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Dodge Project Delays and Avoid Going Over Budget When Implementing SAP SuccessFactors

You can never be too prepared for an SAP SuccessFactors implementation. We’ve been implementing cloud-based technology for the last 12 years and it’s taught us a thing or two about what goes into a successful project. Here are some common mistakes that we’ve seen clients make that cause project delays or scope creep (going over budget) and how to avoid them.

Mistake #1: Not aligning on project scope and success criteria

We recommend that your project team has in-depth knowledge of what’s in-scope and out-of-scope for the project so that everyone is on the same page as far as the functionality that is to be delivered. We would also recommend that your team reviews any assumptions as that is often where your implementation partner has outlined what languages and integrations will be delivered (and re-iterate what WON’T be delivered). Ensuring consensus of these items at project kickoff will set a great foundation for your project.

Mistake #2: Client project team does not get trained on functionality

Without foundational knowledge of the relevant functionality, clients tend to “blue sky” their requirements without any reference to standard SuccessFactors functionality, leaving an inevitable gap between requirements and the system. This gap will ultimately have to be filled by rationalizing requirements and negotiating whether they can be accommodated, with a chance of increasing budget if out of scope or adding to timeline to compensate for additional functionality. You can avoid this by training your team and having everyone view a demo of the solution.

Mistake #3: Insufficient focus on requirements gathering and engaging all process stakeholders

Failing to obtain full engagement and input from key process owners results in incomplete or inaccurate requirements. This leads to subsequent iterations of requirements gathering throughout the project, causing numerous delays.

Mistake #4: Lack of testing (planning, scripting, and execution)

You know your organization’s business processes better than anyone. You know the most common “use cases” that the business will execute on a routine basis. Ultimately, your team is best positioned to identify those common use cases, document them in a test script scenario, and then ensure key users and stakeholders thoroughly test with the scripts. When we see clients rely on consultants for this, it usually results in incomplete testing and a lack of “buy-in” from key stakeholders that the system will truly support their business operation.

Mistake #5: Incomplete data cleansing and migration

One of the most common causes for a project delay or going over budget is data. Legacy data must be identified, surveyed, cleansed, and then migrated to SuccessFactors as part of the cutover phase, prior to go-live. Every project has a need for data cleansing; the sooner this activity begins, the more likely this will not slow down the project’s critical path. Mobilizing a team right at project kickoff with a focus on this workstream will prevent unnecessary delays downstream.

Mistake #6: Inadequate end-user training and communication

Change management can make or break any implementation. Where we’ve seen projects fall short are in the areas of training and communication prior to go-live. We cannot iterate how important it is to train your end-users, gain buy-in, and (over) communicate what’s about to happen.

Mistake #7: Lack of client ownership with production support

Clients who are not prepared to own their solution and manage production support tend to have a lingering reliance on their partners and consulting team long after go-live. This results in additional fees and extended timeline that neither parties accounted for during initial scope. If you know your team will be left overwhelmed and will require additional help beyond the traditional two weeks of post go-live support (“hypercare”), we would suggest that you budget for support services to help you manage the solution post go-live.

Whether you’re embarking on a new SAP SuccessFactors implementation or continuing your journey by expanding your solution, we hope that our tips help set you and your project team up for success!

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