What happens in an SAP project?

In this blog, let’s take a simplistic look at what happens in an SAP project.

SAP projects are usually complex, and the implementation might take somewhere between a few months to a few years depending on the number of solutions implemented and the complexity of the organisation.

SAP projects usually go through six different phases. They are

  • Project preparation
  • Blueprint
  • Implementation
  • Testing
  • Go-live
  • Support

Project preparation Phase

This is where the project starts and where detailed planning is done. Business processes, solutions that are required to adapt the business processes, objectives, scope, deliverables, timelines, resources, and budget all these things are planned during this phase.

This is the most crucial phase of an SAP project and attention to detail is very important as that will determine the success and failure of the project. Every small and big element must be proactively approached and discussed and must be taken into consideration while planning.

Blueprint

Blueprint workshops happen during this phase where the customer’s requirements are analysed against standard SAP Business Processes. Then the gaps will be identified, and a plan will be created about how to address those gaps.

Either the current business processes will be changed to suit SAP’s standard business processes or custom codes will be created to satisfy customer requirements in the SAP system.

Implementation Phase

Once the business processes are finalised, the technical consultants will start installing the SAP applications, whereas the functional consultants will start configuring the business processes, workflows and reports.

Any custom code that is required will be created during this phase by the developers.

Testing

This is one of the important phases of an SAP project. There are four different types of testing happens and they are

  • Unit testing
  • System Integration Testing or SIT
  • User Acceptance Testing or in UAT
  • Dress Rehearsal

Let’s take this system landscape as an example.

The functional consultants will configure the business processes in the Development system. The configuration changes will then be moved to a different client within the development system to perform the unit testing. Unit testing is the initial test that is done right after something is configured in the development system.

It is the initial, basic level of testing that is done quickly before the next level of detailed testing takes place. In this example, client 300 is the development client and client 400 is the unit testing client.

SIT

Once the unit test is successful, the changes are moved to the SIT system where System Integration Testing is done.

This system will be connected to other SAP and non-SAP applications as well. So it will allow the developers to test the end-to-end scenarios.

UAT

Once the SIT is successful, the changes will be transported to the UAT system to perform the User Acceptance Testing.

As the name implies, this is where the end users will test the business processes and configurations before giving the green light to go live.

If the user finds a bug in the configuration, they are called a defect. The defect will be resolved by the consultant in the development system, and they will follow the same process up until the UAT.

When all the UAT is completed, the project is ready for the go-live.

Dress rehearsal

But just before the actual go-live, a dress rehearsal is conducted to try it out. During the dress rehearsal, every step will be done to replicate the exact steps executed during the go-live process.

This process will help identify the issues proactively and ensures a safe go-live.

Sometimes a dedicated client will be created in the UAT system to perform the dress rehearsal, or a dedicated dress rehearsal system can also be created.

The transports will be moved to the dress rehearsal system first, followed by the data load. The time taken to perform all these steps are calculated to get an idea of how much time it will take to execute these steps during the production system’s go-live.

Then comes the actual Go-live

Once the dress rehearsal is completed, the production cutover will start.

Transports will be moved to the production system followed by the data load. Users will be unlocked, and they will be able to log in and start executing their business transactions.

Hyper care support

Usually, there will be four to six weeks of hyper-care support provided by the support team. During this time, all defects will be treated with the highest priority and will be resolved asap.

Once the hyper-care period ends, the Business as Usual (BAU) period starts and the normal support processes kick in.

On a high level, this is how an SAP project is implemented.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment and I will respond to it.