1. Consulting Companies
One of SAP's key strategies has been to develop partnerships with the Consulting Companies. This has contributed enormously to the widespread adoption of SAP due to the fact that there are literally thousands of consultants (SAP estimate 55,000) ready to help with all aspects of your SAP implementation … from strategy to completion. There are two types of consulting partners:
1. Global consulting partners (13 of these at last count) are the largest of the consulting firms who are able to provide global assistance to global companies, and
2. National consulting partners who are accredited by country - Your need of a consulting partner depends on your project scope and complexity, your project budget, company culture, and prior SAP implementation experience in your company. Suffice to say that without heavy prior SAP experience in your company, all but the simplest SAP implementations would benefit from the involvement of experienced individuals who have done it before. Rates depend on your negotiations with the consulting company, of course, but you could do worse than use an estimate of $200 per person per hour. Consulting styles differ from firm to firm, so make sure your company culture is compatible with the typical approach of your chosen consulting partner.
In addition, spend some time on their websites to get an idea of their approach, experience and capabilities.
2. SAPPHIRE and other SAP events - SAPPHIRE is the name given to SAP's annual user conference. Multiple SAPPHIRE's can be found around the globe each year, and are usually sold out in advance. North American SAPPHIRE's are typically held in hot cities (off season) and attract upwards of 14,000 prospects, customers and partners. Read up on SAPPHIRE'99 here. SAPPHIRE is a great place to go explore, but is quite expensive at around $2,200 for three days (food, lodging, travel etc is at your own expense). Even so, it is well worth the time and expense.
Note: SAP holds other events throughout the year (TechEd, for example, is aimed at the more technical users) See their website for additional details.
3. ASUG (America's SAP User Group) - As the name suggests, ASUG is a forum for users of SAP. Non-users (prospects and consultants) and not usually found lurking here. ASUG actually comprises of multiple sub-ASUG's – each focusing on a particular area of SAP, for example there is an ASUG for High Tech companies, and an ASUG for companies using ALE etc. Leadership of these sub-ASUG's (for lack of a better description) usually rotates between members of the user community. ASUG provides opportunities for networking, learning and influencing SAP (for example joining forces with other users to convince SAP to include a particular modification in their standard software). In addition to meetings within the sub-ASUG's, there is an annual conference (which attracted nearly 6,000 users and vendors in 1999). More details on ASUG can be found at www.asug.com.
4. This website thespot4sap.com was created with a single objective in mind … to provide a website where people involved with SAP can learn more about it and interact with their peers. We are proud to be independent of any other company. There are many avenues available for you to expand your knowledge here … you can:
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