The SAP Blue Book

Michael Doane

Published by

SAP Press

ISBN

978-1-59229-412-1

RRP

£23.99

Reviewed by

Kawal Banga MBCS CITP CEng

Score

10 out of 10

An excellent book, even if you are not explicitly interested in SAP, but are keen to pick up some nuggets of best practice for implementing any enterprise system.

It is well written and informative with elements of much welcome humour across the 170 plus pages of content split across ten chapters.

SAP covers all functions across the enterprise such as financials, HR, sales, marketing, production, inventory control. Like other enterprise system implementations the focus is on the business and business processes, and the project is run as a business project and not an IT project.

The other important point to realise is that the implementation is more about customising and configuring the applications than new development.

Chapter 3 provides a good SAP engagement readiness model, which can be used for any software application implementation, and not just SAP. Equally, the SAP lifecycle discussed in chapter 4 can be used for non-SAP applications. These are filled with good common sense advice, particularly with regards to proper planning and not cutting corners. 

However there is an accelerated approach called ASAP for faster implementations, but the folly of skipping organisational change management, foreshortening end user training and knowledge transfer, and racing through data migration with insufficient data cleansing, are highlighted.  

SAP installations may take one to three years to implement, but their life expectancy is 20 to 30 years. Doane states that hundreds of firms have already been running SAP for 25 years. Chapter 5 talks about post-implementation excellence, and describes how to create a SAP centre of excellence, along with a centre of excellence maturity model.  

Chapter 6 looks at the business benefits of SAP, hard dollar benefits such a faster cash cycle, reduced inventories, increased buying power, improved asset management, as well as intangible improvements to infrastructure, integration, standardisation, information flows, scalability, reporting, compliance and high value activities.

The remaining four chapters look at partnering with the right consulting firm, selecting SAP consultants, project team and end user training, and change management. 

Chapter 9 highlights that all employees, from executives down to the end-users, need appropriate briefings and training, and that disbanding the project team once the project has delivered is never an option that leads to success.

Those who have built up knowledge during the implementation are needed to continue to support the SAP installation and business processes post go live.

An excellent book for both those who want to learn specifically about SAP, or about best practice for implementing any type of enterprise systems.

Further information: SAP Press

June 2013