PROCESS IMPROVEMENT USING SAP
The implementation of SAP software, is always a massive operation that brings a lot of changes in the organization. The whole process can take up to several years. Virtually every person in the organization is involved. The resulting changes that the implementation of SAP generates are intended to reach high level goals, such as improved communication and increased return on information (as people will work with the same information). It is therefore important that the implementation process is planned and executed using a solid method. There are various SAP implementation methods.
The following table provides a summary of all of the activities that form the SAP implementation process. With 25 years of practical work experience, I can help you with any of these activities.
- Solution Vision: Refine and communicate a SOLUTION VISION of the future-state of the SAP solution, to sketch a design that meets both business and financial requirements. The focus should be on the company’s core business and how the SAP solution will better enable that core business to be successful. Some of the guidance and key requirements for how to put together an ERP and SAP business case for ROI, business benefit, and success includes focusing on competitive pressures, value propositions, and how the solution enables success.
- TSO Setup: Design and staff the key positions of the SAP Technical Support Organization (TSO), the organization that is charged with addressing, designing, implementing and supporting the SAP solution.
SCOPING & BLUEPRINT
- Cost of Ownership: Perform a COST OF OWNERSHIP ANALYSIS to determine how to get the best business solution for the least money i.e. to determine where and when the costs are incurred within the context of the SAP solution stack.
- Availability and Disaster Recovery requirements: Determine all high availability and disaster recovery requirements, to plan what to do with later downtime of the SAP system
- Engage Vendors: Select the best SAP hardware and software technology partners for all layers and components of the SAP Solution Stack, based on a side-by-side sizing comparison.
- Start TSO: Staff the bulk of the TSO, i.e. fill the positions that directly support the near-term objectives of the implementation, which are to develop and begin installation/implementation of the SAP data center. Train the various members of the SAP TSO, like data center specialists, high availability specialist and network specialists and train the end-users to give all the required SAP knowledge and skills
- Setup SAP Data Center: Build a new SAP Data Center facility or transform the current data center into a foundation capable of supporting the SAP Solution Stack.
- Installation: Install the SAP components and technological foundations
- Support Organization: Identify and staff the remaining TSO roles, e.g. roles that relate to help desk work and other such support providing work.
- Functional Design: Design the future-state processes and identify the functional modules of SAP that will support these processes.
- Roles & Responsibilities: Create an authorization concept that defines for each user, what function he/she is allowed to use and what data he/she is allowed to view/work with.
- Customization: For each module the specifics, such as company codes, business units, reporting units, costing elements, customer, vendor, processing rules, and much more detailed company-specfics need to be introduced to the basically standard setup of SAP, so that the functional SAP system works according to the Blueprint that is geared towards supporting and improving the companyes effectiveness, efficiency and way of operating.
- Bespoke Developments: Where the SAP functionality does not meet the company´s needs, additional software (purchased or developed) needs to be integrated. SAP offers various ways to integrate with external software packages as well as a complete developement infrastructure to tailor each functionality to meet customer requirements.
- Change Management: Develop a planned approach to the changes in the organization. The objective is to maximize the collective efforts of all people involved in the change and minimize the risk of failure of implementing the changes related to the SAP implementation.
- Systems & Operations Management: Create a foundation for the SAP systems management and SAP computer operations, by creating a SAP OPERATIONS MANUAL and by evaluating SAP management applications.
- Testing: Test the SAP business processes, by executing functional tests to ensure that business processes work, integration tests to ensure that the organization’s business processes work together with other business processes and regression tests to prove that a specific set of data and processes yield consistent and repeatable results.
GO LIVE PREPARATION
- Train End-user Community: All End-user need to be trained on using the SAP functions and reports to the extend that they will have sufficient knowledge to start using SAP in their daily work without any interruption to process performance
- Systems & Stress Test: Plan, script, execute and monitor SAP STRESS TESTS, to see if the expectations of the end users, defined in service level agreements, will be met.
- Prepare for cutover: Plan, prepare and execute the cutover, by creating a cutover plan that describes all cutover tasks that have to be performed before the actual go-live
- Communicate Go-Live: Communicate all necessary information to the affected community, informing about the go-live details such as timelines, processes affected, support organization contact details, online help systems, roles & responsibilities, key-users and basic logon-details for the live system.