S/4HANA – 10 Things To Do in Phase Zero

S / 4HANA – 10 Things To Do in Phase Zero


Once your organization decides to go to SAP S / 4HANA and your implementation team has established a plan and schedule, most people wait for the first phase of the implementation plan to launch before doing anything. It sounds logical –  wait for the plan to start before you begin work, right?  But ask yourself: would you leave on a long road trip without packing the car and mapping a route to your destination first? Of course not. The time between a decision made and Phase 1 plan kickoff – known as Phase Zero – is the time you should spend getting ready. To help you prepare, here are 10 things you should do in SAP S / 4HANA Phase Zero:

1. Get Agile

Take the time to train in the Agile Methodology approach before you set off on S / 4HANA implementation. Shifting your organizational mindset from Waterfall to Agile before you begin will allow you to kick-off and drive forward more quickly. Agile also avoids having to restart and re-educate once your plan is in motion. (Agile 101 from the nonprofit Agile Alliance provides a great introduction)

2. Document your Now

Take the time to document all of your business processes, as they exist now. Review the processes with anyone you anticipate will be part of the implementation team and ensure that each is cataloged correctly. Decisions need to be made quickly on Agile projects, so having your processes match your applications reduces deliberation. It will help to highlight any gaps in functionality aligned with core business activities.


3. Coach Your Leaders

Spend time with your project leaders and IT, coaching them on the goals of the project. Decide now what will define success once the system is live. You want to make sure that they are on-board with your goal of leveraging the best practices and model processes from the S / 4HANA system. Start with a documented decision-making process around any configuration changes. That way, you will know when it is acceptable to adapt the software to map to your process and when it is better to adopt a new process to align with the software. Coach your team to ensure that you are all working to minimize the list of process areas that will be changed by S / 4HANA.  Take time in Phase Zero to decide what processes make your business unique so that you can focus on those during implementation.


4. Train Your Team

Understanding what SAP S / 4HANA has to offer in terms of functionality and model processes is essential. Project budgets can increase rapidly and timelines may extend quickly if your team is not exhausting all efforts to use the system out of the box without customization or reconfiguration. This causes missed expectations to your users, your leaders, your shareholders, and your customers. Invest in SAP S / 4HANA Project Team training for your team before the project begins. Establishing your own metrics, dashboards or assessments will allow you to confirm that they are all in the correct mindset before you begin your journey. Abreon provides a wealth of training resources to help get your team up to speed and on the same page.


5. Select Your Tools

Phase Zero is the ideal time to think about all of the tools that you will need to support your plan. Most importantly, you should select a documentation tool and commit to using it throughout the entire project. Think through what tools you will implement and leverage for the project. Implementing these tools takes time, effort and thoughtful consideration. Bringing tools on board once you are full-steam-ahead on a project creates noise and diverts attention. Selecting them early drives efficiencies throughout each phase of the project. Your list may include:

• Sprint Recordings
• Process Procedures
• Testing Scripts
• End User Training
• End User Simulations
• Training Materials
• In Application Support
• Performance Support


6. Gather Your Resources

Subject matter experts (SME) are a critical component to any implementation, but their available time can present a challenge. Phase Zero is a great time to find some alternates who can help with discovery, review, and approvals. You should also find support personnel available to help with data capture during Sprints. Your SMEs need to be knowledgeable about what the S / 4HANA software offers. Since SAP S / 4HANA has not completely penetrated the market, getting them up-to-speed during the project could prove problematic. If you are considering offshore models for any project-related tasks, consider the available time of your SMEs here too. Phase Zero is the time to increase the SME bucket in your project plan. It is also the best time to retain consultants like Abreon who have significant experience and can help fill gaps.


7. Plan Your Training

Some of your business processes will change because the focus of S / 4HANA is using its technology right out of the box. This will be a new approach for many, so you need to have a training plan in place before you begin. Be certain to consider a multi-generational audience and the unique needs of your organization. Be realistic about your ability to provide training across your organization. You should confirm early on whether or not you can take on this task. Remember, the first impression your people get of the new system is important, so proper training plays a critical role in adoption. You will face changes in both your technology and your business processes.

Considering bringing in Super Users / Facilitators for your classroom training. They will help to balance technology and process training and they reduce the burden on your internal personnel to learn and deliver new content. Abreon has years of SAP training experience and is a preferred training partner for SAP S / 4HANA. We can help you put together a sustainable training plan that builds value. We recommend a blended approach that incorporates several training methodologies:

• Instructor-Led Training
• eLearning
• Virtual
• Workshops
• Small Groups
• MicroLearning
• Gaming
• Reference Managers
• In Application Support
• Online Help
• Performance Support


8. Prioritize your Content

You will find it helpful to prioritize content development based on the specific areas of focus within your organization. Don’t wait to bring a large number of team members in at the end of the project to provide training. Streamline your team and embed members throughout the project to cover their areas of expertise. This will uncover any needs as they arise instead of all at once, and it will allow any outside consultants that you retain the ability to provide more value over a wider variety of areas.


9. Measure Your Progress

Measuring the impact of SAP S / 4HANA implementation on your organization provides a barometer of success and helps to break down areas of resistance. Phase Zero is the time to establish five to seven Key Performance Indicators (KPI) that will affect your business and will demonstrate value, popular metrics include:

• Distribution Rates – the time it takes trucks to exit the warehouse pre and post system|
• Error Rates – the time and effort required to reduce defects
• Time to Task – the time it takes for key repetitive activities.

Make sure that you measure all aspects of the human side of change because there tends to be more resistance with SAP S / 4HANA engagements. You can use individual assessments, surveys, focus groups and informal meetings throughout the plan. This allows you to quickly identify areas where you are encountering resistance address them. Some areas to measure should include:

• Project Readiness
• Leadership Assessment
• Project Team Health Assessment
• Manager / Supervisor Feedback
• Super User Feedback
• User Feedback
• Training Competency Assessments
• Communication Effectiveness

Having frequent touch points will help you to confirm the direction for Organizational Change Management (OCM), communications, and ongoing training.


10. Set your Budget

Perhaps the most important consideration when considering SAP S / 4HANA is the budget required for successful adoption. Budgeting the traditional 10 – 15% of the total project cost may not be enough. The goal with S / 4HANA is to use it as-is with little to no customization which lowers the technology-side costs. However, additional time and training are needed which increases the human side costs. Therefore, it is important to budget for an OCM Lead, Communications Consultant, and a Training Lead at a minimum.  This will help drive the human-side of change and ensure that all key considerations are included.

Keep in mind that OCM Leads will start at kick-off at a minimum, and often start even earlier, while Training Leads typically start three to four months into the project. When reviewing budgets, think about all of the process and organizational changes that you will make if the S / 4HANA system is used out of the box.


Learn More

Abreon’s change management and training professionals will help to ensure that you have a solid plan in place before you start your SAP S / 4HANA journey. Lean on our experience to manage all of the changes that are soon to come, and let us help you communicate with your team – and the organization at large – to manage their expectations. Abreon is your trusted partner for creating and delivering training that shows your organization a new and better way of working. Contact us today to ask about SAP S / 4HANA Phase Zero implementation planning and training.


SAP S/4HANA Phase Zero Infographic



I want to learn more!

Leave a Reply