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Don’t let fear drive your SAP transformation – say no to the prime vendor model

The prime vendor model is rooted in the IT consulting industry but is harming customers. Fear and scarcity of experienced professionals are the main drivers of SAP transformations – not business development. It’s time to get rid of the prime vendor model. Luckily, it’s not the only option. 

By now, all SAP customers know that SAP is ending maintenance for Business Suite 7 in 2027. Most customers will need to migrate to S/4HANA. This is frightening to many business leaders. They know how high the stakes are in a business-critical overhaul project. They might wonder:

Is my SAP update project doomed?

Am I compromising my career by becoming a business owner in this overhaul?

How can I avoid the pitfalls?

How can I succeed?

Besides fear, a scarcity of experienced SAP professionals is driving the field. While hundreds of thousands of organisations around the world are using SAP, there is a limited number of SAP experts capable of steering an organisation through the migration process. SAP prime vendors are in high demand.

Dependence on outside help can be expensive and frustrating. Companies need consultants to survive the migration but make requests for proposals that emphasise low costs and transfer responsibility for success to the consultant. Vendors respond by making proposals that aim to lock the customer in a relationship where the vendor makes their profit through modifications that are billed by the hour. Project managers spend their days optimising costs to benefit the vendor, not finding the best solutions for the customer.

The prime vendor model needs to be disrupted. 

How to disrupt the prime vendor model

A strategic alliance will unlock the true value of an SAP transformation: business development. Here is how a strategic alliance works:

The very beginning of the project is critical. That is when you lay the foundation for your transformation. A dream team of wise people is more likely to make the right choices for your business than a team whose primary goal is to optimise costs.

Our model is always based on project design and budgeting – it’s not an open tab. It’s not the Wild West either. As consultants, we are on the customer’s side, making sure the customer gets what they have ordered at an acceptable price, and therefore taking more responsibility for the project. Every day we prove our worth to the customer.

The author

Harri Ruuska is a Business Executive at Sofigate’s SAP Transformations business unit and product owner of the Business Technology Standard ERP Extension.