Friday, August 22, 2008

Sap Project Implementation

SAP Implementation is the whole of processes that defines a complete method to implement SAP software in an organization. The SAP implementation method described in this entry is a generic method and not a specific implementation method as such. It is based on best practices and case studies from various literature sources and presents a collection of processes and products that make up a complete implementation method to allow any organization to plan and execute the implementation of SAP (ERP) softwar


The implementation of SAP software, such as SAP R/3 is almost always a massive operation that brings a lot of changes in the organization. The whole process can take up to several years. Virtually every person in the organization is involved, whether they are part of the SAP technical support organization (TSO) or the actual end-users of the SAP software. The resulting changes that the implementation of SAP generates are intended to reach high level goals, such as improved communication and increased return on information (as people will work with the same information). It is therefore very important that the implementation process is planned and executed with the usage of a solid method. There are various SAP implementation methods, such as IBM’s Ascendant. An example of how one company, Robert Bosch GmbH, implemented SAP R/3 over 10 years is available . This study shows that designing IT architecture is very critical in SAP implementation practices.


Figure 1: SAP Implementation process-data diagram

The SAP implementation process is made up out of four main phases, i.e. the project preparation where a vision of the future-state of the SAP solution is being created, a sizing and blueprinting phase where the solution stack is created and training is being performed, a functional development phase and finally a final preparation phase, when the last tests are being performed before the actual go live. For each phase, the vital activities are addressed and the deliverables/products are explained.

The process-data diagram that is depicted at the right, gives an overview of all of these activities/processes and deliverables. The four gray boxes depict the four main implementation phases, which each contain several processes that are in this case all sequential. The boxes at the right show all the deliverables/concepts that result from the processes. Boxes without a shadow have no further sub-concepts. Boxes with a black shadow depict complex closed concepts, so concepts that have sub-concepts, which however will not be described in any more detail. Boxes with a white shadow (a box behind it) depict open closed concepts, where the sub-concepts are expanded in greater detail. The lines with diamonds show a has-a relationship between concepts.

Many of implementations are also done with ASAP(Accelerated SAP) methodolgy evolved from best practises in SAP.

Activity table

The following table provides a summary of all of the activities that form the SAP implementation process. These activities will be described with more detail and elaborated with examples in the rest of this entry.

Activity Sub-Activity Description
Project preparation Craft solution vision Refine and communicate a SOLUTION VISION of the future-state of the SAP solution, to sketch a design that meets both business and financial requirements. The focus should be on the company’s core business and how the SAP solution will better enable that core business to be successful.
Design and initially staff the SAP TSO Design and staff the key positions of the SAP Technical Support Organization (TSO), the organization that is charged with addressing, designing, implementing and supporting the SAP solution.
Sizing and blueprinting Perform cost of ownership analysis Perform a COST OF OWNERSHIP ANALYSIS to determine how to get the best business solution for the least money i.e. to determine where and when the costs are incurred within the context of the SAP solution stack.
Identify high availability and disaster recovery requirements Determine all HIGH AVAILABILITY and DISASTER RECOVERY REQUIREMENTS, to plan what to do with later downtime of the SAP system
Engage SAP solution stack vendors Select the best SAP hardware and software technology partners for all layers and components of the SAP SOLUTION STACK, based on a side-by-side sizing comparison
Staff TSO Staff the bulk of the TSO, i.e. fill the positions that directly support the near-term objectives of the implementation, which are to develop and begin installation/implementation of the SAP data center.
Execute training Train the various members of the SAP TSO, like data center specialists, high availability specialist and network specialists and train the end-users to give all the required SAP knowledge and skills
Setup SAP DATA CENTER Build a new SAP DATA CENTER facility or transform the current data center into a foundation capable of supporting the SAP SOLUTION STACK
Perform installations Install the (My)SAP components and technological foundations like a web application server or enterprise portal.
Round out support for SAP Identify and staff the remaining TSO roles, e.g. roles that relate to help desk work and other such support providing work.
SAP functional development Address Change Management Develop a planned approach to the changes in the organization. The objective is to maximize the collective efforts of all people involved in the change and minimize the risk of failure of implementing the changes related to the SAP implementation.
Address SAP systems and operations management Create a foundation for the SAP systems management and SAP computer operations, by creating a SAP OPERATIONS MANUAL and by evaluating SAP management applications.
Perform functional, integration and regression tests Test the SAP business processes, by executing functional tests to ensure that business processes work, integration tests to ensure that the organization’s business processes work together with other business processes and regression tests to prove that a specific set of data and processes yield consistent and repeatable results.
Final Preparation Perform systems and stress tests Plan, script, execute and monitor SAP STRESS TESTS, to see if the expectations of the end users, defined in service level agreements, will be met.
Prepare for cutover Plan, prepare and execute the CUTOVER, by creating a CUTOVER PLAN that describes all cutover tasks that have to be performed before the actual go-live
Go Live Turn on the SAP system for the end-users


  • Know and communicate the business goals. What will the project cost, and wh1t are the returns? If you don't know where you're headed, you won't know whether you've arrived at the right place.

  • Get users involved early. The best time to involve users is at the definition stage. No one can do a better job of telling you what they need from technology than the people on the front line; there's no sense giving them a new e-mail package when what they really need is a phone.

  • Manage the risks. Business risk: If the project's ROI is based on winning new contracts, what happens if you don't win them? Technical risk: Is the project based on mature or bleeding-edge technology? Good projects have fallback plans; good sponsors know the risk level and the fallback plans before they sign up.

  • Keep one eye on the scope. Once the goals are defined and the functions of the system are targeted, hold them steady. Require a business case for making any significant changes to a project that's already underway.

  • Put accountability in the right places. Don't accept IS excuses for late delivery. However, it is up to the business line to use the system and achieve the business goals.

  • Get people excited. If they believe in it, they'll usually find a way to make it successful. If the benefits are not obvious, you may want to sweeten the package with new desktop systems or a new service that users will get excited about.

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