Successful SAP Projects Through Process Mining

Image of a data center and two people talking: Successful SAP Projects Through Process Mining
Markus Schneider
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SAP implementation and transformation projects are time-consuming and costly by their very nature – especially for complex systems in logistics. Companies should therefore prepare meticulously to achieve the best possible e.g. warehousing and transportation results when implementing SAP Extended Warehouse Management (SAP EWM) or SAP Transportation Management (SAP TM). The most important prerequisite for this is clarity about the existing system landscape and the business processes running there. Knowing the status quo is, after all, a must if the processes are to be optimally mapped in the new system. Process mining gives companies the comprehensive transparency needed for this.

Process Mining Transforms Big Data into Knowledge

With process mining, special software tools scan entire IT environments. They determine the data traces of business processes across systems, analyze these in the blink of an eye, and provide immediate insights into weaknesses and optimization potential. This transforms Big Data into valuable knowledge that companies can use to secure their SAP projects and make them successful. The insights into the innermost realms of the system landscape are fundamental for optimal project results, and simultaneously serve as the basis for validating cost estimates and even cutting overheads.

We believe that, for these reasons, there is much to be said for realizing a process mining project prior to SAP implementations in the logistics field. In doing so, valantic’s experts work with the foremost software tools, selecting the one best suited to the respective customer’s needs. The cost of such a preliminary project – which is at all rates reasonable – will certainly pay off thanks to the numerous benefits of process mining.

Five key benefits of process mining for logistics transformations

1. Clearer project scope, more accurate cost estimates

A comprehensive analysis of the legacy systems provides information about the complexity of the existing processes and necessary scope of client-specific customizing. Process mining can highlight, for example, the number of different process variants implemented to handle a one and the same order transactions within the company. Often, the number is much higher than the customer is aware of. This knowledge helps identify the core processes that will become the focus of the downstream SAP project. The same applies to the scope of client-specific customizing. The analysis makes it possible to identify those system customizations that a company will actually use in its day-to-day business. In this way, the scope of the downstream SAP implementation project can be demarcated more clearly, allowing more accurate estimation of the time and resource requirements.

2. Reduced project complexity, implementation time and costs

With insight into the existing process and system landscape, all the key business processes are catalogued and added to the SAP implementation’s agenda from the outset. At the same time, precise knowledge of the status quo makes it easier to focus the project on the relevant issues. This reduces complexity and minimizes the risk of becoming mired in time-consuming but insignificant details. In addition, companies can rest assured that no key issue has been overlooked by the project and avoid the risk of having to tackle a central issue ad hoc at an advanced stage of the project. The bottom line is that, using this approach, companies can significantly reduce their project implementation time and costs.

3. Enhanced levels of standardization

Concentrating on the key processes reduces the need for customizing the new system. This helps boost the level of standardization, supporting uniform logistics processes across the company and simultaneously reducing maintenance, servicing and upgrade costs.

4. Faster analysis of systems at international locations

Process mining can also be used for remotely analyzing systems at other company locations. This is of interest e.g. for customers wishing to implement logistics projects where international plants and warehouses are involved. Thanks to the process mining tools, consultants are not required to work on site to analyze the systems. Remote access is just as effective at uncovering weaknesses and optimization potential, allowing the project implementation costs to be estimated more accurately at the locations concerned.

5. Improved internal benchmarking

Process mining helps companies compare their end-to-end process throughput times across locations, as well as to determine the causes of significant deviations – giving them decisive insights for finely tuned process optimizations.

Process mining thus creates an all-encompassing knowledge base, helping companies successfully implement their SAP transformations much faster and at lower cost. The real-time insights into systems and business processes provide knowledge that can be used for a wealth of different purposes.

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