How to Ensure a Successful SAP Implementation Process

Learn how to use agile project management to ensure success in your SAP implementation.

When implementing a new system or process, the focus is often first on technicalities: setting up the right fields, data items, processes, authorizations, or reports. There is also the matter of migrating data from the old systems to new ones while ensuring data integration to downstream systems and securing integration from upstream systems.

Agile Project Management is Key

SaaS (Software as a Service) has embraced the agile project-management methodology because of its ability to provide a “seeing is believing” experience for participants early in the implementation process. It provides an incremental and nonlinear approach to project management, focusing on breaking large projects down into more manageable tasks, which are then completed in short iterations throughout the project life cycle.

With Human Resources (HR) and SaaS, this means breaking down process definition, system configuration, data migration, integration, build, and training into smaller packages that are repeated several times. This does not mean there are no distinct phases of a project, but it does mean that the project participants can see what they are getting—and they can see the consequences of their decisions. This increases their understanding and helps ensure that they make the right decisions.

A Tried-and-Tested Method for Project Management

At Effective People, we have adopted a highly successful project-management method, as detailed below.


Phase 0 is the project-preparation phase and lays the foundation for the remaining project phases. During this phase, the current landscape is analyzed, with a future state defined together with its requirements.

Phase 1 (“Prepare”) includes the outlining of project goals, scope and infrastructure, and the setup of solution infrastructure.

Phase 2 (“Explore”) is when solution workshops are conducted, the solution is validated, and the configuration values are determined, together with the identification of master data and organizational requirements. Data cleansing also begins, and preparation is made for integration.

Phase 3 (“Realize”) is when the solution is iteratively and incrementally configured, built, and tested. End-to-end testing takes place during this phase, together with the obtainment of business acceptance, formulation of a cutover plan, and the training of users.

Phase 4 (“Deploy”) is when transition and cutover plans are executed, a production support process is established, and the project goes live.

Phase 5 (“Run”) includes further stabilization, focused issue resolution, optimization, and the resolution of outstanding issues.

How can Effective People Help?

Cloud HR software providers like SAP SuccessFactors have revolutionized people processes. While the system is standardized and can be rolled out on a global scale, the cloud is ever evolving. This means that organizations need to embrace continuous improvement alongside efficiency and innovation. Often, a one-size-fits-all approach does not work.

With 20 years of industry experience, and having partnered with SAP SuccessFactors since 2005, Effective People has market-leading expertise in helping clients understand the business impact of HR so that they can focus on driving long-term, sustainable transformation. Our clients are typically category leaders in their industry looking for ways to streamline people operations, gain actionable insights from people data, run payroll and workforce management with less effort, and improve overall employee and manager experiences.

Moving your HR processes to the cloud might seem like a huge undertaking. Indeed, there are several complexities to consider and important decisions to make but working with a team of specialists will put you in a position to reap the rewards of what is fast becoming a must-have step for business continuity and organizational success. Contact us for more information.

If you want to learn more about best practices for a successful implementation process, you can download our eBook: "Human Resources in the Cloud: A Perspective from Effective People".

Erik Ebert

About the author

Erik Ebert is a Senior Director at Effective People and heads up the Compensation & Benefits team.

With over 20 years of experience in the tech industry, he has supported organizations across industries, implementing digital transformation strategies to improve performance. Erik holds 7 SAP SuccessFactors professional certificates and also serves as an SAP SuccessFactors Confidant, advising the SAP HR cloud team on market development and innovation.

Erik has a vast knowledge of analytics and HR, including Core HR, Competency Management, Talent Management, Compensation, Bonus Programmes, Recruitment and Workforce Analytics.

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Contact us if you'd like to learn how to use agile project management to ensure success in your SAP implementation.

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