Highlights on Common SAP ERP Mistakes
I recently read an interesting article on CIO.com about the 13 Common ERP Mistakes. Working in the ERP area for over 20 years myself and analyzing thousands of SAP systems for over 20 years I would like to highlight some of the key issues IBIS has found working with SAP customers.
ERP Mistake #2: Not properly vetting ERP vendors.
Besides getting sold by Marketing and senior resources and then finding junior resources implementing your ERP software , we find it very important that your implementation partner is using SAP Solution Manager as well as SAP’s implementation methodologies. Not having a comprehensive documentation which can be kept up to date will prove to be a major pain point and expensive gap in your SAP Implementation. Using SAP Solution Manager and maintaining the Solution Documentation in SAP Solution Manager should be part of every SOW covering your SAP implementation.
Your system integrator might have his own tools and methods but your implementation partner might change over time and SAP provides with SAP Solution Manager a best of breed Application Lifecycle Management tool typically included in your SAP Maintenance agreement.
ERP Mistake #3: Not understanding or using key features.
You picked standard software versus programing your own. Make sure you are utilizing standard functionality and establish a cost/benefit mentality within your project team to critically review proposed enhancements and modification of the standard functionality available.
RBE Plus benchmark statistics show that typically over 50% of custom enhancements and modification are not being utilized after a few years of productive use of your ERP system. Every modification and enhancement will significantly increase your implementation timeline, cost and every subsequent upgrade or improvement of your ERP implementation will take longer and cost more than needed.
Make sure your implementation partner is committed to using the SAP standard and make sure your ERP implementation is sustainable and will be useable even if your implementation partner might not be there to support your ERP implementation.
Driven by SAP and the implementation partners, most SAP customers did one technical upgrade after the other after initially implementing SAP. That leaves many SAP customers currently using ECC 6.0 from a technical point of view are still using SAP R/3 4.0B functionality after 15 years+ originally upgrading/implementing SAP 4.0B. Functional upgrades are admittedly more complex than technical upgrades but there is no real need for a radical business process improvement with SAP every five years or so. Continuous System Improvement lets you leverage new SAP functionality earlier and reduces the pain of organizational change in your company.
ERP Mistake #13: Not having a maintenance strategy.
Implementing your ERP system is expensive and time consuming. Keeping your system up to date and running it is even more important and you can reduce the time and resources needed to maintain your system by taking the right steps at the right time. The ERP system you are implementing today will be used the next 20+ years and establishing that outlook within your project team is very important. Having a long term vision is more important for your company than fulfilling some short term requirements.
Testing your system after release upgrades is one of the most tedious, time consuming and expensive ongoing maintenance tasks. Make sure you have a solid testing strategy for the future. If your pre Go-live tests are set up correctly it should give you a very good starting point for your testing Center of Excellence.
Review the usage of your SAP system over time and don’t let the test everything mentality get established in your organization. An effective change management process will ensure robust operations and reduce the ongoing testing efforts in your company.
Your ERP system will grow over time, requirements and technology will change. Managing organizational change will prove essential for your SAP implementation. Setting up an archiving strategy early will help you keep your SAP system lean and well performing.
IBIS invented the tool (RBE Plus) for Continuous System Engineering for SAP software. Our primary goal at IBIS is to help customers utilize SAP more effectively.