What You Need to Know Before Starting an S/4HANA Migration: 10 Steps for Effective Planning.

published: 26.02.2024

It is said that 2 hours of planning can save 2 weeks of work. This is especially true for SAP projects, which often have multi-million dollar budgets and can either streamline or paralyze a company’s operations. Planning is the first important step and the foundation of the migration process.

Virtually every organization uses some kind of IT system to support its business. Each of these companies faces cyclical IT projects, the aim of which is to upgrade, migrate to a new database, develop available functionalities or completely change the system.

In mature organizations, the SAP system is characterized by its large size, coverage of most business processes and a number of individual solutions created for the specific client, which differ from the standard offered “by SAP”.

Therefore, any interference in the existing SAP environment should be comprehensively planned and then implemented in a controlled manner.

The success of a project and its scale are determined by 3 main measures:

  1. Implementation of the project scope.
  2. Effective use of the budget.
  3. Closing the project successfully within the originally defined time frame.

In order to fulfill the above assumptions, it is necessary to prepare the organization for the physical implementation of the project well in advance.

The key issues in the comprehensive preparation of the organization for the SAP project include:

  1. Organizational preparation.
  2. Budget preparation.
  3. Logistic preparation.

SAP projects essentially concern important areas of the functioning of a business organization – it is therefore crucial to properly prepare the organizational structure of the company.

Proper definition of the scope, determination of key stakeholders and decision-makers in the individual areas covered by the project, reasonable assessment of internal resources – these are issues that cannot be overlooked when responsibly preparing the organization for the project. The next step is to collect and catalog knowledge and documentation on existing business processes – these will be the starting point for preparing the implementation scope and formulating key requirements for the target solution.

When planning a project, it is impossible to ignore budget issues – we expect to achieve specific business benefits and we are willing to pay a specific amount for them. It is therefore necessary to estimate the budget using parameters and indicators that are appropriate for the given organization.

Each project is implemented using the logistic facilities – project meetings must take place somewhere, it is necessary to have appropriate audiovisual equipment, printers, smaller rooms for subgroup meetings, etc. In the post-pandemic era, it might seem that the whole project can be done remotely, so it is enough to provide the appropriate technical facilities – but nothing could be further from the truth. Some meetings, at least for the sake of work hygiene, should be done on site, allowing for physical meetings at the Client’s headquarters.

Taking care of the above issues does not guarantee that the project will be successful, but leaving them to themselves practically guarantees failure.

10 Principles of Effective SAP Project Preparation:

  1. Get to know the capabilities of the system/solution you want to implement and assess its usefulness for your organization.
  2. Gather and conscientiously catalog documentation of business processes in the organization.
  3. Define the scope and priorities of the project in relation to its key functionalities.
  4. Define the time frame of the project – the bigger the project, the more important it will be to fit it well into the schedule of projects that are already planned/underway.
  5. Identify key stakeholders and decision-makers in the project – including the Sponsor (preferably both a stakeholder and a decision-maker).
  6. Organize an internal project team – with defined roles and responsibilities (RASCI).
  7. Establish communication rules within the project team – including escalation paths.
  8. Verify the technological readiness to carry out the project.
  9. Ask for support from an independent partner with experience in implementing projects of a similar scope to yours.
  10. Provide project logistics (project rooms, remote collaboration tools, accommodation for project members, etc.).

In the project world, it is said that there are no bad projects, there are only those that are poorly planned and executed – that’s why proper project preparation is so important. This will create a solid foundation for project implementation and successful completion.


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author: Michał Wierzbowski, SAP Strategic Business Advisor at Awareson

published: 26.02.2024

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