How to Best Understand the SAP Digital Transformation Navigator

What This Article Covers

  • Why Digital Transformation is a Term of Propaganda
  • Enter SAP’s Digital Transformation Manager
  • The DT Navigator for Saving Money on SAP Consultants?
  • Ding Ding Ding….we Have a New Golden Pinocchio Award Winner!

Introduction

After many years analyzing various methodologies, tools or assistive items offered by both consulting companies and SAP, it is curious how often the item in question ends up being simply another way for the consulting company or for SAP to get the customer to do what they want. SAP’s Rapid Development Solutions (as we covered in How to Best Understand SAP’s Faux RDS, turned out to be primarily a way to get customers to think they could implement SAP faster than was actually possible. The SAP ASAP Methodology, (which we cover in Did SAP ASAP Methodology Ever Reduce Project Timelines?) was essentially intended to do the same thing.

Neither of these items had any positive effect on projects, and most likely worsened projects by creating unrealistic expectations.

Why Digital Transformation is a Term of Propaganda

It should be noted that the term digital transformation actually is a meaningless term as applied to modern IT projects, which we cover in the article The Problem with Digital Transformation and Modern IT Projects. The reason being is that term digital transformation applies to a change that occurs when something is first converted from non-digital to digital. You can’t apply the term to a movement between two processes that are both digital. So we are beginning this journey with what is a term of propaganda. The definition of which is a term that allows the user to present unsupported assumptions to the listener.

Enter SAP’s Digital Transformation Manager

The following video explains the Digital Transformation Manager.

Interesting actions of note are the following:

Here the “Open Decision” under the category of Supply Chain Management is that what the customer uses is not the recommended solution from SAP. 

Once the previous screen’s Open Decision button is selected one taken to this screen, where the customer is allowed to choose between the Public Cloud and On Premises. If the user selects, then they are taken to the following screen.

Here the customer is using SAP Demand Planning today, but SAP recommends SAP Integrated Business Planning or IBP.

 

Well, that seems so simple, but that is a huge decision with many cost implications. SAP DP happens to be an application that few companies get very much value out of. Her are some important features that the DT Navigator will not tell you about.

  1. IBP is still not widely implemented.
  2. IBP has maturity issues.
  3. IBP does not have the same functionality set as SAP APO, so one cannot merely say “migrate to IBP.”

Naturally, SAP would like companies to move to their newest software, but SAP DP never met any of the claims for it that SAP set forth. Obviously, another option would be to either replace DP with a non-SAP application or to augment DP with a non-SAP application. Those are real options, which we have covered in great detail in separate articles. However, the more the customer uses the DT Navigator, the less they will be likely to ask those questions. In this way, the DT Navigator can be seen as an anti-decision making tool.

The DT Navigator is designed very simply to get customers to do exactly what SAP wants them to do.

The DT Navigator for Saving Money on SAP Consultants?

Is there a way to actually derive value from the DT Navigator?

We think there might be.

At the conclusion of the video, it is stated that the DT Navigator is designed for both customers and partners. So consulting partners will use the DT Navigator to come up with what they should tell customers to do. As SAP consulting companies don’t do much else when it comes to advise but repeat what SAP says if one views the DT Navigator as simply SAP’s official position on products (that not that the DT Navigator necessarily contains 100% truthful information) then a customer could use the the DT Navigator to cut out the middleman of having to pay an SAP consultant to tell them what they can find from the DT Navigator.

Ding Ding Ding!

SAP’s Digital Transformation Navigator receives our Golden Pinocchio Award for extreme deception. Seriously, you would have to be a twit to take the DT Navigator seriously. 

Conclusion

The SAP Digital Transformation Manager is a sales tool designed to get the customer to do more of what SAP wants. It is presented under the cloak of providing a clear and easy tool, but has as an important built-in assumption that the user accepts the information presented as “recommendations” and that SAP’s only motivation for providing this tool is to “help their customers!”

One should be suspicious of information provided by software vendors or consulting companies that are only introduced to help the customer. 

The pure SAP marketing message is delivered to the Digital Transformation Manager. For example, SAP IBP, is still very lightly installed — and requires purchasing HANA, which comes with a number of negative issues in addition to being the most expensive database among all of the options in the category.

Perhaps not surprisingly, these details are left out of the SAP Digital Transformation Manager.

But the DT Navigator can add value to customers, but primarily to reduce the number of hours that are billed by SAP consultants to simply repeat what SAP tells them.

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References

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