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The Right Time for SAP Support

Posted by Steve Woodgate on Dec 08, 2014

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One of the biggest mistakes most organizations make when it comes to SAP support is to expect a standard distribution curve with just one spike when you first go live or put a significant piece of new functionality live. They assume they can simply manage those increased support requirements and then stabilize from there. That assumption usually results in the removal of post-go-live SAP support at the exact moment when it is most essential. 

Ensuring the long-term success of your SAP implementation requires careful planning, preparation and support. From the moment you decide to integrate SAP into your business to long after your new business management software system goes live, having a team of expert SAP consultants by your side, is the key to sustaining success and getting back to business as usual.          

The reality is every SAP implementation consists of TWO support requirement spikes and, without fail, the second is nearly always bigger than the first.

The reason is simple: at the moment your new platform goes live your employees are performing with a safety net of extended support coverage in place. They are following a script, learning the interface and starting to gain confidence. In effect, they are moving through the first stages of the learning process:

  1. Unconscious Incompetence - They don’t know what they don’t know. At this stage of the learning process, your employees may not even recognize the benefits of your new SAP platform. They are a blank slate ready and waiting for input.

  2. Conscious Incompetence - This is the stage at which your employees begin to understand exactly how much they don’t understand about SAP and how that knowledge will benefit them in their roles. Mistakes here are common and, ultimately, helpful in furthering the learning experience. As go-live SAP support scales down and your staff members start to gain more confidence in their ability to navigate the new system successfully, they move from the second, to the third and ultimately fourth stage of the learning process. This usually results in the second spike in SAP support requirements because your employees are moving away from the script and they have the confidence to explore capabilities and ask more complex questions. 

  3. Conscious Competence - By now, your employees have started to form a solid understanding of how SAP works with and for your business. They have begun to form the skills they need to take full advantage of the new features and functions at their disposal.

  4. Unconscious Competence - At this point, the necessary skills have been developed to the point where they are becoming second nature. 

While every SAP implementation is different and requires specialized support strategies, recognizing these phases exist allows you to better prepare and budget for them.

When reducing your SAP support coverage, it is also critical you make it event-driven rather than time-driven. For instance, some business processes only happen once a month, so you need at least 60 days before you can accurately predict user behavior and overall system stability.

Don’t make the mistake of eliminating or scaling back your support resources just because implementation is complete. In fact, in order to ensure complete Go-Live Satisfaction, it’s a good idea to increase the availability of those resources post-implementation.

For more helpful information and guidance on effectively planning for your SAP support requirements before and after go-live, please contact us.

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