SAP (Systems, Applications and Products, in Data Processing) is an ERP system or Enterprise Resource Planning application, comprised of 3 major functional areas, Finance, Logistics and Human Resources, which are all integrated out of the box, such that a Sales Order will be reflected in inventory draw downs and other related areas, to name one of thousands of processes.
Within these 3 core areas, there are 20 + modules and many advanced modules like Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Supply Chain Management (SCM), Supplier Relationship Management (SRM), Business Intelligence (BI), Strategic Enterprise Management (SEM), Master Data Management (MDM), Environmental Health & Safety, plus a large number of Industry Specific solutions, country specific solutions, partner solutions and a universe of other solutions.
The system is now known as ECC or Enterprise Core Components, and can work on a large number of databases, including their latest offering HANA (which used to mean High Performance Analytic Appliance or Application) but has evolved as the product has evolved in both its meaning and functionality.
Beyond this brief explanation of what SAP is, are a large number of SAP companies with complimentary solutions, such as the Ariba Network, BusinessObjects, SuccessFactors and many more.
id=”sidebar-container”> For those who wished to know the role of a functional consultant.
A functional consultant evaluates the demands in talking with the customer’s representatives, transforms the essence into an abstract and algorithmic business model. Hence, he identifies the use cases and transforms them into logical and technical views.
Then the main task starts: customizing the respective business area and making sure the system reacts in the manner according to the constraints of the requested use case.
The consultant documents the settings and prepares proper guidelines that allow other consultants to do further changes or repairs with due efforts.
The consultant takes care that proper training is given to the users and that the system is usable, performing appropriately and the business flow is complete and correct.
During go live he assists the technical staff by testing the behavior of the system.
After go live he guarantees that the procedures remain usable and consistent in real live situation and proposes enhancements.
The main duty of a consultant is to transfer external know-how to the client. It is not manpower that counts but intelligence, understanding of processes, a feeling for defects and general a common sense.
When you talk about the role of a Functional consultant in an end to end implementation, I think it won’t be possible for me or anybody to define everything but I will try to summarize it:
1. Functional consultant is expected to generate knowledge about the current business process, design current business flows, study current business processes and its complication, in all we can say getting through with current business setup. Flow diagrams and DFD are prepared, most of the time in Vision format, all this forms the part of AS IS document.
2. Everything configured has to be documented as per their categories in the form of predefined templates, these have to be then approved by the team leads or who ever the consultant is reporting to.
3. Mapping and GAP analysis is done for each module, I have seen people defining integration after mapping, gap analysis and configuration is done, but as per my experience in implementation, it is a simultaneous process.
4. Before starting configuring future business processes in SAP, the DFD/ERD are prepared, this documentation is called TO BE, which can be also said as the result of mapping and gap analysis.
5. Sometimes Functional consultants are also expected to prepare test scripts for testing the configured scenarios.
6. End user manual and user training is also expected from F.Consultants.
The project normally starts off with a Kick off meeting in which the team size, team members, reporting system, responsibilities, duties, methodology, dates and schedules, working hours which have been predicided are formally defined.
ASAP, it won’t be possible for me to explain it here, but all I can tell you about it is that it is SAP standard implementation methodology, which SAP prescribes but is not mandatory for any company to follow, but recommended to follow the same.
Phase 1: Project Preparation – The purpose of this phase is to provide initial planning and preparation for your SAP project.
Phase 2: Business Blueprint – The purpose of this phase is to achieve a common understanding of how the company intends to run its business within the SAP System. The result is the Business Blueprint, a detailed documentation of the results gathered during requirements workshops. The Business Blueprint document represents the business process requirements of the company. It is the agreed statement of how the company intends to run its business within the SAP System.
Phase 3: Realization – The purpose of this phase is to implement all the business process requirements based on the Business Blueprint. The system configuration methodology is provided in two work packages: Baseline (major scope); and Final configuration (remaining scope).
Phase 4: Final Preparation – The purpose of this phase is to complete the final preparation (including testing, end user training, system management and cutover activities) to finalize your readiness to go live. The Final Preparation phase also serves to resolve all critical open issues. On successful completion of this phase, you are ready to run your business in your live SAP System.
Phase 5: Go Live and Support – The purpose of this phase is to move from a project-oriented, pre-production environment to live production operation.
Phase 1 – Project Preparation
Change Charter – Goals and objectives of Organizational Change in Management
Project Plan – This is a first cut focusing on milestones and Work Packages; details to come.
Scope – Sets the initial definition of then project; input from sales cycle.
Project Team Organization – Sets the whon of the project: Standards and Procedures – Sets the why and how of the project.
Phase 2 – Business Blueprint – Requirements reviewed for each SAP Reference Structure item and defined using CI Templates (in the Q and Adb). Business Blueprint – This is the output of the Q and Adb and is the key document for Phase 3.
Phase 3 – Realization – Master Lists – Define business scenarios and R/3 transactions to be realized in the system. BPP – Business Process Procedures representing R/3 transactions; used for unit testing and documentation. Planning – Defines how the configuration will be done and how it will be tested. Development Programs – Provides details of the external programming requirements. EU Training Material – End User training material and process documentation.
Phase 4 – Final Preparation Stress and Volume Tests – Plans for confirming the production hardware’s capabilities
Cutover Plan – The details of how to move to the production environment and go live
Conduct End User Training – Delivery of the necessary levels of R/3 End User training prior to going live
Phase 5 – Go Live and Support: Ensuring system performance through SAP monitoring and feedback.