What is the best approach to get something started? If experienced, you know exactly what to do. But how do you start when you are lacking experience, e.g. if you want to start a career as a miniature racing driver or slot circuit owner without having a clue? You either have to ask some experts or you have to rely on the offers of the industry. And the industry soon has the brilliant idea (also in commercial terms), to come up with preconfigured starter packages with a tempting price tag on it …
For those of you with an eye on SAP-related topics on our international blog, you have probably seen the acronym RDS, which stands for Rapid Deployment Solutions. So you might wonder what makes RDS relevant, and why it is mentioned so frequently by people including my colleague David Cairat. Is RDS really that important, especially when “all-in one packages” have been around for quite some time? The answer is “yes,” and I will tell you why. Let’s have a closer look at each of the three parts of RDS:
We all know the common waterfall model for software development and the usual long implementation periods, which often last more than a year. And we all know what this usually means for the motivation of the project team as well, especially when you have a lot of changes involving scope and timeline.
Because of this I’ve always intrigued by the agile development principle, where the only thing that is fixed is the Go-Live date. Of course we will probably never get that far within the SAP portfolio. But I was heavily impressed recently when some of my British colleagues showed me their project approach in Business Intelligence.
They keep the end users busy right from the start by involving them with constant work on change, while still delivering working value. And they compromise on features, never on release schedules! So results (and also qualified feedback) are coming in very early before you might run down the wrong street. This does not mean, however, that there is no large master plan behind these activities, just that the “Plan big, built small” attitude allows for a quicker reality check.
Coming back to the Rapid Deployment Solutions, this is exactly what could be taken over. The two striking arguments are a short implementation time and to get everything as concrete as possible right from the beginning. With its predefined scope and content, RDS offers a great opportunity to do just that.
Do you remember the old days, when the customer expected to get a CD-ROM right after signing the contract and to install the ERP system like Word or Excel on a computer? And how you had to argue about the needs to customize and individualize the system in a consulting project?
I know that the average CIO is now definitively on a different level, but what about business departments? In my experience (see also the old posts) the situation might look different. Of course the comparison with Apple’s famous Appstore is not really fair and somewhat misleading. But there is more than one grain of truth in it: Why does an implementation have to be such a complex thing? And if it does have to be complex, then it is our job as experts to help our customers deal with that complexity.
RDS is helping a lot. By providing preconfigured software with predefined services and content in combination with proper end-user enablement, everything is ready to go. What’s more, you can also have a quick look at what you are getting before. Just visit the SAP Innovation Showroom(You need a SAP user to login) and adjust the expectations to the right level regarding what’s in it for you in the RDS box.
You have surely heard about the old saying, when a technology is looking for an application…. To some degree this applies as well to SAP software. The business suite of SAP in particular offers overwhelming functionality, which leaves some potential buyers feeling lost. For instance I have seen many customers develop special functionality as customer development in the ERP system rather than “daring the next step” to the business suite.
Apart from license issues, my impression is that many companies were not convinced by the advantages of using this mighty toolset because they were missing the experience, e.g. it is much easier to show a Make-To-Stock scenario in ERP than to show a sophisticated heuristic in the APO. So the added value often became not obvious enough.
Here’s where RDS steps in. Especially in the business suite, where you cannot rely on best practices and preconfigured standard software as in the core ERP region, this is the perfect way of getting a predictable price and scope.
The customers have everything they need to get up and running quickly, still leaving all the options to grow their SAP solutions further. And this comes with the biggest advantage of standard software. You don’t have to care about maintenance and support or upgrade in the future like you would have to do with a customer development.
Customers can make a “useful use” of RDS by not trying to develop everything from scratch. Developers might disagree, but maintainability and serviceability of software is always an issue and the total cost of ownership is always a struggle to calculate.
In the end it is all about money
So what’s the bottom line with RDS, as it’s always the money that counts in the end?
Simply put, RDS offers faster time-to-value by:
- Rapid delivery (Some RDS offerings can be implemented in less than 12 weeks.)
- Proven quality (An internal SAP qualification process secures industry standards at a fixed price)
- Limited and well-defined implementation scope, with flexibility to adopt in later phases
Reads like the perfect marketing prose on the box of a slot racing starter kit, doesn´t it? There you can see the different options for track lay out, get some matching pair of cars and everything else what is needed including instructions. So you can start your slot race career right under the Christmas tree, and not after a long planning period and lots of rehearsals in the mid of the summer.
But be careful: Once you started, you will probably ask for more.
For more information on how itelligence can help you with an RDS solution, click here.