This week, Blue Ocean Systems’ Senior SAP Consultant, Vinodh Kumar provides insight into the SAP implementation process and what your organisation needs to consider to make it as successful as possible.
Many companies underestimate the input and effort needed to ensure a new SAP system is accepted across the entire organisation, however big or small. The major part of the work I do with clients takes place during the pre-implementation phase when I spend significant time gathering information about their existing systems, processes and procedures as well as the outcomes required from their ERP system. It is during this stage that we will make recommendations for the system configuration and start putting a project and communications plan together.
Here are my top 5 tips for companies considering an SAP implementation:
1) Choose the right SAP business partner and consultant.
Your SAP business partner and the consultant assigned to your project need to have the ability to communicate effectively with managers and senior executives to identify the goals and requirements for the SAP implementation. They should have the necessary business skills and industry experience to be able to liaise with and advise the executive management at each stage along the project.
2) Planning is imperative
The detailed project plan is not just a document to be created and never looked at again; it will guide the whole project and determine the success of the implementation. Ensure your company has support and buy in from all employees; we often find that the end-users provide the best feedback during the pre-implementation phase as they are using the existing systems and processes every day. Finding their current ‘pains’ can provide great insight into process improvement options.
3) Change can be a great thing
Implementing SAP is a fantastic opportunity for organisations to revisit their existing processes and streamline any redundant workflows (or improve them). It can also result in refining processes (even long-standing ones) for an improved way of working.
A change management programme is vital for such a large-scale project. Ensuring all users and affected parties have the information and tools at hand to perform their daily tasks will speed up the transition and acceptance period. A change management plan is particularly important if using an ERP system results in certain roles within the company becoming redundant.
4) An SAP implementation is not an IT project
Implementing SAP is an organisation-wide project focussing heavily on change management. It is vital that a company gets support and participation from all those involved in the project; it is not a project to be left to the CTO to manage alone!
5) Test test test, and test again
Your SAP consultant should guide you through the testing requirements; they are extensive for very good reason. The testing phase includes business process testing, user acceptance testing, operational readiness testing, employee readiness testing, and end-user testing amongst other system-based and hardware testing. Again, this is where the end-users can be the most important testers – they will know what they need the system to do in order to complete their tasks. Asking them for feedback and recommendations also fosters buy in to the new system.
Would you like more information about how SAP is implemented? Speak with Blue Ocean Systems’ team of ERP consultants today for a step-by-step guide for your company. Contact us.