SAP implementation should never be considered as just one more IT job; rather it can very much to bring about a total business change as well. Thus, it has to be well planned and carefully monitored on a strategic program level. Interest, stake, and level of collaboration with key business functions are absolutely essential since SAP implementation involves integration of new information systems. All these areas have to be addressed in a careful way in order for the business benefits from the implemented SAP technology. Given below are some of the key points, which need to be kept in mind, while planning for SAP implementation:
The test plan is a necessity for any IT project. Without any proper test plan in place, it would be very difficult to evaluate the progress of SAP application in real time. Thus, the test plan should consider all possible scenarios that might be encountered in the implementation process. For instance, it is much better to prepare a test plan based on the industry requirements and specific goals of SAP.
The selection of an end-user group for SAP implementation must be taken into consideration during the planning stage. The selection of end-users must be based on the functionality they would provide in the context of SAP application as well as their capacity to handle the implementation process itself. When going for this stage of the implementation, it is best to ask for recommendations of a technical support organization. It is very important to finalize the end users with a view towards avoiding duplication. Some of the areas where recommendation may come into use include the following:
The selection of an initial technical support organization should not be left till the last minute. In the earlier stages of the implementation process, it is best to form a relationship with the prospective partners so that they can give you their feedback early on about the status of the project. In the project preparation, the process of choosing the most appropriate partner should be started with the identification of the most appropriate technology platform. In order to choose the correct partner, the selection criteria should be analyzed with a view to avoid incompatible solutions and shortfalls. Once the most suitable partner is shortlisted, the planning process of the implementation can move ahead.
In the functional development phase, the most significant change management tasks are carried out. This is a phase in which the system design is updated to reflect changes that have taken place in the course of implementation. At this stage, the primary aim of the change management team is to track and manage changes that have taken place throughout the entire project life cycle.