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Tips for leveraging BPO for project work

by Amy Thistle

May 6, 2011

This SAP project management tip comes courtesy of Yosh Eisbart, nimbl, who will be speaking at our upcoming Managing your SAP Projects and Outsourcing in your SAP Environment events, November 2 – 4, in Las Vegas and who is the author of the book “Outsourcing SAP Operations”.

Although not previously used a great deal for true implementation purposes, leveraging BPO for project work is becoming more and more common, and with organizations looking at cost-cutting measures, this delivery alternative is now coming front and center. Typically, however, higher risks are associated and experienced when implementation work is not performed by a completely onsite project team.

ASAP (Focus) Methodology

SAP has its own implementation methodology, which was developed specifically for successfully and efficiently delivering SAP projects, similar to other leading project management methodologies such as:

_ IBM’s “Fastlane” project methodology

_ Deloitte’s “Project Management Methodology (PMM4)”

_ Accenture’s “Method One”

_ Capgemini’s “Software Development Methodology (SDM/SDM2)”

_ Project Management Institute’s “Project Framework(s)”

SAP’s methodology is Accelerated SAP (ASAP). SAP also recently added a newer ASAP methodology variant known as ASAP Focus. This project methodology — originating with the release of SAP’s R/3 version in the late 1990s — focuses on a structured five-phase development roadmap.

The ASAP phases The following is a high-level breakdown of each of the five roadmap phases (along with ongoing continuous improvement), along with their respective purposes.

1. Project Preparation

In the project preparation phase, the SAP project is initiated and planning is started in earnest. Key implementation team members are included in this process to devise an action plan and identify proper resourcing needs. Although the project team at this point is small, key personnel such as the project manager are included.

2. Business Blueprint

Moving from planning to the beginning of execution, the analysis activities are performed in the business blueprint phase, paving a clear path toward implementation. As the name of the phase suggests, blueprinting is performed to lay the foundation of what core project activities must be executed, including configuration, development, migration, integration, commissioning/retirement of systems, and training. The final deliverable of this phase is a contract (or blueprint) with the business and key stakeholders clearly defining what the SAP environment will ultimately look like and its functionality.

3. Realization

During the realization phase, the blueprint is brought to fruition. All of the necessary execution is performed based on the requirements defined within the blueprint. This is typically the longest stage, including development (and functional configuration), and rigorous stages of testing (i.e., unit testing, string testing, integration testing, regre ssion testing, user acceptance testing, etc.). All hands are on-deck and the activities are typically performed by “heads-down” developers, testers, and configuration specialists.

4. Final Preparation

A check list of the final activities prior to go-live is performed. Within a comprehensive cut-over plan, critical technical and business activities are executed in the proper order. End-user readiness is assessed (including any additional training and end-user testing) and the final

“go/no-go decision” is made.

5. Go-Live and Support

In this stage, the official transition from implementation to post-production has been made and the project team begins to transfer oversight responsibility to some form of a post-production support team or COE (even if the project team itself takes over this role).

6. Continuous Improvement

Although not an official stage within ASAP methodology, this should definitely (and hopefully) be the longest stage in any SAP environment. As a diamond grows more brilliant with polishing, so too should your SAP environment with continued “care and feeding” (in this case, via error resolution and enhancement). Additional enhancements and refinement of existing functionality are part of this ongoing phase. In many cases, this stage is supported by a dedicated postproduction support mechanism.

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