A key reason many companies decide to implement SAP is to improve efficiency. Computerizing a company’s systems and processes is often convenient and enhances productivity by cutting out long delays in the transmission of information.
SAP replaces the company’s current methodology, so to speak. However, as an SAP administrator or consultant, you yourself need a methodology for implementing and maintaining SAP.
Methodologies are exceptionally important. Far from just being a business buzzword, good methodologies are a road-map for performing a task well, and with exceptional results.
How does your IT department handle system problems? What happens when a request comes down from above, or when an end user reports an error? Do you launch a solution instantaneously, or do you have to go through several layers of authorization and verification before you can get to the root of the problem? Can you see a way to streamline the process?
IT errors that disable systems for extended periods of time can have a crippling effect on a business.
Do you get a say-so in developing your business’ IT methodologies?
If so, that is excellent news – you should strongly consider what processes can be updated and upgraded to make your department more effective and efficient. If not, you may want to consider talking to someone if you spot an area where you think the methodology could be improved.
Remember to do this in a respectful, non-complaining manner. Rather than suggesting there is a problem, couch your suggestion in terms of a way of improving an existing system that already works.
Keep in mind that many companies, particularly larger ones, fear change, especially if what they have been doing for so many years still works. Even if it does not work well, it is familiar, and they know it will not go catastrophically wrong – at least not yet. These companies need to be eased into something new bit by bit.
If you need help figuring out how to lead your company through a cycle of change, consider reading a book or taking a course on Six Sigma. It will give you a better understanding of change management and process improvement strategies to try in your company.
As an SAP professional, though, there is one methodology you should be familiar with: ASAP. ASAP stands for Accelerated SAP, and it helps consultants develop a plan for an SAP implementation to make it as quick and efficient as possible. An in-depth discussion of this program is a topic for another day, but familiarize yourself with its phases so that you can be prepared to discuss it if needed:
- Project Preparation: What are your goals and objectives? What is the scope of your project? How long do you have? Who will be in charge of what?
- Business Blueprint: Review the questions provided by SAP and answer them to determine how each process in the business will be mapped to the processes in SAP.
- Realization: Configuration of SAP to the processes laid out in the business blueprint.
- Final Preparation: Testing, training, tweaking, and fixing.
- Go Live & Support: On-going troubleshooting, maintenance, and optimization.
The best methodologies are often the simplest. You should have your own methodologies for your work throughout the day as well. What are some regular habits you can implement to make your workflow smooth and efficient?