Best Practices for a Successful SAP Implementation 

Best Practices for a Successful SAP Implementation 

According to a recent study, around 51% of organizations experienced cost overruns during their SAP projects, while 46% faced schedule delays. Furthermore, only 37% of companies reported achieving more than 50% of their expected business benefits. These figures emphasize the need for careful planning, experienced management, and thorough execution to maximize the value derived from SAP Managed Business Services. 

The number of SAP Managed Business Services implementation that fail due to companies neglecting necessary planning and due diligence or assigning a management team without relevant SAP implementation experience is surprisingly high. To ensure success, it is crucial to prioritize thorough preparation and assemble a competent SAP-managed service provider to oversee the SAP implementation. Here are a few tips that can help your business implement SAP effectively. 

Tips for a Successful SAP Initiative  

Prioritize business processes and needs before anything else

Often, companies become overly enthusiastic about the technical capabilities or platforms offered by a specific system, causing them to overlook the importance of aligning it with their unique business requirements. To conduct more effective evaluations of SAP (Systems, Applications, and Products) options, companies must delve into the specifics of how their business operates and determine their actual needs. Defining business requirements should be an ongoing process that begins during the selection phase and continues throughout implementation. 

Implement strategies to achieve a favourable return on investment (ROI)

To maximize the benefits for a business, it is insufficient to merely create a high-level business case to obtain approval from upper management or the board of directors. While this step is crucial and should be completed before committing to SAP Managed Business Services, companies should also define tangible business benefits that are as measurable as the defined solution cost. Additionally, they should establish key performance indicators, set baselines and targets for these metrics, and continuously monitor performance after the system goes live. 

Ensure effective project management and dedicated resource allocation

The success of an SAP project largely depends on efficient management and adequate support. Exemplary initiatives exhibit several common characteristics, such as having a capable project manager at the helm, involving internal subject matter experts, implementing a comprehensive risk management plan with mitigation measures, and conducting ongoing phase reviews throughout the process. If the implementation is not progressing as intended or milestones are not being met, seeking the assistance of a SAP-managed service provider with substantial SAP experience is recommended. 

Ensure commitment from company executives. 

A prosperous project requires the backing of top-level management, including all C-level executives, to address challenges such as conflicting business requirements and implement effective solutions. Organizations often discover that regular project reviews involving executives or steering committee members enable managers to promptly tackle emerging issues and maintain positive project momentum. 

Emphasize sufficient training and change management

To achieve a successful SAP implementation, it is essential to prioritize end-user training, organizational change management, and job design. The introduction of ERP systems can cause disruptions among employees and even induce panic if individuals are not adequately equipped to utilize the software proficiently. When providing ERP functional training, the focus should be on imparting knowledge about business workflows and technical skills rather than just transactional operations. Adopting the “train-the-trainer” approach has proven to be an effective method for instilling knowledge within the organization. 

Focus on data migration early in the process

Data migration is incredibly complex, entails a certain level of business and technical risk, and is affected by the number of sites that a company is going live with, how many legacy systems are being replaced and how many users are involved. The following are techniques to help companies do it right: 

  • Define a data migration strategy up front including master (customer, vendor, product) and transactional (open PO, open invoice) data.
  • Communicate data migration plans to employees and end-users.
  • Remember that it’s never too early to begin scrubbing and mapping data.
  • Thoroughly verify migrated data during conference room pilots and testing.
  • Remember “garbage data” will create problems with your SAP solution.
  • Don’t forget to plan for historical data and archival and access of data.
Leverage the value of conference room pilots (CRPs)

Functional and integration testing are crucial steps to be conducted before system deployment. Conference Room Pilot (CRP) sessions ensure that the software functions as per the designated specifications and that data flows accurately throughout the system. The success or failure of your SAP project is greatly influenced by the value derived from CRPs.  

Additionally, several non-technical factors play a critical role in achieving a successful implementation: 

  • Clearly defined business process and workflow definitions aid in effective communication with end-users and facilitate employee training on the new system. 
  • Business process and workflow gap analysis provide employees with an understanding of how the previous methods align with the new business workflows. 
  • Conducting organizational change and impact analyses, coupled with consistent and targeted internal communications, assist employees in adapting to the changes seamlessly. 


SAP projects frequently surpass initial expectations in terms of timeframes and budgets, and even more concerning, they often fall short of delivering the anticipated benefits that companies envision and anticipate. By comprehending the underlying reasons behind these challenges, companies can develop realistic plans for implementing SAP software. It is crucial to acknowledge that many of these difficulties stem from process and organizational change management issues rather than solely being technology-related.  

Aligning SAP software with your business processes and requirements can be arduous, time-consuming, and of paramount importance. Skillmine is a SAP-managed service provider that specializes in the SAP enterprise resource planning (ERP) market, catering to organizations of all sizes. Our SAP Managed Business Services assist clients in managing implementation processes and expediting necessary organizational changes to ensure that each client can fully realize the business benefits offered by SAP. 

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