We’re Getting Better Implementing IBP. Are You?
Why Hiring a Consulting Firm Makes So Much Sense
By Robert Birdsall, Director SCMO2
Of course you’re not because this is very likely your first IBP project.
As the team here at SCMO2 have gone through dozens and dozens of implementations, we have become keenly aware of the major differences between implementing IBP and other SAP products. We understand the business trade-offs and challenges. We already know the impact of the design decisions you are making. We recognize the tools and techniques that will save you time, money and improve quality versus the ones that are not worth the investment.
Most companies hire a consulting firm because they either have no idea what they are doing (or just don’t have the bandwidth) or they require an entirely new skillset and lack the time and resources necessary to develop (and maintain) that expertise internally.
If you fall in the first bucket, you can clearly manage a project and its activities, judge whether or not you are on-track for success, and see it through to its conclusion. Staff augmentation contracts work well here, and your biggest challenge is finding a consultant with the right fit for your organization. If you fall in the second bucket, the right decision is to definitely hire support, learn how to achieve success and assign tasks to your internal staff on projects.
So, what’s different and where do you need help? We believe you should leverage experienced consultants for these three key areas to help drive success in any IBP project.
1. Functional Skills
IBP training will only get you so far. There is so much trial-and-error learning that goes into a successful IBP implementation, and that only comes with experience. Yes, you should definitely have your internal team trained by your selected consulting partner (or through SAP’s training program) but you should also have an experienced lead that has the business and configuration skills necessary to support the IBP module you are implementing. A knowledgeable IBP consultant can not only determine the technical consequences of the decisions you are making, but can effectively discern the business impact of any key decision made during design.
2. Technical Integration Skills
Implementing IBP is just not a straightforward coding task anymore. You also need to understand the new integration models and techniques for connecting systems to IBP. There are cloud data processes, multiple devices to accommodate and the constant overarching security concern. The right decision for how to handle the technical aspects of implementation depends on a range of factors, not the least of which is your available bandwidth to support all the new tools IBP gives you.
3. Project Management Skills
How a project is managed and executed will directly impact its success. There are new methodologies, templates and techniques that must all work together to implement IBP projects quickly, effectively and with maximum success. In my decades of consulting experience, I have not encountered a single client that did not require support here. If you have never implemented IBP and are not familiar with the proper tools and techniques, it will take longer, cost more and greatly increase the chances of failure.
These are the three critical roles (and there are a variety of supporting roles too) for an IBP project consultant to fill. You need a strong functional consultant that understands the business and technical portion of the equation. You must have an exceptional technical consultant that can help you make the right decisions when integrating the solution to your existing environments. And it is essential that you bring in an experienced project manager with a clear understanding of the methodologies, templates and key activities that lead to a successful implementation.
Finding the best talent to fulfill these roles is crucial in your first IBP implementation. Then, engage them, pay attention to their approach and learn from their methodologies. That way you can leverage an effective knowledge transfer to use toward your success on future projects.