SAP S/4HANA Change Management: How to Handle the People Side of Your Transformation – Third Stage Consulting Group

Organizational change is a key component of any SAP S/4HANA transformation or implementation of any of the top ERP systems. But too often, organizations limit their scope of change to myopically focus on end-user training.

When we are close to the day-to-day details of a digital transformation, we assume that we just need to train people once we figure out the new processes and technologies. But while we spend months or years working through these details as part of a transformation team, other employees are left in the dark. They need much more than a few days of training before go-live.

The problems with traditional SAP S/4HANA change management

There are a number of problems with this flawed traditional approach to SAP S/4HANA change management. First, it neglects the many dimensions of change required to move employees through their transition. This is a key reason for the SAP failure at Lidl, the SAP disaster at Revlon, and other recent ERP failures – many of which engaged our team to provide SAP expert witness testimony during their lawsuits.

The second problem is that many change management efforts are outsourced to SAP systems integrators who don’t necessarily understand the software. It’s a relatively new software that has only been on the market for a few years, so relatively few consultants have full lifecycle experience on multiple projects. Worse yet, these same SAP consultants can’t effectively manage change if they do not effectively understand the impact or nature of the changes.

Finally, SAP’s Activate methodology doesn’t adequately address organizational change management, either. Not that it necessarily should, as it is a software deployment methodology rather than a transformation toolset. But this puts the onus on SAP customers to manage the organizational change components of their projects.


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