SAP Localization from Planning to Implementation: Top 5 Missteps to Avoid
March 4, 2015
SAP localization projects are often large initiatives that may span all areas of a given company. In the past, we’ve discussed the linguistic, cultural, and technical aspects of SAP localization projects. Now we’d like to focus on the relationship between customer and provider with the top 5 missteps to avoid from planning to implementation of your SAP initiative.
#1 Incomplete Definition of Requirements
Inaccurate or inadequate definition of your organization’s requirements for a SAP localization project can lead to problems in design, testing, and functionality that may go unnoticed until after the project has launched.
Make sure that your business needs are thoroughly assessed, both within your organization and with your SAP localization provider before the design phase begins. Consider how the program will be utilized by all end users and cover your business processes from end to end, with all possible scenarios and variables accounted for. Make sure that each and every business requirement is tested to make sure that any possible system errors are flagged and addressed before your SAP localization project goes live.
#2 Lack of Input from Subject Matter Experts
The end-users within your company are the best equipped to determine the kinds of functionalities your SAP localization project will need to include. Unfortunately, these Subject Matter Experts are not always consulted on key issues where they could provide great insight.
Subject Matter Experts from within your organization should be included in all phases of your SAP localization project. Subject Matter Experts should be allowed define requirements and give their final approval on the requirements that affect their area. They should also be consulted on deadlines, process flows, or design issues that relate to their roles in the project.
#3 Unexpected and Costly Delays
Tasks that are not delivered on time can alter the launch date of your SAP implementation project, incurring extra costs.
A considerable portion of your SAP localization planning meetings with your SAP localization provider should be devoted to estimations of the time required for each task. In addition, correctly defining all requirements will ensure that workload does not increase during the SAP localization process. If requirements cannot be fully defined from the start, consider using an agile working methodology such as SCRUM. This open-ended model allows for short “sprints” of work to complete key deliverables and avoids costly and time-consuming redesigns if requirements need to be changed later on.
#4 Complications Related to Overseas SAP Localization
There are major cost benefits to be reaped from outsourcing SAP localization to overseas companies but there are also many risks involved. Differences in work culture and time zone can be surmounted, but issues related to underqualified teams and difficulty communicating effectively with leadership may lead to the downfall of your SAP localization project.
Consider hiring a third-party SAP localization provider to act as liaison between your project leader and the offshore localization team. Their role will ensure that the project proceeds as smoothly as possible. Some U.S.-based SAP localization providers also offer bilingual staffing services and will be able to help you set up a strong team of overseas talent: from project leaders to architects, down to developers.
#5 Lack of Communication between Customer and SAP Localization Provider
SAP localization is a complex and dynamic process with many decisions that need to be made in a timely manner. Many tasks are interrelated and cannot be completed until a certain issue is resolved.
Choose your organization’s SAP project leader based not on their seniority in the company but on their flexibility and ability to make the initiative their top priority. The project leader will need to hold the authority to make important decisions without having to await approval from higher-ups who may be too busy to be fully involved in the project. Your ideal SAP project leader will be able to work in collaboration with your SAP localization provider towards the common goal of a successful launch. A trusting relationship with respect on both sides is key to the successful implementation of your SAP localization project.