E2E Mindset in SAP Transformation Projects
The concept of end-to-end implementation in SAP transformation projects has been around for a while. However, implementing E2E processes with an agile methodology and successfully exploiting synergies between an E2E mindset and agile principles is a challenge that few have succeeded to overcome.
An end-to-end process structure ensures that all business resources align to achieve a common and holistic objective, to create and sustain a healthy business model. In this blog post we aim to describe the E2E mindset with an agile implementation strategy and provide recommendations for ERP managers for defining and designing the E2E processes.
Key Principles for successful E2E, harmonized Business Transformation:
- Lean and harmonized - One E2E process structure enabling ONE harmonized business model
- Single data capture at source
- High quality and scalable documentation
- Fit for purpose design, leveraging standard technology
- One decision making framework
1. Cultivating an E2E mindset
The first and most crucial step in the E2E journey of an SAP business transformation project is to have a firm and clear vision of the E2E processes and implementation approach. The leadership of the project must strongly endorse this and actively participate in having the right resources to be able to achieve the goals set out for the project. It requires heavy effort and continuous repetition to develop a new mindset.
Slicing the minimum viable product scope in end-to-end and integration scenarios enables clients to Design, Build and Test the solution incrementally, adding capabilities to the solution at each iteration. In addition, Build and Test Phases can be kicked off early and executed in parallel to Design after the first Design Sprint (the first Sprint addresses foundational configuration, e.g., organizational elements, number ranges, etc., and basic end-to-end scenarios, e.g., domestic product sale).
Structuring the solution Design and Build along end-to-end scenarios is key for demonstrating quick wins to senior leadership. In addition, parallelizing Design, Build and Test enables the organization to familiarize with the Sprint modus operandum and obtain immediate feedback from Build and Test teams.
To ensure this, the program organization needs to adopt an end-to-end mindset early on. Strong end-to-end coordinators working in tight partnership with process owners co-develop pragmatic solutions and ensure timely decision-making during the Design sprints.
2. Defining and Structuring the E2E Processes
As a first foundational step, the program should define the E2E processes by E2E scenarios. Teams and all activities within the program (Define, Design, Build, Test and rollout readiness) should be organized around these E2E scenarios. Let’s understand in detail how these E2E scenarios can be developed.
Here is an example of how an E2E Hierarchy can be structured in your project. Let us take an example of a value chain process - Marketing Plan to Cash (MP2C). MP2C would have various scenario groups under it like Marketing to Lead, Lead to Order, Order to Cash etc. These groups of scenarios can be further divided into E2E Scenarios. An example of E2E Scenario is Standard Sales Order. Standard Sales order can have variants like Standard Sales Order with Prepayment. Every E2E Scenario is further broken down into smaller chunks of integration scenarios to make the designing, building and testing of the E2E Scenario manageable. Examples for Integration Scenario for Standard Sales Order is From Sales Order to Delivery, From Delivery to Picking, From Picking to Billing etc. Once this structure is defined, it becomes the basis for designing the processes in manageable chunks with compact teams and focus topics. Some of the key benefits of having E2E process are as follows:
Lean and harmonized E2E processes enable a “ONE" company approach
- Greenfield approach to incorporate best practices from within and outside the company
- Harmonize processes across the company
- Leverage common technology for process automation (“Eliminate - Harmonize - Automate - Scale”)
3. Designing the E2E Processes in the System
Once the E2E hierarchy is defined and the processes are mapped during the Define phase of the project, the next step is to plan the Design sprints based on them. The Design sprints can be divided into foundational Design sprint and subsequent (incremental) Design sprints. As can be seen in the model above, every sprint culminates into a Build wave and further into testing.
The foundation sprint comprises of the foundation E2E Scenarios, i.e., scenarios that contain the most basic elements of a process and can be used as the base for the subsequent designing of the various variants on top of it in the later sprints. Having a foundation E2E scenario designed, built and tested in the first round of the cycle lays the base for incremental steps as well as provides learnings and additional requirements that can be incorporated in the design of the variants.
3.1 Foundation Sprint
Let us dive deeper into the process design aspect of the E2E processes. Starting with the foundation sprint, the various workstreams must follow a coordinated and collaborative approach to make the foundation sprint a success. Since the ‘E2E + agile way’ of designing the sprint workshops is a rather new concept, it is very easy for the team, especially the more experienced team members, to drift to the old “waterfall” method.
Here, the role of the E2E coordinators, integration managers and sprint planners become utmost important to ensure that the E2E processes are designed as they were defined in the earlier phase.
3.2 Subsequent Sprints
The design sprints following the foundation sprint will need alterations to the method of working depending on the experience of the foundation sprint. Since every ERP project is different and will have distinctive issues and learnings, it is important that the E2E coordinators maintain a record to monitor and minute all these points. Dedicated sessions should be organized at the start of the next sprint within and across the work streams to brainstorm how these can be handled or mitigated for the subsequent sprints.
Along with the learnings from the previous design sprints, the feedback, risks, issues and additional requirements received from the parallel Build and Test of the previous sprint should be logged and incorporated in the current sprint.
Here are the three main key takeaways for your E2E journey:
- Breaking down the business processes into E2E scenarios and integration scenarios will enable an agile implementation of the business processes across workstreams and systems
- Active role of leadership and a dedicated task force to help cultivate and sustain an E2E mindset will go a long way toward ensuring success
- Strong E2E coordinators driving parallel Design, Build and Test phases is most critical to an agile E2E implementation
Organizations that truly understand, design and implement their end-to-end business processes will be more innovative, lean, and agile. Embarking on this journey can seem daunting and overwhelming. We have the experience to help you manage your project E2E. Get in Touch!
Watch this space for our following posts on detailed methodology and recommendations for E2E process implementation during the Build and Test phases.