A dream team for any SAP EPM implementation

27 June 2017

Gabriel Matesanz

Gabriel Matesanz

Consultant

A few days back I was tasked to produce some content to describe what the ideal resource profile is for a new Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) implementation. Borrowing a technique, I use with my kids, I thought this could be easily explained with a football analogy. 

The most important factor is the team. I love the definition in Wikipedia

“A team is a group of people or animals (wow!) linked in a common purpose. Human teams (I like these ones) are especially appropriate for conducting tasks that are high in complexity and have many interdependent subtasks.
Teams normally have members with complementary skills and generate synergy through a coordinated effort, which allows each member to maximize their strengths and minimize their weaknesses. “


That definition speaks for itself. Would you agree? Now, what would be my ideal line up?

In my particular case, the project scope was to implement a finance-driven strategic planning solution. The delivery team had a blend of on-shore and off-shore resources and it was heavily controlled by the customer’s IT crowd. 

Bearing this in mind, here comes my first eleven:

Forward

At the front, I would always put the customer. The people who will ultimately gain the benefits of the new planning application, the business, Finance. They are the ones who will end up "scoring" their goals.

Midfield

In the midfield, you would usually assist the goals. The people who do the ground work and help achieve the original requirements. That would be the delivery team on-site, which could be shaped by a mix of external consultants and permanent staff, but typically consultants on the ground. 

I’d recommend getting hold of some players from the youth team to up-skill through the season. It is likely your experienced stars will eventually leave for another club at some stage. So you might want to get someone to work closely with them and learn along the way. Also, bear in mind you’ll need a range of skills. Midfielders need to be multi-disciplinary, after all, you can’t have team full of wingers. Make certain your on-shore team have both financial experience and deep technical understanding. Don’t be afraid to “loan” in some contractors if they are the best fit.

Your captain can be the solution architect. You need someone capable of accommodating the appropiate solution design  as the game follows its due course.

Defence

In defence, I’d place the off-shore team. The back guard is required to deliver upon good design specifications, to support and maintain the solution following thorough instructions and documentation, but also to complement the on-site team with a nurtured culture of collaboration. They don’t necessarily have the same flair as the forward players, but they must be reliable and always deliver. In order to have the back guard support, your organisation must have access to a sufficient-sized pool of consultants at all levels and with a diverse skillset happy to provide ad-hoc help. Equally important is to build up robust lines of communication across all channels.

Keeper

This is my favourite. When I was a kid, nobody wanted to play goalie as you rarely got the chance to kick the ball. Playing in such a critical position, you’d either get the fame or the blame. For that particular reason, I’d assign this post to SAP: generally responsive and reliable. Nevertheless, it’s a team effort to protect our goal and to rapidly react to any difficulties.

Manager

Last, but not least, we’ve got the manager to appoint. Even the greatest teams can suffer a dramatic drop in form under the guise of an ill-suited leader. I’d leave the baton to the customer’s IT organisation, CIO or incumbent delegate. At the end of the day it is the customer who sets the direction and is in the best position to orchestrate and ensure every member of the team is doing their job diligently to comply with the company’s policies and guidelines, following a clear path along a well-defined roadmap.

Pre-season, League, Cup Final… and thereafter

An early engagement will help the team start to get in shape, defining the objectives for the forthcoming season and outlining the tactics to achieve those goals, the earlier the better. Ideally engaging most of team (permanent and new signings) during the project definition phase.

The entire project build phase will turn into your league games, with up and downs, but always progressing steadily towards the realisation of the objectives set at the beginning of the season…to eventually reach the Cup Final, the so sought go-live! There should not be any surprises then if the team have worked together to get to this point. You want to make sure you get all your best players available and fit.

But the whole project doesn’t end there. You will experience a transformation of your team after the final. While the business will keep scoring goals, some of the key players will inevitably leave the team. You must ensure a sweet shift from them to the youth players, as well as stay reliant on the back – your off-shore team and SAP – to support the team.

All in all, the important message here is that for any successful finance-driven EPM implementation, you must line up a comprehensive team, as described above, with clear goals, direction and steady lines of communication.

Now you have the team profile. It is down to you to pick the first eleven and indeed the colour of the jersey. My choice will always be stripy-mattress, red and white.
 

About the author

Gabriel Matesanz

Consultant

Gabriel has had over 15 years’ experience in SAP consultancy, working with customers across various European markets. His holistic understanding of SAP systems and implementation compliments his excellent technical skills. Covering a range of SAP technologies including SAP BW, Planning, CRM, ECC and focus on the last years in TPM, Gabriel has worked in a number of different roles: project manager, technical lead, project team, support consultant and service delivery manager.