A-list: My experiences with two Global SAP implementations (Part 3)

A-list: My experiences with two Global SAP implementations (Part 3)

Alongside with the designing of the functional and business processes, there are several other processes and lists that needed attention to engage in a successful project implementation. Below I list some of the key items that need attention.

The Project Management list

This list should be implemented earliest in the project. The Project Management team is eventually responsible to take decision (or devolve the decision-making) on all lists and issues impacting the project.

  • Frequency of communication is vital to success of the project. How often to communicate, what communication to disperse, and what method to communicate (emails, meetings)
  • Team Structure to manage issues, deliverables, and deployment
  • Project Timelines, fall-back plans, disaster recovery plans

The infrastructure list

  • Telecommunication infrastructure to facilitate easy communication (Webex, Meetingplace)
  • What are the local legal issues, if any, that need to be considered prior to building the system. Some countries require the hardware located in their country, this builds complexity around infrastructure landscape. What are the local legal requirements around key areas like Payroll, and International Trade?
  • Office tools (email, presentation, meeting organizer) to enable smooth flow of communication
  • Tools to manage the project and store the project documentation

The team structure list

Global Implementation involves use of resources globally with the central team providing the core structure and the local team providing key inputs and support with a local point-of-view.

  • Teams and team member contacts, points of contact
  • Team geographical location – see team structure chart below
  • Local and Global Project Owners – for every roll-out, there should be a local owner of the solution as well
  • Specialization and skill-set of team members – members from business, existing support team members, Subject-matter experts
  • Use of specialized support members – third-party consulting members to provide expertise in niche areas like best practices, eBanking, Vendor Invoice scanning, tax.

The implementation list

Building the design should cater current requirements and should be flexible to future needs.

  • Can you standardize the implementation code/ configuration?
  • Have you allowed room for changes to be easily made in the future?
  • Is the implementation adequately documented?

The solution extension products list

The implementation should leverage the use of Solution Extension products with the core SAP implementation.

  • What tools do we use to record and store documentation? Proprietary database, SAP Solution Manager?
  • What tools do we use to enable testing documentation, results, reporting? Quality Centre, MS Excel, Solution Manager?
  • What tools do we use to perform stress testing? SAP Loadrunner?
  • Project Management tools, Project Time writing tools

Other lists

Lists from other teams are not documented here. Technical team has list for hardware specifications, hardware connections between systems etc.

Team Composition

A global project should involve team members spread geographically. A core team that designs the solution with inputs from all key stakeholders; a central team that builds the solution; and a local team that provides input to the solution and deploys it globally. The two projects I worked on had a similar organization structure – the key difference was that one of the projects had a dedicated solution team that owns the design and approves changes to the design. I found this structure far more solid and objective; it provides objectivity to the solution design.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rajesh Shanbhag has worked on several roles on both projects. He has been a team member, Functional Architect in the Solution team, System Integrator lead, Coordinator for Finance team. Rajesh has 12 years experience implementing SAP Finance solutions for several customers globally; he also has prior 7 years experience working in the business in Finance and Accounting functions. His business knowledge combined with his IT expertise enables him to provide his customers with best-of-breed advise on business process implementations.

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Comments

  1. Hi Rajesh,

    Thank you for uploading such a nice information about your experience of global implementation. Its very useful information for SAP fresher and experience consultant.

    Could you please specifically dictates certain issues that you faced during implementation of GL & AA and how you resolved it. If possible please also give some example of challenges you have faced during initial project blueprinting stage as well.

    Once again thank you Rajesh for uploading such an good piece information.

    Please do upload requested issues scenario, it will be more helpful as well.

    Regards,
    Pratikk

    • Hi Pratik
      In my opinion, data conversion is a very challenging issue during any implementation. Many organisations underestimate the effort required to convert data from older systems to newer systems. In both my global implementations, most countries were already on older versions of SAP. Instead of a technical upgrade, these implementations used re-engineered processes and data structures (like newGL). One of the global implementation had a go-live mid-year rather than the usual end-of-year. With this constellation come challenges:
      • For mid-year implementations, how do you update Controlling module for all Profit & Loss accounts? In normal course of business, users would have posted P&L items to cost centers, projects, Profitability segments, orders (internal, production). How do we now convert all this data?
      o First option is to convert every single posting line from GL line item table for transactions since start of fiscal year to go-live date. That increases the volume of conversions and stresses the project timeline during the critical go-live period.
      o And conversion is one side of the story… you will need a battalion to check accuracy of conversion
      o Second option is to post all costs/ revenues to bucket cost center/ order. And then transfer balances from that cost center to other objects.
      • For Balance Sheet conversions, each Balance account has to be assigned to profit centers to allow profit center Balance Sheets opening balance.
      • All POs need conversion – this has direct impact on Finance and GL. POs could be in different stages of process – open PO, partially delivered PO, and blocked PO, deleted PO line on an open PO, Stock Transport PO with goods in transit, PO with GR and with / without Invoices. All this conversion should be performed using original SAP transactions because the link between PO, GR, IR has to be maintained for the POs to be usable in the new system.
      • I do remember anything specific about Asset conversion; some old assets had weird balances which we were not able to convert. Our Asset SAP expert modified configuration for the purpose of conversion to enable the balances to match.
      • Assignment of roles and responsibilities during conversion is very critical; so is testing, testing, testing of conversion programs.
      • With the template rollout implementation, the Blueprint was prepared using a single Operating Unit as a typical sample. This template was then rolled out – one country at a time. Fit-Gap was performed at every roll out. Gaps are classified between local (specific to the country) or global (might be useful for all countries hence included in global template). The “pain” of reaching agreement with numerous countries was spread over a period of time because we had to look at fit-gap only as we proceeded to the next country.
      • With the global big-bang implementation, representatives from each country were called for Blueprint workshop to a central location. A System Integrator best practice process was used as a base process at the workshop. Fit-Gap was worked in the workshop and again classified if it impacted global template or was a local requirement (due to local regulation, tax laws etc).
      Let me know if you need more information on any specific issue/ topic.
      Regards

      Rajesh Shanbhag

      Rajesh Shanbhag
      Principal, Verity Business Solutions Pty Ltd
      Productivity Amplified

      PO Box 578, Cherrybrook, NSW 2126
      Sydney, Australia
      M +61 4 1123 8873
      Web http://www.veritysolutions.com.au
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      Twitter @rshanbhag
      Slideshare http://www.slideshare.net/rshanbhag
      Skype veritysolutions

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