Dieter SteigerDieter Steiger OC Oerlikon – How SAP Roll-in Projects can Fail

07/25/2008 by Dieter Steiger

On Friday, October 26, 2007, reported that OC Oerlikon will stop its super SAP project. The new approach is said to provide a „more intelligent, more flexible and cheaper solution that integrates all ERP systems of the business units using a central SAP consolidation tool“.

This seems to simplify things, but why is it that SAP roll-in projects fail one after another? As a solution architect and interested oberserver of such projects, I dare to give some simple explanations:
The originally pragmatic plan to technically avoid a number of varying ERP environments is in most cases not the primary goal. Often, the roll-in project is targeting to implement an operation with identical processes all across the enterprise and to benefit from best practices. Extremely challenging goals!

Unfortunately, the project’s target organization and processes for the overall company often end up being insufficiently adjusted to SAP. In addition, the organizational and cultural complexity of such a original technical project requires that all quality assuring measures are clearly defined and strictly adhered to right from the beginning. Very often in such initiatives this is done much later, if at all.

Of course, these are not the only things to be observed in order to ensure success of a SAP R/3 roll-in project or any other super project. But to begin with, every project manager is well advised to be alert to the stumbling blocks in SAP roll-in projects as described above.

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