Joe Larocque, senior director of the integrated finance and materiel system program office, the federal government’s research and development office for SAP, explains that when the Canadian government first started implementing SAP software a decade or so ago, there were five systems integrators to choose from. That gave departments lots of options – but also potentially lots of issues to deal with due to multiple configurations and methodologies. “It quickly became apparent to the members of the departments at that time that they had a number of requirements in common – they needed to develop interfaces, for example to the Receiver General of Canada in order to cut our cheques, etcetera, so we asked ourselves why we should pay for this 15 different times,” he says. “It didn’t make sense to do it independently so we decided to work together and fund the initial development of those requirements and that’s how we got started. Once they proved this could work, it started to grow.”

The standardized process relates to determining the business problems to be solved, but not all departments’ deployments of SAP are standard. Each runs its own installation and can make whatever changes are necessary to meet its own requirements.

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