ROLL-OUTSAP, or implementation of a pattern system

Adam Książek

Roll-out projects should be understood as an implementation system using the existing pattern. This pattern is usually a fully configured and productive environment. In the case of international roll-outs, which occur most often, the pattern is the corporation's branch operating in the country closest in specificity to the roll-out location, or the branch where the SAP system was implemented at the earliest, and the number of implemented functionalities is the largest (although this is not a rule). The existing template ensures efficient implementation in areas convergent with the developed corporate model and at the same time allows you to focus on the implementation of solutions reflecting the local specificity. The implementation methodology for roll-out projects assumes that the phase of preparation for implementation does not include a full analysis of the client's business specificity. This work was done during the original implementation, and each subsequent implementation requires familiarization with the model solution. At this stage, it is important to organize meetings with the working team of the local branch of the company and transfer knowledge about the scope of the source implementation. During such workshops, people from the company covered by the roll-out gain awareness of how much the global template, which is the basis for implementation, is consistent with the local specificity - this step is a perfect introduction to the next stage, which is the Fit & Gap analysis.

The Fit & Gap analysis is used to determine how closely the implementation pattern is consistent with the local specificity. At the same time, its task is to identify the differences that occur on the business and often legal level between the benchmark unit and the unit covered by the roll-out implementation. The analysis of the current state, the analysis of the target structure of business processes and the determination of the differences that occur is the key moment for the success of the implementation. At this stage, the experience of consultants and their knowledge of the local specificity are of great importance. Specific regulations of local law, economic conditions of a branch, or business processes not included in the model implementation but occurring locally, all contribute to the result of the deviation analysis.

Any differences should be identified and named, and the method of handling them should be specified in detail. It should be remembered that regardless of whether a given deviation is handled in the SAP system or a decision is made to implement it outside the system, it should be included in the catalog of differences. Identification of GAP points is associated with assigning the ID of the difference, i.e. most often the GAP sequence number, which defines the area in which the deviation is related, the reporting person, prioritization, and finally the procedure. Attention should also be paid to the fact that - if possible - one should strive to unify business processes within a common model. Standardizing business processes, even at the cost of organizational changes within a local entity, often brings benefits on a global scale - central maintenance and administration of the SAP system are easier and less costly thanks to such measures. The assumptions developed at the Fit & Gap analysis stage should be included in the business concept, which is an inseparable element in every implementation. The document in which the implemented functionalities are described in detail will allow for a smooth transition through the implementation phase of the prototype of the productive environment. It is also worth making sure that the people on the side of the concern's headquarters, responsible for the maintenance of the SAP system, verify and approve the local implementation concept document - especially in terms of solutions adopted to handle differences resulting from local specificity.

When the system configuration stage is over, the tests can begin, preceded by feeding the system with basic data. When migrating data, it is worth using the tools created for the original implementation, although experience has shown that they often need to be adapted to local needs. Concerning greenfield implementation projects (full implementation from scratch), at the system testing stage, next to module and integration tests, an additional stage appears - the so-called regression tests. Since the implementation of additional functionalities that do not result from the reference model may have an impact on the processes currently implemented in other organizational units, the system should be tested in terms of negative effects resulting from extending the organizational structure of the SAP system by another unit (most often it involves adjusting the already existing programming extensions). The next step is productive data migration included in the preparation for the launch phase. The go-live of the new organizational unit is, of course, preceded by training for key and end-users.

Polish specificity in roll-out implementations - rely on SI-Consulting!

The decision of an international company's headquarters to transfer a corporate SAP solution to a Polish organizational unit is usually the first step that begins preparations for a roll-out project. It is worth taking care of a reliable implementation partner who has many similar challenges behind him and is well-versed in legal regulations specific to Poland and generally accepted principles of running a business. Mapping the local specificity in the SAP system is often an extremely difficult task for the central units of the concern responsible for the development of the SAP environment.

SI-Consulting has completed over a dozen roll-out projects (Axellus, Komet-Urpol, Mitsubishi, etc.), being responsible for the entire work or providing expert services. By far the most differences that will appear in the Gap analysis phase relate to the FI module, i.e. financial accounting. Complicated provisions of accounting and tax law force the adjustment of the model solution in such areas as the chart of accounts, statements, reports, exchange rates, assignments, tax codes, and VAT registers, and many others. In the SD module, special attention should be paid to the invoicing process, the content of printouts of sales documents, and the manner of handling complaint processes (correcting original invoices). If the implementation covers HR and Payroll, special attention should be paid to processes related to payroll and HR administration - the volatility of Polish law in this area is particularly intense.

Adam Książek - SD Consultant

He has specialist knowledge, incl. in the field of implementation of the integrated mySAP ERP system in the area of Sales and Distribution, handling of logistics processes, and creating business concepts and configuration in the SD module.