Use Caution When Considering RDS Services For SAP Implementations

I’ve just returned from SAP’s 2013 SAPPhire China user conference; with more than 17,000 attendees, it’s still the largest SAP event on the planet. The vendor has recently launched new offerings, like HANA enterprise cloud and extended ERP solutions for new industries; it has also extended its China strategy by announcing SAP Anywhere, a bundle of cloud-enabled mobile CRM services, which it has just begun piloting here.

At the event, clients presented their feedback on SAP services, particularly rapid deployment solution (RDS) services. Ever since their launch two years ago, SAP has extended RDS services to more than 150 software applications. The RDS concept aims to provide everything out of one box; clients buy a bundle of application and implementation services. RDS services have brought tangible benefits to clients that want to quickly start their SAP journey or begin with pilot implementations before going for a full-scale rollout.

However, RDS does not apply to all SAP application implementations; it primarily depends on the client usage scenario. Forrester believes that RDS will not be an attractive choice in a few instances:

  • Large enterprises using SAP core ERP systems as a mission-critical application. Large enterprises normally make huge investments in these projects. Their primary focus is not on saving time or money; instead, their top priority is ensuring that the project is a complete success and that all functionality is rock-solid: well-developed and thoroughly tested. RDS services, which can cover up to 80% of ERP system functionality, may not be the best choice in this scenario. We’ve seen this happen in China and Southeast Asia time and time again over the past two years.
  • Organizations that change their business processes frequently. Fast-growing businesses in dynamic economies like China’s need to change their business processes often to sustain growth. Although SAP based RDS processes on best practices, every client has its own unique processes. If a customer implements fixed-scope RDS services and they don’t meet expectations, the customer will have to submit a lot of change requests - which may lead to frustration and end in disappointment.

Are you having any difficulties selecting RDS services? If you have a different perspective on usage scenarios or selection considerations for RDS services, please leave a comment below.