Scott Chiavetta, VP Customer One & CIO, Alliance Laundry Systems
SAP and it’s Surprises
It is pretty well known that SAP needs to be configured to satisfy business requirements—but I was very surprised at the amount of ‘tweaking’ that had to be done in order to make the software work with some of our business processes. While we went with stock SAP functionality wherever possible, we have some processes that represent a competitive advantage for us—and that required more development time and money than I anticipated. One other surprise was the amount of work it took to mirror all of our legacy reports within SAP–even after aggressively purging everything we didn’t need; there was still a huge amount of work within SAP to get the right information in the right format. SAP has everything you need; it just takes a fair amount of effort to put it together. There is a fair amount of upfront time that has to be spent scoping these issues to make sure the project doesn’t end up late and over budget.
Things to Remember with SAP
It isn’t enough just to dedicate the right number of people to the project you have to dedicate the right people. If your best and brightest are not involved in every aspect of the implementation, the finished product won’t be what you are looking for. Get top management involved in the scoping process to limit creep and have buy-in from the start of the project. If line managers need to justify changes or development up front to top management they will be more realistic as to what they need versus what they want.
“SAP needs to be configured and tweaked in order to make the software work with some of the business processes”
Plan for a larger amount of time and money dedicated to system development and report development often the implementer won’t fully understand the scope of change necessary when preparing the initial quote and project plan. Don’t commit to a final ‘Go Live’ date and cost until a deep dive has been done on the development and reporting requirements.
Goof-ups and Effectual Resolution while Implementing SAP
The biggest mistake I have seen is not dedicating enough resources to the project or not allowing the resources that are assigned enough time to focus on the project. We took a project team completely out of the organization for 15 months and backfilled their responsibilities with temporary employees. After the implementation they went back into the organization, but during the project they were 100 percent focused on putting in SAP the right way. Another mistake to avoid is picking the wrong implementation firm. It is well worth the time to do a thorough assessment and get client recommendations that mirror the industry you are in. A firm that has done an implementation in the same industry with a similar scope will have a much better handle on the time and resources, that it will take to implement successfully.