SAP is one of the most popular technology in the world today allowing companies to run and manage their end-to-end business processes on one integrated technology platform. SAP NetWeaver allows companies to integrate sap reseller third party systems and external web applications together with SAP core ECC system(s) there by providing a robust technology infrastructure. This helps enterprises which have already invested in other third party systems to preserve their investment to support their business growth. Now having said all about SAP, you all know that any SAP transformation project is a huge undertaking and every customer wants to put maximum effort and dedicated workforce to make the implementation successful.
Today I would like to emphasize on some best practices all SAP customers may want to consider to minimize any risks and ensure success of your IT transformation project. Every company has different business needs to meet their corporate growth strategy which makes each SAP project unique in its own way and I will share some best practices on a very high level that your SAP project leadership can use to their advantage to ensure that their SAP project is setup for success.
So how does a IT Transformation project begin? Typically, An IT strategy to support a company’s short term and long term business growth is established by the C-level executive leadership (mostly by CEO, CIO, CFO, Vice Presidents of business and it / Systems). Once the IT strategy is defined and approved, an executive steering committee is formed with some of the above executives and key leadership people representing the business. The project is then officially kicked off into planning, preparation, blueprint, functional design, technical design & build, test, deploy, go-live and maintenance phases. There are different best practices or actions I recommend depending on the client and project circumstances. It may not be practically possible to cover best practices for all scenarios in this article. But, I will make an attempt to cover the best practices and proactive measures at a macro level that should be followed during each of the implementation phases to minimize risks and avoid any unforeseen challenges to budget and go-live datesIn the planning phase, initially the project leadership should meet with key stakeholders and define their department objectives that should be met by the SAP project.
For example, if the new transformation project includes a new business initiative or significant enhancements to existing business processes, then time to go-live will be a major factor. Is the go-live timeframe aligning with the time when you are planning to launch the new business initiative? Next thing I will recommend is to prioritize the important project factors such as schedule, budget, and quality so that these constraints can be clearly articulated during the vendor selection process. Also, define the high level scope of the project into 3 distinct categories for each business work stream such as ‘High’, ‘Medium’ and ‘Low’ priority. Also, business stakeholders and leadership needs to identify scope items that can be eliminated if the project budget and schedule is challenged. To the minimum it would be good to have a PMO process in place to de-scope any of the items when time or budget is challenged. The first part of any ABAP development project begin with meeting the end users or business experts and understand the business requirements that need to be implemented in the SAP system during the realization phase. A best approach is to conduct workshops to gather all the business requirements. Make sure that if any SAP function consultants are involved than they are in the meetings as well. After all the business requirements are collected, either a SAP functional consultant or business expert will write a detailed functional specification.
Review the functional specification until the document has all the details, different business scenarios and expected goals clearly defined. A well defined functional specification should contain UML diagrams and test case scenarios. It is important to have an official signoff on the functional specification before continuing with design and development. In ideal case, your SAP Project Lead or ABAP Development Manager should have created a programming standards and guidelines document. Review this document so that you follow the naming conventions for function modules, classes, dictionary objects, software components, name spaces and proxies (if using SAP XI / PI), program input/output parameters, etc just to name a few. Following the guideline for the project helps maintain a consistent coding approach and also helps other functional and technical analysts to read and debug your code. ABAP objects naming should begin with Z if it will be migrated to SAP production system and Y if it will not be migrated into the production system.