The Importance of Change Management in Successful SAP Ariba Deployments

Too many companies don’t even think about change management before starting a big, transformational project. At CCP Global we find that to be the number one cause of a failed SAP Ariba implementation. This series explains how to avoid these failures.

Why isn’t my system working?

CCP Global acquires many clients that are at their wit’s end because their SAP or Ariba solution isn’t working as it should. There can be several factors, but most commonly it’s a lack of focus on change management for SAP Ariba implementations.

It’s surprising how many companies don’t even think about change management before starting a big, transformational project. Yes, the ultimate goal is automation of the system. However, the system is run by people and often people push back against big changes. And that can lead to them going back to their manual processes.

Change Management is a Project

The only time you don’t need to worry about change management is if you’re only making a small change. Say, you’re going from not having a policy to having a policy, or just having an employee click this button instead of that button.

But if you’re going to be doing a true transformation then your change management must be the first focus of the project. It can often become its own project depending on the number of modules being implemented or upgraded and the number of departments being impacted.

Change is Hard

A 2018 McKinsey Global Survey showed that, across all types of transformations, only 37 percent of responders reported successful implementations.

At the core of those failures is a resistance to change. We often see situations where people, frustrated with trying to understand a new system, go back to their spreadsheets, emailing purchase orders, or to their checkbooks.

The importance of change management as a significant factor in the success of a SAP Ariba deployment is an idea embedded in nearly every article we’ve written for this our blog.

Our very first series on Pre-Deployment Readiness discusses change management extensively, most notably in our final article in that series: Common Threads in Supply Change Transformation.

Change management is also crucial to ensure the success of modules such as SAP Ariba Spend Management, and to avoiding costly, frustrating post-deployment failures.

In other words, Change Management is at the core of every success, or failure, of your SAP Ariba procurement implementation.

That’s why it’s important to put change management at the TOP of the to-do list when it comes to planning for supply chain transformation.

Too often, great plans for procurement transformation fail because it’s assumed that everyone will just go along with the changes, or the staff attended the training and didn’t report any issues, or the administration assumes that, since they wanted automation, everything will be fine.

Be Proactive About Change Management

Implementing an Ariba solution requires buy-in from a range of departments and employees. Without the proper preparation, communication, and coordination, you might end up with one team focused on supplier side, one team focused on the users, and the P2P groups going their own way. There are a lot of different teams that need to be considered BEFORE the process goes forward.

For individual employees, a deployment can be a long, time-consuming event that takes them away from their regular duties. This can cause a lot of stress and make them less amenable to learning the new system.

Buy-in is also required across departments. Creating and managing these diverse teams is often a complex, time-consuming process to coordinate and follow up on.

Planning for these challenges early in the process saves time and frustration and can help you avoid failure.

In this new blog series, we’re going to take a deep dive into the important topic of change management.

That will include:

We’ll present some situations where we’ve had to step in and help facilitate change, as well as offer solutions for companies that might be struggling. Stay tuned.

Need to make a change?

We’re the experts.

Download CCP Global’s guide to Total Training Solutions: A Modular Approach to User, Supplier and Admin Training. Four training packages for getting Ariba back on track.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *