In this article I will discuss few things about project implementation phases and share some tips regarding the same.
Before going ahead with the decision of implementing SAP ,business typically will do a lot of ground work and brain storming to understand the best solution in the market for their business. The decision of selecting a particular solution has a lot of implication on the business from TCO and ROI perspective.
We have already learnt or read about the ASAP methodology for implementing SAP.There is a lot of literature available on the internet if you want to know more.
The ASAP (Accelerated SAP ) road map for projects which comprises of five well known phases.
1. Phase 1 – Project Preparationa) Obtaining senior-level management/stakeholder support.b) Identifying clear project objectives.c) Architecting an efficient decision-making process.d) Creating an environment suitable for change and re-engineering.e) Building a qualified and capable project team.
2. Phase 2 – Business Blueprint : To extract pertinent information about your company that is necessary for the implementation. These blueprints are in the form of questionnaires that are designed to probe for information that uncovers how your company does business. As such, they also serve to document the implementation.
a) Accelerated SAP Question and Answer Database: is a simple tool designed to facilitate the creation and maintenance of your business blueprint. A self designed questionnaire can also be used depending upon the specific requirement to capture the exact and exhaustive requirement.
b) Issues Database: Another tool used in the blueprinting phase to track all the issues in the project.
3. Phase 3 – Realization: Functional experts are now ready to begin configuring SAP. The realization phase is broken into two parts:
a) Your SAP consulting team helps you configure your baseline system,called the Baseline Configuration.
b) Your implementation project team fine-tunes that system to meet all your business and process requirements as part of the Fine Tuning Configuration (around 20%).
c) Configuration Testing: With the help of your SAP consulting team, you segregate your business processes into cycles of related business flows.The cycles serve as independent units that enable you to test specific parts of the business process. During this process, it becomes necessary to send your project team to level 3 SAP training.
d) Knowledge Transfer: As configuration phase comes to close, it becomes necessary for the project team to be self-sufficient in their knowledge of the configuration of your SAP system.
4. Phase 4 – Final Preparation: As phase 3 merges into phase 4, you should find yourselves not only in the midst of SAP training, but also in the midst of rigorous functional and stress testing.
a) Phase 4 also concentrates on the fine-tuning of your configurationbefore Go-live and more importantly, the migration of data from your old system or systems to SAP.
b) At the conclusion of phase 4, take time to plan and document a Go-livestrategy. Preparing for Go-live means preparing for your end users questions as they start actively working on the new SAP system.
5. Phase 5 – Go-Live and Support: Preparation is the key.
a) What if scenarios related not only to the individual business process deployed but also to the functioning of the technology underpinning these business process.
SAP WM Project Preparation and Go live tips
Off course this does not guarantee a successful implementation. It is a great deal of summed up aid, though.
- Team integration has to be enhanced .
- Set high standards of performance for implementation team .
- IT teams and users have to work closely during the implementation .
- New ways of thinking and acting must not be discarded .
- Do not underestimate the user training needs .
- Project management should be on the critical list .
- Consultants are not always the key to succeed .A good team work between business team (management ,users) and consultants plays a vital role.
- Deepening your basis knowledge is always useful
- Avoid changing standard R/3 objects as much as possible
- Always follow the SAP rules to give names to your own objects
- Focus on interfaces with non-R/3 applications .
- Plan the whole environment carefully (servers, network, protocols,printers, etc.)
- Development and production environment should be totally independent.
- Keep buffer time(atleast a day) between production stock uploads and go live date to take care of any surprise changes (price change , quantity change, etc.)
- At least once before production cut over do a complete data loads with real data extracted from legacy .This helps to test the data load tools at full load and estimate the time taken to finish the loads. Also quality of legacy data is known.
- Make sure the printers are set correct and are already tested in UAT. New printers for production environment might throw surprises.
- Make sure authorizations for users are thoroughly tested.
- Keep knowledge transfer activity between consultants and support team on agenda.
- Review blueprint document in detail.Signing blue print document should not be optional.
- Plan for system walk through early in the realization phase for end to end business process demonstration . This will help to understand any shortcomings of design, that were not thought of, any misunderstandings between consultants and business team and assumptions that might have been made by either parties,before it is too late. Remember a stitch in time saves nine.
- As far as possible review form layouts and printer assignments in detail.