Home > About Me, Project Management, SAP > SAP Implementation Challenges / Part 1

SAP Implementation Challenges / Part 1

Typical Implementation Problems:

Enterprise Packages or ERP Solutions have come a long way and progressed over the years. Today it is possible to keep track of most transactions in real-time across an entire enterprise.

SAP is a software package that is highly configurable and was developed building on Best Business Practices. Implementing SAP will most likely alter existing business processes for the better, as long as change is accepted. One of the most difficult issues during an SAP implementation is most often the reluctance to change. People become comfortable with the way things have always been done. To put the necessary changes in place a well laid out plan must be established.

Any ERP implementation has its challenges, which range from financial over functional to technical issues. During any implementation, problems can appear at all levels of the project. These can be business problems, financial problems, ERP systems functionality issues as well as conflicts between project team members. Combined these problems can make the management of the project a true nightmare.  There for it is important to deal with all problems in a timely manner. Procrastination may lead to a accumulation of problems, which can make resolution almost impossible without any delays in the overall project timeframe.

Anyone who has participated in multiple systems implementations knows that there is no such thing as a typical implementation. Every implementation is different. Every implementation has its unique risks and challenges.

It is important to have a defined project scope. The project scope is necessary to keep the entire project focused on delivering the implementation with its agreed upon functionality.  Usually projects start with a scope definition based on business functionality. Organizations usually put together a document specifying its requirements based on its current business model. This document is used to identify the proper ERP Solution. After selecting the ERP Solution of its choice this document is then used as project scope, meaning the attempt is made to make the ERP Solution to fit the existing business model. Again, here comes the reluctance to change in place.

For any SAP Project, it is recommended and better to define the scope by SAP functionality. SAP has been developed using standard business rules. A SAP implementation may require a change in current business rules in order to adapt easier to SAP and be able to stay as close as possible to the standard. Staying as close as possible to the standard will allow also for easier compatibility with future SAP releases and make any upgrade easier and less costly. Staying with the standard and following SAP project scope will help also to avoid ambiguity within the project team in regards to what SAP functionality is within the scope and what functionality is out of scope.

It may be difficult to manage the scope. During an implementation the implementation team will discover and learn more about the SAP functionality and the business itself, which may make it necessary to change the project scope periodically.

Part 2: Resource & Management Problems .

Oliver Schmid


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