Thursday, October 11, 2007

SAP Implementation Process

SAP Implementation is the whole of processes that defines a complete method to implement SAP software in an organization. The SAP implementation method described in this entry is a generic method and not a specific implementation method as such. It is based on best practices and case studies from various literature sources and presents a collection of processes and products that make up a complete implementation method to allow any organization to plan and execute the implementation of SAP (ERP) software.

1 Introduction
2 Overview
3 Table of concepts
4 Activity table
5 Implementation processes
5.1 Project preparation
5.2 Sizing and blueprinting
5.3 Functional development
5.4 Final preparation
5.5 Go Live
6 Critical success factors
7 See also
8 References


The implementation of SAP software, such as SAP R/3 is almost always a massive operation that brings a lot of changes in the organization. The whole process can take a few years. Most probably every person in the organization is involved, whether they are part of the SAP technical support organization (TSO) or the actual end-users of the SAP software. All the changes that the implementation of SAP generates are being made to reach high level goals, such as improved communication and increased return on information (because people will work with the same information). It is therefore very important that the implementation process is planned and executed with the usage of a solid method. There are various SAP implementation methods, such as IBM’s Ascendant. Unfortunately, no information on these methods is freely available and therefore this entry does not describe such a method but a generic implementation method.

Overview Figure 1:

SAP Implementation process-data diagramThe SAP implementation process is made up out of four main phases, i.e. the project preparation where a vision of the future-state of the SAP solution is being created, a sizing and blueprinting phase where the solution stack is created and training is being performed, a functional development phase and finally a final preparation phase, when the last tests are being performed before the actual go live. For each phase, the vital activities are addressed and the deliverables/products are explained.The process-data diagram that is depicted at the right, gives an overview of all of these activities/processes and deliverables. The four gray boxes depict the four main implementation phases, which each contain several processes that are in this case all sequential. The boxes at the right show all the deliverables/concepts that result from the processes. Boxes without a shadow have no further sub-concepts. Boxes with a black shadow depict complex closed concepts, so concepts that have sub-concepts, which however will not be described in any more detail. Boxes with a white shadow (a box behind it) depict open closed concepts, where the sub-concepts are expanded in greater detail. The lines with diamonds show a has-a relationship between concepts.

Table of concepts

The data table below provides a summary of all the concepts addressed in the process-data diagram.

Concept Definition

CHANGE MANAGEMENT Activities involved in

(1) defining and instilling new values, attitudes, norms, and behaviors within an organization that support new ways of doing work and overcome resistance to change;

(2) building consensus among customers and stakeholders on specific changes designed to better meet their needs; and

(3) planning, testing, and implementing all aspects of the transition from one organizational structure or business process to another. (

CHANGE MANAGEMENT DOCUMENTATION All documentation that is required and being delivered whilst performing change management, e.g. the functional test cases and all the other documents a new end-user of SAP requires and the various tools and approaches used to manage change by the TSO. (Anderson, 2003)

COST OF OWNERSHIP ANALYSIS Determination of where and when the costs are inquired within the context of the SAP solution stack and ongoing operations. The analysis addresses all internal and external costs, both one-time as well as recurring (Anderson, 2003)
CUTOVER The process of transitioning from one system to a new one (Anderson, 2003) CUTOVER PLAN All documentation related to planning, preparing and executing cutover, describing how to lock down the system from a technical change management perspective, preparing the TSO for its new role and rolling out the SAP graphical user interface to all future end users. (Anderson, 2003) DATA CENTER A data center is a facility used for housing a large amount of electronic equipment, typically computers and communications equipment.

DATA CENTER REQUIREMENT A requirement for the SAP data center, i.e. a physical requirement like power requirements, a rack requirement, a network infrastructure requirement or a requirement to the network server. (Anderson, 2003) .

DISASTER RECOVERY (DR) REQUIREMENT Requirement that focuses on downtime that lasts many hours to days or even weeks (Anderson, 2003) .

FUNCTIONAL TEST CASE A set of conditions or variables under which a tester will determine if a certain business process works ( .

HIGH AVAILABILITY (HA) REQUIREMENT Requirements that describes the amount of time that the system needs to be available to satisfy the needs of the users. (Anderson, 2003)

INSTALLATION DOCUMENTATION All documentation related to the installation of an end-to-end SAP solution (Anderson, 2003) .

OPERATIONS MANUAL The collection of current state system documentation, day-to-day and other regularly scheduled operations tasks, various installation and operations checklists and how-to process documents. (Anderson, 2003) .

SAP SAP AG is the name of the biggest European software company. The head office is in Walldorf, Germany. SAP was founded in 1972 as Systemanalyse und Programmentwicklung ("Systems Analysis and Product") by five former IBM employees in Mannheim, Germany. ( .

SAP IMPLEMENTATION PROJECT PLAN A comprehensive project plan that contains all products that are delivered whilst performing an SAP implementation project (Anderson, 2003)
SOLUTION STACK Set of software subsystems or components needed to deliver a fully functional solution, e.g. a product or service. ( .

SOLUTION STACK PARTNERS LIST A list of all vendors that deliver the products that make up the SAP solution stack (Anderson, 2003) .

SOLUTION VISION A vision of the future-state of the SAP solution (Anderson, 2003) .

STRESS TEST PLAN A test plan that is focused at determining the stability of a given system or entity. It involves testing beyond normal operational capacity, often to a breaking point, in order to observe the results. ( .

TEST PLAN A detail of how the test will proceed, who will do the testing, what will be tested, in how much time the test will take place, and to what quality level the test will be performed. (IEEE 829) TRAINING The acquisition of knowledge, skills, and attitudes as a result of the teaching of vocational or practical skills and knowledge that relates to specific useful skills (

TRAINING PLAN Consisting of training units, a training plan is the result of hierarchical decompositions of a training goal, tailored according to the learning preferences and prior knowledge of the trainee. A plan is the means by which the trainee satisfies the goal. ( TSO Technical Support Organization. The people that are committed to implementation and management of SAP. (Anderson, 2003) TSO CHART A chart that depicts the structure of the TSO. (Anderson, 2003)

Activity table

The following table provides a summary of all of the activities that form the SAP implementation process. These activities will be described with more detail and elaborated with examples in the rest of this entry.

Activity Sub-Activity Description

Project preparation Craft solution vision Refine and communicate a SOLUTION VISION of the future-state of the SAP solution, to sketch a design that meets both business and financial requirements. The focus should be on the company’s core business and how the SAP solution will better enable that core business to be successful.Design and initially staff the SAP TSO Design and staff the key positions of the SAP Technical Support Organization (TSO), the organization that is charged with addressing, designing, implementing and supporting the SAP solution.Sizing and blueprinting Perform cost of ownership analysis Perform a COST OF OWNERSHIP ANALYSIS to determine how to get the best business solution for the least money i.e. to determine where and when the costs are incurred within the context of the SAP solution stack.Identify high availability and disaster recovery requirements Determine all HIGH AVAILABILITY and DISASTER RECOVERY REQUIREMENTS, to plan what to do with later downtime of the SAP systemEngage SAP solution stack vendors Select the best SAP hardware and software technology partners for all layers and components of the SAP SOLUTION STACK, based on a side-by-side sizing comparisonStaff TSO Staff the bulk of the TSO, i.e. fill the positions that directly support the near-term objectives of the implementation, which are to develop and begin installation/implementation of the SAP data center.Execute training Train the various members of the SAP TSO, like data center specialists, high availability specialist and network specialists and train the end-users to give all the required SAP knowledge and skillsSetup SAP DATA CENTER Build a new SAP DATA CENTER facility or transform the current data center into a foundation capable of supporting the SAP SOLUTION STACK.Perform installations Install the (My)SAP components and technological foundations like a web application server or enterprise portal.Round out support for SAP Identify and staff the remaining TSO roles, e.g. roles that relate to help desk work and other such support providing work.SAP functional development Address Change Management Develop a planned approach to the changes in the organization. The objective is to maximize the collective efforts of all people involved in the change and minimize the risk of failure of implementing the changes related to the SAP implementation.Address SAP systems and operations management Create a foundation for the SAP systems management and SAP computer operations, by creating a SAP OPERATIONS MANUAL and by evaluating SAP management applications.Perform functional, integration and regression tests Test the SAP business processes, by executing functional tests to ensure that business processes work, integration tests to ensure that the organization’s business processes work together with other business processes and regression tests to prove that a specific set of data and processes yield consistent and repeatable results.Final Preparation Perform systems and stress tests Plan, script, execute and monitor SAP STRESS TESTS, to see if the expectations of the end users, defined in service level agreements, will be met.Prepare for cutover Plan, prepare and execute the CUTOVER, by creating a CUTOVER PLAN that describes all cutover tasks that have to be performed before the actual go-liveGo Live Turn on the SAP system for the end-users.

1 comment:

Natalia said...

Nice post. The whole process of implementation took many years depending on the nature and volume of work flow in an organization. I like the way you have summarized the whole process in your post which gives an overview to all. Thanks.
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