How To Accelerate The Build Phase Of Digital Transformation

Raimar Hoeliner and Craig Mortensen

Part 3 in a 3-part series. Read Part 1 and Part 2.

When it comes to making the transition to an intelligent enterprise, each company starts at a different place but all follow a similar path that includes three distinct phases – planning, design, and build. How well you manage each phase of digital transformation has an immediate and long-term impact on the success of your digital journey. This series offers recommendations to help you realize the best outcomes for each phase. This final post addresses how to accelerate the building and deployment of an intelligent solution that is tailored to your enterprise’s needs.

Sprinting to the finish line

Once you get through the design phase and have decided on the deployment strategy, you can start building the solution. Assuming you followed along with the steps in the first two posts, you’ll be going into the build phase with a plan that’s based on industry best practices and a backlog of delta scope items that are translated into functions that differentiate your business. This functionality might be built in an agile fashion with multiple sprints, orchestrated by a scrum master, that focus on specific areas until the entire solution is built.

The benefit of an agile approach is that it allows you to see the solution as it evolves to make sure everything is on the right track or give prompt feedback about any areas that need to be corrected. Other deployment approaches, such as a waterfall model, are less iterative and typically have longer build cycles. It takes much longer for you to see the outcome of the configuration and development effort.

Taking a factory-like approach to configuration

A new concept in the software industry is the idea of industrializing the configuration of software solutions. Much as a factory refines and specializes in the building of specific items to deliver a high-quality, predictable outcome with speed and precision, some elements of the building and deployment of a software solution can be approached in a comparable manner. Rather than reinvent processes, consultants and solution experts focus on a specific deliverable such as implementation, user experience, analytics, or localization activities. Through remote delivery services, they’re able to do these things better and faster and reduce ramp-up and lead times while enabling maximum deployment efficiency and accuracy.

Automating the testing process

No software deployment would be complete without migrating data, testing, and auditing for quality assurance to help ensure accuracy and fidelity of the functional scope design. Being smart about how you implement and use the tools available, like test scripts to automate these steps rather than creating them new each time, will help you save time and bring a lot of quality control going forward. Staying close to standard also creates efficiencies during testing. The closer you stay to best practices, the more you can automate by using the test scripts provided by the preconfigured solutions.

The same is true for data management, which is often the long pole in any implementation. Staying close to standard data structures accelerates data cleansing and also ensures business data consistency. These activities are the basis of preconfigured business objects.

Transitioning to operations

Once you get to this point in your project, you want the go-live to be uneventful and predictable. Ideally, you followed a best-practice approach and methodology and you managed quality gates. Your system should be up and running with its data loaded and functions tested in a few cycles. Your organization should be ready, and the excitement should be coming from the value and new capabilities that your technology investment provided to your business.

As you transition to operations, make sure there is adequate knowledge transfer so your organization, with the support of your systems integrator, can maintain the environment in a very efficient way. Then, you can become self-sufficient, but also get the right support as you need it in your ongoing evolution as an intelligent enterprise.

This blog series started with the planning recommendation that you must begin with the end in mind. At the end, you want to be able to close the value cycle. Reflect on the value drivers that you defined during the planning phase, reflect on the lessons learned along the path, and stay buckled up. This is only the beginning of your journey to an intelligent enterprise. Ongoing innovation is on the horizon – and you’re on a course to fully adopt and capitalize on it.

Companies that want to make the transition to an intelligent enterprise with the greatest speed, efficiency, and minimized risk can look to the SAP Advanced Deployment service. Experts from the SAP Digital Business Services organization will lead the planning, design, and build phases of your implementation of or migration to SAP S/4HANA. This state-of-the-art offering includes outcome-focused services, proactive support offerings, intelligent tools and platforms, a global team of experts, and value-added partnerships to bring that vision to reality.


Raimar Hoeliner

About Raimar Hoeliner

Raimar Hoeliner is head of Digital Transformation, Innovation, and SAP Leonardo technologies at the SAP North America Solutioning Center, leading a team of solution architects in supporting customers to conquer their next digital frontier. Raimar is a speaker, author, and leader in topics of digital transformation, cutting-edge technology, and associated SAP engagement models. He has been with SAP for 20 years.

Craig Mortensen

About Craig Mortensen

Craig Mortensen is the head of engagements in SAP Solution Delivery Center, which offers nearshore, factory, and remote consulting services to deliver customer-specific solutions. Craig joined SAP AG in 1991 in Walldorf, Germany. He has enjoyed a career with deep customer interaction, deploying solutions to meet the needs of SAP's most strategic global customers to help them leverage innovative capabilities and extend the reach of their investments. Craig earned degrees in Business Management and German from the University of California.