By Scott Corwin, Managing Partner, Resolute Technologies
Is your SAP® initiative experiencing delay with deliverables taking longer than expected? Is it over budget with endless customizations? Are you concerned that your project will have these problems? These can, unfortunately, be common issues when in the process of a major SAP upgrade or implementation. So how do you gain or ensure control of the project and keep it?
Most often, delays in SAP initiatives are caused by under allocation of the SAP-skilled resources provided by your System Integrator (SI). If the project is incorrectly estimated or the resources do not have the right expertise or experience, this can result in missing deadlines and cost overruns. Independent Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) engaged by you should have one focus – success of your initiative. All projects should have internal champions that are SMEs.
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Many companies realize that using a domestic, independent third party for certain project resources helps to align your internal priorities, budget, and agenda. Supplement your internal project team with key resources placed at different checkpoints within the initiative, such as a project manager to oversee direction and be the interface with your SI, and one (SME) in the development, business analysis, and each specific module that you are planning to upgrade or implement. By adding niche skill-sets, you gain an experienced team that you own and control for as long as it takes to implement your solution, ensuring better control over deliverables.
You may have investigated offshoring your SAP project work, but that can also bring new risks and delays to your project timetable. You will not have the same visibility into the quality of the work as you would with an independent third party working in tandem with your internal team. Language barriers can cause issues, and the offshore resources may be under-qualified for what is actually required for project execution.
Utilizing an independent third party for SAP-skilled resources can be very cost-advantageous. You receive the appropriate functional, technical, project manager, program manager, or architects who are experts in their respective fields, without any on-the-job training needed, at a very competitive rate. They will be internal champions for you and will report to you, which means you will have the correct resources in place to keep the project on track and under budget.
Examples of the types of specialization that are available from independent third parties include:
Functional—System configuration and prototyping of the current business flows and implications to help form the AS IS document.
Technical— Designing technical specification from the functional specification, developing objects using ABAP, preparing the unit test case document, and performing peer reviews
Project Managers—Manage global implementations, manage SAP integrations and provide SAP estimates for global projects
Program Managers—Coordinate and manage integrations and interdependencies of SAP modules across numerous projects running concurrently throughout the business
Architects—Develop, implement and maintain the high-level design plan for the overall logical and technical IT architecture and/or enterprise structure in terms of governance structure, business processes, and business information
Quality Assurance—Deliver software-quality best practices in development environment, while working closely with software developers, business analysts, UI designers and other various teams across the organization
Trainers/Change Management—Design sustainability plan, interact with stakeholders for review of training deliverables, and deliver training sessions across multiple implementation sites
Ideally, you will have selected a SI that specializes in specific areas or verticals, as this will enhance the probability of meeting project execution milestones. You really will achieve a higher return-on-investment and ensure control over the success by focusing on specialized SAP experts throughout the value chain of your initiative, in terms of quality, time, and budget.