For those who don’t know what the SAP PS (Project System) is, I’d like to provide a quick definition before I explain the value of integration with MS Project Online. SAP PS is the project management module of the ERP SAP System.
Instead of viewing SAP PS as a competitor to Project Online (or Project Server), let’s consider the two systems as complementary tools. They do have very different characteristics. I’d like to suggest some of the reasons to integrate both systems and leverage what they best have to offer.
Effective Physical x Financial Monitoring and Control
If you are an employee or supplier of a company that uses SAP PS, do not start complaining about the powerful ERP blue screens. Financial project management will end up going through SAP PS in some way. Since the SAP PS is fully integrated to other ERP modules, departments such as procurement, accounts receivable, and supplier payment are natively integrated to the budget control of the projects (actual costs and commitments). This budget control of the projects does not leverage the scheduling engine, planning, and resource management that a project management tool can provide.
It’s evident that our good old friend and de facto planning tool, Microsoft Project, remains unbeatable when it comes to schedule planning and physical control of projects with different degrees of complexity. MS Project also provides a user-friendly interface that is flexibile to perform the same action in multiple ways.
Therefore, aiming at the productivity gains of the corporation, there is a benefit to integrating both tools together. In fact, we bring the top features and benefits from each with the core drivers being:
- The integrated financial control of the project is carried out in SAP PS
- The schedule management of the project is computed by Microsoft Project
Essentially, the integration between these two systems allows an automated generation of executive and managerial reports and dashboards, while consolidating the physical and financial information of the projects within the portfolio.
Project Managers Don’t Have to Learn “SAPanese”
With the financial data of projects being automatically uploaded to Project Online, project managers don’t need to know in details of the SAP operations or processes. This accelerates the adoption of the said solution, reduces training costs, and improves team productivity.
Keep Cost Forecast Up to Date
Understanding that SAP is the location that aggregates the project’s financial data, but notably is not intuitive or user-friendly with its complex interface, it is common for users to leave cost forecasts of their projects outdated.
To counteract this, we can use Microsoft Project to generate real-time cost forecasts. The data will be aligned with the project’s physical planning, and through this integration process, we’ll be able to transfer information seamlessly and automatically back to SAP PS.
The reasons for an integration between SAP PS and Project Online listed above represent potential combination opportunities that target productivity gains in the management of the organization projects.
It is good to remember that any integration between systems needs to be well discussed to define the assumptions, requirements, and the use process.
Watch my on-demand webinar which covers these points and more.