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SAP Implementation Unleashed
A Business and Technical Roadmap to Deploying SAP
George W. Anderson
Charles D. Nilson
SAP can help you capture better information and deliver it more quickly, allowing you to make better decisions and maximize the business value of everything you do. However, SAP implementations require massive effort, total buy-in, and significant change throughout the organization. In SAP Implementation Unleashed, 10 expert SAP project managers, functional consultants, and technologists guide you through the entire journey, helping you avoid pain and pitfalls and gain all the benefits of SAP.
The authors introduce start-to-finish business, technical, and project management roadmaps for successful SAP implementation. Then, drawing on their immense experience, they walk you through the entire process of planning and deployment—addressing make-or-break issues and hidden gaps that other guidebooks ignore. You’ll discover how to employ processes, models, and toolsets that help you achieve implementation excellence while systematically reducing cost and business risk. Along the way, you’ll find actionable advice and real-world insight into innovative project management, best-suited leadership, effective load testing, contemporary infrastructure implementation, and more.
George W. Anderson is responsible for providing enterprise applications thought leadership for the EDS/HP office of the CTO. A long-time SAP consultant and PMI-certified project manager, George has authored several best-selling books and enjoys new challenges.
Charles D. Nilson is a senior program manager for EDS/HP and has led many successful SAP implementation teams over the years. He is a PMI PMP and is SAP Partner Academy certified in MM and PP.
Tim Rhodes is a senior SAP technical consultant for EDS/HP and a Basis/infrastructure veteran focused on implementing, migrating, and upgrading SAP Business Suite and NetWeaver solutions. Tim is also an SAP-certified technical consultant, OCP, MCSE, and HP Master ASE.
Detailed Information on How To...
User Level: Beginner–Intermediate–Advanced
Part I Setting the Stage
1 What it Means to Implement SAP
2 SAP Projects: Characteristics and Themes
3 Business Vision
4 ERP Solution Vision
5 Financial Impact: ERP Costing and ROI
6 Knowledge Repository
Part II Getting Started
7 PM Checkpoint 1
8 Building the SAP PMO
9 SAP Project Management
10 No Implementation is an Island: Partners Required
11 Building the SAP Project Team
12 Staffing a World-Class Project Team
13 Staffing the SAP Business Teams
14 Staffing the SAP IT Technical Support Organization
15 HA Considerations and Solutions
16 DR Considerations and Solutions
17 Availability and Recoverability: Organizational Factors
18 Introduction to SAP Platform Sizing
19 Conducting the SAP Platform Sizing Process
20 Training SAP Users
21 Developing the SAP Data Center
Part III SAP REALIZATION/FUNCTIONAL DEVELOPMENT
22 PM Checkpoint 2
23 Preparing for SAP Component Installations
24 Installing SAP NetWeaver Components
25 Installing SAP Business Suite Components
26 Functional Development
27 Functional Configuration Change Control
28 Functional, Integration, and Regression Testing
29 Advanced Concepts: Functional Testing
Part IV PLANNING FOR GO-LIVE
30 PM Checkpoint 3: Project Team Retention
31 SAP Infrastructure Operational Considerations
32 SAP Infrastructure and Platform Testing
33 SAP Load and Stress Testing
34 Technical Change Control
35 SAP Systems and Operations Management
36 Preparing for SAP Go-Live
Appendix A Case Study Considerations and Conclusions
Appendix B SAP Acronyms and Terminology
Implementing SAP has always been about transformation, or letting go of old ways of doing things in favor of something newer and better. Transformation goes beyond the incremental changes an organization might adopt as it seeks to change. Instead, transformational change is synonymous with revolutionary, rather than evolutionary, change. It’s about turning the corner, getting over the hump, or making the leap to a better place. Is it painful? Nearly always. Is it worth it? With a number of exceptions, the answer is nearly always yes. Implementing SAP is one of the few broad transformations that can take not only a business unit but an entire company to the next level, to a place where better information is delivered more quickly, better decisions are made, and ultimately an increased return on information (an old SAP adage that continues to be validated by thousands of SAP’s customers) is realized. The trick is doing it right.
The pain associated with an SAP implementation comes from several different places. End users will be changing both their tools and the way they work. Managers and other decision makers will be changing processes with which they’ve grown comfortable over the years. Better information will drive these new processes faster, too, bringing with them a different set of issues. And behind all of this, IT organizations will find themselves deploying and managing the most critical suite of companywide business applications they’ve ever seen. All this change is akin to growth; awkward crawling and hesitant walking at first, followed by a bit of stumbling and a certain amount of falling and getting back up again. Like learning to walk, implementing SAP comes with its share of bruises. Persistent organizations will get through this and see themselves grow more resilient, more self-aware, and ultimately less like the old organization. There’s almost no way around all of this; transformational change has great upside down the road but is painful nonetheless.
What if you had a guide, though? Someone who had already navigated these waters and walked these paths? Wouldn’t such a thing be worthwhile? Wouldn’t a book authored by 10 SAP project managers, functional consultants, and technologists with more than a century of combined experience go a long way toward giving you the peace of mind you need on this journey?
That’s where we come in. Our goal is to outline the business, technical, and project management roadmaps necessary to successfully plan for and complete an SAP implementation, and then fill in all the important gaps. We want you to be able to draw upon a deep pool of experience and lessons learned, comfortable in the knowledge that you not only are in good hands, but are also obviously not the first to attempt an SAP implementation. Through this book, you will crawl, walk, and run in record time. You’ll make fewer missteps and ultimately cross the finish line closer to budget and your timelines than you ever could have solo. There will still be the underlying discomfort of change, but in retrospect you’ll find that your journey has been a whole lot less painful than it might have been. And you’ll find that you not only did more with less, but did better (than your competitors!) with less, as explained next.
One of the obvious facts about implementing SAP nowadays is that you’re not alone. Upward of 95% of Fortune 500 companies have introduced SAP into their enterprises, as have more than 47,000 other businesses. SAP is everywhere, helping companies change the way they do business, essentially changing their world. Additionally, the information technology underpinning SAP has transitioned from a supporting role (1980s) to something that provides competitive advantage (in the 1990s), to something that also extends where and how business is conducted (2000s). Today, our information technologies are taking us to yet another place, a place where IT and the business are so intertwined and interconnected that IT is the business, and the business is IT.
None of this is a big secret. Truth be told, in such a me-too world, the increased innovation you might have been sold on relative to adopting SAP might turn out to be less of a competitive advantage than you thought. More likely, bringing in SAP and other enterprise applications nowadays will only bring you up to par with the bulk of your competitors. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions in particular are less often the innovative game-changers of years past but rather, for many, have become the required investment necessary to merely re-level the playing field.
So, to be most effective, and to really raise the bar compared to your competitors who have already introduced SAP into their environments, you will need to do it better than them. You’ll need to innovate beyond the business innovation that comes with implementing SAP’s business scenarios and well-integrated applications. Through the very way you deploy SAP and prepare your teams to manage, use, and maintain SAP post go-live, you must find ways to innovate. You’ll need to innovate on all fronts, from the way you conduct business, to technical and technology matters, process matters, and even project management approaches and methodologies; it’s these innovations that together will fuel your ascent a rung or two higher than your competition.
Implementing SAP is a ton of work, to be sure. We’ll help you consider and explore potential innovations at every step along the way. We’ll teach you how to boldly sidestep incremental change in favor of strategic revolution—where it makes sense. We’ll tell you what your competitors have already done and explain how you can do the same thing better, faster, and cheaper. Beyond this, we’ll show you how to gain a competitive edge in the process—how to leapfrog your competitors in ways that really make a difference. They might talk of one day achieving operational excellence, but you’ll implement processes, models, and toolsets that set the stage for not only achieving it today but reducing ongoing costs and risks in the process. They will speak of creating a custom application that somehow differentiates their business from others, but you will transform your business by adopting best and common business practices to deploy an integrated and accessible set of systems that capitalizes on your unique intellectual property.
Furthering our efforts to help you leapfrog your competitors, we will give you actionable advice and real-world insight spanning everything from project management methodologies to leadership styles, the pending impact of “mega trends” such as green IT, service-oriented architectures (SOAs), virtualization strategies, automated systems management approaches, compelling computing platform refresh strategies, social networking leverage, and more.
How will you innovate? The answer depends on the role you play in your SAP implementation. No role is without opportunity for innovation. For example:
To this last point, contagious cultures and organizations share a number of attributes. They’re seen as outstanding places to work, and therefore draw in talent from the company’s internal employee pool. Because of this, contagious cultures and organizations suffer little from retention problems. They’re naturally innovative, spawn new opportunities for growth, lead the larger organization in terms of adopting and successfully embedding new technologies and business solutions, and act as role models for the rest of the firm. We’ll show you what it takes to create and maintain such a contagious culture, beginning with your SAP project teams and culminating in your operational post-go-live staffing models and support organizations.
So, you’re ready to plunge into the world of SAP! Or, maybe you’re in too deep already, perhaps even past that critical point of go-live, and need to step back and review where you are and how you got there. Perhaps you’re soon going to be involved in a new SAP implementation, or are considering a support or management role at an existing SAP site. On the other hand, you might just be curious about what an SAP implementation is all about. In any case, you have come to the right place.
Our target audience is broad and includes those new to SAP (users, managers, executives, consultants, educators) as well as those looking to simply broaden their view of the SAP solution landscape. Our intention is to provide an end-to-end look at the SAP solutions and technology. After all, there’s so much going on with SAP’s products, naming conventions, and direction that it’s hard for seasoned insiders and other experts to keep up, much less those on the outside looking in.
We suspect that many readers will use this text as a baseline of sorts, comparing their own SAP plans and implementations to what we have provided, looking for new ideas, or alternatives for approaching the problems that are common to all system implementations. Given this commonality, we believe our readers fall into a number of general categories including:
More specifically, if you fall into one of the following roles, you’ll benefit from this book:
A key strength of this book is that it contains enough material to satisfy beginners, intermediate readers, and long-time SAP experts without “dumbing down” the content. It’s a hard balance to strike but something your authors have kept in mind throughout the writing process. Another strength is the holistic approach we have taken relative to explaining implementation projects, particularly the three-lane roadmap (business/functional, technical, and project management) that should not only broaden the appeal of this book but make it more relevant to a wider audience. To make sense of everything SAP, the book has been crafted along the lines of a project plan—our central roadmap is therefore steeped in project management. Along the way, we have generously peppered in real-world observations and practical examples to give substance to the journey. As we mentioned earlier, in this journey lies the core value that we provide to you—the chance to benefit from the experiences of others. There’s no value and no reason to reinvent the wheel. Frankly, most everything you need or want in regard to an SAP implementation has already been done, and done well, by someone else. Your job can be much simpler and certainly less risky because of them.
Whether you are implementing an SAP supply chain system, customer relationship management system, or a portal to front-end your existing business applications, there are certain tasks that must be planned for and executed across the board. If you’re interested in minimizing costs and managing your critical path to a successful outcome, all these tasks must occur in a certain logical order or sequence. With all of this in mind, it seemed rather obvious that a roadmap built first and foremost around a “project plan” made the most sense for the book.
For beginners joining a new implementation project team, we suggest that you read the book sequentially from the first to the last chapter. If you find yourself in the middle of a project, though, feel free to jump to the chapters that best fit your project or timeline status. Of course, in doing so you might well “skip” over knowledge that could very well prove useful, too. We suggest quickly reviewing the Table of Contents, therefore, to determine if it makes sense in your particular case to go back and review any passed-over content. If you’re more experienced, you’ll find it pretty easy to skip around and read chapters as they apply to you. To keep you reading (rather than flipping back and forth between the appendixes and text), we’ve taken care to define acronyms in each chapter. This approach is much different from that used in most books, in which definitions and acronyms are explained only the first time they’re introduced; we hope you find our approach useful.
In a world filled with books on SAP (those of us who work with SAP for a living like to hear it pronounced “ess-aye-pea,” by the way), this book is unique. In our review of numerous “how to” and other SAP planning guides over the years, we continually noticed how little attention was given to addressing the real challenges related to deploying an SAP business solution or enabling technology. For example, little attention was ever given to
We address all these issues, and much more, from an SAP perspective. And by following the methodical approach outlined earlier, we promote a timeline that coincides nicely with SAP’s ASAP methodology and newer SAP Solution Manager–inspired roadmap. This allows project management tasks, functional/business process development, and related technology deployment milestones and resource requirements to be mapped out in lockstep, one with the others.
As you can tell by now, there’s much to cover! This book is organized into several high-level sections, or parts. Part I, “Setting the Stage,” lays the groundwork for the book and comprises the first six chapters. The bulk of this material is focused on identifying and then marrying business vision with SAP’s business applications and something we call solution vision. Part I concludes with financial considerations and a chapter on capturing all of the project’s inputs, assumptions, and decisions in a knowledge repository.
Part II, “Getting Started,” focuses initially on the project management office and project staffing, and then turns to matters of leadership. Next, we address the technical matters critical in setting the groundwork for your SAP hardware and other technology infrastructure, though not before addressing what it means to create a highly available and disaster-tolerant solution.
In Part III, “SAP Realization/Functional Development,” detailed technical planning and installation steps are followed up by chapters focused on functional development, tools, best practices, change control, SOA, and testing—all written from a functional or business perspective.
Part IV, “Planning for Go-Live,” concludes the book and addresses infrastructure, technical change control, load testing, and essential operational considerations that must be addressed well before the SAP system is ready for productive use. The final chapter goes so far as to outline the events and tasks immediately preceding SAP go-live—tasks that should help create a smooth transition from the firm’s old way of doing business to its new, SAP-enabled enterprise business solution.
Although the functional programming, configuration, and work required to make SAP actually useful after it is installed is paramount to the overall success of any SAP implementation, we do not go into the details of how to configure SAP here. Instead, we leave most of the information related to configuration as well as using SAP’s programming language, Advanced Business Application Programming (ABAP), and its more recently supported development option, Java, to the many books, articles, and other documents out there aimed squarely at this kind of activity. When appropriate, we discuss functional development, testing, and other related tasks as they impact our discussions from an SAP implementation perspective, however.
In addition, though we give the topics of business vision and solution vision a great amount of attention, we pretty much assume that you have already selected SAP (or it has been selected for you!) as your enterprise solution package of choice. Certainly, there are a number of choices in the enterprise solutions arena—including products from Oracle, Microsoft, The Sage Group, Lawson, Epicor, and other providers. Pure Internet-based plays and new delivery paradigms such as software as a service (SaaS) and cloud computing offerings are changing the landscape as you read this. However, SAP continues to command the lion’s share of enterprise implementations, even recently surpassing a number of “best of breed” specialty applications in terms of popularity. Some of these will be discussed later, but if you are looking for a book that will help you determine which enterprise application is right for you, you need to keep looking; outside of basic business vision and application considerations outlined in Chapters 3 and 4, this book presupposes that SAP has been chosen for your enterprise business computing needs.
When we initially discussed this book project, we really liked the idea of sharing the lessons we’ve collectively learned over the past 10 to 15 years. Giving the book a “real world” flavor from several roadmap perspectives—project management, business/functional development, and technology—was our first concern. For this reason, we have included practical examples, actual customer lessons learned, real-life explanations, tips and tricks, common mistakes you need to avoid, and much more. In our view, material such as this will help the book to not only stand out in a crowd but create a worthwhile reference that’s pulled out and used time and again. We also wanted to provide a mechanism for applying what you’ve read in a way that really drives it all home. To this end, we are particularly fond of the ongoing case study we have prepared for you. It starts in Chapter 1 and weaves its way through the entire book. An amalgamation of many different projects we’ve been a part of, it includes typical issues, questions, and problems—all of which naturally highlight each chapter’s material. Who better to learn from than those who have gone before you?
In a nutshell, then, to keep you grounded and to present a well-rounded perspective on SAP implementation, each part, if not each chapter, includes material focused on
In conclusion, our experiences are real. They reflect the real challenges embraced and conquered by many different SAP enterprise customers spanning many different industries and geographies. Not all of our implementations have been wildly successful, but, with only a handful of exceptions, we have indeed managed to change and essentially help our customers reinvent their companies through implementing SAP. Our best practices, common practices, lessons learned, and laundry list of problem areas and issues are gleaned from literally a thousand implementations, upgrades, and migrations, including the latest NetWeaver-enabled SAP business solutions. So read on, and position yourself and your company to get it right the first time, do it better than your competitors, and reap the benefits that only 10 guides singularly focused on one thing—helping you—can provide. Thank you again for picking up this book and adding it to your collection.
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Posted March 2, 2013
Posted October 5, 2011
SAP implementation unleashed is the closest thing I've seen to covering all the relevant aspects of an SAP implementation project. George and team bring a wealth of knowledge to bear. They start with the premise that knowing SAP is about more than knowing technology and more than knowing how to implement a system for running a business. Instead it's about managing a combination of things- business, technology and project management roadmaps that TOGETHER will set you on the road to doing SAP right. To kick things off, they set the stage with the facts. SAP projects are complex change enablers, necessarily expensive, but ultimately necessary (for reasons the authors explore). After working through some of the best material I've read on establishing business vision and tying in technology to make it happen, the authors then cover number crunching, staffing considerations, managing information, and capturing knowledge throughout the implementation process. Different sections of the book also cover the variety of tasks needed to make YOU a key player - from the idea that SAP might be a better way to run the business to actually managing all the changes and people and technologies required to get it in. They do a fantastic job on the project manager side of the house and cover many of the topics that get less coverage than they deserve: testing, tech installs, NetWeaver and other development tools, operations and the many steps needed before go live. IMHO, for the reader who wants to know what SAP implementations are really all about this is the book for you AND your entire project team.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 29, 2011
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