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Keywords: article, susie, SAP, governance, conference, compliance
Susie West | Article | 4 November 2010
SAP is the platform that most European shared services centres operate from. According to The Hackett Group, 64% of the 198 multinationals recently it interviewed run off SAP. Because of its European roots, and its appreciation of different currencies, VAT requirements and languages, SAP is the favoured child among the finance shared services heavy weights. But that doesn’t mean the system is perfect.
Last month I chaired the sharedserviceslink.com conference on ‘How to Successfully Blend Finance needs and SAP Functionality’ in London. The results of the pre-event survey suggest that although SAP users love the end-to-end integration (supporting their back office, anti-silo, end-to-end-processing aims), they struggle with the rigidity of the system and sometimes feel forced to tailor SAP. Delegates recognised that the technology was only as good as the data within it and the biggest influence over its cleanliness is the SAP user base.
Enter the importance of governance. If a company can manage how people use SAP to ensure excellent data presentation and availability, then that company would be using the system in the optimum way.
With the help of Nigel Kilpatrick, Senior Vice President at Nimbus Partners, I ran an interactive session on how to take control of your SAP user base to establish effective governance. It was a thought-provoking session that challenged delegates to scrutinise their own governance structures.
Here are the five areas we discussed to increase our understanding of compliance:
It became clear from last month’s conference that SAP can be optimised as an enabling tool if users have access to the right parts of the system and use it compliantly rather than molest the data until it is inaccurate, toxic and untrustworthy. Getting the governance piece right from the start will pay massive dividends throughout your ERP’s lifecycle. As Nigel says, it pays to be a master of paranoia.
With thanks to Nigel Kilpatrick, Senior Vice President, Nimbus Partners www.nimbuspartners.com
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