As with any business project, implementing SAP Business One needs time, focus and resources. Rather than simply viewing SAP as an implementation project, we suggest looking at it in a new way – a business transformation project that will have positive, long-lasting effects on your organisation.
There are a few things that need to be taken care of internally within your business as well as issues that are handled in collaboration with your solution partner. At Blue Ocean Systems, we pride ourselves on our inclusive approach to walk our clients through their implementation.
However, this doesn’t mean that we do everything for them; instead we provide the tools, templates, technical expertise and best practice methodology to enable companies to improve their entire business platform from the inside out.
Here are some of the best ways you can prepare for a business implementation of SAP:
Excellent project management
Even for small companies, we recommend a dedicated project manager who can drive a successful outcome. While many companies try to save money by adding an SAP implementation to the existing workload of a CTO, CIO or a range of managers, this approach is counter-productive. Whether it’s an internal person dedicated to the project for a few weeks or months, or an external contractor, they need to be fully focused on all aspects of the project, including:
The PM keeps a close eye on expenditure and reports any additional requirements to the stakeholders.
If your vendor is dragging out the implementation, this affects the timeframe as well as the budget so the PM needs to clear about expectations and manage them accordingly.
Does the system do what the business required it to? Is the solution partner delivering what is required of them? The PM will essentially be the middle person between both parties to ensure the communication and feedback loop is tight.
A big failure point for SMEs is the lack of training resources provided to SAP implementations. Your PM needs to coordinate sufficient training based on job roles and activities in time for the new system.
User testing and feedback
The change management aspect of an SAP implementation is critical and this means involving end users as much as possible. User testing is one of the best ways to achieve this and they will be much better at trying to ‘break the system’ than anyone else because they use it the most.
Or lack of, is another big reason for a less-than-perfect SAP implementation. Your internal communication with managers and stakeholders is vital and needs to begin as soon as possible – even informing end users on the selection process and reasons for choosing your ERP solution will ensure they feel included in the process.
Steering / working committees
The PM will chair and co-ordinate several stakeholder meetings to keep all parties informed of the progress of the implementation. This reduces problems down the line when issues are raised and resolved as early as possible.
As we mentioned above, involving the end-users in the SAP implementation is an effective way to ensure a smooth project delivery. In addition to involving them in the project elements, you might also consider:
These are identified end-users who volunteer or agree to act in an advisory role during the implementation. They might receive more advanced training that they are happy (and able) to pass on to other users. These super-users might also have admin access to SAP Business One and be the first line of troubleshooters in the early days. Often, it works well to identify super users who are resistant to the change of system – if they can be persuaded that it’s a positive thing, then everyone else will!
these are middle or senior level stakeholders within your organisation, who have a positive attitude, the right experience and enthusiasm and, most importantly, influence over others. They can be seen as positive contributors to the project and set the right tone for the implementation.
Start with the end in mind
Knowing what your organisation wants to achieve with SAP Business One will help you to better prepare. During the initial discovery phases, bring in a well-represented cross section of your employees and users – invite their honest input and you’ll be better set up to use a system that is easily adopted and well received.