Early Visibility: The Key to Successful SAP S/4Hana Implementation 

Understanding the Challenges of Traditional ERP Implementations 

Implementing an SAP ERP system or migrating to SAP S/4HANA is significant for any organization. The complexity, risk, and investment involved can be daunting. However, having visibility on your working system early on will significantly impact the success of your project. At LeapGreat, we emphasize “FrontLoadTM,” ensuring the project’s realities are visible in about a week after providing your requirements and data minimizing risks and streamlining the process. 

Traditional ERP implementations often follow a phased approach where detailed visibility into the system only comes during the later stages. This delay can lead to several challenges. Detailed visibility, escalations, and problem-solving typically occur late in the implementation phase, making changes costly and time-consuming. As the project progresses and the real system takes shape, new requirements and changes often emerge, leading to scope creep and additional costs. Late visibility squeezes testing and change management into a shorter timeframe, increasing the risk of undetected issues. To stay on schedule and within budget, organizations may compromise on quality and adherence to best practices, leading to a suboptimal system that doesn’t fully meet business needs. 

According to a study by Panorama Consulting, 53% of ERP implementations exceed their planned budgets, and 61% take longer than expected. These delays and cost overruns often stem from issues discovered late in the project cycle. Additionally, 57% of projects experience operational disruptions at go-live, underscoring the need for better visibility and preparation from the outset. 

The LeapGreat FrontLoadTM Approach

LeapGreat innovative FrontLoad TM approach addresses these challenges by shifting project visibility to the beginning. This method is built on three key principles: do the hard things early (fundamental enhancement), prescriptive prep (discover), and risk-free test drive (prepare through early visibility). We gather data and requirements and immediately use our Automation Hub to implement a working system. This allows customers to interact with their real system from the outset rather than relying on conceptual designs and prototypes. Instead of a one-time implementation, we follow an iterative refinement process.

Customers provide feedback based on their interactions with the system, and we make necessary adjustments through multiple refinement cycles. Before committing to the project, customers can take their system for a free ‘test drive.’ This risk-free trial provides an authentic experience with the system’s capabilities, ensuring they understand what they are getting and can make informed decisions about the project’s scope and requirements without the need for extensive customizations or preliminary proofs of concept. 

Implementing the system early and refining it iteratively offers several benefits. By seeing the system early, organizations can identify and address potential issues before they become critical, reducing overall project risk. Early visibility ensures the project’s scope is well-defined and aligned with the organization’s needs, minimizing scope creep and unexpected changes. With more time for testing and refinement, the final system is of higher quality and more closely aligned with best practices. Users can start interacting with the system early, leading to better familiarity and higher adoption rates when the system goes live. 

Consider a manufacturing company looking to migrate to SAP S/4HANA. Traditionally, this project might involve months of workshops, design sessions, and phased implementations. Despite significant investment, the company may still face uncertainties about the final system until late in the project. With the LeapGreat FrontLoad approach, the process looks different. We collect data and requirements from the customer and load them into our Automation Hub. We deliver a working system configured with the customer’s data within a few weeks. This system is not a demo or proof of concept but a fully operational version of their future ERP. Over several cycles, we refine the system based on user feedback, ensuring it meets all requirements and adheres to best practices. The customer takes the system for a test drive, allowing them to experience its functionality and make informed decisions about the project’s scope. 

The Impact of Early Visibility on Project Success 

This approach accelerates the implementation process and ensures the final system is robust, well-tested, and fully aligned with the organization’s needs. In one instance, a client reported significant savings in both time and cost. Traditionally, they expected an implementation time of around sixteen months, but with the FrontLoad TM approach, this was reduced to about a week. Additionally, the cost is cut by half compared to traditional methods. By having a working system early, the client engages in meaningful discussions, identify necessary changes, and avoid the pitfalls of late-stage problem discovery.  

Furthermore, early visibility allows for a more accurate estimation of project scope and costs. Organizations can create more precise budgets and timelines by understanding what the system will look like and how it will function early on. This transparency helps secure stakeholder buy-in and maintain confidence throughout the project. Another key advantage of early visibility is the enhanced ability to train users. Training on a real, working system rather than a conceptual model ensures that users are more comfortable and proficient with it when it goes live. This leads to smoother transitions and reduces the learning curve, which can be a significant hurdle in ERP implementations. 

The LeapGreat FrontLoad TM approach also incorporates the benefits of automation and continuous improvement. Our Automated Factory iteratively manufactures the customer’s working ERP system, incorporating feedback and making necessary adjustments. This iterative process ensures that the system evolves and is aligned with the customer’s needs, maintaining relevance and effectiveness throughout the project. By integrating automation from the outset, we ensure the system is functional and optimized for efficiency and effectiveness. This includes features such as integrated financial and logistical flows, dynamically tailored documentation, and AI-powered automation configured from the start. 

The risk-free test drive offered by LeapGreat is a game-changer in the industry. It allows customers to experience their system realistically before fully committing. This builds confidence and provides an opportunity to identify and rectify issues early. The test drive includes comprehensive training for the project team and business users, ensuring everyone is on the same page and fully understands the system’s capabilities. This early engagement sets the stage for a more collaborative and informed project environment, where feedback is continuously incorporated, and improvements are made in real-time. 

The extensive experience of our founders is a significant differentiator. Our team comprises SAP pioneers who have been at the forefront of SAP developments for decades. We worked on SAP R/1 thirty years ago with the first SAP customer and have since accumulated thousands of hours in implementations, all through to S/4HANA. We are passionate about helping companies leverage the power of SAP S/4HANA with the lowest possible effort. As the original authors of the SAP Best Practices Baseline for Manufacturing and holders of patents for SAP ERP infrastructure technologies, our expertise is unparalleled. 

Over the years, we’ve had major implementation successes with some of the biggest global brands and innovative companies. Along the way, we learned to reduce implementation times by analyzing and reimagining the process materially. At the same time, we continually managed to generate more value and horsepower from SAP ERP. Our mission is to change the way SAP implementations are done – forever. By automating system builds, we can produce a full working version of your company’s target system in a week. 

Early visibility is crucial for successful SAP implementations and S/4HANA migrations. The  FrontLoad approach from LeapGreat shifts the traditional project paradigm, bringing the realities of the system to the forefront. This method reduces risk, improves quality, and ensures that the final system meets the organization’s needs. LeapGreat helps organizations achieve successful, cost-effective, and timely ERP transformations by implementing a working system early and refining iteratively. For CxOs looking to undertake an SAP ERP transformation, embracing early visibility through the FrontLoad approach can be the key to unlocking significant value while minimizing risk and ensuring project success. The benefits of this approach are clear: reduced risk, improved quality, better user adoption, and a system that is closely aligned with organizational needs. Our innovative methodology accelerates the implementation process and ensures a more predictable, manageable, and ultimately successful project outcome.

By fostering early visibility and continuous improvement, LeapGreat sets a new standard in SAP ERP implementations, making the journey to S/4HANA smoother, faster, and more rewarding for organizations of all sizes. 

See your ERP in just one week.

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