Good Business Relationships are Built on More Than Just a Handshake

Significant work goes into making a project successful: Proper governance, product expertise, and having enough bodies to the carry out the tasks are all necessary. Throw in honest collaboration as an additional element and you have the start of a good working relationship.

But how does one consistently bring all these elements together to promote an on-time, on-budget implementation?

SAP is committed to a customer-first strategy, so the SAP Value Assurance program for cloud solutions from SAP was developed as a framework for optimizing partner led SAP Cloud projects and with the intent of mitigating customer risk.

SAP Value Assurance for cloud solutions from SAP provides end to end analysis in all areas of the SAP SuccessFactors solution architecture, and both functional and technical design, enhancing time to realized value. While SAP Value Assurance for cloud solutions from SAP was built for the cloud leveraging the SAP Activate methodology, the program is adaptable to the partner/customer cloud methodology.

A few interesting trends are emerging from value assurance:

  • Sometimes partner statements of work are lean and may not cover the full scope of what customers need to be prepared for successful go-lives and to run the systems after the partner departs. Value assurance provides a channel to expose such gaps and help the customer determine how to adjust earlier in the project.
  • Seasoned certified consultants are not always used by partners; in such cases, quality is an obvious concern. Value assurance provides a channel to discover details and offer possible mitigation approaches.
  • Most engagements of SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central span quarterly releases, and when fixed-price partner SOWs are involved, new functionality included in quarterly releases occurring mid-project are generally not included. Value assurance provides a forum to discuss impact and reaction, especially since no partner will have had experience implementing a newly released feature or the previous knowledge for how to scope and price it when change orders are considered.
  • There are scenarios for large programs where customers use multiple simultaneous vendors and distribute work among many different firms. When that happens, clarity of responsibility — who owns what work — is usually difficult to discern by customers, who often are new to cloud products from SAP. In this situation, gaps often materialize that are likely not to be noticed. Value assurance teams are discovering such gaps and recommended mitigations. These gaps left unaddressed can cause considerable risks that could potentially derail go lives or cause significant problems, fines, or worse.
  • Most implementation partners are now dependent on offshore or nearshore configuration resources who are not as strong in business skills as is typically the case with full time, embedded consultants. Value assurance teams are filling such gaps to provide customers with more strategic advice.

Risks can show up in any implementation project. In practice, value assurance is providing deep and timely value by mitigating risk through an established framework, which makes good project sense. With SAP Value Assurance for cloud solutions from SAP, formal collaboration and agreement sessions go hand in hand with detailed analysis reporting. In addition to the obvious help to partners with resolving system and configuration related issues, the customer realizes the overall benefits as the joint team moves successfully forward in the project journey.

For more information on SAP Value Assurance for cloud solutions from SAP, including SAP SuccessFactors solutions, contact us via email or through webform.

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Wayne Harmon is an SAP SuccessFactors Delivery Executive.
Rob King is practice director of Professional Services for the Customer Success Group at SAP SuccessFactors.