10 Key Infrastructure Tips for SAP Implementation Projects

Table of Contents

SAP Infrastructure Requirements

 

Want to know how to win friends and influence enemies?  If you’re about to embark on a SAP Project and you’re the designated SAP project manager, you can make a lot of friends by making sure you have all the components that are known to work when it comes to setting up your SAP project implementation environment. 

 

SAP Implementation Environment Requirements

 

I am not talking about the SAP hardware, I am talking about the SAP project implementation environment, specifically, the shared folder, office applications, Solution Manager, and other applications.

I have done this once or twice and have seen many, many variations in the SAP implementation environments as there are many different SAP implementation methodologies.  Want to know the key to long term success?  Strive to set up an SAP ASAP classroom equivalent implementation environment. 

 

Accept No Variation. 

 

Push back on all ‘corporate imposed variations’, as they have no basis in logic or fact with regards to what it takes to successfully implement SAP.  

 

That is pretty ‘hard-core’ I know, many toes will be stepped upon, no doubt, but if you, as the project manager, allow technical people who are not in charge of implementing SAP to impose non-SAP Implementation “Class-Room” equivalent environments on you, then shame on you. 

 

How To Implement SAP

 

What are some of the requirements of your environment you may not even have thought about though?

 

Global SAP Implementation EnvironmentEnsure Your Global SAP Implementation is a Pristine Classroom Environment for Success

 

  1. Solution Manager. 

    It is not just there for support.  SAP does not deliver their ASAP implementation methodology for free on a CD anymore, thus, you either have to get it from the Solution Manager (it is actually part of the tool) or the SAP Service Marketplace.

  2. SAP Project Scope


    You must set up the scope of your project using SAP Solution Manager.  Additionally, you need to do a thorough cross-check between your SAP SOW and this scope.  If you are using a SI (Systems Integrator), then their approach must also incorporate this Best Practice.

  3. SAP Best Practices

    You MUST understand how to select and use SAP Best Practices, which may involve the combination of core and SAP industry specific solutions into your SM repository.  You also must understand where they end and what still remains in terms of design.

  4. Microsoft Project

    MS Project Enterprise
    with integrated E-Mail Directory Services (you may know these as sharepoint but there are a couple of different ways to skin this cat).  You want everybody on your team, and I mean everybody, to be listed in the e-mail server, fully integrated into your project plan and fully entered into your resource sheet in MS Project.  Fully means, full contact and cost information, and percent of time available to the project as well as time of availability, i.e., weekends only, Tuesdays, etc,.

  5. Project Folder System

    You will need a shared folder capability, but it must have, at a minimum, the following minimum technical capabilities:
    Ability to assign teams to Folders
    Ability to assign teams to documents
    Ability to assign issues/tasks/actions to 1 or more individuals
    Extensive native reporting capability on all of the above.  
    For without this key capability, instead of spending your time managing the project, you will be spending most of your time chasing status.  You don’t have the time and that is not your job.  If you have set up your environment correctly, status will find you, and feed directly into your project plan.

  6. Business Process Level Estimations

    You have the capability within Solution Manager to assign teams to specific business processes, and they need to provide their estimates at the business process level

    You can then do an export from SM and at least get an initial idea of both the specific business processes and the time line your team thinks they can deliver to.

  7. Business Process Mapping

    Decide early whether the graphical process mapping capability of the Solution Manager is enough to satisfy your diagramming requirements. 
    Good enough applies here, but not under all circumstances.

  8. SAP Help Files

    Never, under any circumstances, allow your BASIS team to ‘not’ configure Solution Manager to connect to the SAP help files it needs to generate complete business blueprints and configuration design documents. 

    If you hear that it is too large, too complex, etc., then you know you’re not going to meet your original project plan timelines as you now will have consultants recreating that which is provided freely by SAP and which the client has paid for in the software license. 

  9. SAP Project Implementation Methodology

    The SAP ASAP Methodology has many assumptions built into it about not only when certain activities should occur, but as well, some that have organizational implications. 

    For instance, traditionally, it assumes you will provide training during the blueprint phase to the project team that covers the first foundational topics of the SAP Academy. 

    This implies that the customer understands they will be developing an internal SAP delivery capability to capture the project knowledge for use post Go-Live. 

    If this, and subsequent training that is supposed to be delivered to the customer implementation is not delivered, then you are assuming either that you will forever outsource your SAP support needs, most likely to your implementor, or to whoever is cheapest that year. 

    This has huge implications down the road, and should be carefully weighed against the expected ability to respond to the ongoing demands of the business to support continuous improvement of the SAP system.

  10. Printing Out Your Project Plan Is a Must

    Get a wide format printer, which may also be known as a plotter, though these days they are just as likely to be inkjet or laser.  Never accept that 'oh so easy' precept to just have it printed at the local print shop. 

    Why? 

    They probably don’t have MS Project or perhaps not your version (it is a very expensive program the print shop is unlikely to have the drivers for).

    You cannot say how many times you will print it out, but initially, it will be a lot, and after you enter the monitor phase, it will still be at least once a week.

    You want your plan printed out and hung on the wall, visible, warts and all, to everyone and anyone who walks by. 

    An unprinted plan is an invisible plan.

    You need it printed out to truly be able to visualize it, to use the ability of the human mind to process graphical information 60,000 times faster than it can the printed word.

    Let your stakeholders bask in the glow of your plan, and be prepared to take the slings and arrows that may result, for it is their feedback that you need to nurture your masterplan.  I digress.

 

My SAP Project Implementation Tips From Real World Projects

 

Anyway, there you have it.  Thought it worthwhile to restate these core, foundational technical requirements as I have recently seen a few projects that don’t meet these criteria and the results were as expected. 

Got other questions about SAP project management.  You might get something from our SAP Project Management Checklist Style Guides you can use starting with our initial Top Ten SAP Project Management Tips.

 

Download Our Top Ten  SAP Project Management Tips

 

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Topics from this blog:
Best Practices Project Management ASAP

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Lonnie Ayers

About the Author: Lonnie Ayers is a Hubspot Certified Inbound Marketing consultant, with additional certifications in Hubspot Content Optimization, Hubspot Contextual Marketing, and is a Hubspot Certified Partner. Specialized in demand generation and sales execution, especially in the SAP, Oracle and Microsoft Partner space, he has unique insight into the tough challenges Service Providers face with generating leads and closing sales using the latest digital tools. With 15 years of SAP Program Management experience, and dozens of complex sales engagements under his belt, he helps partners develop and communicate their unique sales proposition. Frequently sought as a public speaker in various events, he is available for both inhouse engagements and remote coaching.
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He also recently released a book "How to Dominate Any Market - Turbocharging Your Digital Marketing and Sales Results", which is available on Amazon.

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