If you could freeze your business where it is while you plan and execute an SAP implementation, upgrade or migration, it would still be a tremendously complex task. The reality is much more challenging. While upgrading, you may have to deal with mergers and acquisitions, changing regulatory pressures, shifting business strategies and more. And that doesn’t even factor in new data, growing resource demands, changing business processes, departing staff and other issues that can affect your production landscape.
Your SAP project management team is the most important factor in the success (or failure) of your SAP implementation. You need to be confident your partner has the skills, integrity and internal structures to meet the highest standards possible. That starts with asking the right questions.
- Have You Headed a Major SAP Project Before?Who would take on SAP project management without prior experience? It happens more than you’d think. With the HANA space heating up, companies are eager to build up a portfolio, and will often assign project managers with little to no relevant experience.
Make your SAP project management team prove themselves before you let them on. Ask exactly what projects they’ve worked on, read case studies and talk to their customers. Also, pay attention to your SAP project management team’s questions. They should want to know who else you’re working with, and talk with functional partners to learn what they’re getting into. An incurious SAP project manager is a major warning sign.
- What’s Your Approach to Testing?Testing under quality conditions is a given for most SAP project management providers, but many companies still fail to thoroughly test under real world, production conditions. This can result in all sorts of problems on launch. Users may be missing permissions they need to do their job, or have excessive permissions, posing unacceptable SAP security There may even be dependencies that haven’t been accounted for, breaking the system at launch.
Optimism may be a great trait in a developer, but it doesn’t have much of a place in your SAP project management team. Choose someone who is always preparing for the worst, from early what-if planning to post go-live. That means testing as you go, and always having a rollback and a contingency plan available.
- When Does the Project End?The approach to project termination hinges on a basic question: is your SAP project management team providing an SAP infrastructure, or a sustainable SAP landscape? It’s one thing for your technical partner to put something together that works under ideal conditions — i.e. if your IT staff can learn quickly, train end-users, and fix the inevitable post go-live glitches. It’s quite another for them to take responsibility for ensuring your system and the processes that support it work to support your business.
No matter how good your onsite team is, it’s in your interest to choose a partner with the latter approach. Not only does it avoid stressing internal assets and protect against risks such as unexpected staff departures, but it also aligns your interests with those of SAP project management. Instead of being hired to make your SAP landscape your problem again as quickly as possible, they’re paid to make sure everything works correctly.