iSlide Chooses B4 Consulting to Implement SAP Business One

Posted by Angela Cook Dec 29, 2017 1:43:18 PM

ISlide Chooses B4 Consulting to Implement SAP Business One®


Cloud-based, comprehensive business management solution will transform business operations for fastest-growing and innovative footwear manufacturer


Waltham, Mass. – June 20, 2017  B4 Consulting®, helping companies grow with innovative software, services and support, today announced that Massachusetts-based ISlide, one of the world’s fastest-growing and innovative footwear designers, has chosen B4 Consulting to transition its business operations to SAP Business One® Cloud. SAP Business One Cloud is an affordable, scalable and easy-to-use business management solution designed for growing companies. B4 Consulting, a full-service SAP Gold-level partner, resold SAP Business One Cloud on SAP S/4HANA® and will implement the solution at ISlide headquarters in Boston.

“ISlide is a great example of innovative entrepreneurship that thrives in Massachusetts,” said Klaus Schottenhamel, president and CEO of B4 Consulting. “They are pioneering a manufacturing process that enables customers to custom-design slide sandals online and receive the finished goods in about a week. Their business model is revolutionizing the footwear industry, and SAP Business One gives them the perfect foundation to scale and grow.”

ISlideAccess to Real-time Data for Real-time Footwear

Since its founding in 2013, ISlide has become the preeminent leader in slide sandals “with sales doubling annually,” noted Justin Kittredge, founder and CEO of ISlide. “But we were running a lot of disparate systems for financials, sales, inventory management and the like. To continue our growth rate, we wanted a scalable system that could integrate all the standard business functions plus incorporate those that are unique to our business, such as printing and website shopping. Plus, it had to be easy to use and deploy.”

ISlide vetted a number of solutions and implementation partners before deciding on SAP Business One Cloud and B4 Consulting. “We went through an exhaustive evaluation process,” said Steve Amrein, operations director at ISlide. “SAP Business One Cloud was the only solution that could fast-track our operations into the 21st century, adapt to our unique product needs, and give us access to real-time data, which is essential when producing custom-designed sandals with the industry’s fastest turnaround times.

“B4 Consulting was the only reseller who ‘got us’,” continued Amrein. “B4 has experience in helping early-stage companies successfully grow their business with the latest technologies, they’re experts in SAP Business One, they understand manufacturing processes, and they know how to translate those processes into simple functions with SAP software. Lastly, we wanted a local partner who would give us personal attention and support as needed.  The B4 team came to the table with a level of enthusiasm and commitment that matches the high energy at ISlide.”

The SAP Business One Cloud software-as-a-service model enables ISlide to accelerate the time-to-value of SAP® software across the organization.  On a single platform, the solution integrates key operational functions including accounting and finance, sales and customer management, purchasing and operations, inventory and distribution, material requirements planning, and reporting and administration. ISlide will also take advantage of SAP Business One add-on functionality for:

  • Job costing and project accounting
  • Shipping integration
  • Warehouse management
  • Credit card processing

Running on the cutting-edge in-memory computing of the SAP HANA® platform, SAP Business One Cloud will enable ISlide to quickly process large volumes of data and get immediate feedback on transactions and complex analyses. It is the only solution for mid-market companies with an in-memory database, which provides extensive analytics capabilities. “We’re on a growth trajectory, and we’re looking to SAP Business One to help propel that growth and our continued innovations,” noted Kittredge.

About B4 Consulting, Inc.

B4 Consulting integrates business processes and technologies globally for customers who want to transform their businesses with innovative on premise and cloud-based solutions. Our team of solution architects integrates these solutions with leading systems, such as SAP solutions, to enable business performance excellence and improved profitability. www.b4-consulting.com. Follow Us on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/b4consulting

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B4 Consulting is a registered trademark of B4 Consulting, Inc.

SAP, SAP Business One, SAP S/4HANA, SAP HANA and other SAP products and services mentioned herein as well as their respective logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of SAP SE (or an SAP affiliate company) in Germany and other countries. See http://www.sap.com/corporate-en/legal/copyright/index.epx for additional trademark information and notices.

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Topics: SAP, Mobility, Engineering and Construction, AEC, Enterprise Content Management, iSlide, Cloud Computing, SAP Business One, SAP Hana, S/4Hana

IFRS 16 Real Property Leasing with SAP Real Estate Management

Posted by John Chapman Dec 29, 2017 1:16:29 PM

B4_Blog_IFRS16.jpg

 

IFRS 16 Real Property Leasing with SAP Real Est... | SCN

Summary

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) recently announced the release of new accounting standards that define how organizations must account for leases.  Essentially, these accounting standards stipulate most leases must be reported on each company’s balance sheet, increasing the risk of regulatory noncompliance and inaccurate statutory reporting.

 

SAP Real Estate Management is used to optimize the portfolio of global assets and supports the regulatory compliance of these new accounting rules.  This solution provides a single point of entry for collection, validation of lease contract data, performs valuation calculations and generates the financial postings derived from these calculations.

 

The Compelling Event

  • New standard on leasing released by FASB and IASB
  • Need to capitalize many corporate operating leases and record these lease obligations on the balance sheet as assets and liabilities
  • Boosts the amount of debt on balance sheets by tens of billions of dollars
  • Beside affected accounting, new standards will transform corporate business processes in many areas, including finance, procurement, tax, treasury, legal, operations, corporate real estate and HR

 

Which Customers are affected?

  • Every IFRS/ US-GAAP reporting company renting real estate or leasing equipment will be impacted by the new standards
  • Large companies with big property portfolio are affected most and need to react quickly to prepare

 

The Solution

The new leasing standards represent more than accounting changes.  They force business process change and with any business or process change, there’s going to be some level of impact on systems and technology.

 

SAP Real Estate Management enables close collaboration between the lease administrator, lease accountant and fixed asset accountant.  They access the same lease record, with all calculations being based on the terms and conditions of the abstracted lease.  The lease transaction in SAP Real Estate Management provides separate authorizations to ensure a clear separation of duties.  The following illustration highlights the coordination between the different departments provided within the solution.

Blog_SAP_LeasingIntegration.png IFRS 16 Real Property Leasing with SAP Real Est... | SCN

In addition to capturing contract terms and conditions, SAP Real Estate Management is specifically designed to support real estate leasing processes such as managing critical dates, exercising renewal options, early terminations, rent escalations and sales based rent.  The highly flexible and extendable forms collect industry- or business-specific- attributes and enables users to stay ahead of the game.  Periodic posting runs automatically generate all lease payments based on the terms of the current lease agreement with real time integration into SAP Financials.

 

The solution also provides lease accountants the ability to evaluate the financial impact of each lease and ultimately generates all valuation postings required by the new leasing standards.  It even manages the postings for multiple lease accounting standards simultaneously, regardless if the general ledger account or parallel ledger methodology is utilized. This solution is part of SAP Finance and is completely integrated, helping avoid the kind of costly disruptions that can derail critical business processes, operations and costly noncompliance events.

 

Why SAP Real Estate Management?

SAP Real Estate Management is specifically built to integrate with SAP Financials.  No other real estate software provider can take abstracted lease data, generate payments to landlords and perform all valuation calculations and postings back into SAP without cumbersome interfaces.  SAP’s real estate solution performs all these activities in real time and without complicated interfaces.

 

If a company uses spreadsheets or an alternative solution, information silos will naturally exist between lease administrators and accountants.  Data becomes inconsistent over time, resulting in inaccurate valuations and misstated financials.  SAP Real Estate Management breaks down silos between these groups, ensuring transparent, consistent and accurate results.

 

SAP Real Estate Management will help improve your decision making through greater visibility into portfolio wide lease data. All in all, the solution provides you with improved understanding all the associated legal, financial, and business implications of your leasing strategy in a way not available with other solutions.

 

What to Do Now?

Even though the new leasing standards are not effective until December 2018 for US GAAP and January 2019 for IFRS, companies can choose to be early adopters and begin reporting January 2017.  Whether you choose to be an early adopter or comply by the deadlines, there are certain things you can do today to prepare.

 

  • Current SAP Real Estate Management users should implement the new leasing enhancements as soon as they are release to begin evaluating the impacts to your financial statements.  Even if you do not intend to be an early adopter, the loading of the leases and analyzing the results will pay big dividends in the future.
  • If you use SAP Financials, you can quickly implement SAP Real Estate Management for real property leasing to give you a fully integrated leasing solution.  SAP currently has and will roll out new accelerators designed to help customers quickly implement SAP’s leasing solution.

 

Once SAP Real Estate Management has been implemented, begin abstracting existing lease agreements and ensure the abstracted lease terms and conditions are correct.  For most organizations, this will be the most time consuming portion of the lease compliance project.  All calculations are dependent on accurate lease information.  Any inaccuracy in probable end dates and payment amounts for example, will have an impact on the posted valuations.

 

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Topics: SAP, Mobility, Engineering and Construction, AEC, Enterprise Content Management

Why Zachry Construction Made SAP its Platform for Growth

Posted by John Chapman Nov 10, 2015 12:08:41 PM

Zachry Construction

 

As the principal for the Engineering, Construction & Operations (EC&O) practice at B4 Consulting, I have the opportunity to lead numerous business transformations for a variety of construction companies -- both small and large -- throughout North America. When we partner with these industry leaders, I have the distinct pleasure of working with forward-thinking executives who understand the strategic value of SAP solutions for the construction industry.

Zachry Construction Corporation, headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is one prime example of a forward-thinking construction company. They made a strategic business decision to replace their legacy systems with an integrated ERP system. And, this bold decision set in motion a business journey in which, over a 2-year period, they evaluated close to 18 ERP solutions – including those from CMiC, Microsoft and Viewpoint. After a thorough needs analysis, they selected SAP because they perceived SAP solutions to be the most widely-used business technology platform that would meet their business requirements -- out-of-the-box -- while providing the industry's most integrated construction-centric solutions. B4 Consulting was chosen as their implementation partner due to our industry experience, solution know-how, and as one executive said, “B4 Consulting speaks our language.”

In just 12 months, we implemented an integrated solution set that included SAP ERP, CRM, EAM, HCM, BusinessObjects, ETM, SAP Mobile Platform, and an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solution. These capabilities, in turn, enable Zachry to implement progressive project management to a broad array of vertical and heavy civil work in both public and private sectors.

With their SAP platform, Zachry’s business processes, workflows, field data entry, and IT are now centralized on a single system that generates new levels of efficiency and serves as a strategic platform for company growth. These operational improvements are rooted in an implementation project that:

  • Seamlessly managed Zachry’s process of going from an Estimating Cost Breakdown Structure to a Work Breakdown Structure during Project Execution with the appropriate level of detail
  • Imported actual cost back into the Estimating system for comparison purposes (benchmarking)
  • Fully integrated many back office processes in Finance, HR, Procurement and Job Costing
  • Created real-time field visibility into Simple Earned Value Management via mobile devices
  • Implemented a construction industry enterprise content management solution that integrates with SAP to manage project documents, field delivery tickets, and invoicing via OCR scanning

Today, Zachry has a user-friendly platform that supports 21st century technology to provide real-time information that is enabling upwards to:

  • 50% increase in the accuracy of cost collecting
  • 50% increase in the speed of cost information
  • 25% faster month-end reconciliation

Awesome numbers, right? There’s more to the Zachry project that can be read in the SAP Business Transformation Study  -- just click button below. But, if you want to learn how B4 Consulting can uniquely transform your business for improved efficiency and profitability – let's talk.  Email me at jmoore@b4-consulting.com.

 Juan_Moore_B4_Consulting

Juan Moore

EC&O Industry Principal

B4 Consulting

Read the Zachry Story

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Topics: SAP, Mobility, Engineering and Construction, AEC, Enterprise Content Management

Is it a Serpent or an Elephant? The Construction Industry Needs Better Business Intelligence Tools.

Posted by Phillip Schell Apr 20, 2015 8:30:00 AM

Six_Blind_Men

 

Is it a serpent or an elephant? The parable of the six blind men and the elephant is one of the world’s most widely-known parables. It illustrates that we should not mistake a part for the whole and importance of keeping an open mind to different points of view. It also conveys the importance of perspective and the value of closely examining complex ideas and issues.

And, while it may seem as though I’m going out on a limb -- this parable also makes for a teaching moment in the construction industry.

More than ever before, the construction industry is learning to use Business Intelligence tools to extract data from construction projects for real-time decision making. The challenge: the construction industry needs to draw accurate conclusions from the huge datasets that are being generated and avoid the conclusions of the blind man feeling the elephant’s trunk and declaring it a serpent.

To help construction companies extract and leverage accurate data from all its data sources, B4 Consulting is building Integrated Frameworks for Construction. We call it -- IF4C – and it allows applications to become interoperable (see http://blog.b4-consulting.com/blog/how-to-achieve-interoperability-in-construction). We believe that this interoperability has a positive effect as well on Business Intelligence. Consider this real-life case: I want a report on the health of one of my self-perform projects, and I want a report on the trend line of the labor productivity of one of the major work packages being performed.

In our experience, this is a typical scenario and here are just a few of the questions and issues that prevent the quick, efficeint and accurate generation of such reports in a lot of construction companies:

  • Do I need my estimating data to make this comparison?
  • If my CBS structures have little or no relationship to my WBS structures what does it mean?
  • How timely are the actual installed data being imputed into a system for trend analytics?
  • How accurate are the data being entered and are they entered into the correct WBS structure?
  • Do I need equipment run time data to interpret the data correctly?
  • Do I need ECM data such as pictures, daily logs, weather reports, etc. to make the correct decisions?

B4 Consulting believes that Business Intelligence is architected correctly when it goes beyond the esthetically pleasing or even intellectually stimulating. Business Intelligence must be actionable and create the opportunity for increasing productivity. See http://blog.b4-consulting.com/blog/outsidein-and-the-ooda-loop-–-transforming-construction

The architecture’s defining characteristics include:

  • Front-end mobility component to initiate real-time possibilities.
  • Ability to draw datasets large enough (remember the elephant!) and across pertinent applications to drive value.
  • Presentation to the correct decision makers in a timely and intuitive manner to advance better field decisions.

The well-architected Business Intelligence framework gives the construction industry the proper information to make the OODA loop work and inform them for competitive advantage.

 

 

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Topics: Mobility, Engineering and Construction, Real-time Data, Reporting, construction, productivity, OutsideIn, Interoperability

OutsideIn & OODA - Deliver a Competitive Edge to Construction

Posted by Phillip Schell Dec 1, 2014 2:37:00 PM

MASH_Pic

 

One of my favorite episodes of the iconic TV series M*A*S*H, was when Colonel Potter ordered a Bug Out because the enemy was coming and Radar said, “you mean Supply sir?” It serves to remind us that sometimes we may need to take a step back and asses who is the real enemy - or what keeps us from meeting our objectives.

Colonel John Boyd, a fascinating military strategist and the father of modern day dog-fighting, faced the enemy time and again and through those experiences posited a set of theories based on time. Boyd believed that decision-making is a recurring cycle of observe-orient-decide-act (OODA). He developed a theory for achieving success in air-to-air combat in which the pilot who goes through the OODA cycle in the shortest time prevails because his opponent is responding to situations that have already changed. Today, his OODA loop has become an important concept in litigation, business, and military strategy.

In the construction industry, time is the determining parameter as well.  Time is the real enemy --  not owners, sub-contractors, unions, lawyers, or the weather – it’s time. And, that's why Boyd's OODA Loop is so compelling. The OODA Loop is comprised of four interrelated and overlapping processes through which one continuously cycles:

  • Observation: collection of data by means of senses
  • Orientation: analysis and synthesis of data to form a current mental perspective
  • Decision: determination of a course of action based on the current mental perspective
  • Action: physical playing-out of decision

OODA_Graphic

 

Boyd theorized that large organizations such as corporations, governments, or militaries possessed a hierarchy of OODA loops at tactical, grand-tactical (operational art), and strategic levels. In addition, he stated that most effective organizations have a highly decentralized chain of command, which utilizes objective-driven orders rather than method-driven orders to harness the mental capacity and creative abilities of individual commanders at each level.

I would like to view two construction processes through Boyd’s OODA loop, one existing inside the other.

  • The process required for efffective Design Build. This is an integrated process of design, estimate, build, and measure. One seamless process, using the same data elements integrated to one another.
  • A progression process that resets the OODA Loop on a daily basis as we put actual construction-related data back through the model. On a daily basis we use mobile devices to track the actual labor hours, actual materials installed, and equipment hours used. This now can get compared to planned hours, the planned productivity of materials installed and the planned equipment hours used in estimating.

So now, we have related the two of the most important aspects of Boyd’s OODA Loop to the construction industry: (1) Design-Estimate-Build-Re-Estimate; and (2) daily progression to the parent process.

B4 Consulting has developed tools to not only integrate Design-Estimate-Build-Re-Estimate, but also mobile devices for the field to measure on a daily basis how we are performing to the plan.

The B4 Consulting OutsideIn approach enables field activities to be fed into an OODA Loop of decision making based on a foundation of Design-Estimate-Build-Re-Estimate. This approach is a transformational way to structure processes and technology for the construction industry.

When the construction industry recognizes that time is the real enemy, it can capitalize on an OutsideIn approach and use OODA Loop decision making to fully exlpoit the mobility revolution, optimize construction management, and successfully prevail against the competition in the shortest amount of time.

 

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Topics: Mobility, Engineering and Construction, productivity, OutsideIn

Wi-Fi on the Jobsite -- Anytime - Anywhere

Posted by Phillip Schell Nov 4, 2014 11:31:00 AM

OpenRoute OnSite Wi-Fi Sample DeploymentOpenRoute_Worker_w_Tablet

I will never forget the look on my son Tyler’s face as we backed out of his grandparent’s home late one Christmas day. At nine-years-old, he had received his first computer for Christmas, a small netbook -- the perfect starter. He said in an ever-so sad voice, “Dad, my computer is not working.” I looked over and replied, “Son, we are not connected to the Internet anymore. You can still use your computer, you just can’t connect it to the Internet while we are driving.” In a tone of voice increasingly glum-sounding, he said “If it can’t connect to the Internet what good is it?” Then came the obligatory speech about the old days and how the Internet came after computers. All of this was met, of course, with the usual eye-rolling and the deepening of my dinosaur-experience hole.

Every time I think about the construction industry and Cloud applications, I think of my son. His connectivity issues are not unlike those experienced by the construction industry when it comes to Cloud applications: If you can’t get to them – what good are they? And, the issue is actually bigger than that. A lot of important business takes place at a construction site and sharing and using field information in real time can pose a business-critical challenge. The construction site is where risk is heightened and where quick, fact-based decisions need to be made in the battle for margins. For a long time, it’s also been the place that’s been disconnected from all the tools that can improve productivity, manage risk, and enable effective decision making.  But – that was then. Today, portable Internet access is available from B4 Consulting's valued partner OpenRoute.

OpenRoute was born out of CoCo Communications, which was established post-911 to build software-defined, tactical communications solutions that enable people in mobile- and zero-infrastructure environments to share information securely and reliably. OpenRoute was formed to commercialize aspects of CoCo technology in support of the construction industry. The result:  OpenRoute™ OnSite Wi-Fi - a truly state-of-the-art, construction-rugged device, which extends Internet connectivity past the trailer and out into the field. OpenRoute OnSite Wi-Fi is easy to set up. It starts with connecting a small, self-contained yellow box to your existing Internet and power sources. That's it. When you need even more coverage as the job site expands and structures are built, add another yellow box or two, or more. The yellow boxes connect wirelessly and automatically, forming their own mesh network.

openroute_yellow_box

 OpenRoute On-Site Wi-Fi - A briefcase-sized yellow box that's easy to deploy and use.

To assist in deploying additional yellow boxes, you get a free OpenRoute™ NetMeter mobile application, which quickly identifies where to place units for optimal coverage across the site. You can even pick up a yellow box and move it for the day. No professional site survey or calling the wireless carrier. No need to add expensive controllers or computer-based software programs to manage the network.

OpenRoute Wi-Fi is a fully enclosed “simple-to-deploy” piece of communications hardware that’s built to withstand the harshest weather elements. A single weatherproof connection point substantially reduces installation time, moves and re-configurations.

I’ll let the facts speak for themselves:

 

Component Selection

  • Top-of-the-line radio cards generate maximum FCC allowable transmit power with extreme receiver sensitivity. Supports HT20 and HT40 backhaul speeds (130/300 Mbps) with very low latency. MIMO technology optimizes packet delivery.
  • The “best” antennae available – 2 omni-directional 5.8 Ghz and 2 cardioid patch 2.4 Ghz antennas installed in opposing positions provide a host of orientation/positioning options without changing antennas. Patch antennas optimize user experience in high noise environments.
  • Near-perfect antenna/card match (VSWR) for optimum coverage and throughput.

 Software

  • Operates in Layer 2, each unit capable of multiple roles
  • Self-forming network - does not require hardware or Cloud-based controller
  • Both 2.4 and 5.8 Ghz networks secured
  • Remote connectivity secure terminal via SSH
  • Multiple SSID and Radius support
  • Basic industry standard 802.11g/n/s protocols, compatible with standard networks
  • Enhanced patented software developed to “fix” 29 serious routing deficiencies in standard 802.11s improving packet delivery, throughput speeds, and user experience
  • Radius support

Deployment

  • Downloadable OpenRoute NetMeter app. supports set-up, configuration, and management without a laptop
  • Rover capability for instant network extension/fill-in
  • A myriad of mounting options for virtually any environment or application

 OpenRoute_Sample_Deployment

Sample Deployment of OpenRoute On-Site Wi-Fi

 

OpenRoute's rock-solid technology has been extensively field testing with several contractors and in different construction environments: vertical and horizontal construction; high-rise commercial construction; industrial construction; and in multiple infrastructure sites. Contractors such as Bayley Construction and Lease Cruther Lewis are among contractors who have deployed their yellow boxes. And, here are just a few of the benefits they are realizing:

  • Immediate access to information reduces rework
  • Reduced RFIs ($1500/RFI)
  • Near elimination of  “Trailer Walks” ($20-$40/walk
  • Field Data Management Tools save an average of 9.1 hours per user, per week
  • Improved “single entry” collaboration eliminates multiple emails on multiple enterprise networks, and multiple phone calls
  • Reduced/eliminated significant printing costs (paper, ink, printers, time, etc.) by going “paperless” onsite
  • Reduced/eliminated mobile carrier data fees ($25/GB)
  • Improved accuracy of project bids as a result of real-time data collection/tracking closer on the job site
  • Data connectivity to sub-contractors (monthly charge or free) to improve productivity

At B4 Consulting, we design solutions that give our customers end-to-end functionality utilizing the best technologies available. Many of the emerging solutions are Cloud based, which gives customers quick and easy implementations, rapid time to value, and the lowest total cost of ownership. Our Cloud solutions enabled by partners such as Ariba, Corecon and MobileLogix provide rich functionality. With OpenRoute we solve the connectivity problems of the past and provide reliable access to applications and data that are needed at your jobsite. We have partnered with OpenRoute to help solve construction site connectivity issues regardless of the applications you are using.

And to my son, Tyler, you are spot-on – applications aren’t worth much if you can’t connect to the Internet.

Let’s talk if you are ready to see how OpenRoute’s innovative technology can improve your field operations. Contact me at pschell@b4-consulting.com.

 

Phillip Schell is vice president of Industry Solutions at B4 Consulting.

 

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Topics: Mobility, Engineering and Construction, construction, productivity, Cloud Computing, Jobsite Internet Access

Reality Check on Real Estate ERP

Posted by Phillip Schell Dec 18, 2013 1:11:00 PM

SAP Real Estate ERP 2 resized 600

In a Realcomm Advisory, a couple of years ago, the question was asked “Can real estate ERP vendors keep pace with industry demands?” Reviewing the pros and cons of Real Estate ERP and point systems, which had been broadened and integrated to perform more back office functions, the Advisory challenged the industry to “take a fresh look at the available options.” In light of the technology advances over the past two years, I believe it’s high time to re-examine Real Estate ERP functionality through a technology innovation lens.

Annually, SAP® invests more than $2 billion dollars in R&D aimed at advancing its customers’ technology platform. The following will highlight innovations resulting from these investments, and underscore how some implementation partners are creatively using these tools and concepts in real estate projects to create world-class solutions.

Game-Changing Technologies for Real Estate Management

The SAP Flexible Real Estate Module is part of the core SAP ERP solution. It is a powerful processing engine for all aspects of real estate business processes, which includes solutions for: Lease Administration; Property Management; Sustainability; Deal Flow Solution; Lease Level Budgeting; and Project Management/Fit Up.

These solutions are the industry’s most robust and advanced as they are continually enriched by ongoing SAP investments in technologies spanning: the cloud; mobility; business analytics; Big Data; and user experience and business function enhancements --including the Common Area Maintenance (CAM) Expense Recovery application. Solutions are further enriched through SAP strategic acquisitions and internal development projects – the fruits of which are integrated into the overall SAP architecture.

SAP has also brought to market new in-memory processing capabilities with HANA – a high-performance analytic appliance. This game-changing tool for Big Data delivers real-time analytics and data aggregation for new levels of business insight. Deployed on-premise or via the cloud, HANA is a revolutionary platform that features at its core a real-time database. This real-time database is the result of a combination of row and column store, which is fundamentally different from any other database engine on the market today. With real-time data, regardless of granularity at your fingertips via the device of your choice, you can make fact-based decisions to better manage your property portfolio for increased profitability, compliance and sustainability. And, SAP HANA is not just for large enterprises. It can be used as a highly affordable cloud-based, pay-as-you-go subscription at a very low rate.

While HANA is revolutionizing the world of real-time data, SAP has also introduced two new solutions to greatly enhance the user experience – SAP Fiori and SAP Screen Personas. These complementary solutions make SAP highly intuitive – debunking that old industry thinking that SAP is too complex. Fiori and Personas create consumer-grade user experiences that help advance adoption of business processes and increase productivity.  Out-of-the-box and ready-to-run, SAP Fiori is a set of applications that deliver a simple, intuitive user experience across your most frequently-used business transactions. The design offers a seamless experience from laptop to mobile devices, which allows you to quickly and easily execute tasks. SAP Screen Personas provides a simple, drag-and-drop approach to modify most SAP GUI screens on your desktop (Windows & Mac). It enables IT and business users to quickly simplify business application screens without any programming knowledge. With SAP Screen Personas, you not only improve the performance of SAP – you can personalize any transaction in minutes.

When it comes to mobility, SAP has a rock-solid portfolio of solutions that enable you to securely conduct your business anytime, anywhere, and on any device. It’s well-recognized that HTML5 is the future of programming -- especially for the mobile web and SAP is leveraging HTML5 and open standards to quickly build mobile applications.

SAP ECOSYSTEM

While this snapshot of SAP innovation distinguishes SAP from point-solution vendors who lack the bandwidth and resources to keep pace with technology that fuels growth, I’d be remiss in not citing the SAP partnership ecosystem that contributes as well to innovation. For example, thousands of SAP-certified third-party solutions can be used to enhance your ERP platform. Office applications from Microsoft and Adobe are integrated into the ERP processing engine, enabling you to work in Excel or an Adobe form and then create transactions in the ERP engine. And, SAP further extends ERP functionality via acquisitions, some of which include:

  • Ariba  - for cloud-based buying, selling, and managing cash in a network economy
  • Business Objects - performance management, planning, reporting, query and analysis and enterprise information management.
  • Coghead -Web-based service for building and hosting custom online database applications to facilitate business data management and collaboration.
  • Hybris – an integration framework that enables a commerce platform for direct selling to all customers.
  • SuccessFactors – cloud-based human capital management solution suite.
  • Sybase – enterprise solution to manage, analyze, and mobilize information
  • TechniData – compliance management solutions for products, the environment, chemicals, and health and safety

What do these extensive offerings of certified solutions, acquisitions, and innovations mean for real estate? All of your business needs are handled on a single, integrated platform today and tomorrow. SAP’s annual $2B spend on R&D is ongoing to ensure you can run the best real estate portfolio.  Capitalizing on these technologies, implementation partners such as B4 Consulting can design truly end-to-end solutions for real estate companies of all types -- commercial, corporate and REITs.  ERP is a powerful processing engine, but we now are able to use the rich ecosystem of solutions cited herein to enhance functionality, improve the user experience, and empower you to innovate with technology.

Mobility is a prime example as to how the power of ERP is brought to field functions such as property management. Access to real-time data enhances mobile dashboards and KPIs for managers and executives.  The powerful integration of ERP processing coupled with native property management functionality enables CAM to work even more seamlessly. The same data in ERP is integrated with CRM to deliver Deal Flow functionality the mobility pushes to the field.  Historically, many implementation partners would use the ERP system itself to try to deliver this functionality. The result was often non-intuitive, clunky and not easy to learn. All that has changed with the new SAP.

As noted a couple of years ago in a Realcomm Advisory - ERP vendors are heavily investing in the real estate space.  The new SAP has been aggressively providing the real estate industry with rich functionality and new business capabilities and insights through its pioneering technology strategy, R&D, acquisitions, and partner ecosystem.

Revisiting the Mainstream ERP vs. Real Estate ERP posited a couple of years ago, we see that SAP solutions are quickly closing-in on delivering a fully robust and integrated ERP platform for real estate.

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Mobility, Big Data and global scalability are of growing importance to Real Estate CIOs  It’s time for industry decision-makers to revisit their technology landscapes and revitalize their vision for success by adopting a strategy for innovation that fuels growth and competitive advantage.

To learn more on how you can optimize your real estate portfolio with innovative solutions from the new SAP -- email me at: pschell@b4-consulting.com.

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Topics: B4 Consulting, Mobility, Dashboards, SAP Real Estate, SAP ERP, Property Management, Real Estate CIOs

Why Mobility Matters for the Construction Industry

Posted by Jay Nichols Sep 11, 2013 2:40:00 PM

Mobility in Construction

When given the opportunity to write for the B4 Consulting blog, I gladly obliged.  I’ve always wanted to blog as I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of amazing experiences and passions that I want to share with the world.  One of my passions is mobility and the entire concept about “Mobilizing the Office and Home.”  I love the opportunity B4 Consulting has offered me to work with my clients and show them true value in mobilization of applications and processes.

B4 Consulting has years of experience in the construction space, and having such has allowed us to build a pretty comprehensive outlook on how the industry works.  As we continue to create blog content, we will focus on the challenges our customers bring to us for resolution with SAP solutions.

SAP Apps for Mobile Devices

Benefits of Mobile Applications

While mobile applications for construction can differ, the ultimate goal with an SAP mobility deployment is to help contractors streamline their communications, applications, and processes across their organizations. Construction companies who take the time and make the investment to explore mobile technologies can benefit from:

Improved Communication - Workers on a jobsite can instantly send one another updates and pictures. In addition, mobile devices open up the flow of data between field and office, giving the entire staff the most up-to date project information.

Accelerated Workflow with Real-time Data - Along with improving (and increasing) communication, mobile devices also offer improved workflow and real-time data. With instant communication, wait time for approval requests disappears. Field data entry allows for real-time data in the accounting and payroll systems with an accurate dashboard picture of the company’s overall performance, as well as the progress of each project.

“Store and Forward” Capability - While not all mobile apps offer this option, our apps are equipped with offline capability, allowing contractors working in remote job locations to enter timecards, save them and sync back to the office once they establish cellular coverage again. This creates a seamless transfer of information and ensures that data is current and up-to-date.

Increased Efficiency - By eliminating unnecessary data entry, your office staff will be able to work more efficiently and save time. Staff members can focus on other areas, increasing efficiency across the board.

Electronic Trail of Data - Using mobile applications also creates an electronic trail of data that contractors can reference at any time. Whether it’s solving an issue while a job is still active, or analyzing past jobs to better plan for future ones, the ability to learn from past data can save money.

Careful consideration of all these factors, in addition to a company’s size and budget, should drive any technology decisions. However, some applications can benefit most contractors regardless of trade or size.

Making the Move to Mobile with SAP

SAP mobile applications are changing the way the construction industry works with better communication, improved workflow and real-time data. With proper research and a plan for implementation, we are helping many contractors take advantage of the wide array of SAP applications, which streamline the flow of data and communication between field and office.

To learn more about SAP mobility solutions for the construction industry, contact me -- Jay the Mobility Guy at: jnichols@b4-consulting.com

Jay 'The Mobility Guy'

 

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Topics: SAP, B4 Consulting, Engineering and Construction, Mobility, Real-time Data, Reporting, Dashboards