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What to Look for in SAP Project Management Services 

When engaging an SAP implementation partner, several aspects of the services firm should be assessed by the client. While some of these aspects can only be determined through reference checks, some can be determined by the client during the selection process. This screening of SAP project management services is a necessary step in the implementation process, as some service firms may be better equipped to tackle firm specific issues than others.  

Questions to Ask Regarding SAP Project Management Services

When looking for a SAP project management service, some of the questions that clients should ask themselves are: 

  • Does the management services firm project a collaborative approach to engaging around the client’s goals?  
  • Clients generally want solutions to process problems when implementing SAP – Does the services partner seem to share this view of the project?  
  • A project is not just about making settings in the applications. Is the partner firm familiar with possible impacts within the organization that the project may require, and can they suggest proactive steps to the client to prepare for such change?  
  • What is the breadth of the service firms’ in-house capabilities? 

Assessing Partnerships for SAP Project Management Services

There are key competencies and tools and that a partner must have that are critical to assessing a partnership decision, especially for SAP project management services. They include: 

Resource Strength: It lowers risk to the client if the partner supports most of the main project functions with its own internal resources – project management, business process, technical, change management, and training. This ensures a consistency of methodology as well as services-firm resources who’ve worked together before; these in turn lower project risk. Third-party resources engaged by the services firm can be helpful for specific expertise not in-house; however, the services firm should be up-front with the client as to which resources are 3rd-party.  

Experience + Testimonials: Experience is the most important aspect to selection, followed by testimonials from previous projects. The client should determine that the SAP services partner has had a number of successful comparable-scope projects with prior clients. Services firm references should of course be contacted, but the client can also reach out to industry contacts that may have engaged the SAP services firm for additional perspective. Finally, if the client has engaged the services firm before with positive results, this should create a strong inclination for re-engagement with that firm. As the saying goes, “nothing succeeds like success.”  

Commitment + Service: The client should assess the partner firm’s capability and commitment for thorough knowledge transfer (KT) to the client’s internal team about the applications implemented. At the end of a successful project, the client usually seeks to be self-sustaining on their systems (an exception here is if the client elects an out-sourced, cloud-based model). But for functions meant to be managed in-house by the client, the partner services firm should perform KT throughout the project to designated client team members.   

Flexibility + Excellent Project Management: Flexibility is a huge element to look for in selecting a partner. Often, experienced professionals may have a standard way of approaching implementations, which is not a one-size fits all. Thus, choosing a partner that can remain flexible when any hurdles arise or expectations change can be a deal breaker. A flexible partner can also adapt quickly to an upcoming deadline, even after pivoting. 

Investing time into choosing the right partner can be tiresome, but it pays dividends in the end by saving costs and contributing to a long-term best fit relationship. Check out Clarkston’s highly experienced team of SAP consultants who can help you in your SAP journey. 

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Contributions by Alexandra Hatsios 

Tags: Project & Program Management, SAP