It’s no secret: Companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, sometimes millions, to purchase and deploy their SAP Ariba solution. Then it turns out to be much more complex to run and support than they thought it would be. After a couple of years of frustration, they often just scrap it, and all that money is wasted. What is missing is attention to the most crucial phase of the post-deployment lull: adoption and stabilization.
At CCP Global, we see this happen all the time. We’ve been called in on many occasions as a last-ditch effort to get some return on that big investment. And what we’ve discovered is that, usually, the issues could have been avoided if they’d given more thought to the day-to-day administration and support that is the reality of running SAP Ariba. We call this the Adoption and Stabilization phase.
In our Pre-Deployment Readiness blog series, we explained what SAP Ariba clients need to know before Day One of their deployment to avoid frustration, delays, and wasted time and money DURING deployment.
Now, we’d like to look at the problems that often arise Post-Deployment: that is, after your deployment partner walks away and says, “Enjoy your new system!”
The Adoption and Stabilization Phase
This phase of your deployment begins as soon as your product goes live (at the beginning of Hypercare) and can run from months to years depending on several factors. Those include company size, change impact, how well the change was managed during the deployment, how many modules were deployed, and whether it was a big bang deployment, versus a phased go-live, etc. We further break down these variables further in the final article in this series: Adoption and Stabilization: A Timeline.
For this adoption and stabilization phase, administration and support will play the most important role in whether your deployment will be successful or not. Ideally, the best efforts are undertaken to design, build, and test to support your organizational goals during deployment.
However, despite those efforts, what happens if the system is not working as expected? This is where support is critical to immediately step in and begin to fix the system issues to ensure successful user adoption.
In the meantime, users are getting used to the change too. They may be coming from an offline process, or another system they are not used to and they’ll need access to real-time support to perform their daily functions in the system. This is where administration plays a key role in the process.
To ensure that the Adoption and Stabilization Phase of your deployment is a success a plan needs to be in place from day one of Hypercare to support your organization. This includes internal and external support. That could mean beginning with external support, then transitioning to an internal support model as you begin to stabilize your realms and become more familiar with the products.
Administration vs. Support
The job of an Ariba administrator is to support the user. Some of the tasks they perform are things like adding, modifying or deleting users; creating system or user roles; managing passwords; and acting as the primary contact for the user. The admin may be a slightly higher-level role in that they can also create or modify templates and do basic configuration as required and directed by the system stakeholders. However, generally, their job is not to fix problems or errors that come up in the system itself.
The support person, or team if it’s a bigger company, has a larger role. This is a wide-ranging job that doesn’t just mean fixing error messages and codes. They monitor the system, including new releases that may be relevant to your processes; optimize workflows; troubleshoot issues; ensure compliance; and a host of other tasks that keep the system running the way it should. And, if it’s not, they may need to fine tune it by making changes to the original templates, configurations, and integrations so it will work the way the user needs it to.
That’s not even to mention the more tedious, but critically important, ongoing tasks of managing vendor master data and supplier enablement. Both are areas that our clients often struggle with.
Build a Solid Foundation for Success
If you don’t have all of these support systems in place, and Ariba is not working the way it should, user adoption can lag and the end result might be just giving up on the system altogether. Again, that means a lot of wasted money and effort.
What it boils down to is that there are some basic things you need to have in place in the critical time immediately after your deployment to support your adoption and stabilization phase.
In our next blog in this series, Six Ways to Avoid Ariba Post-Deployment Failures, we’ll discuss those basics, with six specific examples of how you can succeed post-deployment and, more importantly, why these types of issues arise in the first place.