Goals of this phase is to make sure your business is ready to use the new SAP system, prepare production and support systems and complete the cutover activities. What can you as an executive and leader do to make sure your organisation is prepared to rollout the new SAP system ? You can certainly take a few steps together with the project leadership that your internal organisation, customers, suppliers, vendors and other third party constituents are ready to work with the new SAP system. So here are some best practices I would recommend that you consider to ensure a better rollout of your SAP system.
- Checklist to verify your internal and external constituent readiness: Create a checklist identifying all business processes for each of your business work streams. Identify all the business users, process owners and stakeholders for each business process. After training, knowledge transition and business process cycle runs are complete, your PMO should seek signoff from business stakeholders to validate that all business users can manage and execute their business processes in the new SAP system. IT and infrastructure executives should sign-off indicating that their teams are ready to support the new SAP system with all the necessary hardware, application and system administration support. If you are outsourcing your SAP system production support to another vendor, then ensure that the vendor executive has signed off indicating their organisation is all setup to support your production system. Production support vendor should also accept all SLAs and service agreements. Ensure your company's internal leadership is defined to own and manage the new SAP system.
- Better system performance testing (stress test) in realization will minimize risk of major problems after go-live.: One of the things I ask during realization is to identify peak data and transaction volumes for each of your business processes today. We should test the system for transaction volume for each of your business processes 5 or 10 years down the line. Create a checklist of each business process and anticipated transaction volume and make sure that your system performance is tested to handle these volumes at peak. Overall business lead and IT lead should sign off on performance test deliverable marking successfull performance test completion for all business workstreams. This includes performance tests for business processes involving third party or corporate external systems that may most likely involve interfaces via SAP PI.
- Cutover plan and go-live strategy approval: Cutover plan and go-live strategy should be complete and signed off by project sponsor. It should also be reviewed and approved by the SAP cutover lead and project manager. Most of the cutover readiness should be done during realization with your project team and business SMEs being ready to support the system in production. Your cutover plan should include handling of production system issues, enhancements, etc. If you have SI supporting the system after go-live then you should ensure that SI has completed or defined a plan for knowledge transition from implementation team to the production support organisation within the SI. Project Leadership should review and signoff the cutover strategy, SLAs and organisation structure. Validate that organisation structure for production support and maintenance is adequate enough to avoid sudden lapse in service.