3 Dimensions you need to look at integrating your SAP system
In our latest SAP Insider special report we talked about integrating SAP systems transforming your boardroom. We described how the interaction between the CFO, CRO and CEO can be supported to unlock predictive insights and come to better decisions. This is possible only by using common SAP tools that are integrated in a way they were designed to be used. We explicitly explained how your strategy management (SSM), business planning and consolidation (BPC) and risk management (RM / GRC) system can work together flawlessly so the decision makers can make use of the information without having to deal with a complex system landscape. Link to SAP Insider article.
Integration in this scenario is not just a technical word. In fact to overcome silo-ed, modular system usage and make information accessible intuitively to executives three things have to be taken into consideration – the strategy and process, the system landscape itself and the data.
3 Success Factors when integrating your strategy, planning and risk management system
- Holistic and overall approach of decision relevant processes
one of the biggest success factors is actually the company strategy itself and the processes related to it. What are our strategic targets? What processes need to be in place to get us there? Who is going to drive it? This sounds simple but is one of the major factors for non-success.
Transferring this to the processes to be integrated, it is crucial to approach every process holistically on the one hand side and get an overall view across the processes on the other hand side.
For example to get a holistic view on the risk on an initiative you should not only concentrate on the risk appetite of the organization and put measures and controls in place to manage the risk appetite but at the same time use the risk management process to look at the upside of the initiative to maximize the impact and likelihood of the opportunity.
One example to achieve an overall view across Strategy Management and the Planning, Forecasting and Budgeting process is to manage the same initiative in both processes. Strategy Management enables you to develop an integrated set of choices. This strategy should then be translated in the Planning, Forecasting and Budgeting process into annual target-settings, revenue projection and budget development.
- Integration and Performance – the two drivers for the system architecture
When talking about a typical BI system landscape it would include source systems (SAP and non-SAP), SAP BPC, SAP GRC, SAP BOBJ and eventually Predictive Analysis (Infinite Inside). A lot of organizations have a selection or all of these in their BI system landscape already but are using them silo-ed and modular.
To go the last mile and have a “real” integration of the single systems you already have in place you should consider two success factors – Integration and Performance.
From the integration prospective SAP manages the matter in general by using BI (BW) to interconnect information between different systems. For SSM, BPC and GRC a direct integration is possible, which allows you for example to create initiatives within SSM that directly align with line items in BPC and pull budget and actual spend.
From the performance prospective HANA is one solution that supports data processing for decisions instantly. Additionally the response time should always be a driver when data modeling or building reports.
All this sounds simple but when doing so you need to create interconnections that reflect the processes – e.g. projections integrated and based on historical data, integration with different level of risks, mapping all these information eventually into a dashboard. All this needs a deep understanding of technology and business process at the same time. You need specific knowledge on single systems and processes in the landscape, at the same time it is crucial to understand the system integration of the single systems and how it affects the response time.
- The foundation of any decision supporting system – Data Management Strategy and Master Data Approach
Strategy, process and systems are very crucial for the integration success, but even having the best system integration, design and performance but not having correct data in your results would make a project fail. So the third crucial dimension is the data quality, the master data approach and the data management strategy.
Especially when integrating multiple system “one version of the truth” is the foundation of the integration. This includes clear defined KPIs, data mapping rules depending on the variety of source systems and data consolidation with clear defined consolidation rules.
Again, this does not only refer to the technical master data definition like using the same code length but especially refers to the data business meaning which can be different from source to source.
So in order to create “one vision of the truth” and guarantee a flawless working environment where system complexity and solutions are invisible for the business a lot of business and technology knowhow needs to be in place when building the integration. Talk to us and profit from IncQ’s broad Performance Management and Risk Management experience.