Project management of an IT implementation is a challenge for any organisation. There are numerous interconnecting components which need to be carefully identified and managed throughout the entire lifecycle. It’s not just as simple as looking at project specification, budget and time. It’s no different in an SAP implementation; a holistic approach needs to be adopted which ensures the manager or head of each function delivers on his own area of focus, but also gains oversight and acknowledges their part of the responsibility for the overall project success.
[Read a recent post on SAP implementation success].
Through its worldwide network of business partners, such as Blue Ocean Systems, SAP uses a collaborative quality approach to implementations. This method provides an engagement framework where informed business decisions are made in conjunction with partners who understand the business requirements and stakeholders who can commit to these targets and the actions required to meet them. After all, it’s the people on the inside who are the best internal resources for success.
The collaborative quality approach used by Blue Ocean Systems, can include the following tools and best practices:
Collaborative Quality Plan
A simple document charting the key areas, actions and deliverables of all stakeholders. This is agreed upon by Blue Ocean Systems in the pre-implementation phase.
Collaborative Quality Forum
Chaired by the lead sponsor within the organisation and contains a mixture of internal and external stakeholders who identify, discuss and agree on milestones and project direction as well as ad hoc project issues which may arise. The forum works well if there are also representatives from all major levels within the business – this helps to feed key issues into the discussion forum as well as engage employees.
Collaborative Quality Charter
A tool used by the programme sponsor to ensure the proposed strategy meets the business goals. This is often a very useful tool during the change management element of an SAP implementation.
Why does my organisation need such a robust quality approach?
Regardless of the size of your implementation, the same common failures can occur – often for similar reasons:
Project scope expands and management expectations are not metOccurs when no robust project management team or plan exists
Data cleansing and migration issuesSophisticated new processes highlight errors in the previous workflow
The business does not accept the new software solutionThis is where change management can have the most positive impact, especially in the pre-implementation phase
Ineffective supportDue to lack of resources, training and tools
Slow systemOften a result of previously overly complicated processes
- [Read our recent blog answering some SAP Business One FAQs]
How can success be measured?
Blue Ocean Systems has helped many SMEs reach their business goals through SAP Business One implementations and the improved workflow processes that they bring (read some of our success stories here). But success looks different for each company, and for each head of department. For some, success can mean a complete overhaul of existing processes resulting in a seemingly new organisation; for other companies, a smaller implementation within one or two major departments can propel a company to the next growth stage.[Read our recent blog about preparing your company for investment].
Blue Ocean Systems adopts the SAP methodology for measuring success in any organisation. This approach ensures that the business benefits are optimised and the strategic objectives of your organisation are met.
Key Areas for Measuring Success
Solutions FeasibilityHas the solution improved key business processes?
Technical ReadinessHas a technical and operations strategy been worked out before, during and after go-live?
Operation ReadinessHave backup processes been identified during go-live and tested?
- Architecture and IT Strategy – is the implementation aligned with the application landscape?
- Programme and project management – are the work plan, implementation plan, budget, timeline and scope finalised, understood and agreed by all parties?
- Functional and integration readiness – have all processes been successfully tested end-to-end during the functional test period?
- Organisation and change management – are key users represented in the project team?
- Support readiness – is the IT or helpdesk able to confidently support the new function and system?
The SAP quality principles further guide Blue Ocean Systems in ensuring implementation success.
10 SAP Quality Principles
1) Understand the business objectives as well as the technical requirements
2) Agree on what can be delivered, in what time frame, and how timely delivery can be ensured
3) Work cooperatively with all stakeholders to achieve project objectives
4) Apply a suitable project governance model
5) Staff the project with sufficient resources who have the right skills and experience
6) Manage the project professionally using a formal methodology
7) Identify and manage risks and issues jointly
8) Develop and execute a quality plan
9) Ensure that the project team understands where standard SAP software functionality and industry specific best practices will best suit its needs
10) Achieve operational readiness with training and change management activities
Through industry best practices and systematic methodologies, an SAP implementation can be executed with minimal disruption and downtime. As you can see from the examples above, the key is in the identifying, planning and preparation stages; all of which Blue Ocean Systems will expertly guide you through. As with anything – the bigger the initial effort, the better the end outcome.
Would you like to know how an SAP implementation could look for your organisation?