Implementing a new SAP system is a great opportunity to transform your organization. It offers you a chance to enhance your capabilities, streamline key processes and move past outdated technologies and tools. However, SAP implementation can be tricky. A best practice driven implementation plan can help you smoothen and execute your implementation plan perfectly.
Implementing an SAP ERP or any other ERP is a big project that requires considerable resources, expertise and efforts.
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So how to ensure that your implementation plan works smoothly? How to avoid common pitfalls? And how to set up your SAP ERP system quickly? Here are a few best practices in SAP implementation to help you plan your project, avoid common mistakes and make your journey easier.
- Focus on Processes: You need to put processes at the core of your implementation plan. It happens many times that whenever a new system is implemented the entire focus is on key features and functionalities. There is little to no focus on processes that get impacted by the arrival of these new systems. A transformative system like SAP ERP will have a significant impact on your processes and people and therefore you need to give it a thought on the risks, requirements and adjustments you need to do to sync the system and processes for better outcomes.
- Build a Team: The success of your SAP ERP implementation will majorly depend on the team. The team should consist of people with cross-functional expertise, team players and strong commitment. The team should also have executive buy-in and time to solely concentrate on the project. Ad hoc and stop-gap arrangements will not work. An SAP ERP implementation is a high-value project and failure can be costly, so dedicate your best people to it.
- SAP Implementation Partner: Find the right partner, who can carry out implementation. You may not have all the expertise internally within your organization to successfully implement SAP. That’s where an SAP implementation partner fits in. A certified SAP implementation partner will use their technological expertise and business experience to navigate the various challenges arising in the implementation plan. It will also ensure that your project adheres to the timeline. Select an SAP provider who understands your business, has experience in working with companies of your size and asks for references before signing the deal.
- Train Your People: Your people would need the training to understand and how to optimally use SAP ERP. SAP is a comprehensive software with multiple modules and functions. Your project team, IT team and end user — all would require training. SAP implementation would also require a change in work style and mindset. So, talk to your people and prepare them for leveraging SAP in their work.
- Setup Communication Flow: SAP implementation will have an impact across your organization from marketing to HR to procurements. Also, a high-value implementation will keep your top leadership interested and they would like status updates. Convert your entire project into key milestones and build a communication flow so that everyone in your company is aware of what’s happening. A weekly review meeting is also helpful to avoid surprises and check the progress of the project.
- Test the System: Often ignored, but a key step in any implementation plan is end-user testing. Test the system with real end-users and ask them to try the full capabilities of the system. Do not forget to test the new system with your end-users. This will help you identify early-stage issues and fix them before SAP goes live.
- Keep Change Orders Under Check: The key to timely and successful SAP implementation is building an implementation plan considering all the factors, expectations and scenarios. Still there, will be instances when you have to make changes to the plan, include some additions to the project scope. Keep the change orders in check so that your project scope doesn’t expand beyond a point and risks project delays.
- Manage the Change: SAP implementation will bring significant change within your organization. It will drive automation, make data accessible across your organization and quicken processes. Not everybody in your organization would be prepared to change. Identify members who can drive the change and ask them to motivate people who are not so excited about it. Show them early results and how SAP will help them organize and improve their work.