Considerations for Selecting an SAP System Integrator


IT partnership selections

While selecting the right SAP solution for your company is an important decision, deciding who to partner with for the implementation should carry just as much weight. After all, we have all heard of SAP implementations gone wrong.

Since System Integrator (SI) providers use SAPPHIRE as a platform to get in front of organizations, you were likely invited by several SIs to discuss your needs, timeline, and key objectives as they relate to new or incremental investments you may be considering in SAP’s suite of products. We’ve compiled a list of key SI differentiators that CIOs, CHROs, and CFOs should consider when selecting an SI.

Resource Mix / Resource Fit

Objectively assess your organization’s resources and change readiness in relation to an SAP implementation. Often, which SI is chosen comes down to the SI with the strongest resources to offset your organization’s weaknesses. If you’re contemplating an S/4HANA implementation, know that resources in this space are in high demand and SIs are struggling to retain their resources. Ask the SIs what their attrition rates are and how they will ensure the continuity of resources for your project.

SAP vs. SI Resources

As you assess and evaluate the SI’s capabilities and experience with implementing your specific SAP solution, it is not always clear what role (if any) SAP resources will (or should) play in your implementation. Max Attention customers are provided with SAP SMEs but aligning those resources with what you ask of your SI can complicate your ability to hold either SAP or the SI accountable if something goes wrong.  Discuss the role your SI’s envision for SAP resources and assess your SI’s willingness to subcontract with SAP. Ask if they have established sub-contracting relationships with SAP and press for details on how the SI will manage that relationship and maintain accountability for outcomes.

Implementation Approach

Which is best for your company: Big bang or a multi-phased rollout? The decision is almost always tied to complexity. Share your implementation goals with your SI and challenge them to share their recommendations and experience with both approaches. As you contemplate a phased rollout, probe further to understand how the SI would manage the evolution of change in the interim states of a mixed environment, as you move from phase to phase. Also, question how they would envision hypercare support and the transition to steady state support.

Sourcing Strategies and the Impact of Material SI Investments

An SAP S/4HANA enterprise rollout can result in awarding tens of millions of dollars of SI services to a single provider and it often alters the vendor mix and distribution of 3rd party service investments that could impact your sourcing strategy. Review your current portfolio of vendors, projects in the pipeline, and opportunities, prior to any new discussions.

SI Success Rates

Whether led by well-known SI providers like IBM or smaller SIs like HCL Technologies, botched implementations do happen and have the potential to be detrimental to organizations. When considering SIs, it is important to gain a balanced perspective of the SI’s failures in addition to their successes. Learning from previous failures can help your organization avoid making the same mistakes. Also, challenging the SI to detail how they will ensure a successful implementation can reveal information that could later be implemented into contractual language that holds them accountable.

These are just a few key differentiators to discuss with SIs to help you make the best decision. Every company and project is different but discussing these topics with SIs will deepen your understanding of the SI’s capabilities, commitments, and fit as a partner so you can ensure a successful implementation that maximizes your SAP investments.

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