Recognizing the critical need for efficient data management, business process automation, and seamless integration between different teams and departments, many companies have turned to comprehensive SAP systems for help.

With its suite of enterprise resource planning applications and tools, SAP can help organizations in any industry streamline their most essential business operations, improve productivity, and enhance decision-making across teams. But, more often than not, teams lack the personnel and resources to plan, manage, and execute a successful SAP implementation…

This article will discuss the key stages and components of a successful SAP implementation, a few best practices for your implementation team, and where our team of SAP consultants can help optimize your SAP systems and maximize your investment.

Read on to learn more!

What is SAP Implementation?

An SAP implementation refers to the process of leveraging a defined “methodology” to deploy and integrate new SAP systems, applications, or tools across a company’s SAP system and maximizing the functionality and efficiency of SAP processes, even after the go-live date.

With well-planned SAP implementations, companies can build a strong foundation for their core SAP applications, improve the agility and responsiveness of their new, modern business processes, and make better decisions regarding desired features and tools.

Preparing for a Successful SAP Implementation

Here are a few key business areas to focus on to identify and solve issues, review and prioritize current business processes, and ensure a seamless SAP implementation…

Finance and Accounting

Key elements of finance and accounting processes, including key performance indicators (KPIs), accurate financial transactions, and other real-time data analysis tools, are essential to organizations in any industry and must span the entirety of the organization.

When considering a new SAP implementation, companies must ensure these metrics are considered and integrated with other areas of the organization and SAP software, including cash management, asset management, and budgeting, to improve functionality and accuracy across core finance and accounting operations.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

In today’s modern business world, customer relationship management (CRM) functions affect virtually every aspect of an organization, from sales to field service, order management, shipping, and more.

And, to ensure your team makes the most of your SAP solution, CRM capabilities must be integrated across all other aspects of your SAP software from the beginning of your SAP implementation project to post-production support tasks after your go-live.

This way, your company can connect and streamline core business workflows and enhance user and customer satisfaction and engagement over time.

Human Resources Management (HRM)

Your people are your most important asset, yet managing a diverse, qualified, and cohesive workforce can often be quite challenging.

With a need for immediate and secure access to critical employee information, including benefits, payroll, scheduling, and more, companies need functional ERP software that makes this kind of access possible.

A well-defined SAP project plan makes it easier for companies to prepare their teams for implementation and execute plans across the board to keep processes aligned and employees at the top of the priority list.

Business Intelligence

Intelligent technologies, like personalized dashboards and management alerts, can help companies stay up-to-date with changes in their data across teams and combine all their valuable information in a single database.

By leveraging business intelligence across your SAP implementation project, your company can easily drill down into the details of your business processes for improved productivity and resolve issues before they become bigger problems.

How to Plan Your SAP Implementation Project

Here are a few tips to plan your SAP implementation project in the most efficient way…

1) Select the SAP software to meet your needs.

Selecting the right SAP software for your business needs is the first step toward successful implementation and long-term operational efficiency. And, with a wide range of SAP solutions available, each catering to specific business needs, industry standards, and functional requirements, it is essential to thoroughly evaluate your organization’s unique needs before making a decision.

Start by assessing your business processes, identifying pain points, and defining the outcomes you wish to achieve through your SAP implementation project. Your team should consider factors such as scalability, integrations, and the level of customization required when choosing the right SAP module, application, or integration tool to meet your needs.

2) Outline tasks for the entire project.

From teaching your project team members about the key components and capabilities of your chosen SAP software to completing documentation for data management functions, conducting ongoing training to ensure proper functionality over time, and more, a successful SAP implementation requires efficient task management.

3) Calculate work hours for stakeholders.

To accurately calculate the required hours for each task throughout the implementation process, your company must first understand the task at hand, the amount of work involved in completing the task, and how often the task will need to be completed or checked on.

Once your employees understand the task, they can calculate work hours and distribute tasks to different stakeholders across teams, ensuring project tasks are completed on time and within budget.

4) Build a realistic implementation schedule.

When creating an implementation schedule that is realistically aligned with your organizational structure and your business needs, it’s essential to consider a few critical aspects of the overall implementation process, including…

  • Your target project timeline and Go-Live date
  • Total number of work hours required to complete the full implementation
  • The amount of stakeholders involved in each phase of the implementation
  • Total number of work hours available for a 1-year time period
  • Availability of internal and external resources throughout the timeline
  • Approximate timeframe for each phase of the implementation process

5) Ensure your data is clean.

Before beginning any phase of your SAP implementation process, your company must cleanse your existing data to ensure the accuracy and reliability of each data source before it is analyzed, migrated, and integrated into your new SAP ERP systems.

This way, your company can maintain data integrity, even if additional data management steps are added to the implementation project plan after the project has already started.

6) Keep key stakeholders informed.

Bad things tend to happen when people are misinformed or not kept in the loop with changes to implementation plans or timelines for each project phase…

This is why keeping key stakeholders, including company executives, IT personnel, and project team members, informed throughout the implementation process is essential to your success.

And, to ensure all stakeholders are on the same page with project progress and ongoing initiatives, project leaders should consider sending a weekly (or bi-weekly) update to all employees involved in that phase of the implementation.

For a closer look at the roles and responsibilities of an SAP implementation partner, click here.

Key Steps Across the SAP Implementation Process

Let’s take a closer look at a few of the critical steps in the SAP implementation process…

  • Project preparation: The first step of an implementation project requires teams to outline the foundation for their project plan, including project goals and objectives, timeline and budget for the project, implementation teams, and the project scope.
  • Business blueprint: In this phase of the SAP ERP implementation journey, teams can create a business blueprint to document an organization’s project requirements and establish how your business operations will be represented in the SAP system. This helps companies outline and define business processes and requirements and ensures proper task and system management over time.
  • Realization/implementation: The realization phase is broken into two essential parts: one that involves configuring your baseline SAP system and one that requires your implementation team to fine-tune the system to meet all business process requirements. All system customizations, non-productive system conversions, and adjustments also occur in this phase to ensure the system is implemented and adopted correctly.
  • Testing: During this phase, integration tests are conducted to determine the progress of the implementation process so far and ensure teams are prepared to successfully implement SAP solutions in the subsequent phases of the project plan. And, by testing the whole process and each workload, companies can ensure their data migration and system management processes are carried out efficiently and effectively.
  • Go live: In this phase, companies will move from a pre-production environment to a live environment, including migrating each data source to the new production environment. This step also gives all authorized users access to the tools, applications, and modules included in the implementation plan.
  • Post-production support: Once your new SAP solutions are live in production, a dedicated support team should be established to maintain functionality, resolve any issues, and ensure employees are prepared to complete required tasks over time.

How Can We Help?

Whether you need help outlining complex aspects of your ERP project preparation phase, additional support planning future business processes within your SAP ERP software, or just an extra hand optimizing your SAP landscape, Surety Systems is here to help.

Our team of senior-level SAP consultants has the technical skills and functional expertise needed to lead your team to success, no matter how complex your organizational structure or where the nature of your business needs lie. Your technology. Your priorities. Our expertise. That’s just the way we roll.

Getting Started with Us

Interested in learning where our team of SAP consultants can fit in your organization?

Ready to get started on your SAP implementation journey but don’t know where to begin?

Contact us today for more information about our SAP consulting services!