How do I manage to master the continuously growing complexity of technological developments, organizational changes as well as changing market conditions in my SAP landscape? How can I make the impossible possible, close seemingly insurmountable resource gaps and skill gaps?

In the parallel universe of Harry Potter, invented by a contemporary British author, everything also revolves around the impossibility of upcoming changes. Ignorant students have to face tasks for which – at least at the beginning – they are neither suited nor prepared. And yet they accept the challenge and master it all in the end. For many an IT manager, consultant or specialist department employee, it may feel similar, even though the impending change certainly may be named – digitization.

The particular task of disruptive change affects every organization and every company worldwide, and goes far beyond mastering the right spell or replacing dusty fax machines. For applications in an SAP landscape, for example, the transition to the cloud, very specifically to SAP S/4HANA, is a powerful driver of digitization. But it is precisely here that good advice, unfortunately sometimes literally, is expensive. After all, how can I make up for, or even profit from, the scarcity of time, knowledge and experience in complex SAP projects?

To answer this question, we reach deep into the bag of tricks of our analogy posed at the outset and seek the artifacts that can rescue us from this predicament – the scarce resource hallows:

– The Innovation Stone,

– the Cloak of Comprehension and

– the Magic Wand of Achievement.

But in order to find them, we must first take a look at the world in which we move.


If you visualize the work of IT departments as climbing a very long staircase whose steps correspond to the development steps that the organization must master, then this is a gross simplification of reality. After all, it behaves more like a staircase in the legendary Hogwarts, with unpredictable movements and turns, and constantly new constellations in the labyrinthine vault. But all you really want is to get to the next floor, or rather to the next SAP version. Certainly, a certain amount of experience, preparation, and perhaps a magical map or two with insider information can help here.

But these are rare in the real world of enterprise IT. They have to master the continuous efforts of modern IT departments with innovations, market changes, organizational growth and complex challenges on their own. However, the knowledge required for this is only available to a limited extent – the job market for versatile SAP experts is rather thin and young graduates certainly have the motivation and also the availability, but they lack the necessary experience, at least initially. IT teams juggle repetitive patterns of rise and fall as they try to integrate technological advances while ensuring that organizational structures remain stable. In a world where digital transformation and technological advancements are reaching breakneck speeds, organizations are increasingly faced with this challenge.

Today‘s labour market is characterized by a real competition for qualified specialists. Increasing demand for experts in AI, data analytics, cloud computing, and other key technologies are causing companies to compete for the limited amount of available talent. The result is a shortage of human resources, which can severely limit companies‘ ability to innovate and thus limit their growth opportunities.


First of all, a fundamental misunderstanding needs to be cleared up. Transformation and digitization are neither an objective nor a problem, but basically the solution. All the more so if you are in the field of standard software that originates from the legendary Walldorf. Of course, you need the appropriate resources and know-how, not only of your own processes, but also of the scope of the desired solutions. But perhaps they look different than some people think.

After all, digitization and constantly growing innovations also open up completely new possibilities. What if I no longer need a human expert at all to plan my future SAP landscape? Or when the latter can largely relieve himself of time-consuming tasks through intelligent and knowledge-based applications?

Innovations can be a real booster for both the goal of my digitization efforts and the path I have taken to achieve it. Especially when they help not only to reduce otherwise service-heavy analyses and work steps, but above all to enrich them qualitatively. For example, if my goal is to use artifi cial intelligence and knowledge-based expert systems in my business processes, why shouldn‘t I use them along the way?


Of course, it takes quite a bit of expertise to unearth a treasure trove of innovation. All the more so because not only are the desired features of the cloud software usually not entirely clear, but unfortunately also far too often the company‘s own processes and capabilities used to date. This is where a saviour in distress would come in handy, but only if he hears these calls and is not saving the world somewhere else. If the worst comes to the worst, you have to do it yourself. In order to make this possible, a comprehensive approach is required that must do justice to the most diverse challenges and bring the upcoming tests into the realm of the realistically feasible:

// Knowledge transfer:

The internal transfer of knowledge and expertise is crucial. Companies should create mechanisms to share and build expertise within the workforce.

// Transparency:

Clear communication of business goals, priorities and resource allocation creates a common understanding and enables employees to work more effectively.

// Standardization and simplification:

Standardizing processes and simplifying procedures help to reduce complexity and increase efficiency.

// Cost reduction:

Financial resources can be conserved by identifying cost drivers and using cost-efficient technologies.

// Enablement:

Investment in employee training, the provision of appropriate tools and resources, and the promotion of a learning corporate culture are essential.

Another answer to the question of scarcity management of resources is to build up the required expertise oneself, especially in strategic environments. The aforementioned approach – the use of knowledge-based solutions – can not only help here, but also initiate a key development that goes far beyond the usual continuing education and training measures. The know-how transfer thus takes place directly at the workplace and not only advances the employee, but also the upcoming project tasks. This synergy also gives the company a decisive competitive advantage, because the expertise is also available for recurring and new innovation tasks and decisions and can completely change the strategic direction. This turns the search for external experts into a sustainable internal solution.


Certainly, this way of using machine resources and building internal experts is not trivial. After all, decisions have to be made to implement these options and find the right solutions. However, in view of current market developments, this represents an important, if not promising, alternative. After all, successfully overcoming the scarcity of resources offers numerous advantages not only in the short term, but also in the medium to long term:

// Innovation capability:

Companies can react faster to changes and develop innovative solutions.

// Competitiveness:

Efficient use of resources makes it possible to reduce costs and become more competitive.

// Agility:

The ability to adapt flexibly is strengthened, which is crucial in a constantly changing business environment.

// Sustainability:

Resource efficiency enables companies to operate more sustainably and reduce their environmental footprint.

The apparent impossibility of overcoming resource scarcity can thus be overcome through a combination of strategies and technologies. Companies that successfully face up to the pressure to innovate while dealing creatively with limited resources have the chance to shape the future and expand the boundaries of what is possible. Turning impossibility into opportunity requires courage, determination and a willingness to question established thought patterns. Then finding the right path in a labyrinthine staircase with seemingly erratic movements of its own is no problem.


Finally, after all the talk about spells and sanctuaries, it‘s time to get a little more specific. In analogy to the practice of magic, the implementation of innovative digitization projects requires concrete work processes whose effectiveness must be brought to the point. This is precisely where we come in. Experienced consultants have too little time to manage all the projects and their tasks, or to share their knowledge and experience with their younger colleagues. However, projects are becoming more and more complex and, with the increasing degree of innovation, much more resource- intensive. This is where the fast and profitable use of target-oriented analyses can help, without a large investment, without licensing obligations and without long learning phases. Intelligent and target-oriented tools bring you forward and show you your company as if by magic. But only if they contain and apply the necessary up-to-date expertise, including concrete suggestions and instructions for action.

To do this, we at IBIS Prof. Thome AG use innovative analysis techniques and transparent, easy-to-understand data visualizations. In this way, we support managing directors and process managers in understanding the use of their SAP systems, the configured and lived processes from the meta level to the depth of detail. We create real added value from data and open eyes for the previously invisible. Without any magic.

An article by:
Dr. Volker Bätz
Principial, IBIS Prof. Thome AG