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What's more important: the drill or the hole?

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Editor Coda
Jul 23, 2013

Business process re-design is hailed as the holy grail of ERP implementations, but when the time comes to execute, many organisations are faced with the old chicken/egg scenario: do your processes drive SAP design, or are they driven by SAP design?

This was the problem being addressed by Luis da Costa, IT Director at ING, in his session at’s Aligning SAP with finance shared service’s needs event.

In a highly technological world there can no longer be a distinction between business and IT. If they operate in silos, they’ll hold each other back from achieving the wider goals of the organisation. By aligning your processes therefore, you’ll be saving yourself time in the future.

Ultimately, however, “you don’t want the drill, you want the hole the drill will make”. Processes are simply the tools to drive business. So keeping in mind the desired end result, what are the critical success factors for using SAP to optimise your end to end processes?

After dividing the room up into roundtable groups, here are what our audience came up with:

  • Technology needs to be agile and reliable. When integrating a new technology, you want it to be able to do what it says on the tin, but to also be able to adapt to your changing business needs. It’s about striking the right balance between buying technology off the shelf, or having it customised.
  • To encourage compliance with the new process, there needs to be a clear business case with senior management commitment. When new projects don’t directly involve particular departments, it can be difficult to get staff to dedicate time to it and follow procedure. However, by providing a clear business case from the start, detailing how it will affect each department and the wider business strategy, people are more likely to understand and comply with their individual roles. Also, by demonstrating that the project is a priority of senior management.
  • Reporting must be viewed as a business wide initiative. Having an efficient reporting programme enables management to get a better understanding of what is and what isn’t working in the business. By emphasising the need for reporting and engaging people from the start, you can ensure not only that management information is accurate and actionable, but also that in the future, data will be more reliable.

  • Training needs to be followed through with guidelines.No matter how well you train people at the start of the project, it is almost inevitable that there will be a learning curve. To ensure that procedure is followed as accurately as possible from the start, make sure that you either have a team on hand to help with any questions, or easily accessible and referenceable guidelines.

What critical success factors have you been reliant on in your implementation projects?

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