Roll out of your SAP template, has several pitfalls you have to be aware of

  • Planning of your roll outs of your SAP template
    • Time registration
    • An efficient organization during the roll out
    • Basic considerations
    • Lessons learn
  • Demo your template in detail for each end user group as the first task of your roll out
    • Prototype of processes
  • Legal requirements and other relevant controlling requirements (Fit / Gap analyze)
    • Concentrate on Legal Requirements
  • Training and education
  • Test and test cases
  • The success criteria’s in any projects
What characterizes a roll out rather than an implementation?
Very often a roll out happens to be more complicated, more expensive and take much longer time than expected. And very often the reason is, that the expectations of the result, are, that all new relevant functionalities must be included in the roll out, if the business case is valuable enough. And the problem here is, that there is always a lot of valuable business cases. But if you want to make a reliable plan, and keep the budget, no further development or valuable business cases are allowed to be included in any roll outs. These must be implemented in a ‘second wave’ of the application. The roll out is characterised by no substantial development or customising is necessary.
The process from the first successful completion of the development and implementation
When your first development and implementation has been successfully completed, and your support team has taken over daily maintenance and error handling, you are ready to prepare and plan the roll outs to other regions and countries.
How long time can/must a roll out take?
The short answer is – you cannot tell explicit. The reason for this is, that the amount of factors that implicate on the total roll out project, varies a lot from company to company, depending on how serious the roll outs has been taken in, as a permanent culture of the company. Ex. implicate:
  • the dedication / motivation of the roll out teams and the teams in the roll out countries  
  • the amount of new users
  • common language communication can often be a challenge 
  • the routine of the developers/customisers 
  • the Project Manager’s ability to motivate the teams
  • the amount of the legal requirements
  • the amount of other requirements from the Fit/Gap analyse
  • the complexity of the application
  • the amount of modules rolled out
Often the first roll out will indicate the level of weeks/months, which can be optimized along with the achieved routine and knowledge. An experienced Project Manager have the necessary knowledge to make a serious estimate.
  • Planning of your roll outs and what it MUST include
Time registration
Time registration must be done during all kind of projects, originally because you need to activate your spent hours as assets, after an ended project. But this is only for the account purposes.
Time registration, is the most important ingredients of the planning tool, when you have to roll out an application to several countries or regions, simply because, you need your prior time registration to estimate the next roll out and to enable you to distinguish between why certain areas took more or less time than expected.
The time registration is mandatory to do for both SAP consultants (developers/configurators) and for the business involved users.
An efficient organization during the roll outs can look like this
To organise an efficient roll out team, it is necessary to have two teams. One team that takes care of the development and the Fit/Gap analyze and one team that takes care of training and test. The roll out can easily work, if one team takes care of both areas, but then you reduce the possibility to specialize each team for certain tasks.  Ex. could the training/test team, consist of normal users, it does not have to be expensive consultants.
Basic considerations and analysis before your roll outs
Before you start to roll out, you need to consider what implications the roll outs can have on the application performance for the existing users in the system, such as the extra amount of users, more transactions, the extra load on the CPU, memory, network traffic, level of free space capacity, and the possible implication of the rush hours on the application. SAP has different tools to measure these aspects and it is necessary to make tests to measure/analyse the load, real time.
Change management is an often forgotten topic during roll outs as well as implementations. The management and the project management must have proposals for a continuing organization and ensure that key persons are not finding new challenges in other companies during the project.
Have a communication plan prepared, to inform the business and users involved during and after the roll out. It is easier to accept and understand an extension of the roll out, if you have been advised and is able to take appropriate actions to avoid misunderstandings.
Prepare a support team to cover at least 48 hours after go live (or as long as needed) and the support team must include process owners and involved developers, to ensure fast and safe solutions of matters that appears
Assess your risks during the roll outs, according to earlier issued newsletters about risk assessments.
Lessons learn is necessary to arrange if your organisation is expected to be better and faster after each roll out. It is a must that the teams stick together and register what they succeeded with and did not succeed with. Involve the users, and identify what was good / bad and define how this roll out process can be improved. Write it down and take the notes into account when the next roll out is planned and aligned.
  • Demo your template in detail for each end user group as the first task of your roll out
Prototype of the processes for demonstration purposes
It is not only a very good idea to have a prototype ‘company’ of the roll outs, it is a MUST. You will have to use the prototype company to demonstrate the functionalities and also to prepare the analyze of the Fit and Gaps.
  • Legal requirements and other relevant controlling requirements (Fit / Gap analyze)
Concentrate your effort to Legal Requirements in your Fit/Gap analyze?
When we discuss legal requirements, all of them must be developed/configured before the roll out, without further discussion. This also counts, when we discuss cultural or country specific requirements, such as bank specific communication and transfer, public authorities’ communication and transfer, etc. Very often it happens that each country has specific functionalities from the old systems, that have made them more competitive or more efficient, which can be relevant to develop, but NOT during a roll out, as this will make the roll out more expensive and expose the go live date. These other requirements must be developed after the roll out, and each of them must include a cost/benefit analyze. An efficient way to limit the volume of these kind of new functionalities is to ask the roll out country to pay for the development themselves, if the functionalities are not relevant for other countries also. A steering committee must approve all requirements that have to be developed. The Fit/Gap analyze must include a detailed description of the requirements, which basically are the functionalities, the benefits and who the requirements serve or please.
  • Training and education
Training and education
Sometimes it is relevant to use the tests of the processes, as the education of the new users in the roll out countries. And in that way you can shorten the phase of training and tests, and maybe save some money.
But …. if you will ensure to get new users of the application, that understands the processes, the terminology, the logics, and not least the functionalities, it is a very good idea to separate the training and test.
The training sessions are basically used to transfer knowledge of the processes and to understand how to control them in all kind of possible situations. The formel training can be done by super users or process owners in your organisation.
  • Test and test cases
The test must always consist of documents ‘from cradle to grave’ processes. This can of cause varies depending on what modules are rolled out. It is also a very good idea to use local ‘born’ documents, so the test situation gets as realistic as possible for the test users, and to ensure that the users test in own terms.
The test cases
It is mandatory to have prepared all test cases before the test starts, in all processes. This is obvious to have prepared before the roll out starts up. The volume of test cases are not that important, as long as all functions and all functionalities are tested. It is allowed to test further than that.
  • The success criterias in any project are:
Communication about the project, is important to all stakeholders in any project. What is the impact, when is the go live date and where, and who will be involved
Constructive attitude is necessary, even if the situations are under huge pressure
Commitment and ownership is a MUST from all stakeholders. Make the necessary moves to make it happen
Common understanding of the goal and the scope is necessary, to meet the milestones and the deadlines
Clear escalation route(s) is necessary to ensure immediate actions and decisions when required

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