Starting an SAP project
One of the most important things that an organization should do when embarking on an SAP IT project is to carefully assess its needs and goals. This includes identifying which modules and functionalities of the SAP software are relevant to the organization, as well as how the software can be configured and customized to meet its unique requirements. It also means understanding the potential impact that implementing an SAP system can have on the organization’s operations and identifying any potential risks or challenges.
Once an organization has a clear understanding of its needs and goals, it can begin to plan and execute the implementation of the SAP software. This includes identifying the resources that will be required, such as hardware, software, and personnel, as well as developing a detailed project plan that outlines the various tasks and milestones that need to be completed. It also means working closely with the SAP implementation team and other stakeholders, such as IT staff and business users, to ensure that the implementation goes smoothly and that any problems are quickly resolved.
The focus on quality for SAP projects is different from non-SAP projects. SAP solutions can consist of standard SAP best practices (available per module) which are commonly used by multiple companies or custom solutions (also known as Z-transactions) which are specific custom-made functionalities and code for a single company. The main risk areas for testing SAP solutions are the custom solutions, interfaces, test data and authorizations (so less on the standard SAP best practices). These main risk areas require most attention from quality measures and testing activities.
However, the SAP best practices are important to validate the end-to-end processes.
Types of SAP projects
There are several different types of SAP implementations. The choice of the type of implementation will depend on the organization’s specific needs, resources and goals. Each implementation methodology requires a different SAP Test Strategy.
Examples of most common SAP implementation project types (that may even be combined) are:
Greenfield implementation is a type of SAP implementation where the organization is implementing the software for the first time or starting from scratch in a new environment.
Brownfield implementation is a type of SAP implementation that takes place in an existing IT environment where there is already an established system (or multiple systems) in place. The goal of a brownfield implementation is to integrate the changes to the SAP system with the existing systems and processes, rather than replacing them entirely.
Bluefield implementation is a more gradual type of SAP implementation (compared to Greenfield or Brownfield). Instead of upgrading or replacing a company’s processes, systems and data in one large approach, a Bluefield implementation means e.g., that only a few teams make the transition per go-live and that the others will do so at a later point in time. It ensures that the everyday business activities are not fully disrupted and that the implementation is done step-by-step.
Big Bang Implementation
A big bang implementation is an approach where all the modules and functionalities of the SAP software are implemented at once, in a single go-live event. This approach is usually used when the organization has a high degree of urgency and wants to see results as soon as possible, however it can be risky and challenging. Especially for organizations planning to do a global big-bang rollout covering multiple time zones, a big-bang implementation is a complex and risky operation.
A phased implementation is an approach where the SAP software is implemented in stages, starting with the most critical modules and functionalities, and then adding additional modules and functionalities over time (minimum viable product (MVP)). This approach reduces the risk of the implementation and allows the organization to see benefits as they are delivered.
A hybrid implementation is a combination of different implementation approaches, such as big bang and phased implementation, where the organization takes advantage of the benefits of both.
A rollout implementation is an approach used when an organization wants to implement the SAP software in multiple locations, or when an organization is implementing the software in a new subsidiary. In a rollout implementation a template solution is used for generic processes in multiple locations. Country or location specific processes are covered in localized templates. Both require specific attention from a testing perspective.
An upgrade implementation is a type of implementation where an organization already has SAP software in place and wants to upgrade to a newer version of the software.
A Cloud-based implementation is a type of implementation where the organization chooses to run its SAP software on a cloud-based infrastructure, rather than on-premises.