SAP Business One Implementation: (not only) in Software we trust. In methodology as well
ERP-system is a modern essential tool for increasing business efficiency. The methodology is an implementation guide that allows you to use this tool. At the same time, the choice of ERP without regard to the methodology can be compared to trying to learn to drive a car on your own. Problems on the road are guaranteed, the expected result is not.
Therefore, we offer to learn more about the use of the methodology when implementing projects based on the SAP Business One solution. The first methodology – Accelerated Implementation Program – is standard and recommended by SAP SE for the implementation of SAP Business One. The second – Light Offer – is our own development, the idea of which I was inspired by QED training. It is a partner of SAP SE, which packs sophisticated services clear product.
Accelerated Implementation Program (AIP) based on the waterfall approach and includes 5 stages.
1. Project preparation
This is the shortest stage (up to 5 days), at which the project team is formed by the contractor and the client. The Statute and the Plan of the project are made out. The server infrastructure is being deployed and software is being delivered.
- Do not treat documents formally – this is a tool you will rely on during the project. Pay special attention to the completion criteria of each phase of the project.
- Do not be formal about creating a project team. The main customer must identify the responsible users of each module. The contractor is to provide a resume of the people who will implement.
2. Business Blueprint
The purpose of this stage is to determine the requirements for the system and document them, to create a Business Blueprint. Gathering requirements takes place during a series of interviews.
The consultant uses a demonstration database and a prepared questionnaire, asks questions about the functionality. If necessary, he demonstrates articulated functionalities in SAP system. He carefully records the requirements for each setting.
All information is systematized, and a final document is created. Leading criterion: it must answer the questions:
- How will the system work after implementation?
- What settings will be made by the consultants?
Also at this stage, we analyze the data for migration – we determine the objects that need to be transferred from the old system to the new one.
The duration of this stage of the project is 1.5 – 2 months.
- Conduct introductory training. The client cannot formulate requirements if he does not know the system. Take an introductory course in SAP before the business process interview.
- In the document, place a general business process diagram before each section (we use the BPMN method). This will help the client to imagine the whole process, which he read.
- Start away from the interface. The visual image is perceived better than the text. Therefore, accompany the description with pictures from the system. If new objects are being developed, draw them not directly in graphics editors, but directly in the development environment.
Our consultants have these skills, respectively, it has two advantages. First, the client sees an interface that will be 100% consistent with the developed one. Second, during the process of creating the interface in development environment consultant deeper interacts with the system, resulting in a product becomes more user-friendly.
3. Project implementation
At the stage of project implementation, a productive base is being deployed. The consultants make all the necessary adjustments according to the Business Blueprint. Next, key users are trained, along with which the acceptance testing process takes place.
At this stage there takes place a data migration, integration with third-party systems. The duration of the stage is 3-6 months, depending on the required improvements / integrations.
- After overcoming the equator of the project, make the control more intensive. People get tired, the fighting spirit subsides. If we held a meeting on the project every two weeks, now should go to weekly.
- Document testing and training with appropriate protocols. Make a report after each project meeting. Keep track of risks. Reasonable bureaucracy is an integral part of the methodology.
- Do not migrate historical data. If any data is very important to the customer, just transfer it. You move to a new system with new analysts who were not in the old system. It will not be possible to transfer the full history of all documents, no matter how much the client wants it.
4. Final preparation
At the stage of final preparation, training is conducted for the end users of the system, instructions are drawn up. A detailed plan for transferring balances is created (date of cessation of entering each type of data into the old system).
At the same time the connection of peripheral equipment is checked. The client system administrator is trained, backup and database recovery are tested. The duration depends on the number of end users and the specifics of the transfer of balances – from two weeks to one weekend.
- Do not expand the project. New system requirements are likely to emerge during implementation. Within the project, implement only the most critical. If the volume grows by more than 20% of the starting volume, the project ceases to be a “project”.
The client begins full operation in SAP Business One. The contractor provides support in the client’s office or remotely.
The purpose of the stage is to help the client adapt to the system and provide prompt solutions to problems that arise during the work of users.
Usually within the project we provide support until the end of the first month in the new system. Then – requests for system operation to support.
- Organize a first-line customer support line that will handle a significant number of incidents on its own without referral to a consulting partner. Make sure that these people are adequately trained in the early stages of the project.
- Do not avoid the role of super-user. Often such users receive higher position in company after the project ends.
In the next article we will talk about the Light Offer methodology – a simplified approach to implementation, which is ideal for small businesses or start-up companies that do not yet have business processes, and where the operator will not answer the question of feasibility “No, we work in a different way”.
This approach allows you to quickly implement the world’s best practices collected by SAP, laying a solid foundation for business.
And the main advice at last: do not stop! The development of an ERP solution is an ongoing process. Best practice is about “slightly above average”, not about the “flagship of the industry”. At the same time, without the foundation of best practice to implement their own “competitive know-how” – all the same story about the learning how to drive without an instructor.