Posted a blog below for our interest of sharing thoughts and collaboration on the same - hope, you like it :-)
Some time back I was just thinking what are the ways we can guide a junior in SAP Consulting service companies to equip him/her to innovate !
Agree if you do think that we should culture / practice it than demanding it !
Many leaders or heads on the organizations urges to innovate and contribute ideas but I am not seeing the question by juniors / seniors get clarified - 'How and what to innovate' ? The word innovation itself is not clear to many of the experienced professionals as they are so busy with their day to day works and issue mitigation and never ever get a scope to know or be guided with examples to make them ready - is not it ? I remember one of the leader was presenting himself and asking to innovate and then one of the SAP consultants among the audience asked - 'When do we get time' to think than routine, we are busy with our work ?
The leader said - 'in that case you are not planning yourself' and the consultant was silent because he wished to ask - 'Being on delivery how can we do that' ? :-). In the same very discussion then some of the statistics of the companies' patents and some of the people who have been contributing to writing books were demonstrated but still the audience was not clear finally about the way out ! and this is the common picture in today's world where do take trainings on the SAP course materials . conduct some of the knowledge sharing sessions but we don't teach or conduct workshops to show -'how to put your self as idea maker' ?
To understand whether I am right or wrong on this line I did a small experiment with my team, first I did the same as the leader did - sent a mail to my team asking ideas and waited for 2 weeks with 2 reminders sent but no result.
I had called up them and asked whats the reason that we don't have any output yet and got the same answer - 'please don't expect us to do anything than our work as we simply don't have time and if we don't complete our work then this is escalated - so what do you want - innovation or delivery ?'
I called up for a small meeting showing 2 simple examples that was thought and presented to client and was sold , finally leading to client satisfaction and more trust on the knowledge of the consultants. Now my team felt encouraged and they said 'thanks, we are clear now and would try so'.
So, the question is what I did ?
As a lead , I explained that any business cycle demands 2 things -
1. Better performance of the ABAP code and so get the report which All programs or batch jobs are taking a long time and analyze them and see if unnecessary looping / non primary keys etc. are used in the program for the query - I placed a live example where we reduced the program run time from 15min to 3 seconds for a variant.
2. While creating a scope for innovation for the programmer then the functional consultant asked me - "how can I innovate" ? Now coming to the functional part I first explained him that being a functional consultant one should know the business process very well and end to end. Do you ?
He said - 'No, because we work only on certain category of issues'. My suggestion to him was to understand atleast the process of the module / subset e.g Invoice Management where he is working with whether that's possible and the answer was 'yes'.
Then I suggested a second point that once you are through with the steps of the business process are you aware that which process is taking how much time on the overall cycle, for example if its a manual intervention for invoice receipt processing by the BPO then have you inquired with them how much average time( hours / days ) max can take for completion of a invoice verification process starting from the receipt until payment ? I showed him a example with business process reengineering though about which client wished to pursue as a project and that kicked off !
The functional consultant was excited but actually dint have answer as he never thought this way and said - 'I don't think of the lead time part , I just work on the technical issues or failure of the data once customer reports back'.
Now my take was little different , I had a look on what exact work he is doing and found that he is mainly working on the IDOCs' which failed while transferred from a legacy to our SAP system for creation of SAP Sales order, PR and subsequently Purchase Order.
I saw many of the idocs are failing because of the vendor master not maintained with the P.org / partner type as intended. I asked why cant we think that we can automate the extension of the vendor master while posting the idoc itself - this way the total lead time on the mitigation can reduce drastically as otherwise in current scenario the user logs a complaint and then we look back and finally we land up with manual interventions to fix it - isn't it ?
The consultant had fully agreed with me and I also showed him a example where we had planned for certain automations.
Finally I could win both the team( abap + funational ) and they got a direction of thinking how to think within your work and innovate ? of course its not free , they should get a differentiator than others interms of top best 5 ideas and award which actually I implemented my team to start with.
That's my story and the consultants also felt energetic and think different than usual and contribute and upscale them as a better thinker and subject matter expert than earlier.
Going in a broader way now I am planning for further workshops with my team sharing my ideas that I implemented in my project as self inventor and also from other team members within the same business domain and trust me I am getting good participation and outputs , some of them are worth patents and taking to the broader society .
Hope, I could share my thoughts through this blog towards the subject for 'Practicing / culturing innovation, excellence and rewards' than other way of demanding it and this is only possible while we have senior members in the team leading the same and we construct a organizational team driving the same with efficient people in.
Managing Consultant - SAP