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SAP Reimplementation Method Key Considerations

January 30th, 2012 by
SAP REimplementation

SAP Reimplementation

Among three variations for SAP software re-implementations there are two key approaches.  You either make the changes to your existing production system (or a cloned copy of it) or you make the changes in a pristine, newly designed environment. 

SAP Cloned Production System “Re”-Implementations

Making changes in your existing production system (more likely in a cloned instance of it) helps ensure data consistency and ease of adjustment, however there are several difficulties involved.  If you have a significant number of custom-coded solutions you will have to fight them every step of the way.  You will have to work around them, deal with them throughout the process, adjust any out of date coding, and most likely will end up keeping many of them.  As you can tell, I’m not a big fan of an SAP reimplementation in a production system with lots of custom coding.

You either make the changes in your existing production system or in a newly installed instance with no data.

For example if you decided to consolidate organization structures from a multi-system environment you might quickly discover lots of hard coded values in custom programs.  These hard-coded values in the programs themselves, rather than using table driven values and parameters, can cause system consolidation nightmares.  This is just one type of problem from many of the custom-coded solutions so often provided.

Another problem occurs with any of the existing system configuration.  If you make changes to existing objects that are already in production you have the challenge of timing and coordinating your cutover to prevent disruption to existing processes.  Depending on your circumstances if you decide to do a transition in your own production system with the eventual goal of moving away from it and into  cleaner environment then it may be best to create all new custom configuration objects.  You have to make that determination.

Clean SAP Re-Implementation with Old Legacy SAP for History

The other approach to SAP re-implementation is to do a re-implementation in a clean, non-modified system.  That approach assumes that after conversion to the newly designed environment you will leave your old “legacy” SAP system in place for reference and historical data only.  Using a new system for a re-implementation means that you do not have to work around any of the bad setup or design decisions that were made previously.  You avoid all of the headaches with the custom programs and only bring in those custom programs that are really business critical.

If necessary, and if you already have a BI / BW / or other reporting system it will require some additional work to integrate old data structures with new.  However even that will be easier with standard functionality.  The SAP BI / BW / BObj reporting options already contain a number of standard extractors that can be used more easily and with less expense.

The Optimum Solution is a Phased SAP Global Instance Harmonization

The most cost effective way I have found over the years to do a reimplementation is to bring in an operation that is moving to SAP in a “clean” environment.  It is not particularly complicated to integrate two SAP systems using ALE (Application Link Enabling).  In this way you create a new environment, with more up to date and more standard functionality that you can eventually migrate other business units into.

As upgrade projects occur it is only incrementally more expensive to migrate the upgraded companies into the less customized environment.  With an upgrade you still have to do the custom ABAP program reviews, code validations, etc.  With a cleaner environment that does not have all of the custom coded artifacts it is much easier to pick and choose what is really of value and what can be replaced by new, or better understood functionality.

For additional rollout locations there is virtually no additional cost over the rollout project for bringing those companies or organizations onto the more standard SAP environment.  In fact, the reduced custom coding would tend to be less expensive because the amount of time spent regression testing custom functionality, or fixing any organization specific settings, as well as training people how to deal with some of the custom functionality would be lower.  Consulting time, and therefore consulting cost, would be lower as well because the closer you stay to standard the larger pool of resources there is available to make or adjust system settings rather than work with custom programs.

SAP Organization Structure and Master Data Harmonization

One other possible project approach is to do the SAP Org Structure harmonization in all of the separate SAP global instances and then agree on the common master data types.  At “go-live” you extend all of the existing data in each production instance to begin executing with the new structure and master data types in each production instance.  By doing this, the “legacy” data and “legacy” org structures stay in place so that little or no business disruption occurs.  A transition period of approximately a year is needed to complete at least one full annual financial close under the new structures and data in the existing production system.

By using this approach you are actually making the transition in two-steps.  First you build out the new state in your existing system,  then after flushing out and adjusting most of the issues you do a conversion or cutover to a clean system after a financial close.  This approach allows for an orderly transition from the old to the new with relatively little business disruption.  While the old SAP org structure elements and master data types are being made “obsolete” they are still available for all processing and reference purposes.

Some of the key considerations for this approach involve what to do with custom coding and how to transition the master data.  It is impossible to know what custom coding is in place that might be replaced with standard functionality.  However some new data types may help resolve the issue of moving off the custom coding in the same system.  Eventually the goal would be to upgrade away from the custom coding and into more standard functionality unless there is some clear business justification preventing this.




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How to Execute an SAP Reimplementation

January 23rd, 2012 by
ERP or SAP Business Case, CRM, ERP, BI, and IT investment

SAP Reimplementation

Some time ago I started a series on doing an SAP reimplementation for little more cost than a technical upgrade.  While I have done these, there were also a couple of interesting scenarios that added new complexities which needed to be addressed.  For example, how do companies deal with a seriously fragmented application landscape?  This is esepcially true in large enterprises where each company code, location, business unit, or other area decided to implement their own SAP applications independent of the others.  Then there are the companies with rollouts or upgrades underway.  For them the situation is a little different.  As a result I have decided to try to wrap this up with a focus on three key types of situations outlined below.

To review the previous posts on this topic, please see:

This topic is difficult just because there are so many “dimensions” of options to consider. As a result I’ve narrowed the focus to a few key areas.

Primary SAP Reimplementation Approaches or Options

As I pondered it more, and looked at the re-implementations I’ve done, as well as some of the system assessments and options, I finally decided to “bracket” them with a few key approaches. Because the numbers of options for re-implementation are too significant to address here I decided to stay at the high level to cover the major approaches.

  1. A reimplementation of a single SAP production instance.
  2. Integrating a landscape with multiple SAP production instances onto a single global instance.
  3. Rollout – whether it is an ongoing project that is not complete or a fully implemented system and you are considering an upgrade.

SAP Reimplementation Assumptions

As I wrote previously, one of the crucial considerations for a re-implementation is to move away from Software Engineering and toward business process engineering. First, let’s establish a few very basic assumptions about an SAP reimplementation:

  1. After you went live, or as you continued to roll out your solution, you discovered several “if we had known “x” we would have done “y.”
  2. Or, you may have incorporated a significant amount of custom code, or custom application development (inside or outside of SAP) and discovered that standard functionality would have met about ~90% (more or less) of your requirements (see SAP Implementation Focus, Software Engineering or Business Process Engineering?).
  3. You’ve already worked through the hard stuff in your original SAP implementation (see the section by this same title in SAP Reimplementation For Little More Cost than a Technical Upgrade Part 1). In other words, the hard decisions around the processes, organizational structures and data types have already been made.
  4. You may have additional functionality or other modules you want to implement and find that custom coded “solutions” are making them difficult to bring in.
  5. The custom-coding is requiring significant amounts of time for break-fix testing, integration testing, regression testing, SOX or other regulatory compliance when any new change is added.
  6. As new regulatory or other industry requirements are established, in whatever jurisdictions your company operates, you have to custom-code new solutions to meet them (rather than using SAP’s standard maintenance to add the new functionality).
  7. The time to work around all of the customized “solutions” when you want to add new functionality, or new modules, takes a significant amount of time.
  8. In some cases adding on brand new functionality is nearly impossible because of how much your system was “hacked together.”
  9. You need to upgrade, but there are probably hundreds, and in some cases thousands of custom programs to evaluate, test, integrate, and update to the newer version of ABAP.

Coming up we will start to review the three key types of re-implementations: a single production instance, consolidating multiple instances into a single global instance, and a re-implementation rollout.

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Why Use the SAP ASAP Methodology?

January 16th, 2012 by

SAP ASAP Methodology Guidance and DirectionASAP Methodology Background

In the mid 1990’s SAP had gained a significant amount of bad press and publicity around several high profile project disasters that the company knew were completely avoidable. At that time Oracle, Baan, JD Edwards, and PeopleSoft all had sales people making the case that SAP was too expensive, too complicated, and took too long to implement. In response SAP released the ASAP Methodology in the mid-late 90’s (around 1996 or 1997) because of the number of SAP projects that were going over time, over budget, and were at risk. It has been refined, polished, enhanced, and adjusted with SAP’s supported R&D resources and efforts for about 15 years now.

The ASAP implementation methodology has leveraged the PMI (Project Management Institute) best practices around project delivery and the Carnegie Mellon CMMI (Competency Maturity Management Integration) approach for maturing the delivery process. The ASAP methodology also includes a number of ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) components in the Phase 6 Run and the ValueSAP portions of the methodology. Agile techniques are an option which can be “turned on” if you like.

The toolset includes an implementation “Roadmap” which is a WBS based project template. It has full explanations, templates, tools, resources, checklists, etc. Together with that the original version also included an MS Access, and then an MS SQL Database application for selecting your solution options which would then generate a list of processes, transactions codes, template BPPs, and a full SAP centered Blueprint document, etc.

Today all of that functionality is still available but it is housed in Solution Manager. The ASAP Roadmap is just ONE component of the entire ASAP Methodology. The Roadmap is focused on effective Program or Project Management for accelerated project delivery with high quality results.

My Experiences with the SAP ASAP Methodology

I was originally certified in the ASAP Methodology in 1998 while at Grant Thornton. In that time I have had the privilege of using ASAP on several projects and as the project manager on a few. One consistent result of using the methodology is that projects are delivered and they are usually delivered on time and on budget (although not always).

Every major SAP system integrator claims some methodology and nearly all of them are similar to, or variations of the SAP ASAP Methodology.

I have only ever seen significant problems with ASAP when a system integrator started to use the methodology and then abandoned it part way through the project. At one recent client I used it as the framework to support a LEAN implementation methodology. That LEAN methodology has served as an ongoing framework to significantly accelerate numerous rollouts at probably 25% of the normal implementation cost of other SAP projects.  This was driven by the client project manager and facilitated by using the ASAP tools. 

Starting with the ASAP Methodology

Even before the first consultant comes on board the ASAP methodology provides templates and resources to cover key project and program management areas such as

  • communication planning
  • decision making
  • risk management
  • project management master planning
  • resource planning
  • steering committee tools
  • external links to best practice resources for reference (PMI, ITIL, Internal SAP, etc., etc., etc.).

Why ASAP Instead of a System Integrator Methodology?

First, I have nothing against the system integrator methodologies and some are very good with great resources. Unfortunately my experience has been while they have them, and may start with them, they rarely stick to them throughout the project. Since it is their methodology you have little or no insight to cross-check or validate their methodology use.  With ASAP it is yours to use as an SAP customer and you have full insight into it and control over its use.

One of the primary reasons for using the SAP ASAP Methodology is like all things SAP there has been a mountain of R&D spend, development, adjustment, and support. Every SAP client (large or small) who uses the ASAP methodology can avoid the “proprietary methodology lock-in” which the system integrators will walk out the door with. Another important reason is you own it as part of the standard Solution Manager offering. 

As you probably know Solution Manager is already a required part of your SAP landscape.  The SAP Solution Manager portion of the ASAP Methodology can house key items related to scope, configuration, documentation, the implementation roadmap, and all of the key deliverables. As the system integrator rolls off the project you have a centralized repository which is SAP specific for any future employees, support, upgrades, etc. You do NOT get that with a “custom” system integrator methodology which is probably based significantly on SAP’s ASAP Roadmap to begin with. Using an SI methodology you will NOT get the full configuration and development scope monitoring tools which Solution Manager contains either.

The entire ASAP Methodology is part of your application licensing and support you pay for. Why not at least take it for a test drive and see what it can do.

For more information on the SAP ASAP Methodology for SAP customers use your SAP OSS ID and log onto http://service.sap.com/asap .




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