Superior Software Consulting (SSC) has been providing exceptional SAP implementation solutions and software consulting services since 1998. The President, Dan Eberwein, has been the foundation of the company and the gatekeeper to ensure all services meet and/or exceed customer expectations. SSC offers a broad range of services:
Overall Solution Architecture
There is a famous quote by Lewis Carroll, "If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there." During my 25 years of software consulting, I have recognized patterns for success, one of which is to have very knowledgeable / skilled resources leading the overall solution architecture (blueprint & detailed design). Without this expertise, software consultants often take clients down "some road" and while client's feel like progress is being made (as there is movement), they will find out somewhere along the journey that it was the wrong road and will have to turn back. Be aware that this common consulting practice of taking "any road" adds significant costs to the final project budget.
Our expert consultants thoroughly understand the configuration options to help guide the client using cost effective solutions (less customization). It appears to be the exception for consultants to truly understand SAP's product offering of configuration options; on many occasions, I have reviewed other consultant's enhancement designs only to inform them that there is standard SAP functionality to address the requirement partially or fully. Then we will discuss with the client an option to compromise on a requirement, and thereby use standard functionality in a creative way to meet the requirement (no customization necessary). Upon request, we will create a "configuration rationale" document which contains all the configuration and the business / technical rationale for those settings; this has proven to be an instrumental document used by support personnel when future changes are required.
Interfaces are meant to be "unseen and unheard", but when they are not designed and tested properly, the interfaces can remain a support headache until the design issues are resolved. SCC understands the importance of allocating the appropriate effort to build maintainable interface solutions that won't keep you up at night. We build interfaces between SAP and legacy homegrown systems, 3rd party software systems, FTP sites and Websites.
Customizations within the SAP framework
Prior to building an enhancement, SCC will first access whether any SAP standard configuration settings will meet the requirement(s). We may bring options to the client to slightly change their business practices in combination with creative configuration to meet their business requirements. If an enhancement is deemed necessary, we will design a well thought out solution which will be vetted against all the possible scenarios to avoid "design gaps." We will use methods to enhance SAP (i.e. userexits, enhancement points, table appends...) that will not interfere with future SAP upgrades. From the design, there will be a detailed functional specification, technical specification and unit test script.
We have recommended the hiring of "Temporary Agency Employees" or making use of under-utilized employees for specific simple conversions. However, for high volume / complex rule based conversions, we recommend building conversion programs. To make conversion recommendations, we will time a manual conversion effort and extrapolate the overall time for a certain number of manual resources keeping in mind that manual is more error prone then automated. This analysis has enabled clients to make informed decisions that are fact based about the best approach to convert each object.
Customizations that are "Bolt-On" Applications
SSC has the unique expertise to development custom "Bolt-On" applications for clients. With our deep understanding of the SAP overall software, we are able to seamlessly integrate the "Bolt-On" applications with the SAP software solution. As an example, we have built "Bolt-On" applications for: Pricing Catalog (Pricing Engine), Product Distribution, Freight Optimization, Web Solutions and Inventory/ATP (available to promise).
In addition, SSC can assist with website designs for sites that need to integrate with SAP. We frequently work with client website designers to optimize performance and usability when the websites interface to SAP.
Upon request, SSC will create "Super User", "End User" and/or "Production Support" training documents. We understand that it is common to have limited time to train individuals. In an effort to increase retention, we use unique approaches to software training during our limited exposure. Our software training premise is that the users retain more with tactile ("hands on") and visual methods. Keeping this in mind, we design "hands on" exercises and/or a booklet for note taking and future reference. The visual aspect comprises an overall diagram of the process/procedure and plenty of SAP screen shots. In addition, there are also options to give refresher training prior to a go-live by assigning the users "homework" and group meetings to review the homework (...and what user wouldn't want to be back in high school...). All joking aside, clients have been surprised at the effectiveness of homework assignments; this process engages the users and makes them more accountable.
When a solution is implemented, it is the client's assumption that it has been tested. This is one of the most fundamental tasks for a successful solution, yet it is an undervalued task. At SSC, we take testing seriously with a methodical / detailed approach to test the possible scenarios. As an example, we use use "Microsoft Excel" to simulate the pricing formulas and validate order/invoice pricing as well as excel "vlookups" to join data for comparison against expected results. The key is to test at a very detailed level and then test a mass amount of data using microsoft excel / access to validate all of the data points. It is almost certain, that the mass data testing will uncover a scenario that is either not working or was never mentioned by the client.
Whether your company decides to go-live with a "big bang" or "roll out" strategy, SSC will fully engage with "Super Users" and "End Users" to support them when the system "goes live." SSC can also train client support personnel to take over the daily production support activities.