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Estimating An SAP Project

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SAP Project Estimation In A Nutshell

  • Your SAP Systems Integrator (SI) may be using their own internal proprietary project estimating models. This is no rocket science. Understand and learn how their estimating model works. You do not need to know the specifics of their tool. For example, for building a report ask how design, development and testing effort is calculated and so on for other objects.
  • Make sure that your SI is using a SAP technology based estimating models. All major systems integrators like Deloitte, IBM, Accenture, Cap Gemini, etc have done hundreds of SAP implementations and they should certainly have well baked project estimating tools. These tools can only be leveraged to their best if you have senior executives from SAP practice from these companies running the show.

  • SAP Project Estimation Tool - RICEF
    SAP RICEF Project Estimation Tool from CIOVP

  • Project management (includes PMO and other leads), OCM, training, SAP BASIS and infrastructure estimations are usually done using duration based estimation attributes. Your project leadership should thoroughly review and challenge the staffing model for these duration based teams. Ask smart questions. Example: Say if your blueprint will require 10 months to complete, then why would you need training team when most of the training material along with system demos can only be prepared during realization phase.
  • Accurate RICEF estimations - a critical success factor. Most of the work effort in your project is associated with RICEF (Reports, Interfaces, Forms, Conversions, Enhancements, Workflows) and SAP configuration. If you can manage to gather business requirements clear and detailed enough then you should have a good quality RICEF inventory after the fit gap analysis is completed. Hence you should have a good handle on the estimates. I very strongly recommend that you along with your project advisor do your own internal project estimation cross-check. A project advisor with SAP project execution expertise should be able to come up with number of days it would require to complete each "High/Medium/Low" RICEF object. Add up all the efforts for these RICEF objects and also the duration based team estimates which should give your internal number to validate with that calculated by the SI.
  • Trim resources wherever possible. Your SI will be hesitant to trim resources as it cuts into their revenue. They may trim a few to give you an illusion that they are working in your interest. Review each team staffing model and with the help of your project advisor check for avenues that you can cut roles or atlead delay onboarding certain roles when they may not be needed. This could result in significant cost savings.

  • Eliminate [unnecessary roles] + Delay Onboarding [certain roles] Significant cost savings

  • Reduce and re-prioritize scope: You will have better knowledge of your business requirements at the completion of the blueprint phase and you might as well find out that it will now take much extra effort to complete the project than the estimates that were done during planning phase. Most SAP projects have budgetary restrictions in which case you have no choice but to reduce scope to deliver the SAP solution within budget. Work with your steering committee, project leadership and especially the business stakeholders to reduce scope. Eliminate scope items that are nice to have or not critical to run the primary functions of your business
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  • Simplify business processes where possible : Some of your RICEF items may be high ticket items (high work effort) due to excessive system automation. Try to make these business processes semi-automated to reduce the costs of enhancing the SAP system to automate these processes. Where possible you might want to explore with your SAP solution architects if there are ways to simplify a business process. You could still get what you need from your system but with fewer bells and whistles.
  • Re-evaluate your staffing model for onsite and offshore components. Most SAP customers are using an offshoring component in their implementation to reduce total cost of ownership of their SAP system. See if you can further optimize the onsite-offshore without increasing significant risks to the delivery and overall quality of the solution.