Over the past few years some of our top SAP Ariba consultants at CCP Global have told me: When I started on “Day One” ready to assess our new clients’ current environment, I was told, “We don’t want to dive deep into our current processes, we just want the Best Practices.”
While the idea of Best Practice has a great connotation that infers a simple, uncomplicated SAP Ariba solution and deployment, the fact is that “best practices” are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Rather, they’re a framework for defining where you are and where you need to go.
Which makes sense when you think about the vast variety of industries covered by SAP Ariba solutions: agriculture, airlines, chemicals, energy, entertainment, financial services, high-tech, manufacturing, media, pharmaceuticals, textiles and utilities to name just a few.
That’s why it’s important to work with a partner that knows how important pre-deployment readiness is. The best partners will know what information your unique company in your specific industry needs to gather before your SAP Ariba consulting team formally starts the project. A pre-deployment strategy led by an expert team will save both time and money in the short and long run.
The Key To Success: Pre-Deployment Readiness
The maturity and professionalism of a good deployment partner lies in the ability to ready the client for deployment. When evaluating your choices, be sure to ask prospective consulting firms how they will work with you to prepare you for the most efficient deployment experience.
As one of CCP’s consultants notes, “SAP Ariba sells the product and then asks, ‘what date do you want to deploy?’ because that’s their job. However, there are things that are not always taken into consideration that you need to do before setting that date. Readiness is the missing piece between buying the system and deploying the system and not being fully ready can result in frustration, headaches and wasted time.”
CCP Global puts a high priority on pre-deployment readiness and has provided many successful projects for a variety of enterprise clients, including Fortune 500s, in the area of pre-deployment readiness.
Within the framework of the main deployment areas there are three key items to keep in mind: information/inputs, staffing, and technology.
- Information/inputs: This may be data required to create the framework for the system, or may be key organizational information, such as master data. Having all of your systems-related inputs ready is critical to starting your implementation off on the right foot.
- Staffing: Having people at the ready to participate in the deployment is a critical step to deployment readiness. Considering the key stakeholders for not only the deployment project, but also the critical user base, as well as the change management components, will help you pave the way to avoid any roadblocks during the deployment.
- Technology: An SAP Ariba deployment is often a net-new software for an organization. Having a highly experienced team can ensure that you are aware of any data cleanup, critical service packs, upgrades, or changes to your data framework that may be required to make sure that your new cloud software will work in a complex, integrated environment and help you avoid any deployment delays.
Again, our senior consultant notes, “There are preparedness activities that need to be done with any type of deployment, but if you don’t do it right from the beginning with some of the modules and the data and systems requirements, you can literally put yourself in a year of delay.”
Getting Into Specifics
This is a pretty basic overview of the need for some preparedness that many companies may not consider, each of the SAP Ariba modules have specific areas that need to be addressed.
In the next four articles in this series we will discuss each of those in greater detail, including:
- Upstream Deployment Readiness, broken down as follows:
- Sourcing Deployment including RFx criteria and prerequisites for sourcing events
- Contracts Deployment including contract standardization and legacy agreement preparation
- Supplier Management including data cleansing and data model requirements
- Downstream Deployment Readiness for Integrated Buying and Invoicing including critical master data
All of these steps will ensure a more seamless, simple and effective integration, but only if you work with a partner who can walk you through these critical tasks before they walk in the door.