This post is based on information from my recent ASUG presentation in Atlanta… Beyond Technology Alignment – Building a Center of Excellence @ http://bit.ly/jJefxP
At the intersection of business and IT you have convergence. At the place of convergence is where the Center of Excellence exists.
One of the key SAP project success factors is to use a steering committee made up of key business stakeholders. They can meet once a week or once a month, but generally they are involved to provide business level guidance to an SAP project or IT programs. The most effective steering committees include at least one executive and several senior leaders from throughout the business (see The Real Reason Executive Participation Creates IT Project Success).
That steering committee performs a critical function over large projects like SAP implementations. This group is critical to your project’s success because of the amount of time from company employees, capital from the organization’s coffers, and decisions which change the business.
Some of the key functions a steering committee carries out during the course of your SAP project include:
- Set SAP project scope and then help manage it.
- Define project objectives and evaluation criteria.
- Monitor project progress, including key milestones and deliverables progress.
- Oversee Quality reviews at key check points.
- Evaluate and mitigate organizational impact of business changes.
- Promotes the project throughout the organization.
- Coordinates staffing and resource levels from key business areas.
- Makes critical decisions which the project team is unable to resolve (escalations or key business decisions).
The ongoing functions and tasks of the SAP steering committee cannot be underestimated. During the course of their duties they gain that list of unique and critical skills related to applying technology to business issues and problems (see Using Your SAP Steering Committee for Business Transformation).
You go live and WHY do you disband your steering committee???
Integrating the SAP – IT Organization Into the Business
In an SAP Center of Excellence, after your SAP implementation goes live, the steering committee functions change to one of developing and managing technology road-maps. Their skills with scope, schedule, cost, performance, prioritizing, and evaluating risks / rewards are ideally suited to their continued involvement in the application of technology to the business. But the underlying issue here is that they must continue to function –, they should not be disbanded.
One of the key benefits of continuing to leverage the SAP Steering Committee after the SAP business software goes live is you continue to build on their experience and unique skills. Even as they rotate out of the steering committee role these individuals move through the ranks of the larger enterprise and take that technology to business integration experience with them. If they have served on a steering committee long enough to see the benefits technology can bring to the larger enterprise their exposure is invaluable to building a long term Center of Excellence –, an organization dedicated to converging business and technology to meet business marketplace requirements.
These individuals have worked through many key business decisions, budget decisions, scope and schedule decisions, and how to move to technology integration project success. As a result of their experience applying technology solutions to the business they develop critical skills for the converged and integrated organization, these skills are difficult to replicate. In a nutshell this steering committee develops a convergence of three critical skills for tomorrow’s powerhouse enterprises: they understand management, technology, and business integration. Those are the key ingredients to the converged SAP enterprise.
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