ADVISORY SERVICES (QA & OVERSIGHT) FOR SAP PROJECTS
An independent leader and executive in any SAP Project Leadership can influence and champion the organization through the entire implementation life cycle of its SAP projects. One individual is all that is needed to keep a check on systems integrators, other consulting companies and work directly with company executives to address all SAP program challenges and risks without interference of corporate culture. With our SAP Advisory Services we engage a dedicated Project Advisor on to the project to manage project risks and provide independent advice to the entire team. With an extensive SAP project management and delivery expertise; a SAP Project Advisor will provide a comprehensive oversight to the project board proactively; helping it to avoid and manage challenges, which could turn into major implementation issues.
This role works closely with the project leadership to provide end-to-end advisory leadership to the project while overseeing all aspects of program management, governance, change control and execution. This role complements existing SAP Project Leadership and there is no need for any additional changes to the current SAP project leadership. We will work with the Systems Integrator as well as SAP [as Software Vendor] in ensuring the success of the project.
Our SAP Advisory Service is unlike any other service from major SAP systems integrator because each of our SAP Project Advisor has in-depth SAP implementation experience in project management, execution, technical implementation and overall program governance. Typically SAP project and program management leaders only possess expertise in project management and governance. The level of expertise of our SAP Project Advisor will be from all areas of project work streams including SAP functional, technical architecture, ABAP, BI, PI, BASIS and Solution Manager. Our expertise in all SAP implementation work streams along with program management, budgeting, planning and execution; is the incredible wealth we bring to any project, which makes our service offering distinctive.
Having a well-qualified SAP Project Advisor could tremendously benefit SAP implementation to ensure that it gets back on track in a quick and effective manner to meet project timeline and goals. We recommend adding a SAP Project Advisor to project leadership board in the following situations.
- Project is running behind schedule or exceeding budget in excess of 15%.
- Chosen Systems integrator is continuously missing project milestones or modifying the list of deliverables due at each milestone there by putting the project at risk.
- Project scope is frequently adjusted to meet budget and timeline.
- SAP systems integrator or consulting company or implementation team is under-qualified and lacks industry specific experience.
- Project team / Business feels that solution designed and built by the SI may impose significant risks to the business upon go-live. This may arise if the quality of solution is poor or integrated system may not work as per design.
- A fixed fee implementation is agreed and need thorough check of deliverables produced by the SAP systems integrator.
- The Organization is about to start a new SAP project and would like to proactively use SAP implementation best practices to reduce the risks of failure.
SAP Trusted Advisor Engagement Model
SAP Trusted Advisor is one dedicated executive leader in the SAP program working directly with the CIO or the executive project sponsor and the steering committee. Responsibilities at a macro level is to manage the execution and delivery of the SAP program while reducing risks associated with budget overrun, slipping milestones, poor technical systems implementation and further maximizing return on investment in SAP.
In general, activities of this role may vary with each SAP customer depending on the time at which it is decide to engage with a project advisor. However, most of the tasks are generated on-the-fly to meet the demand and overcome any challenges on a specific SAP project. Some of the key tasks that an SAP Project Advisor from us would primarily focus are outlined below. CIO and executive leadership may have some specific additional aspects that would want this role to address in addition to the responsibilities mentioned below.
Project Planning & Kick-off Phase
- Advise on setup of your internal project leadership and overall organisation structure.
- Analyze business case, high level business requirements and future growth plan with the key stakeholders
- Prioritize goals of your SAP program and seek leadership & steering committee alignment
- Oversee and advice on selection of SAP packages to meet your business needs and budget
- Establish selection process and evaluation criteria for SAP Systems Integrator ( also known as SI or SAP implementation partner or SAP vendor)
- Invite RFP and bids from all prospective vendors. Evaluate vendor proposals, demos, technical capabilities and interview key leadership roles to qualify the bids.
- Negotiation of bids with shortlisted vendors
- Review capital and expense spending per fiscal year of the SAP program. Adjust project timeline and staffing model to meet any corporate budget restrictions.
- Select the Systems Integrator for the project by working closely with the CIO, steering committee and the executive leadership
- Select project engagement model by working with CIO, executive leadership and systems integrator.
- Preparation of first Statement of Work (SOW) for project planning / preparation phase
- Interview and select the initial vendor leadership roles including senior executives ( or partners), delivery lead, project manager, technology manager / lead and other key leaders that will join the project during the planning phase
- Review project work plan, project charters, PMO tools & reporting, execution methodology, staffing model (for each phase) and work effort estimations.
- Review blueprint workshop schedule, participation matrix, timeline and quality gates.
Continuous Engagement with Vendor Leadership and Internal Project Leaders
- Work closely with SI senior executive (partner / delivery leader) to discuss avenues of improvements in project execution, faster project delivery, resource challenges, solution optimization and scoping issues.
- Review risks associated with project delivery, budget overrun, solution quality and Q-gates with vendor executives and propose mitigation plan.
- Oversee and advice the periodic (daily or weekly) project leadership meeting. Ensure accurate project progress is reported and discussed. Advice on options to mitigate any known project risks or issues.
- Manage disagreements or conflicts between business teams, internal leaderships and systems integrator. Serve as an independent unbiased advisor to resolve these conflicts and keep the entire project team motivated throughout.
- Seek on-demand assistance from external business or third party experts when needed. At times, project may need assistance from SAP America / SAP AG to evaluate and resolve few SAP technology hurdles.
- Evaluate and qualify project progress report for preparing periodic “steering committee presentation” and work with the project leadership in preparing this presentation. Provide expert opinion and advice to the Steering Committee when needed.
Blueprint [Analysis & Requirements Gathering]
- Oversee the execution, quality and progress of business requirements gathering phase. Work with the delivery lead and project managers to track deliverable completion as planned.
- Review BPD (Business Process Requirements & Design or BPRD) documents for quality and ensure that business team leads and SME(s) have signed off on all BPD documents.
- Review overall fit gap analysis and RICEF inventory.
- Oversight to change control board meetings throughout the duration of project and advice (also approve or decline) any change requests based on best practices together with leadership alignment. Avoid excessive change requests that may present risk to project delivery and budget.
- Ensure that all sign-off and deliverable approval procedures are followed throughout the project organization.
- Verify setup and project readiness of SAP Solution Manager
Realization [Design / Build / Test]
- Review work plans for all streams PMO, OCM, business teams, integration, legacy, business intelligence, systems architecture / IT infrastructure, RICEF development and implementation.
- Interview all vendors (SI), external and new hire resources for the project. Define evaluation procedures and selection matrix for other individual team resource selection which may be delegated to team leads. Oversee and adjust project teams based on individual, team or project performance.
- Review overall solution design and application architecture.
- Review selected functional and technical design documents to ensure high quality. These documents should include configuration rationale, RICEF (or FRICE) specifications, architecture diagrams, etc.
- Ensure best practices are followed in UI designs, ABAP coding standards, application architecture, SOA enablement, etc.
- Review project estimations, progress matrix, issue/risks management and other processes managed by the PMO. Ensure that PMO and delivery leaders are managing well to resolve any project level risks / issues and maintaining progress as per plan.
- Conduct random spot check of system implementation in development and QA SAP environments. Spot checks may include but not limited to code review, IMG setup, transport requests review (may include CHARM), Solution Manager setup, etc.
- Review unit test, product test, integration and assembly test progress. Ensure proper testing and solution / build approval procedures are followed by business and IT teams.
- Review transport strategy, business migration strategy, disaster recovery/ business continuity strategy and training plan
- Verify configuration and usage of SAP Solution Manager
Deployment & Go-Live
- Oversee all systems deployment and business migration activities
- Ensure speedy resolution to issues in production system
- Oversee and advise on any cutover challenges
- Ensure smooth operation of “Center of Excellence” and production support teams
- Oversee smooth transition of the SAP system to business users
- Define and execute SAP system maintenance contract and SLA with the vendor.