- Phil Martin
Are your VC Models in bad shape?
Our Radiant Think VC Essentials Online Course has been active for nearly 4 years and has been used all over the world by single learners to large companies. It has been interesting to watch how companies have integrated the training into their business plans. I see a few trends that are happening and have a viewpoint on what businesses should be considering.
Winding back the clock
Let's wind back a little. VC started back in the 1990s. That was last century and that is sounding really old! But since that time the core of VC (LOVC) has not changed a lot in what it does. It has changed a lot in the tools we have to build models - like transaction PMEVC as the standout.
What has never been on SAP's plans, in my view, is how to model well. What are the approaches we should use? The CWG (https://configuration-workgroup.com) has been a saviour to some degree where many good practices have been discussed and agreed upon by many bright and dedicated people.
Regrettably, many VC Modellers may have learnt their craft from SAP Help, and that is a mistake as it is an information source of how to use modelling techniques but provides no context on the good practice VC modelling approaches. And the cost of that can be huge to the business. Even more of a concern is that any formal training, that does not have a "good practice" foundation can be even more dangerous.
The problem that many companies have
The problem has always been that not every VC Modeller, Consultant and Trainer knows about good practice approaches when it applies to VC Models. This is particularly true of the early days of VC, and perhaps even up to recent times as well. More and more companies are reaching out to try and work out what shape their VC Models are in. The fact they are reaching out is an indication they have seen the warning signs. Models that are hard to adapt and are error-prone. So they know something is wrong but they don't know WHAT is wrong.
The problem for them is they do not know what the Baseline is? What I mean by this, is they do not know what the good practices in VC Modelling look like and so they have nothing to compare with. On a recent Configurable Opinions with Steve Schneider and Jason Battle, we touched on this subject.
As I said earlier, VC has been around, largely unchanged for decades. Sure Actions are no longer allowed to be created, but I still see them in use! So this long term stability in functionality has allowed poor practices to survive.
The future is now
But changes are now starting to impact. With digital transformation, migrations to S4HANA, thinking about the new Advanced Configurator (AVC), CPQ, third party solutions to name a few, many companies are concerned about their VC Models and whether they will be fit for purpose into the future.
Finding the Baseline
How can they approach this problem? They do not know, what they do not know! One approach that some companies taking is using our VC Essentials Online Course to understand what the Baseline looks like.
Let me explain. Our course at its core is built on good approaches. Not only that, but it provides context and guidance to make good decisions. Knowledge is power and this will translate to reduced costs and better efficiencies in the future.
One company has a highly customised VC environment. Many of the VC Modellers did not know standard SAP VC and what was customization. Our VC Essentials course helped them understand this and so when making modelling decisions they were better equipped. Not to mention that at some point, these sorts of companies will migrate to S4HANA, and many do not want to take "broken" models or customisations that may not be needed.
Identifying bad practices
Another company put many of their VC Modellers through the VC Essentials course. In this case, they found that their current modelling practices were somewhat different to the good approaches we teach. They now have a baseline that provides them with the information they need to either modify or rebuild their VC models.
Companies are in the process of implementing VC, or perhaps SAP. VC to many new people is a mystery and so using our course to bring up their VC modelling knowledge quickly can provide faster VC model development - and better models!. It will also point out if the consultants providing guidance know good practices. This is not always the case.
Many see training as a cost and not an investment in the future. Often VC Modellers are hungry for knowledge, and finding good knowledge can be difficult. Through no fault of their own many do not know what good practice approaches are, and whether the models they maintain or build are in good shape for the future.
Often the signs that they may not be in great shape is that they are hard to adapt to change and are prone to errors. Both these factors impose invisible and sometimes very visible costs to the business.
Our VC Essentials course can be used to meet various objectives that you may have for your VC Models, not only by giving the VC Modellers the skills they need but also by providing the business with a baseline to compare against.
This is where many companies get stalled. They are not sure what is wrong, and what to do about it. Feel free to contact me email@example.com if you require more information.