Use the AHP Methodology to More Effectively Define and Evaluate Your SAP Implementation Approach

  • by Jeetendra Kumar, IT Director, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Inc.
  • September 1, 2011
Understand the complexities of breaking down a complex SAP project implementation into manageable chunks, reflecting a scope capable of aligning with and meeting an organization’s specific goals. Build an implementation approach and business case by understanding the advantages and disadvantages of variations of the phased approach. Finally, learn how to use the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) model to evaluate the alternatives in a scientific way, as well as perform sensitivity analysis and a head-to-head comparison of alternatives.

Experienced SAP project managers know all too well that the approach and scope of a project must be carefully defined if it going to be successful. Large, complex, and global SAP projects present especially tremendous challenges: Project managers not only have to identify what, when, and how to implement the SAP system in a global environment, but this complex process must also then be managed in a way that minimizes the risks while optimizing the benefits to the business. Given that there are multiple approaches to implementation — from high-budget, high-risk, high-reward, big-bang approaches to phased approaches that vary considerably in scope and scale — how can decision makers ensure that they have considered all the relevant factors and made the best choices to meet their business needs?

To answer that question, I’ll use the analytic hierarchy process (AHP). It provides a real-world methodology for breaking down an implementation into manageable tasks that can be analyzed and aligned to meet their organization’s business objectives. More particularly, I have drawn on my own implementation experiences to identify several specific types of phased approaches that you can use to refine the decision-making process. I’ll show you how to design AHP decision hierarchies that can help you choose the approach or combination of these approaches most suited to your objectives.

Previous articles have focused on implementation methodologies (e.g., ASAP) that outline the different phases of a project implementation, project organization structure, and subsequent deliverables. This article takes a different approach: It aims, instead, at helping program managers, project managers, and team leads to define and design an optimal implementation approach. I’ll begin by distinguishing different kinds of phased approaches according to their predominating orientation: function, process, geography, organization units, or business partners. Then I’ll show you how to use the AHP methodology to sift through and organize the relevant data, trace various value chains, define and rank business criteria according to the needs and goals of the business, and then compare and rank the implementation options against those business criteria. I also assume you have a basic understanding of SAP implementation methodology, scope definition, and project management.

Jeetendra Kumar

Jeetendra Kumar is the IT director at Coca-Cola Enterprises, Inc. Prior to Coca-Cola Enterprises, Jeetendra worked as a consultant at Deloitte, IBM, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and HCL Infosystems in their respective SAP practices.

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