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To maintain a competitive edge over industry counterparts, an organisation must adjust to the latest technological innovations. In the age of digital transformation, every organisation has an element of automation that helps employees cut down both time and effort, while improving efficiency. One of the latest technological innovations that helps an organisation achieve automation and convenience is Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. An example of a relevant ERP is Systems, Applications, and Products in Data Processing (SAP), a framework used by top business organisations around the world. To implement SAP properly in an organisation, an SAP Project Manager is integral and necessary.
According to SAP’s 2020 Annual Report, the company had over 440,000 customers in more than 180 countries. To ensure proper implementation of the framework, every organisation needs an SAP Project Manager. This blog will elaborate on what an SAP Project Manager is, the skills required in the role, their responsibility and the challenges they face.
Table of Contents
1) Who is an SAP Project Manager?
2) What are the skills required to be an SAP Project Manager?
3) What does an SAP Project Manager do?
a) Support the technical team during projects
b) Support the clients in their strategy
c) Support the Commercial team in its actions
4) What are the challenges faced by an SAP Project Manager?
Who is an SAP Project Manager?
An SAP Project Manager is an individual tasked with leading and coordinating all aspects of SAP implementation or upgrade projects. The responsibilities of the Project Manager include working with the customer to scope the project, as well as assembling and managing the project team. The Project Manager is also expected to develop the project schedule and budget and ensure that the project is completed within the set budget and time limit.
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What are the skills required to be an SAP Project Manager?
An SAP Project Manager is tasked with leading and coordinating a team of consultants to implement an SAP Database system. To do their job well, a Project Manager must possess a comprehensive understanding of the automated business process of the SAP system, as well as the technical aspects of the implementation. It is imperative for the Project Manager to establish and maintain effective communication channels with all stakeholders involved in the project, including the executive sponsor, business users, IT staff, and vendors.
Throughout the project, the SAP Project Manager manages customer expectations and deliverables, particularly in SAP Modules. They must possess strong leadership skills and drive and motivate their team to meet deadlines consistently. They should also have the ability to work with other teams in the organization to ensure the successful implementation of SAP.
What does an SAP Project Manager do?
The SAP Project Manager is tasked with several responsibilities, some of which we will discuss in detail as follows:
Supporting the technical team during projects
In many situations, such as unavailable tools, undefined processes, or lack of resources, the technical team might be negatively impacted. This is where a Project Manager steps in, aiming to eradicate impediments with the team, customer, and suppliers. With information available from the technical team and even minimal technical knowledge, the Project Manager can resolve these problems and increase efficiency.
This helps increase the overall perception and satisfaction of the technical team because the Project Manager helps in the search for the solution rather than just delegate roles and tasks to the team without understanding the context.
Supporting the clients in their strategy
The Project Manager can get to know the client’s reality and support them with more efficiency in defining the landscape and solution strategy while executing a project for the client. The SAP Project Manager seeks the best solution to meet the specifications and keeps themselves updated on new features that SAP constantly puts out. This improves the client’s perception of the partnership, level of satisfaction, and the client appreciates the partner’s effort and concern for their strategy.
Supporting the commercial team in their actions
With even the most minimal technical knowledge, an SAP Project Manager can work in pre-sales, especially for clients with whom they have already had a working relationship, and can be more efficient with their proposals.
Some suggested ways for the Project Manager to obtain technical knowledge are to take an active part in discussions during projects and participate in technical and solution webinars. Additionally, practical experience of managing projects naturally results in improved technical knowledge.
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What are the challenges faced by an SAP Project Manager?
The SAP project Manager faces several challenges on any given day. Here are some common challenges that an SAP Project Manager might have to face in the workplace:
1) Changing requirements: As the upgrade project progresses, it may need new requirements to be added or the existing ones may need to change. This makes it difficult for the Project Manager to keep the project on track, and deliver the project on time and within the predicted budget.
2) Creeping of scope: This challenge refers to when the scope of the upgrade project begins to increase without any corresponding increase in the budget or in the resources. Scope creep can turn into a major problem if not handled right, as it can lead to the project becoming an unprofitable one or even a complete failure.
3) Resource constraints: Resources constraints refers to the possible situation when there are not enough resources available to complete a project on time. This can cause major delays in the estimated project timeline and cost overruns.
4) Stakeholder management: One of the biggest daily challenges for an SAP project Manager is to effectively manage all of the project’s stakeholders. Having a clear channel of communication with the stakeholders and keeping them appeased is very integral to the project, as it assures the stakeholder that their project is in safe hands.
All in all, an SAP Project Manager helps lead and coordinate all aspects of an SAP implementation or upgrade project. To become a Project Manager, it is necessary to possess a clear understanding of the automated working process of the SAP system, as well as technical knowledge. The Project Manager is tasked with several responsibilities, including supporting the technical and commercial teams and supporting the clients in their strategy. They also face several challenges, such as stakeholder management, resource constraints, scope creep, and changing requirements.
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