I set up my first SAP Centre of Excellence by accident.
Working for PwC’s newly created Application Outsourcing business in 1999, I picked up the auspicious (and suspicious) responsibility of talking to PwC’s Management Consulting Services (MCS) implementation customers in their run up to go-live.
It was typically a fraught conversation and one that was generally happening much too late in their SAP programme.
In 1999, Lastminute.com was just 1 year old. And the media profile it had generated from Martha Lane Fox’s public appearances meant that it was already a household name.
And it was the name that we used to describe the first two SAP Centres of Excellence that I ‘built’.
SAP Centre of Excellence #1
I was brought in 6 weeks before go-live. It was and still is the most heavily customized SAP solution that I’ve even. Z Programs, RICEFS, IDOC based Interfaces, custom modules - you name it.
6 Weeks isn’t long to stand up an organisation that can stabilise a fairly vanilla SAP solution so it was really stretching it for such a complex SAP solution.
We cobbled together a team and crucially, a knowledge transfer approach that became the foundation for Resulting’s current SAP Centre of Excellence knowledge and skills model.
We established some emergency processes - because we had to - that were gradually refined and, at their heart, still form the basis of the SAP Centre of Excellence advice we offer to SAP customers to this day.
But, it was a very support focused SAP CoE. Because it was built out of necessity.
As part of this SAP Centre of Excellence, we built a spreadsheet that has since evolved to become different in content but similar in concept and now forms the basis of the model that Resulting uses today to define the Scope of Services of a SAP Centre of Excellence in 2 days flat.
I know for a fact that our way of looking at SAP CoEs is totally different to anybody else.
Derek Prior - former SAP Research Director at Gartner has see 1000’s of SAP CoEs and tells me that our approach is totally unique.
We’ve also won SAP Centre of Excellence design work against Accenture, IBM and even SAP themselves.
And, we’ve played a pivotal role in building the SAP Centre of Excellence for the world’s largest IT Advisory firm. The Consultancy’s Consultancy.
SAP Centre of Excellence #2
#2 was a different story. This time we turned up at our customer with 10 weeks to spare go-live.
Lastminute.com but 5 Star luxury by comparison to last time.
And this time, we were engaged with a broader scope - stabilise the solution and get stuck straight in to benefits realisation.
This is where I conceived what is now our SAP Centre of Excellence model. A simple blueprint to elicit a Target Operating Model for SAP (or any Enterprise IT) that is as innovative now as it was in 2001.
Despite having some lovely slides that articulate it, I draw it on flip-charts, A3 photocopier paper and even napkins at least 5 times a week. I have deeper conversations with CIOs, CFOs and CEO’s of companies who are implementing or struggling with SAP using this model than anything else I’ve ever used.
If your people talk tickets and ITIL when they discuss SAP Centres of Excellence, they've missed the point.
4 things your SAP Centre of Excellence needs
Ultimately, there are only 4 things of importance when you’re building a high-performing SAP Centre of Excellence. By high-performing SAP CoE, we mean one that delivers your business case and benefits.
Sure, these 4 things break down into a little more detail. If you want to know, there are 27 key capabilities you need to consider for real SAP CoE maturity.
But considering your SAP Centre of Excellence through the lens of these 4 pillars will completely change your perspective.
They de-focus you from what every other consultancy advices and force you to look at your SAP Centre of Excellence in a totally different way.
Conventional marketing would now have me link to a download or an eBook.
If you want to to see the hand drawn version of the ultimate SAP Centre of Excellence model, drop me a line.
You can also read more about our SAP CoE Optimization service here: