There are hundreds of reasons why SAP implementations fail, but most boil down to lack of experience. Usually, the blame goes to the front end — project managers who don’t understand how to make all the pieces fit together, or developers who can’t grasp the importance of end user testing.
Backend failures get less press, partly because “the hosting environment wasn’t correctly provisioned” doesn’t read as well as “the developer didn’t bother to test whether the sales staff could use the app.” However, with inexperienced MSPs trying to capitalize on the rapid growth of SAP implementations, upgrades and migrations as more companies move to HANA, they’re becoming more common every day.
Why SAP Implementations Fail: The HANA Challenge
SAP HANA only started shipping in 2010, and Symmetry was one of the few companies that got involved early on. The SAP HANA cloud is radically different than previous versions of SAP ERP hosting, which meant hefty investments in IT infrastructure, recruitment and training. As a result, most of our competitors preferred to wait until demand picked up and costs came down.
Now, many vendors are just getting into the HANA space, and customers are paying the price for late adoption. We have had multiple customers who have come to us after a vendor literally utilized their SAP HANA migration as a training exercise. In one case, the consultant was certified, but had never managed a migration on their own. This situation at best leads to lengthy, over-budget migrations, and is often the reason why SAP HANA implementations fail.
I don’t think these vendors are necessarily being dishonest with customers — many of them don’t understand how different HANA is from a standard ABAP SAP implementation. A 20 year SAP veteran with zero HANA experience is in the same boat as someone with 1 year of SAP experience and zero HANA.
It is very common for SAP teams with a history of traditional SAP workloads to feel they can take HANA head on. But the SAP HANA platform radically changes everyone’s role, from infrastructure, to SAP Basis support to the functional team. Costs inflate, the project gets behind schedule, and everyone ends up pointing fingers at each other instead of fixing the problem.
Why SAP HANA Implementations Fail: Signs of Trouble
If your technician can’t fully explain the work that goes into a successful HANA deployment, they’re not up to the task. SAP HANA performance benefits are dramatic, but they require very careful work on both the front end and the backend. Just dropping the SAP system on the HANA database isn’t enough — something a true technical HANA migration specialist will tell you before the project starts.
An informed HANA technician will also want to be part of the infrastructure road mapping. At minimum, they’ll want to verify the system hardware before executing a SAP HANA cloud migration. They should also want to know who is completing the HANA functional components, and verify their plan.
In short, look for someone who is involved — who is engaged with the team and in communication with the customer. A technician who doesn’t ask questions probably doesn’t have the right experience under their belt.
Choose the SAP HANA Expert
Symmetry sets the standard for SAP HANA experience, professionalism and results. We complement one of the broadest SAP certification skillsets in the industry with ongoing training, onsite mentoring and peer-to-peer presentations to ensure our team is always at the top of their game. Many of the newer HANA players could tell you plenty about why SAP implementations fail, but no one knows more about how to make your SAP HANA landscape succeed.
Check out our Carlisle Construction Materials SAP Upgrade and HANA Cloud case study to learn more about how we can revolutionize your SAP landscape.