10 Tips For Successful SAP Business One Implementation

By Dattatrey R.Kulkarni Posted December 15, 2016 In Management, Project Management
Implementing SAP is a business led initiative. It is a journey which starts with building of a business case for implementing SAP, getting required internal approvals, followed by identification of the partner and several other preparatory activities before project start. Matters like identifying project team, key users, creating a detail project plan follow. Executing a project successfully is not a matter of chance but a function of several critical success factors which have a direct impact on the outcome of the project. These have been elaborated here as 10 Tips for successful implementation.
Tip 1: Choosing the Right Partner
This can be the most important decision which can potentially make or break your project. You need to choose a partner who can guide you through the implementation smoothly. There are certain criteria that you should be considering at the time of choosing your implementation partner as mentioned below.
  • Good business knowledge
SAP solution is drive by business processes and hence it is important that your partner has good knowledge of real world industry processes and practices. In case they have experience of working in your specific industry vertical – even better.
  • Expertise in SAP Business One
Your partner needs to have expertise on the product capabilities (different business modules and inherent process flows etc.) & flexibilities and should have technical skills in order to ensure that the product is leveraged to its fullest while delivering the business solution.
  • Approach towards implementation project
It is very important that both you and your partner look at the SAP project as a business initiative and not a software project. The project team (though part time) needs to be made up of employees who are experts in their respective business processes.
  • Customer references
Partners who can offer references of their existing customer base to a new prospect make it easier for the customer to evaluate both the partner’s capabilities as well solution fitment.
Tip 2: Sustained commitment from top management
Decision to choose SAP Business One is the first step or decision taken by business owners. Top management should continue to participate in the key activities undertaken during the project execution. It is highly recommended that top management communicate to the entire team that implementing SAP Business One is a high priority activity. It should back this up by allowing key people to spend the required time on project related activities. Management team should perform regular progress review meetings to ensure that things are moving forward as expected.
Tip 3: Project Management
Like any other project, SAP implementation also needs to be tracked and monitored regularly. Customer and partner need to work out a detail project plan, share it with concerned stakeholders and review the progress frequently. It helps if the customer appoints a project manager who can ensure that things are getting done on time. Usually there are five key milestones of an SAP implementation project. Completion of these milestones should be tracked and if delays are anticipated, then appropriate actions need to be re-adjusted. The Go live date is the target towards which the entire team should be working.
Tip 4: Prioritizing business needs
Companies should follow the 80:20 principle while finalizing their own process flow needs/requirements. They should focus on those key processes/issues (20) which when addressed takes care of a large (80) part of their requirement. It helps if the needs are classified into “Must Have”, “Optional” and “Nice to have”. Instead of trying to address an entire laundry list of requirements (containing all three categories) in the limited project time span, they should prioritize and focus on the “Must Have” ones to begin with. Trying to achieve everything in one go usually leads to unnecessary delays in the project.
Tip 5: Business process workshops
This is the most critical phase with respect to the mapping of business processes into SAP system. Partner should use appropriate techniques to ensure that all business processes are discussed in depth. This should be backed by a well written but simple document called business blueprint document, which becomes the bible for the rest of the project team.
Tip 6: Keeping the solution simple
This is the most critical phase with respect to the mapping of business processes into SAP system. Partner should use appropriate techniques to ensure that all business processes are discussed in depth. This should be backed by a well written but simple document called business blueprint document, which becomes the bible for the rest of the project team.
Tip 7: Master data accuracy
Quality and accuracy of master data plays an important role in making the implementation successful. During the project phase, customers are required to collate their key master data like items, BOM, vendor, customer, chart of accounts, price list etc. in simple excel templates. This is an important task and takes time if done properly. Customers should give this activity the due importance and assign the right people to work on this and deliver good quality and accurate data. If compromises are made at this stage it is bound to lead to incorrect transactions and reports eventually.
Tip 8: User Training
Acceptance of the new solution (SAP Business One) by users is critical. Care must be taken to involve the key people from the beginning of the project. Sufficient training should be provided to all users and management must insist that the users spend an extra hour every day to practice on the training environment created for them. Any shortcuts during training will lead to lack of user confidence when the system goes live. This leads to chaos (since transactions are not entered on time by some or many users) and if not addressed on priority can lead to users discarding the solution giving reasons like it is difficult to use.
Tip 9: Communication with business partners
Companies work in collaboration with their business partners – they could be customers or vendors. When a company decides to implement SAP, it is recommended that it communicates with its business partners well in advance about this plan. Implementing SAP leads to a disciplined way of working by following set processes. For example, if the suppliers have not been following a certain process with respect to their documentation that accompanies the goods, they need to be informed in advance that the company will not be able to accept goods without documents any more. This will give sufficient time for the supplier to change its way of working.
Tip 10: Teamwork
Implementing SAP is a team effort. It is critical that the company identifies the right people for participating in the project work as and when needed. This team should work cohesively within itself and with the consulting team from Partner’s side. Together, the customer and partner should become a unified team trying to achieve the very same objective of implementing the solution within timeline and budget and ensuring quick user adoption. All members of the team from customer side should be subject matter experts who have authority to make decisions under top management’s guidance.
Conclusion
Choosing SAP Business One as the solution for your company is the beginning of a journey with its first milestone being successful implementation of the solution. As discussed here, top management’s commitment and working with the ‘right’ partner are two essential and critical decisive factors. Once the project starts, it’s important to follow certain project specific strategies as described above to ensure smooth implementation within timelines and budget.
To know more on how to implement SAP Business One successfully, please get in touch with us at sales@praxisinfosolutions.com
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