Vijay Garg, CEO, The Principal Consulting
Ensuring Success with SAP
From our experience implementing SAP HANA platform centric solutions, (S/4 HANA Business Suite, Analytics & Data Processing, HANA Cloud Connections, etc.) we’ve found the following factors significant to help ensure success:
1. Ensure that your data is clean. Take steps prior to Project Kickoff to ensure that your data is cleansed and ready for your SAP HANA Implementation. It goes without saying, but the results of a data driven project are only as the data you begin with. It is critical to spend time with you data, perform necessary analysis, and smartly determine which data sets need to be migrated, which then provides insights and detail into volume requirements.
“SAP HANA technology will very likely interact with a number of other systems and applications in place at your organization, even if it’s down the road.”
Data cleansing, conducted the right way, will provide necessary insights needed to accurately size your required SAP HANA hardware, while also ensuring a smooth data transition due to the identification and removal of bad data. The last thing you would want to arise during the middle of an implementation is only the fly data cleaning patching and remedies, which can waste time, resources and most importantly, your budget.
2. A detailed Knowledge Transfer Plan should be a necessity. In many ways, User Adoption is at the core of what we do. When considering a SAP HANA implementation, or any IT project, implementing the right approach to Education and knowledge transfer throughout the project is of the utmost importance. The nature of many SAP HANA focused projects requires the need for a planned, structure and active knowledge transfer approach. Knowledge Transfer from the solution implementer to the Customer project team typically focuses on providing a deep understanding on the solution being implemented, and is accomplished typically through a combination of workshops, as well as joint sharing of project work effort and responsibilities.
In our experience, knowledge transfer activities throughout a project still does not replace the necessity for formalized training classes on any solution, so we encourage you to partner with an implementer who provides those services, or explore options available through SAP Education courses. A strong Knowledge Management and User Adoption plan should be put in place during early project preparation stages to ensure that the best rollout strategy is in place, which will position your organization to attain the highest user adoption rates possible.
3. Consider all the parts. It’s very important to examine your entire technical environment when considering a SAP HANA Implementation. SAP HANA technology will very likely interact with a number of other systems and applications in place at your organization, even if it’s down the road. Because of this, it’s important to consider, and plan out how these different systems will work together. For example, SAP Business Intelligence (BI) solutions are commonly used as outputs for SAP HANA. It’s necessary to plan out specifically how these systems will interact, and incorporate best practices during the implementation. It’s also possible to have standalone deployments of SAP HANA (one-time data uploads) and integrated deployments (SAP ERP System integrated to SAP HANA DB), so it’s very important to clearly define your approach, and consider which systems need attention well before embarking an upgrade.
An example of this is evident within the recent adoption of HANA technologies throughout SAP’s solution set. For example, SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse (BW) on SAP HANA is not just for reporting and analytics anymore. Today, SAP Solutions are also utilizing HANA’s in-memory platform evident within SAP Business Warehouse Integrated Planning, SAP Business Planning and Consolidation and SAP Strategic Enterprise Management all have the option to utilize HANA’s in-memory performance and features. If your upcoming SAP HANA Implementation contains one of these many components, you should spend the time to plan accordingly, and consider all the moving parts.
4. Assemble the right team to get the job done. This point is somewhat obvious, but it the importance of your Service Implementer really cannot be understated. Because SAP HANA is still a relatively new technology, there are not that many consulting firms out there with REAL experience on the solution. It’s really important to find the right experts with the skills you need, especially because SAP HANA is such a vast solution, with many applications, and specialized focus areas of expertise. When looking for a partner, strongly consider one that will help you plan for the future, and one that also provides post go live support options, to help ensure the most success and adoption possible.
Knowing the Right Approach
Many times, we see companies attempt to take on too much at once when implementing new solutions. A project with an overloaded scope and countless deliverables puts a lot of stress on the delivery team, usually leading to errors, and delays throughout the project. We recommend utilizing a Phased approach to projects, typically with enabling the core (standard) features first, then, enabling enhancements and customized functionalities later, within subsequent phases or releases. In our experience, this approach leads to a better adoption of the solution among the user base, and also allows companies to get a better understanding of the solution itself, and it’s capabilities, which many times lead to requirements being altered or changed altogether. This approach is especially effective when deploying a new solution like SAP HANA, as its benefits and capabilities are continually expanding.
Advice for CIOs
Strongly Consider an Upfront Assessment from an Expert SAP Implementer. Before embarking on SAP HANA project, we strongly recommend conducting an upfront assessment. It is crucial to fully understand and identify your requirements, and scope items. You’ll also need a precise understanding on your current, and future system architecture, including database platforms, business applications, etc.
A professionally delivered assessment will level set expectations, lock down and identify your requirements and project scope, while also crafting a strategic approach to your desired solution landscape. This precise, and clearly defined scope and architecture planning with help you stay on schedule and on budget, while identifying the needed skills and project team personnel. Typically, assessments only take a couple of weeks, so it is certainly worth the minimal investment incurred before starting a project.
In the Dynasty of Mobility
Mobile Solutions should certainly be considered when implementing SAP HANA, after all, the world has gone mobile. Today’s business personnel need data readily available anytime, and anyplace. SAP HANA Cloud Platform provides mobile services that include a full-featured mobile application platform that allows you to easily create and run mobile apps.
SAP Fiori is also primed for HANA, allowing for optimization of SAP Fiori with end-to-end solutions for packaging, customizing, securing, connecting, testing, distributing and monitoring Fiori apps.
We also utilize SAP HANA technologies on a Mobile level through SAP HANA Cloud Integrations (HCI). This technology is used to simplify the connection between your cloud and enterprise (on-premise) applications, without extensive coding. For example, when Implementing SAP Cloud for Customer, HCI (HANA Cloud Integration) is typically used to connect back-end data with cloud instances.