What I think about SAP’s Rapid Deployment Solutions (RDS).
Over the last year or so SAP has released a number of Rapid Deployment Solutions. What are these things? Well they are a way to make it easier to consume SAP software. SAP have realised that having the best business software in the world* is no good if the software is not used. SAP has a long history of providing tools (usually as part of the software sale) to help customers consume their software. Look at the evolution of ASAP, Focus ASAP, Solution Manager, Best Practices and now the RDS. It’s part of the evolutionary process of making the implementation of business software less risky, quicker and cheaper.
All these methodologies are enablers that help get the job of software implementation done. None of them come wrapped as a silver bullet; none of them is the ultimate panacea for a business problem. This, obviously, is the SAP markeing message and most of the information on the RDS encourages this view*. In our expericnce we’ve found that the reality is a little more complex. Nonetheless what the RDS does is to provide a fixed price, fixed scope implementation of a solution. In my discussions with SAP customers I’ve used the analogy of building your own designed house but getting the kitchen delivered as a fixed price, fixed scope kit. You’ll need more than the kitchen to live in the house but buying it as a kit will certainly make the construction of the entire house quicker and cheaper. When buying SAP customers hope to address a business problem. Let’s use an example the capital planning process. A customer needs improve their capital planning, management and governance processes (they need to build the house). To implement an enterprise wide consolidated view of the capital management process a number of things need to be done. The SAP PPM solution needs to be installed and configured, but there are also requirements to do business process mapping, training, change management, ‘non-standard’ developments, reporting enhancements, etc. At the moment the PPM for Portfolio Management RDS is the best (lowest risk, cheapest, quickest) way to get the SAP technology up and running for the majority of the capital planning and monitoring business requirements – but the rest of the implementation still needs to be done. The implemented PPM RDS is then used as the basis for ensuring that the business has a clear understanding of what the tool can offer and is the foundation for focused, useful improvements and enhancements of the implemented core.
What’s behind the RDS? There’s a standard START, DEPLOY, RUN methodology, a definition of what gets delivered, a detailed WBS with required roles and effort from each role, templates for training, testing, acceptance and some other accelerators.
So if you have a business need that can be met by one of these RDSs consider the following:
• Does the RDS substantially meet my needs?
• How can the RDS reduce the time and cost of achieving my business requirements?
• How can the RDS be slotted into the organisations IT implementation methodology (ASAP, Agile, etc)?
Given that you have business objectives to meet, and a budget in which to deliver, using the RDS can strengthen your business case and certainly provide a better solution than implementing without using the RDS.
*In my humble opinion