Earlier in the 1990s, SAP received flak for the project disasters caused by its use at that time. Interestingly, all of those disasters were avoidable and the companies knew about that too. However, SAP was deemed to be expensive, complicated, and too time-consuming to be used by companies like JD Edwards, Oracle, PeopleSoft, etc. They claimed that it took a bit too long to implement. In the response to all the bad press, SAP released ASAP methodology by late 1990s to avoid the project disasters and decrease the number of projects exceeding their time and budget, and to provide effective risk management. For so many years, the polishing, enhancement, and adjustment of ASAP has been done in accordance with SAP’s supported R&D resources.
ASAP methodology has abundant resources and templates for project management areas like:
ASAP is just an abbreviation for AcceleratedSAP. SAP implementation projects employ ASAP methodology and its purpose is project preparation and implementation. ASAP is a repeatable, comprehensive, and proven methodology to streamline project implementations.
Now as you know, SAP is leading the market of data processing. But at the same time, SAP projects are tedious and time-consuming. Developers and managers have to put in a lot of effort to work on SAP projects. A small mistake in planning can mess it up easily. Here comes the importance of ASAP as a preparation and implementation tool. This methodology is specifically designed by professionals working to implement SAP software products. ASAP is also helpful to the project managers and other such individuals who are involved in the implementation of systems catering to business support procedures.
One needs to be thorough with ASAP methodology to plan an SAP implementation in the most effective manner. The main role of ASAP here is to save time and utilize the resources available in an optimal manner. ASAP provides you with a wireframe for efficiently planning the implementation of SAP projects and the resulting solution guarantees you the successful implementation of the project without extending the budget or compromising on the project deadline.
ASAP gives you various tools, methods and templates designed for SAP projects, and makes the project management easy. Now SAP implementation consists of various phases. Here, ASAP divides the implementation into phases and compels the project management team to work on the project one phase at a time. This helps in getting proper work distribution.
Consisting of five stages or rather phases of implementation, the ASAP methodology framework provides the structure and details to plan and implement SAP systems. The documentation, recommendation, and implementation of such systems is solely based on the ASAP roadmap. Interestingly, each phase has a quality check at its end to ensure the successful implementation of that particular phase while monitoring the deliverables. There are generally five phases to this roadmap, but the sixth phase, i.e. Post-production support is also included as an additional phase to the ASAP methodology roadmap.
Phase 1-Project preparation: In the first phase, the project team works together to finalize the project plan, a broad scope of implementation of the project, and project goals. Alongside setting up the project standards and organization, this phase also involves securing executive sponsorship. After finalizing the implementation strategy and getting it approved, project managers have to define the procedures and standards of the project. Project preparation also involves finalizing the project teams for core functions and the sequence of events/functions to be performed.
Phase 2-Business blueprint: The second phase involves designing and documenting solutions and techniques for the project. It is the documentation of all the conclusions arrived at while brainstorming ideas at the early stage. The team has to reconsider and revise goals and objectives at this phase. All the important information is collected at this phase in order to use it for the structuring implementation process. This information is mostly in the form of questionnaires and surveys analyzing how the business exactly works. The blueprint document prepared in this phase will work as the base for further implementation of the project in the next phases.
Phase 3-Realization: The third phase of the process is realized. The configuration of SAP systems begins at this phase. Required customizations are done Realization phase is again divided into two parts:
As mentioned in the second phase, a blueprint document is made. Now in the third phase, this blueprint document is checked for the requirements mentioned in it, and a baseline configuration system is developed accordingly. Again, the rest 20% is corrected by the fine-tuning process.
Not every time is fine-tuning covered by baseline configuration, so the remaining fine-tuning process needs to be taken care of by the users themselves.
The SAP consulting team helps you divide the whole business process in cycles of business flows related to each other. They refer to these cycles as independent units. All the independent units are used to test the business process. In the process of testing, the SAP IMG is very useful as a reference to the standards. This implementation guide is a tool helpful in setting up the configuration of SAP systems.
As the configuration process comes to an end, the project team needs to be self-sufficient in the matter of configuration knowledge. A project team or a business has to establish coordination between the configuration team and the system maintenance team to achieve effective knowledge transfer. Additionally, one shouldn’t forget the importance of end-user training in order to keep day-to-day business purposes fulfilled.
Phase 4-Final preparation: This phase involves all the pre-Go-live activities like system management, testing, training, and other such activities. To be able to use the new system, you need to be sure that final preparation is successfully accomplished as it is a crucial part of the implementation.
Now as the project configuration is already done and the phases involving knowledge transfer are also successfully implemented, it is extremely important to focus on the SAP training. The team needs to go under stress testing too. The process flow testing, both positive and negative, will aid the team go through the whole functional flow while building confidence over the process.
As the team goes through testing, a lot of last-minute changes and fine-tuning will be required. These fine-tunings will be designed at this stage, which will change the configuration accordingly. All these changes are done before the fifth phase along with data migration. One has to be very careful with data migration.
Stress testing is also done after the data is loaded. Stress testing done with daily load, peak volume data, and in other forms is extremely essential at this stage. it is recommended to conduct stress testing along with integration to ensure the stability of the new system while streamlining the data flow.
As the data migration gets over and all the fine tunings are done, one needs to get done with the final preventive maintenance checks. This will ensure that the configuration of the concerned SAP system is optimum and the system will perform well. Now, as we know, the next phase after this is the Go-live phase, hence it is the time to document the strategy for the same. One needs to buckle up for answering the questions coming from end-users who use the SAP system frequently.
Phase 5-Go-Live and Support: If the previous phases are done correctly and carefully, this phase will be a cakewalk for you. However, if you haven’t been careful with the previous stages, you’ll have to deal with a lot of trouble in implementing the final phase.
Preparation is an important part of this phase as you are going to introduce a different system altogether to people who might be using other tools or systems until now. There are going to be a lot of questions thrown your way and you have to be prepared with answers to all the what-ifs there for defending the capability of your tool or system.
Further, processing maintenance contracts and documenting the overall Go-live process is important during phase 5.
Right from the beginning of the project to the post-project services and modifications, the ASAP methodology framework covers the whole project lifecycle. The use of this methodology ensures value delivery and consistent reflection over the entire process. The ASAP methodology also ensures proper guidance through the entire business project management and service-oriented architecture.
The advantages of ASAP methodology are as follows:
ASAP methodology is a project management implementation methodology widely used for years. It is a methodology created by SAP itself to make the implementation easy and fast. It involves breaking down the project into phases and working step by step towards the implementation to ensure better risk management, optimal resource and time utilization, and stability of the established system.