A Case Study in SAP R/3 Organization Structure Design: Taking FI/CO's "One-to-Many" Path to Speedier Global Rollouts

  • by Kurt Goldsmith, Senior Business Consultant, Enowa Consulting
  • May 15, 2000
Can a decision regarding something as innocent-sounding as a Chart of Accounts code significantly impact the rollout speed, quality, and cost of a Phase I design to multiple sites, particularly those in other countries? Absolutely! The R/3 Organization Structure you adopt can have a profound effect on the speed with which you are able to migrate an R/3 system from one site to another, and can affect everyone in your company. This article details a US-based R/3 rollout to four European countries, with special emphasis on the three problem areas that Phase I designs run into during Phase II rollouts: configuration table maintenance, master data synchronization, and knowledge sharing between Phase I and Phase II end users.

Can a decision regarding something as innocent-sounding as a Chart of Accounts code significantly impact the rollout speed, quality, and cost of a Phase I design to multiple sites, particularly those in other countries?
And, are the rollout issues raised by an Organization Structure decision in the Accounting module the same as those raised by Organization Structure decisions that must be made in the Logistics modules? The answer to both questions is, “Yes.” The R/3 Organization Structure you adopt can have a profound effect on the speed with which you are able to migrate an R/3 design from one site to another.

As we will see, a most interesting irony occurs in many Phase II rollout projects. Project managers and team leaders feel pressure from the rollout sites to adapt the Phase I design to meet “local” needs in all areas of the software — SD, MM, PP, and FI/CO. This pressure is especially strong when the rollout sites are in foreign countries where unique laws and customs might exist. Not wanting to disrupt the current “live” sites, the rollout leaders look at certain R/3 “one-to-one” Organization Structure design options that allow each site independent settings as a very attractive way out of the “local vs. global” tradeoff. Available “one-to-many” design options get discarded as too restrictive.

Kurt Goldsmith

Kurt Goldsmith is a senior business consultant for Enowa Consulting, specializing in the diagnosis and resolution of productivity-related integration issues between a company’s division of labor (end users, managers, executives) and SAP software (R/3, BW, APO, CRM). He also has a lifetime performance record of one win and two third-place finishes from five career starts as a thoroughbred racehorse trainer.

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