How long will a SAP Business One implementation take?
As a SAP Business One partner, one of the most common questions we’re asked is: “How long will an ERP solution take to implement?”
And, of course, there’s no simple answer. Any number of different factors can affect how long it takes for a company to implement ERP, from the size of their business, to the complexity of their problem, whether add-ons are required, and how much time and effort stakeholders are willing to put into the project.
This is cold comfort, not least because recent research from Panorama Consulting found more than half (57%) of ERP projects undertaken in 2015 took longer to complete than expected. But what should would-be SAP Business One users set as a realistic timeframe for their roll-outs? And what’s their best bet for avoiding overruns?
In the past, SAP itself has said that SAP Business One can be set up in as little as four weeks. However, we wouldn’t recommend that any company attempt to deliver an implementation in this timeframe – you may be able to get the bare bones in place, but it’s not long enough to deliver a solution that really creates value for your business.
Instead, we believe that between three and six months is realistic for a first-time setup. And, importantly, both the SAP partner and the customer business will need to work hard to pull this off. ERP implementation is about more than just installing software: there’s an array of other tasks to take into consideration, too, such as requirements capture, engaging stakeholders, data cleansing and importing, and so on.
It’s also important to provide training and get end users bought into the project. Some workers may be unwilling to adapt to new processes and workflows, particularly if there isn’t a readily apparent benefit to them, so you’ll need to explain how an extra 20 minutes in their day can translate to hours saved somewhere else in the business.
What happens during a SAP Business One implementation?
Implementing SAP Business One is a phased process, and the individual steps are unique to the customer and their requirements. A high-level overview might look something like this:
- Kick-off meeting: the customer and their SAP Business One partner finalise the goals and timelines set during the sales process for handover to the implementation team.
- Project initiation document (PID): The team creates a PID to document each step in the implementation process, including delivery dates. The responsibilities for both the SAP Business One partner and the customer are defined.
- Implementation and go-live: Carried out as per the PID.
- Training: A diligent SAP Business One partner will provide training throughout the process, including training for trainers so knowledge can be transferred internally within the customer business.
The importance of a lifetime solution
Of course, however long a SAP Business One implementation takes – be it three months or six – we’d never recommend that customers wash their hands of the project afterwards. A winning ERP implementation demands ongoing reviews and optimisation to ensure it continues to meet the business’ needs long into the future.
Say your company is growing or changing direction – you’ll want to assess whether your SAP Business One implementation will still do the job in six months’ time, or if new functionality or other changes are required. A change in staff and skillsets could also be a trigger for a review. And, even if nothing is outwardly untoward, a high volume of complaints about your solution might be a sign that it no longer serves its purpose.
With this in mind, no implementation is ever truly over – done correctly, it’s something that’ll evolve and improve with your business.