CNME Editor Mark Forker spoke to Juan Carlos Carracedo, Head of Consulting at Seidor MENA, to find out how the IT leader leverages SAP solutions to successfully deliver its projects – and why its customer-centricity is one of its key differentiators.
We know that Seidor MENA is a global leader when it comes to end-to-end IT solutions. However, can you outline to our readers what are the SAP services that you provide – and how do you leverage those key SAP implementation solutions to successfully deliver projects?
When it comes to SAP, our services start before the project commences by designing the right solution architecture that is specifically tailored for customers – because SAP solutions are very diverse, and they are not a one-size fits all.
We would also strongly recommend the best-fit in terms of technical deployment architecture (cloud/hybrid/on-prem) as we also have a deep knowledge along with deploying and managing SAP workloads on hyper-scalers such as AWS/Azure.
Following the commencement of the implementation phase of the project we would then typically move on to handle the end-to-end project management, organisational change management, fit-to-gap/fit-to-standard analysis, solution design, application configuration, application customization, data migration and training.
We prepare the test scripts required to accelerate the UAT and provide hyper-care support. Following the completion of the project our services extend to providing our customers with operational support and enhancement support agreements.
Seidor is among a very exclusive group of companies that can support the entire landscape of SAP products and this support is subject to a very robust and strict auditing process, which is conducted by SAP every year. We have dedicated support teams that they are more than capable of handling all requests and support for our customers.
Can you tell us more about some of the complex projects that you have delivered successfully for customers here in the Middle East?
Well let me start by first stating that here is no easy project! Each project has its own risks and complications. I prefer not to call them complex, but instead label them as interesting and extremely challenging. Our team relishes a challenge as it gives them the opportunity to grow.
For example, one of our customers is a food production company where they need to buy their raw material from the local markets and transport it to the production site in the shortest time possible to maintain its freshness. However, the application to be able to achieve this needs to be as simple as possible, as mobile as possible, and without any compromise on the control and integration part of the process, which is the primary reason companies go for these types of enterprise applications.
We managed to deliver a seamless solution for them, and this project was recognised by SAP as a Quality Award winning project – a very prestigious award which recognises the best projects in each region. You can read full interview with our customer here.
To deliver any project from start to finish is certainly not easy, but especially in IT, when you are dealing with legacy systems and other legacy architecture. What way do you approach a project in terms of the fundamental processes and steps that you take to ensure that the project journey is a success?
The business users are the center of any enterprise system implementation, and you need to make sure that they are fully onboard in this transition process. You need to involve them always in the key decisions and get their buy-in.
In addition to this, availing the system for training with some dummy data from the very beginning of the project is crucial as well – as it helps the user to break the ice or fear of the unknown.
Data needs to be collected and prepared from the early stages of the project, because at the end of the day systems are all about people using them, and data being fed into them.
If we do not take care of those two elements, then the best system in the world implemented by the best implementer in the world can still fail. We strive to help customers establish clear metrics required to measure the users’ adoption of the system through consumption monitoring.
Seidor MENA is known for being customer-centric - and likes to engage with customers onsite to be able to get a better understanding of their business challenges. Is this intimate approach what differentiates you from other system integrators in the Middle East region?
It is very important to be fair and transparent with your customers especially if you realise that they do not have any previous experience with enterprise applications. These types of projects cannot be taken lightly, and they require adequate time and effort to deliver them with quality.
We are not shy to say no, and we have said it a lot. It is better you lose the business, and you keep your reputation intact, as we are a company that thinks long term, and we are not a company that is simply looking to maximise its revenue for few years off the expense of unhappy customers, and then exit the market hastily through a merger or acquisition agreement, or whatever. We are not one of those companies, we are transparent and customer-centric and quality-driven.
Seidor MENA is regarded by many IT analysts as one of the top strategic partners of SAP in the Middle East. How has the partnership been such a success for such a sustained time – and what are the primary factors that allow the collaboration to continue to flourish?
It is important to highlight that SAP and Seidor have a very close relationship that is built on mutual respect globally and locally. We value their solution and innovation and they value our knowledge and customer-centric approach.
They know that customers who implement SAP solutions with us will be happy and satisfied customers. We make sure that our teams are always up-to-speed with the latest updates in terms of technology, products and solutions by attending all the necessary training and certifications.
We discuss everything openly with them regarding every challenge before, during and after the project to make sure that our mutual customers are realising the desired values that they want at the end of the project.