Tuesday Perspectives

Agile and SAP S/4HANA: Considerations for Implementation

Published: December 4, 2018

Did you know that Agile approaches and SAP S/4HANA are going to supersede the traditional SAP approach? Well, it is now confirmed that by 2025, the backbone of ERP for most of the organizations will be sunsetted and replaced by much more capable, versatile, scalable and significantly enhanced version.
SAP S/4HANA, the futuristic progeny of the SAP Business Suite is far more simplified and comes with heightened efficiency and cutting-edge features. With SAP having confirmed that they will limit the maintenance of ECC 6.0 to the year 2025; organizations have started working on their migration plans to adopt newer SAP S/4HANA. While rapid and healthy ROI is assured with this SAP offering, we all know that there will be challenges to be overcome.
Companies, which are ahead in adopting this intelligent ERP solution, are also the ones which are deploying agile approaches to reduce the time and efforts to migrate. Whereas, the organizations attempting to migrate to S/4HANA in the traditional waterfall delivery approach generally experience increased effort and time. Having stated that, the agile methodology also comes with its own set of unique impediments.

Challenges in implementing Agile

While with right kind of guidance and tools, the implementation can be carried out smoothly, there are a few undocumented impending factors to be considered.

Let’s go through the challenges faced by the professionals and organizations in implementing Agile one by one.

Insufficient Funding
For any project execution, budget management is a major challenge faced by any mid-level organization. While waterfall approaches have seen very limited success in delivering projects within the deadline and budgets, the agile methodology promised to address this underlying issue but got engrossed in issues like “Laissez-faire”.

The laid-back or “laissez-faire” attitude of the project teams, who take on a project without a well-defined road-map and milestones, fails to meet the objectives. Some examples of this behaviour include pushing the defect resolution to next iteration and postponing the incorporation of features which are found to be off-target to the next sprint. Such undisciplined approaches usually create a huge technical debt.

Too many tools
It becomes quite difficult for a project lead to track the progress when the team members use multiple tools to develop and operate. Such problem typically arises in cross-functional teams where there is lack of uniform standardization and project guidelines. In most of the cases, lead fails to identify the red flags as they are occupied with monitoring the progress. Another challenge faced by such teams is lack of accesses to different channels and in absence of proper access to the required information, they often fail to provide realistic status updates.

In many successful implementations that we have delivered, we make sure that our teams are enabled with a comprehensive and project-oriented perspective. In this way, team leads secure deeper visibility into the delivery progress across both development and testing functions. This allows team to detect quality issues in time and deploy proven testing methodologies mapped to the underlying issues. This approach gives the team a multi-dimensional view that helps with better data-based decision-making.

Lack of collaboration and proper planning
Usually, the SAP S/4HANA implementation process in Agile methodology runs across dispersed functions involving cross-functional teams spread across geographies. As a result, the delivery time-lines are difficult to adhere to and outcomes are dissatisfactory. Our best practices garnered over multiple complex project deliveries have led us to conclude that IT teams should own the outcome of the project and collaborate with the corresponding departments from the very beginning, oversee the plan, track the progress, monitor the quality and ensure timely release as per the defined stages.

Specifically, when it comes to Agile environment, collaboration and real time communication is key. Lack of collaboration arising from behavioural conflicts amongst the professionals, has now become the biggest roadblock after budgetary challenges. To ensure seamless transition to SAP S/4HANA, enterprises should leverage their collaborative capabilities and have a well-defined conflict management system in place. This way, project can set clear objectives to collectively work towards the goal through a managed workflow.
With few unique propositions like RapidS4 HANA migration services, not only the collaboration challenges are taken care of, but the advanced channels ensure timely, effective and bi-directional communication between managers, testers, developers, business teams and stakeholders based across the globe. Also, activities are cascaded automatically through a start-to-finish business process with complete tracking of work executed in different stages.

Siloed IT teams
While executing SAP S/4HANA implementation, delays mostly occur and gets intensified because of inter dependencies on cross-functional teams, particularly IT team. Inadvertently, in most cases, this results in creation of silos thus blocking the open communication with the external stakeholders from other teams. The result is poor execution methodology with disappointing results.

Best way to avoid such challenges, that we have tested, includes integrating automated notification feature. This helps the development team with smooth handover, thereby ensuring optimal workflows and desired results.

Digital transformation is happening everywhere and disrupting every business. Learn more on how we are working with business to evolve business models, deploy innovative ways of working, and establish new ways of collaborating and communicating.

If you are interested to know more on how we help businesses in transitioning to SAP S/4HANA, please feel free to check out our Agile capabilities here.

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