With the commitment of sharing my experiences to the community on SAP C/4HANA Projects, I am publishing the second blog in continuation to the first one I published in the past. Hope this blog comes in handy in some way or the other for SAP C/4HANA partners, customers, consultants, architects, or anyone who is interested in the solution! Most of us know by now that SAP C/4HANA is a lean CRM On-Cloud solution and, as I mentioned in my previous blog briefly, it leverages the CRM On-Premise or ERP On-Premise functionality on the Cloud.
The thing I would like to emphasize to all the multiple customers I have worked with has been: "This solution is not about completely ripping off your SAP CRM or SAP ERP On-Premise to start using a Cloud-based solution."
It's more about understanding what this solution offers that can make your business and the overall Sales/Marketing/Service processes cloud-based, more agile, more scalable, more mobile, and more future technology oriented aka oriented to the Cloud!
I would like to focus in this blog on the key critical aspects for a successful SAP C/4HANA project. My views, of course, are based on all the experience I have gained during several implementations of the SAP C/4HANA solution.
Having worked on so many SAP C/4HANA projects by now, I have come to the conclusion that one of the very first and the most important aspect of giving a C/4HANA project a positive start for long-term success is laying a very strong foundation with the customer's business. This essentially means buying full confidence of the customer before we begin building this solution. I know many of you will think this is anyway one of the critical aspects of every other kind of project too; however, I am specifically mentioning this here for a tried-and-tested reason!
Customers see various demos, attend several conferences and summits, where they get to see how the SAP C/4HANA solution works and realize how it can help their business grow faster, not to mention at a high level; however, the catch here is that when it comes to the actual implementation, we need to be very sure that the customer's expectations around what they have been shown and what we are going to build should be in complete conjunction with what is the best fit for their business and expectations.
How can this be accomplished? I'm sure this is the question in your minds! Well, getting down to a deeper level, I would say that the strongest foundation for the most successful SAP C/4HANA projects is laid in the very few initial days or weeks of a C/4HANA project.That's called the PREPARE phase of a C/4HANA implementation project.
Let me first give you a very quick overview for all the readers about what a PREPARE phase means (in case anyone of you needs some basic information). In simple language, its about learning about the customer's business process that requires our ears to do much more work than our mouths!.
This is basically about listening to your customer needs, their pain points, their existing processes, what's working for them, and what is something they want to completely get rid off. Again, the differentiation between a very successful and averagely successful project is an understanding of "What will excite the customer and motivate their team to instantly start using the power of this solution?" This of course is something that would need a very sound skill set around customer expectation management, which has to be used at its very best during the PREPARE phase!
Implementing a solution, be it SAP C/4HANA or anything else for that matter is one thing; but building a strong foundation for a successful build and deployment, a great LIVE solution, is something that requires completely different skills. Well, I call the skillset that of a "Business Process Architect" rather than of a "Solution Architect," which is the name used to refer to it otherwise, conventionally.
Understanding the complete end-to-end customer's business process, comprehending it the way the customer is expecting to be comprehended, and putting it through a great design documentation and then getting the customer's go-ahead on the same is prudent for a successful SAP C/4HANA project.
The challenges you face as a Business Process Architect translate into pure adrenaline! Yes, I mean that.
You get to know things that you least expected, which give you an excellent opportunity to use your comprehension, patience, and assertiveness. It is indeed challenging! This becomes more complex when you have to make the customer unlearn some part of the On-Premise or any existing solution and make them learn the fantastic features of the SAP C/4HANA solution. I can bet this is the most interesting phase of a C/4HANA project as you envison, comprehend, design, and present the best-of-breed solution capability that you want to offer to the customer...
Many people lose focus on building a strong foundation and instead focus on the mad rush of building and delivering a quick, but great, solution. This obviously would not happen if the foundation has not been laid strong, since the stronger the foundation of a project, the stronger, more agile, more scalable and flexible the build, deployment, and the ultimate solution becomes. Most importantly, it becomes more usable by customers!
I would take a break here to gather more thoughts and get my perspective in order around much more experiences that I would like to share with you all in my next blog...but, the conclusion of this blog for me is to have everyone a strong awareness of kickstarting a C/4HANA project by laying down a very strong foundation, which happens by taking customer into confidence 100%. If this is done the right way, I can assure you that there is no stopping you for achieving a highly successful C/4HANA project!
Thanks for reading the blog; all feedback/suggestions/comments are most welcome!