One of the world's largest SAP user groups is to survey its US and Canadian members to establish benchmarks for the way enterprises use the German software giant's business applications.
The initiative marks another effort to boost the effectiveness of SAP implementations, following last month's SAP European quality awards, which saw logistics giant TNT, the UK air traffic control organisation NATS, French sports retailer Decathlon and Irish power generator ESBIE take the prizes.
The Americas SAP User Group (ASUG), which represents about 1,700 companies, has been doing benchmark surveys for some time but will expand the programme to include areas like the use of human resources management and supply chain management.
ASUG president Rod Masney said the benchmarks were based on surveys sent out over the course of a week. The results were tabulated and distributed to members to see how their SAP deployments compared with those of their peers.
"The idea is to give them an understanding of where they are in the continuum and where they can seek additional value opportunities," said Masney, who is also director of IT infrastructure at packaged goods manufacturer O-I.
"You'll have a sense of whether you're at the upper quartile of performance. It also points out areas where you may want to investigate opportunities to enhance performance."
Benchmarks include areas such as total cost of ownership for SAP products, where Masney said one member had realised they could get more out of their SAP deployment by using SAP Solution Manager.
ASUG also seeks to influence SAP's product development. Although the user group includes a representative from the software vendor, Masney said the departure earlier this year of Shai Agassi, president of its product and technology group and architect of the NetWeaver middleware platform, left a considerable void.
"Shai Agassi was a friend of ASUG. We worked very closely on areas where there was some strategic opportunities to influence SAP's product. I was very sad to see Shai go," he said.