NTT DATA Business Solutions
Garry Stewart | May 7, 2019

Best Practices for Project Managing S/4HANA Transformation Initiatives


By Sean Baker, Programme Director, NTT DATA Business Solutions UK

As we approach 2020 and beyond, the benefits of moving to S/4 HANA will become increasingly compelling. Stagnation of legacy functionality, increasingly robust roadmaps and the compelling business case associated with Cloud computing will continue to tip the scales in favour of a move. This is independent of the exciting nature of the new technology fuelling the rise of IT departments and driving more relevancy at board level.

The vast majority of SAP customers remain on ECC or even older R/3 based technology stacks. Making the right decisions around transition strategy (green field vs Conversion) is critical.  This decision has impacts on the downstream methods, approach taken, workload and related risk profile.  The attractiveness of conversion will appeal to many SME’s who will not have investment funding or appetite to reengineer their business for a second time in the decade.

With personal experience of four S/4 HANA implementations, important patterns are emerging and key lessons have been learnt. From my perspective, the transition to S/4 HANA and creating the entry ticket for significant competitive advantage is still relatively speaking in trail blazing mode.

The approach to activating S/4 HANA best practices is a key parameter in the transition. My experience in green field scenarios suggests that it is best to activate all best practices – even if this appears to be functional overkill. In the case of a conversion scenario – by definition best practice activation is only done incrementally and post go live.

At #itelli2019, I will be presenting a session focused on the transitioning to S/4 HANA – and outlining the factors that are critical for success from a Programme Management perspective.  I will do this by exploring our most recent conversion considering how methods and approaches change through the delivery lifecycle.

But as you would expect it comes down to people, skills, goals alignment and discipline from the first day of the project. Use of our offshore Conversion Factory and their experience of 30+ implementations was an essential ingredient.  Conversion as opposed to business change is very much the mode of operation.

I will be presenting “Best Practices for Project Managing S/4HANA Transformation Initiatives” at 4:00pm  in the Fleming Room (Third Floor), QEII Conference Centre, Westminster, London.

#itelli2019 is being held on Wednesday 15th May. The Conference will bring the SAP community together and provide expert guidance with customer-led insight to explain why and how organisations are adopting new disruptive SAP technologies in the pursuit of digital transformation.

The session will consider the success factors for managing a successful conversion in 5 months and preparing for the subsequent transformation of a Procurement outsourcing business seeking to penetrate new global markets.  I will be keen to promote a Customer view of the transition and highlight the strong role they played in a successful conversion to S/4 HANA.

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