Whether in your personal life or at work, there comes a time when you need to make major changes that will have long-term consequences. You could wing it and take your chances…or go with the safe option and bring in an expert, and implementing SAP Materials Management (MM) is one such project. Successful implementations require a depth of knowledge that spans all areas of the business, including technical expertise in SAP.
A third-party SAP consultant can use their experience to find solutions that cater to your business needs considering your industry, size, and budget, and advise on all aspects of the implementation, while reducing your risk at the same time.
If you’ve been following our series, we recently shared the first article, 5 Insider Tips for Succeeding with SAP Materials Management. In this article, we’ll cover some of the top benefits of working with a third-party consultant when getting started with SAP MM. Let’s dive in.
One statement our consultants hear over and over again during implementations is, ”We don’t know what we don’t know,” and that’s absolutely right. While you may have an understanding of some areas where you’ll need help, it’s just not possible to be aware of every blind spot your team has (or they wouldn’t be called blind spots.)
The value of having an experienced consultant on your side is that they do know what you don’t know because this isn’t their first rodeo. Qualified consultants have worked with other clients who’ve made mistakes along the way, which means they can steer you away from those very same roadblocks. You need someone who can hold up a flag when issues arise and help everyone come together as a team to work through those challenges.
Customized, Hands-on Training
A consultant of ours was once brought into a situation where a group of employees was given what they called “Death by PowerPoint.” The employees were getting frustrated and anxious because soon they’d have to operate SAP MM and never put their fingers on the tool. Thanks to the consultant’s quick thinking, he quickly changed the course and their mindset.
He set up some training sandboxes with general master data and had everyone watch how the system creates purchase orders. Then he had each person go through that process on the keyboard. After the hands-on training, one of the students came up to the consultant and gave him a big hug. She said they learned more from him in two hours than they learned watching PowerPoint presentations over the last six months. That’s the sort of personalized experience you can expect from a third-party consultant.
Making the Solution Work for Your Organization
The best practice for setting up SAP is to have the application wrap itself around your business. It’s easier to understand with a visual. Imagine a rock. That’s your business. Now imagine unrolling a piece of wrapping paper. This represents SAP. Wrap the paper around the rock, and that’s how SAP should work around your business.
Unfortunately, we see the opposite situation far too often, where everything for the business has been custom-made for SAP. This isn’t an effective way to run SAP because every time there’s a new upgrade, you’ll have to reconfigure all those customizations.
Set up SAP around your business, however, and taking advantage of new upgrades and features becomes seamless. A consultant will guide you on best practices to help you maximize the long-term benefits of SAP.
And don’t forget that a seasoned consultant has both functional and technical expertise. This allows them to help you understand SAP technology as well as how to achieve business value from it.
Make Your Job Easier
Not only can a consultant make your job easier—they can also make you look good. After a go-live, there can be a fair amount of anxiety in the air. A confident consultant can help ease those feelings.
For example, one of our consultants always has a whiteboard around after go-live. So if anyone has an issue, they jot it down on the whiteboard. He will then go through all the issues with each person and work together on resolving them. You can then turn these whiteboard sessions into documentation materials to help with issues down the road.
How to Find a Third-party SAP Consultant
These are just a few of the benefits you’ll experience. Trust us—we could go on and on. The point is that having an independent specialist on your team will save you time and money, as well as provide benefits to your implementation in ways you wouldn’t initially think.
Our US-based SAP consulting team specializes in SAP MM and the other modules that integrate with it to ensure a successful implementation. To learn more about our consultants and services, contact us today.