ESA for professional service providers
When it comes to creating solutions for professional service providersa job description that includes everything from consulting, tax, audit, law, and IT services to hospitalitySAP often plays a dual role. Not only is it creating applications and enterprise services that firms such as Deloitte & Touche choose and configure on behalf of their clients, but it is also encouraging those same providers to develop their own services for use within ESA.
One example of the former is SAP's work in providing base services for professional firmse.g., automatically time-capturing billable hours and invoicing clients. The traditional pain points for these applications are the time-to-bill and confirming the accuracy of the data in question. SAP engineers have sought to solve both problems by creating enterprise services derived from the Cross Application Time Sheet (CATS) and using them in a composite application. This application records billable hours and can then link that data to a portal-based application in which project managers can check the total number of billable hours so far, or link it to a mobile application on a laptop or BlackBerryan application which can also be used to record billable hours on the road. Using enterprise services, all of this data can be aggregated faster and with greater accuracy than current packaged solutions allow. Using enterprise services, it's relatively simple to take a standardized service for time-capturing and creating customized interfaces for both the manager juggling two or three projects per week and the attorney whose attention flits between 100 clients each week, all while billing his time with pinpoint accuracy. In both cases, the enterprise service is the same, and it's reusable.
Conversely, when it comes time for the service provider to manage its own expenses, it's not difficult to create enterprise services integrating data generated by credit card charges to expense reporting software or by the reservation systems of an outsourced travel agent or online ticketing engine.
In terms of implementation, SAP intends to create services for time recording, which will appear in the Enterprise Services Inventory: a service calling time data from either SAP or third-party applications and a service calling the list of projects the user is scheduled to work on.