource planning (ERP) complexity is the norm. Expectations around significant deployments or upgrades are that they will be long, expensive, and difficult. However, with the increasing charge towards agile, dynamic, and rapid deployment, even big ERP players are espousing the virtues of simplicity.
As a leading provider of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, SAP has a wealth of experience in the deployment of large, comprehensive, and complex software systems that run the back-office functions of the world’s largest business. While SAP has a justified reputation for powerful and reliable enterprise-grade solutions, this can also be associated with a perception that they are increasingly complex and expensive to maintain and enhance over time.
During the recent Sapphire conference a recurring theme was maximizing the opportunities for systems simplification, encapsulated in SAP’s injunction to its customers to “Run Simple.” The SAP S4/HANA platform has the potential to simplify both the underlying database architecture and the business processing logic, reducing complexity, time to deployment, and ongoing maintenance costs.
In addition, a significant ongoing cost component for large ERP deployments is the amount of custom code progressively incorporated over the system’s lifetime to address specific business rules. SAP’s analysis of the custom code base during a number of large enterprise upgrades has identified that approximately a third of the code is no longer used due to changes in business rules, a third can now be delivered by standardized functions available out-of-the-box within the product, and only the final third is still required to support the business.
With the possibility to reduce the custom code base by two thirds, undertaking a comprehensive review during any upgrade process can offer significant migration and ongoing maintenance cost reductions, as well as reliability benefits. With custom code identified as a major cost driver in any line-of-business system, ensuring that strong governance processes are in place to restrict its creation, control its proliferation, question its continuation, and undertake its extermination has strategic benefits for all organizations, regardless of the application under consideration.
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