Get the Most out of your SAP solutions

Best practices & common pitfalls

Are you fed up with making the same mistakes again and again? Would you like to learn from others to avoid common pitfalls in your SAP project? Then continue reading, you’re in the right place!

Issue 1, 2018 Download PDF

As a matter of fact, the ongoing success of your SAP solutions is secured, as ARIS 10 works perfectly with SAP and its central ALM component, the new SAP Solution Manager 7.2! However, not each and every SAP project leads to success and there are many pitfalls project teams commonly run into.

To avoid these pitfalls and offer you some hints on best practices, I’ve decided to pull together those common pitfalls and best practices, based on Software AG’s long-time experience in SAP projects. These are split into the different project phases, starting from strategy and business blueprinting all over the SAP project lifecycle to communicating and training the solution.

Figure 1: Overview of Optimizing SAP Solutions

Envision your digital future—set up your SAP digital business design

SAP digital business design, also known as the blueprint phase, sets the groundwork for the success of your SAP solution. No matter what your goals are, whether you intend to manage your transformation to an SAP-based digital business or solely to integrate your processes with SAP, you need to design your business and your processes to work with the SAP solution.

Digital process design during the blueprint phase can be considered as a kind of contract between the end-user requirements and the SAP solution to ensure expectations match implementation in SAP. So go through it carefully and reuse the available reference content and “packaged expertise” included in Performance.Ready. It will accelerate your digitalization with real-world knowledge and give you a head start on best-in-class SAP solutions.

What should you watch for in the strategy & blueprint phase?

Best practices:

  • Document your strategy and gain C-level sponsorship
  • Understand, define and match business requirements with the solution offerings from SAP AG
  • Include business AND IT from the beginning of the project

Common pitfalls:

  • Starting from scratch with process implementation
  • Thinking that digital business design is a one-time exercise
  • Forgetting to link the digital business strategy to your business processes
  • Ignoring running SAP solutions

Once the original set up is done, do not forget that in today’s digital world, your business needs to adapt constantly. This includes regular process changes, IT system upgrades as well as new project areas. Therefore, synchronization between the process and the SAP “world” will NOT be a one-time activity, but a regularly repeated one. Prepare your team and your system for this!

Once the initial blueprinting is done and accepting that change will be a constant, leveraging the information modeled in ARIS will save you valuable time and resources throughout the different phases of your SAP project and help you realize, step by step, the full benefit of your SAP solutions. Let’s have a look at the other SAP project phases.

Test for success — set on process-based testing for high-quality SAP processes

Testing is an extremely important milestone for a fully working best-in-class SAP solution and a smooth and successful go-live. Thus, the definition of your business test scenarios is the key to your success. As processes will not stay the same forever, they’ll need to adapt throughout the application’s lifetime and according to business strategy changes. Thus, they will need to be tested again and again. ARIS offers dedicated tools for test design (Test Designer Extension Pack) to save you time and ensure quality down the road by reusing previously designed processes, test scenarios and test data.

What should you watch for in the testing phase?

Best practices:

  • Define strategic end-to-end processes early
  • Include business departments in the definition of integration tests
  • Select a standard testing tool

Common pitfalls:

  • Focusing on functional testing only
  • Underestimating the time needed for testing
  • Ignoring business departmental feedback

Empower your business—train and communicate the right processes

Even if training and communication are considered as different project phases, they go hand-in-hand based on the same tools.

Spreading the word and delivering the right training for your new SAP solution is another big task for the project team. Here again, a process-driven approach helps. It assures the whole company understands the new SAP-based processes and end- users know how to work in their new environment. Especially when business processes often change and innovation plays an important role, regular training and information require dedicated attention.

What should you watch for in the training and roll-out phase?

Best practices:

  • Create accurate process documentation as the single point of truth and communication
  • Set up governance processes to manage process design
  • Clearly define one central person responsible for the management of the interface
  • Reuse available process information in ARIS for process-driven training
  • Assure early information and collaboration on SAP processes
  • Make sure to manage the process of process management

Common pitfalls:

  • Forgetting about the documentation after the project start
  • Focusing only on the technical integration
  • Using only SAP standard reference processes
  • Solely training on SAP features and functions
  • Keeping the new processes secret until go-live
  • Ignoring user feedback and comments

The good news is that while designing your SAP solution, you have already created a training and information platform—a single point of truth and communication—for all stakeholders for the entire project and the platform will stay (with updates of course) long after the project is completed! Role-based access to process information will be the key to sharing the right information with your different target groups. To support continuous process improvement, set up collaboration and governance.

Secure your digital future—analyze & measure processes for deep insights into your running SAP solutions

Once your system is up and running, your project will profit from the numerous analytical capabilities in ARIS by reusing all pieces of information available in the repository. You’ll have the chance to analyze every piece of information, from organizational reports and process efficiency analysis to what-if analyses, number of cost counting and much more. Process analytics and process mining capabilities of ARIS, which span from simple queries and tables, to complex analysis and real-time dashboarding, including actual process performance and visualization, will fully adapt to your needs and requirements and give you real-time insights for better business and fact-based decisions.

What should you watch for while analyzing and measuring once your system is up and running?

Best practices:

  • Use analytics to create value and to compare what you planned with what actually happens
  • Extract and analyze SAP system information to expose what really happened and how it leads to the as-is process flows
  • Consider and mix different KPIs and dimensions to plan your scenarios
  • Ensure the quality of data on which you base your analytics. You’ll encounter special challenges when you have to combine data from different sources

Common pitfalls:

  • Focusing on all technological features and analytical capabilities and forget to focus on solving the current issue
  • Believing analytics is just for management. In actuality, it’s every employee’s concern across the enterprise
  • Assume KPIs don’t create any value. Analytics helps to find waste, errors and defects and support better decisions
  • Believing your existing analytics tools are sufficient, ARIS is more than measuring or designing a process. It is the combination of both!

Figure 2: Still not persuaded? Here’s an overview of your benefits.

Take the next step

So there’s nothing in the way on your path to success now!

Read more on how the ARIS portfolio helps you manage your business and achieve a best-in-class SAP solution to help secure your success in the digital world.

Stay tuned as we will reveal our tips & tricks on successful S/4 HANA® projects in the next issues!