An SAP project is a daunting task for a company, often involving significant re-engineering in addition to learning a new (and usually totally different) business system. As a part of implementation project team you are riding the wave of change, expected to implement and master the new system while bridging from the old. You live through blueprinting to mapping and converting the data, unit testing, integration tests, rehearsals, business simulations, cut-overs, go-live and sustainment. It is a project – it is a mission and you are part of it to make it happen.
Challenge and Issues:
- Understanding and mastering data management in a new SAP environment
- Custom data management solutions
- Dealing with unplanned and unanticipated events and requests
- Providing representative and rich Test Data
- Coping with change
- Training and user acceptance
Approach and Solution
An SAP implementation, no matter how well planned, is often a disruptive and confusing event. And one of the central components is data, involving virtually all business users. Getting all of that critical data into SAP is a daunting task, with all the complexity and newness that SAP brings. And even when you have mastered the data entry itself, the volume can bite you. Every project has a need for test data and often the lament is that the test data was not complete or adequate enough. So what is the solution… write dozens of Excel import/export custom programs, and keep updating these “z” programs with each iteration? All the while tying up a significant portion of your IT staff? With Process Runner your business users can quickly design processes to get their data into SAP, with requisite security and governance, and they can then have the less expert colleagues in their group run the data in as many iterations as required, with little else needed than their existing Excel knowledge. Use Process Runner to address your data challenges with efficiency, security and control.
Avoid the Excel/Z-upload Loop:
Your business users have requested many custom Excel upload programs to effectively handle large volume of frequent updates or creates. Are you setting up a never-ending set of tasks? Each custom up-loader will require significant ABAP, will need custom transaction code, will have to be added to roles and mapped to users and be compliant. Custom programs will need resources to develop, test and release again and again on each change request. What about inevitable new Excel versions? Big question: is your core business creating/maintaining Excel upload programs? At Innowera, it IS our core business, and that’s why we have created the best tools that work with Excel and SAP, with all the bells and whistles for the greatest efficiency and user acceptance. And remember, we will be your partner in supporting your users, effectively extending your support organization.
Didn’t See That in the Project Plan:
SAP implementations have a significant amount of history to learn from, and projects are exhaustively planned down to the most granular level, and all of this is constantly monitored, discussed at meetings, reported on… yet in every project unplanned events will jump up and threaten to bite you. Like this one: you have converted and validated your data, ran MRP, and now you want to update a planning time fence for 5000 materials – how will you get that data into SAP? You could lean on your favorite ABAPer (if he had any time to help you), key in data forever, or do it in minutes with Process Runner – by yourself, not IT or keying help, full security and governance in SAP. And since you have Process Runner, that earlier step of data validation was a lot easier than SAP SE 16/17 (which does not remember fields, layout etc.); with Process Runner you can also chain your extracts and dump them directly into a database and run your validation queries. For most projects, Process Runner is like a cell phone. You were fine without it but once you used it, you wonder, how did survive without it before.
SAP is a tremendous opportunity for an organization, but it also involves tremendous change. Managing that change, not being consumed by it, is one of the keys to a successful implementation. Your hand-picked business users, the best of the best, are often seconded to an SAP implementation because of its importance to your organization. But this model can be a double-edged sword – those same key users have significant knowledge and ownership of the existing systems. So they are not always comfortable leaving their familiar legacy environment and embracing the new SAP platform. Process Runner, with an alternative GUI to SAP, allows your users to maintain more of their existing data environment, all while satisfying the requirements of SAP. And the Process Runner user model, combining Designer (typically your expert users) and Run Only user types, allows you to maintain your organizational setup of expert users guiding other staff. Process Runner helps your organization not just survive but embrace the changes that an SAP implementation brings.
Existing Staff – Trained and Excited:
Change management is always a central challenge for an SAP implementation. SAP’s breadth and coverage brings complexity, which is typically increased during implementation. Add in that SAP screens are likely different from what your users have experienced before, the urgency of getting SAP up and running, leaving a familiar legacy environment… we all understand, for business users a move to SAP can be traumatic. Training your users to navigate through SAP menus and through individual screens is very difficult, and having them retain the knowledge is tricky. So you train, and train more, and have a help desk that fields many calls for seemingly insignificant items… a difficult environment to generate user buy-in. Process Runner as part of your SAP implementation changes the training dynamic by allowing users to satisfy more SAP data requirements by easily allowing your business users to hook their external Excel data transactionally into SAP. Process Runner is like a breath of fresh air, allowing your business users to retain more of their legacy environment and, more importantly, letting you have casual SAP users work from Excel yet still update SAP with full security and governance.
Project activities are greatly aided by a data management solution, ensuring data is correctly brought into the new SAP system and allowing repeatability for testing. And it is an added bonus if users can continue to reference much of their existing data sources, providing efficiency and user acceptance of the new system.
Process Runner‘s easy desktop interface provides tremendous efficiency to project team members, allowing them to quickly bring data into SAP from existing legacy sources and offering repeatability to ease testing. And upon roll-out to the business Process Runner provides an alternative GUI to SAP, based on existing business data, promoting efficiency and greatly improved user acceptance.
“…really saved the day for the company using Process Runner in support of the January go-live. They understand how much money and time the tool saved them and the kind of trouble they would have been in if we had not used it…” – Senior Application Consultant, SAP America