Successful change management for SAP  S/4HANA implementation projects

Successful change management for SAP S/4HANA implementation projects

SAP S/4HANA is not just a modernized version of SAP R/3 – an update that companies implement to avoid running out of support. Instead, it is an opportunity to place data and analytics at the center of corporate decision-making and achieve enhanced productivity by harmonizing processes and potentially introducing automation. However, the solution is less adaptive than SAP R/3 was.

All the advantages that SAP S/4HANA brings are geared toward a significantly higher degree of standardization and don’t support the level of customization that R/3 users are accustomed to. This means users need to adapt to the application, which can pose challenges when aiming for a high level of user adoption. If companies want to harvest these benefits resulting from SAP S/4HANA, they will need to take change management seriously across all 5 Moments of NeedTM (a concept developed by learning evangelist Bob Mosher). The 5 Moments of Need are: 

  • Learning for the first time. Employees will need to learn new processes and adapt to the new SAP S/4HANA user interface and why the change has been initiated.   
  • Expanding knowledge base. Employees need to fully grasp the new working methods and the desired outcomes, understand the principles of redesigned processes and learn to use the analytical capabilities. 
  • Remembering and applying learned concepts. Once the solution has gone live, support is needed for more than just base cases. Employees should have access to materials that help in their actual working context, which is defined by their role and the current application, process and task.  
  • When things don’t go according to plan. In today’s working environment, the exception is the rule. You want your team to react quickly and appropriately without taking up their colleagues’ time with meetings or calls. That’s why employee self-service for content access is imperative, and why even more content should be created and managed by in-house subject matter experts (SMEs).  
  • When change occurs. Agility is one of the great plus points of SAP S/4HANA. Improvements can be implemented and rolled out in a much more dynamic way and the time it takes to transform identified needs (data) into process and resource modifications can be considerably shortened. This is another area where the demand for efficient SME content creation comes into play in combination with push notifications and real-time availability for new content. 

Many of our customers have an established change management approach that uses our tt performance suite as a platform. All they have to do is apply this approach to their SAP S/4HANA initiatives. But what do you do if you haven’t established this type of approach yet? This was the case at Corbion, a global market leader in the production of lactic acid for the food industry. Corbion operates in many countries in Asia, Europe and Latin America and intends to roll out “Source to Pay”, “Demand to Supply”, “Order to Cash”, “Maintain to Settle” and “Finance to Manage” in a greenfield implementation as part of its SAP S/4HANA- project. The project was dubbed CUBE, which stands for “Corbion United BERP”. The change management stream of the overall implementation project followed a very systematic – or as we would say, “industrialized” – approach. 

  1. Corbion ran a selection process in order to find the best user adoption technology, and selected tt performance suite for content creation, curation and context-sensitive distribution. 
  2. Corbion SMEs as well as tts consultants ran a learning needs analysis as part of a consultant-coached process. Process by process, the required content was defined based on context (e.g. employee role, process, end product) and the learning and support formats needed (step list, documentation, simulation, e-learning, other materials). 
  3. This content was transferred to the tt performance suite workbench along with information about context, content and when and by whom the content would need to be created. 
  4. Standard templates were developed for a standardized Corbion content design and a content design manual was also produced. 
  5. Material was created and localized in line with the go-live priorities and the finalization process in SAP. Corbion decided to outsource content creation, with SMEs providing input and reviewing content. 
  6. The first wave of go-live rollouts commenced in Asia on 1 October 2019. 
  7. Content maintenance was stipulated by the Corbion content governance approach, the intention being for Corbion SMEs to manage maintenance work to ensure permanent alignment between business processes and the available learning/support content. 

While the rollout is still ongoing, this industrialized content creation and distribution process will become the new gold standard within Corbion change management initiatives. Work is already under way on exploring additional software projects.