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SAP S4HANA Implementation
5 min read

Importance of Prototyping: ConvergentIS on SAP S/4HANA Podcast

If you enjoyed Shaun’s interview at 2020 SAPPHIRE NOW as much as we did, you might be interested to know that the long-awaited Part 2 to this conversation is now available. The ConvergentIS team has long found that our shared passion with SAP for Cloud ERP and prototyping, weren’t the only things we had in common. To further build on these connections, we sat back down with SAP on their podcast, Inside SAP S/4HANA. While we encourage you to listen to the whole interview, here is a short preview of the key takeaways.  

Build Empathy By Being An Example 

As the first AppHaus partner in the Americas, we continue to believe it is important to guide our clients by example. Since SAP provided us one of the greatest compliments with the AppHaus designation, we strive to continuously demonstrate that in order to provide users with clarity to perform at their best requires that we not only have to be pretty good at using SAP technology but also developing human-centred innovations. These interconnected elements drive adoption and organizational velocity. This is where being an example is critical. For example, back in 2015 when we decided to run our own business on S/4HANA. At the time we were one of few organizations running this new system but could see its potential and were convicted for us to guide customers we need to really understand its inner workings.   

Developing a deep understanding of how the system worked translated into empathy for our clients. We could understand at a granular level what they were, or soon would be, experiencing. We could dial them into parts of the system that worked for us, providing shortcuts to implementing successfully. As a small organization ourselves, we could also prove that being too small for SAP was just a myth. 

Once we had found that setting the example of matching a deep appreciation of the technology and the people that would be using it, we decided to take it a step further and create packaged SAP applications focused on problems that many enterprises face. It was a quest to deliver clarity at scale. It proved that the process of using SAP could even be made far easier, and that “easier” is a powerful precedent for adoption. 

The key themes from the Podcast included: 

Giving Your Team A Why! 

An ERP implementation is a major undertaking. This means you will need to do more than just hire an expert. Installing a new version of ERP is a business change, not just a technology change. Therefore, a strong business case as to why this project is being undertaken is a must. Although it is true that this upgrade will be technically better, there needs to be a clear tie back to business objectives. This isn’t something that can be outsourced. At the end of the day, this is your ERP system and your business. Therefore, it should be your objectives that guide this project. This business needs to have a clear return on investment and be something that drives business value. Your case is what will inform change management and motivate and inspire end users to take these activities seriously. 

Not having a tangible “why” statement is a risk that can be easily implemented in the project. Shaun stated  that having a clear why is something that is often “glazed over.” 

Ensure the Best People Are Leading the Change 

To ensure you have a successful “A team” for your ERP project, it is important that you start with a steering committee that is in alignment with the goal of your organization. This will act as a foundation for determining who you have selected to be a part of your team. While it is easy to fill the roles of the project with those who have the capacity to work on it, Shaun cautions that the people working on your ERP implementation should be the people from your organization you don’t want to let go. These projects are resource heavy and involve major business transformation, this means you need your A-team people involved. 

When we say involved, we don’t mean adding the project tasks to their existing workload. Implementing an ERP system is a full-time job, not something that can be done from the side of the desk. This means when you have a team of six who have been assigned to work on this project, their current roles must be properly backfilled. Implementing S/4HANA is an A-Level project. Therefore, you need an A-Level team to support it 

Don’t Underestimate The Value of a Dry-Run Go-Live Cut-Over 

One of the innovations we should look out for is a new SAP best practice process called P2Q, also known as the process for copying data between cloud tenants for S/4. Although it might sound trivial compared to the other innovations, this process solves one of the unique challenges on Cloud, since it now allows you to do a dry run cutover. This ensures all data transformations are lined up and working the way people expect them to, especially if you are a new SAP customer.  

We would agree that one of the greatest events in the whole ERP project is the go-live. However, in most cases the go-live is quite eventful as new errors and adjustments become apparent. As huge proponents of prototyping, the ability to use P2Q to prototype the go-live and test it beforehand is one of the things that excites us the most.  This is a powerful way to de-risk the project and increase the quality of the go-live in more complex projects. The result is fewer surprises when it is time for your business to go-live. 

We know this hardly covers everything you were hoping to hear from Shaun. That’s why we recommend you listen to the whole podcast by clicking on the link below.