Just some thoughts on this topic….(& excuse the grammar)….please feel free to add your opinion.

Our advice on this subject comes down to what platform you run, what your overall objective is and where your pain points lie.

You have invested a lot in ERP so make the most of it. Sweat it as much as you can. You need to ensure you have the foundations correct, so start with the ERP layer and also (importantly) your end users. You need to understand what functionality you run today and what is in the ‘ERP box of tricks’. What we mean by this is ‘what modules have you not looked at? How much would it take regarding ‘cost and effort’ to get these modules/sub modules up and running and what benefit would it bring? There always has to be a business requirement or business pain point….right?..Well YES most of the time!

 

Enhance can mean a multitude of things depending on which side of the room you sit….upgrade, patch, introduce a user exit, configuration, bespoke SAP etc………or simply add some overlays on top of the software (to change the look and feel of the software). The user experience (UX) could be quick a win in terms of enhancements as it gives a completely different look and feel, enhances productivity & can get a better user adoption (the list goes on)….but which ones are tangible? We believe a rich UX certainly adds value and will share with you some case studies.

Back to the subject…….The extreme of sweating the asset is that some businesses do not even patch their SAP environments (I kid you not!) which is risky to say the least but there are quite a few businesses that adopt this strategy (if you could call it that). They do not want to rock the boat as they have many streams of development going on and have no time to stop, patch, test, deploy as well as running projects (rolling out SAP) as well as supporting the businesses.

The extreme of ‘enhance’ is that every fad, every new software that is released, they are on it, just to be the early adopters of Bleeding Edge technology with no real justification.

So, there is a happy medium which is ‘sweating the core asset’ as much as you can and appreciate that there are limits where you can take it. When core doesn’t deliver or has no functionality in that area then the question arises ‘enhance or purchase new software’ (sometimes SAP software, sometimes not). So, always look at what you have before you look elsewhere. If it is there, can it deliver what you want, if it can’t, look at a product that will integrate seamlessly but always do your value case by checking the ROI on your current & future investment(s). Be pragmatic as if it was your own personal investment.

Remember, if it is just the look and feel that is the problem, SAP have started to address this now for ERP (as they have recently started their UX journey with SAP Personas and Fiori ) but there is still some way to go….It is free software (and quite right to) and with a very small amount of effort you can make it happen.

Watch this space……