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Product and Topic Expert
Product and Topic Expert
Did you know your ERP as a Service (aaS) implementation can fail spectacularly when your organization does not embrace a cloud mindset? Many projects might not fail outright, however, their results remain way behind your organization's expectations. If you were part of the implementation team, such results may not be your fault. And yet, this type of outcome does not bode well for your reputation. Don’t despair just yet, you can help prevent most such failures from happening and establish behaviors in your  cloud ERP projects which are prone to sustain customer success.

Prevent failures - help your organization adopt a cloud mindset from the start

Watch the video in less than 9 minutes or keep on reading...

Cloud ERP implementations might fail...


For traditional ERP implementations organizations might exhibit a state of mind where they would want to blue-print their business processes and customize them into their system. Blueprinting and customization take a good amount of time, which is why those implementation projects tend to be pretty lengthy, taking many months, sometimes years. But then, because the software exhibits the organization's own business practices, after going live it may be adopted rather swiftly and the business might realize a good return on investment through many periods of positive business value. Over time, however, due to high levels of customization future upgrades are notoriously difficult, time consuming and expensive and the curve of value creation typically flattens or might even fall after some time.

Traditional ERP implementation mindset and value generation

On-premise implementation mindset applied to ERP aaS prone to failure

When this state of mind is applied to implementing ERP aaS, the outcome usually gets worse: Project timelines get stretched out as project members get frustrated their own business processes may not be implemented the way they want. Figuring out ways to work around the system cost energy and time which leads to delayed go-live. Employees get frustrated when they do not get involved in the project, get trained too late and then have to deal with sketchy work around ways to get their tasks done. And so they are not likely ever to be as productive as expected. Another factor comes to play: When custom processes are actually implemented with the ways the cloud software allows for, frequent updates may require manual regression testing of these customizations, reducing employee productivity further, and pulling business value further down. If you had used organizational change management patterns suitable for traditional ERP implementations in your cloud project and they didn't work out, you may want to consider adopting a different set of patterns for cloud ERP:

ERP aaS require cloud mindset throughout subscription lifetime

Cloud ERP implementations require a cloud mindset that consists of embracing simplified and standardized business processes. This allows for fast implementation for quick go-live, automated testing in upgrades, and high degrees of process automation down the road. End users can start familiarizing themselves with these standardized processes early on, as learning content is available for self-service. And so they can adapt and be productive on day one after going live. With an agile deployment schedule, key users get involved in continually implementing further processes or regions in the cloud, thus increasing organizational productivity in short iterations. Key users learn how to automate some of the manual processes, free themselves from routine work and can become innovators for their area of expertise, trying out novel ways of doing business with templates and samples for the latest technologies at their command like machine learning, artificial intelligence, analytics or bots processing natural language. Those key or super users are instrumental in carrying the banner of cloud mindset for continuous innovation and sustained business success.

ERP as a Service for fast ROI and continuous business value growth

Super users instrumental for sustained success

The implementation methodology for SAP S/4HANA Cloud, SAP Activate, provides you with a work stream and with accelerator assets dedicated to solution adoption, organizational change management and end-user learning.
As any change in behavior takes time it is even more important to establish this cloud mindset as early as possible with the organization and start respective organizational change activities as soon as possible in the project.

The Discover phase should be used to check in with leadership on the organization's digital and cloud readiness, their honest organizational ability and willingness to adopt standardized processes, move quickly and agile, and keep adopting and implementing innovations as part of their subscription.

SAP Activate methodology guides to cloud mindset

As part of the project team you might want to share with your leadership and throughout the organization the OCM whitepaper SAP has provided and engage in respective conversation. You might want to get involved in setting up the OCM team, conceive of the plans to be made for the team, for stakeholder engagement, communication or end-user learning. You may want to discuss early on with stakeholders where they might need help with specific tasks and activities the OCM workstream of SAP Activate calls for. You might want to establish with leadership that most OCM oriented activities have to be conceived of and executed by your own resources and you may want to use the instrument of quality gates to check in on the level of respective accomplishment and the impact for the project and for sustainable organizational success. If your OCM team assesses they might benefit from support by experts experienced with business software as a service please turn to your SAP contact or to your trusted implementation partner.

Organizations need to take responsibility for organizational change - implementers should help

The Explore phase with its Fit-to-Standard workshop and the resulting implementation roadmap defines the intended trajectory of business value creation. Specific organizational change measures corresponding to the respective business processes to be implemented according to that roadmap will have to be devised.

Organizational Change Management tasks in SAP Activate Roadmap Viewer

The provisions of this roadmap could be imagined like pearls projected onto the curve of value creation, almost like a necklace. The decisions made for expected value creation need to be supported by organizational change management activities that had been conceived and planned for in the previous Activate phases, and perpetuated for the subscription duration. The efficacy of these activities needs to be assessed and measured throughout the succeeding phases throughout the entire duration of the subscription accordingly.

Implementation roadmap conceived in Explore phase projects and plans "pearls" of value creation

Continuous adoption of innovation unlocks value potential of ERP aaS

We have seen how with ERP as a Service your sound and early engagement with your organization on the topic of cloud mindset and organizational change management is a crucial prerequisite for sustained business success.

Learn more about solution adoption and other crucial conditions for successful cloud ERP implementations and sustained customer success with SAP S/4HANA Cloud: