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5 Key Phases in Your SAP Implementation Journey

Enterprise Platform

September 29, 2023


Around 75 percent of ERP projects encounter failure despite the industry’s emphasis on enhancing customer service and deploying advanced IT systems. ~ Gartner

In the world of SAP implementation, knowing the key phases isn’t just a matter of curiosity; it’s a strategic imperative for success. Imagine embarking on a complex journey without a map or guide – the outcome can be unpredictable. Similarly, comprehending the essential phases of SAP implementation provides a structured path toward achieving your desired outcomes.

However, as with any significant endeavor, challenges lie ahead. These hurdles often manifest as scope expansion, insufficient user training, communication gaps, and alignment issues with business objectives. Navigating these obstacles demands meticulous planning and proactive mitigation strategies.

In this blog, we will delve into the importance of understanding the critical SAP implementation phases. We will also explore the potential hurdles that can impede progress and discuss effective strategies to overcome them. Through this knowledge, you’ll be better equipped to steer your SAP implementation steps toward a successful destination.

Let’s set sail on this insightful journey of exploration and mastery in the realm of the SAP implementation process.

What is the SAP Activate Methodology?

An SAP methodology – Activate methodology is a structured approach or framework that guides organizations through the process of implementing and managing SAP software solutions. It provides a set of standardized practices, tools, and guidelines to streamline tasks, ensure effective communication, and achieve successful outcomes.

By following the activate methodology, companies can navigate the complexities of system integration, data migration, customization, and training in a systematic and organized manner. This approach enhances project efficiency, minimizes risks, and maximizes the potential for a seamless and productive SAP implementation, ultimately driving business growth and transformation.

5 Key Phases for a Successful SAP Implementation

1. Project Preparation: Laying the Foundation

Consider this phase as the blueprint for your SAP adventure. Here, the groundwork is meticulously laid out, akin to plotting a course on a treasure map. The first step involves defining the project scope—what areas of your business will the SAP system transform? Assembling a team of skilled professionals who bring diverse expertise to the table is equally crucial. Just as a ship needs a capable crew, your SAP project requires a team to navigate the challenges ahead. Lastly, establishing a solid governance structure ensures effective decision-making and swift addressal of obstacles.

A survey conducted by Panaya uncovered that organizations that invest significantly in project preparation tend to enjoy a 25% higher success rate in their SAP implementations. [1]

2. Business Blueprint: Crafting Your SAP Masterpiece

Imagine this phase as the architect’s drafting table. Here, key stakeholders collaborate to gather detailed information, sculpting the vision of your SAP environment. Involving end-users early in the blueprint phase sets the stage for success. As the old saying goes, “Measure twice, cut once.”

According to a study by Aberdeen Group – the insights garnered here can lead to a remarkable 27% reduction in implementation time. [2]

3. Realization: The Art of Customization

This phase involves the shaping of raw materials into a work of art. The SAP software is tailored to your organization’s unique needs, creating a seamless fit. Picture a sculptor refining their masterpiece. Effective resource allocation during this phase ensures a smoother and more efficient implementation.

A report by TechValidate highlights that 80% of organizations that allocate resources effectively during realization experience a seamless transformation. [3]

4. Final Preparation: Polishing Your Gem

As the curtain rises on the go-live date, it’s time to add the final touches. Data migration, system testing, and end-user training take center stage. Just as a performer rehearses tirelessly before opening night, your team’s preparation will determine the show’s success.

Comprehensive end-user training emerges as a key player, reducing time-to-competence by an average of 30%, as discovered by SAPinsider. [4]

5. Go-Live and Support: The Grand Finale

The stage is set, the actors are ready, and it’s time for the grand finale. The SAP system is launched, and ongoing support ensures a smooth transition. Prioritizing post-go-live support isn’t just an encore; it’s an essential part of the show.

Organizations that emphasize support witness a 20% faster adoption rate among end-users, as indicated by an ERP Focus research. [5]

In conclusion, embarking on an SAP implementation journey is like orchestrating a symphony. Each phase plays a distinct role, contributing to the harmonious success of the whole. By meticulously navigating through the project preparation, business blueprinting, realization, final preparation, and go-live and support phases, your organization can achieve a triumphant SAP implementation that transforms your business landscape.

Now, let us explore the best practices for SAP implementation success.

Best Practices for Successful SAP Implementation

  1. 1. Ongoing Support and Continuous Improvement: The journey doesn’t end with a successful go-live. Prioritize post-implementation support to address any challenges and ensure a smooth transition for your users. Continuously monitor the system’s performance, gather feedback, and implement necessary enhancements. This iterative approach allows your organization to adapt to changing needs and stay ahead in a dynamic business landscape.
  2. 2. Strong Change Management: A successful SAP implementation involves not just technological changes but also shifts in organizational culture and processes. Implement a robust change management strategy to help employees embrace the new system, alleviate resistance, and foster a positive attitude toward the transformation. Focusing on change management, will pave the way for a smoother transition and higher user adoption rates.
  3. 3. Regular Communication and Collaboration: Effective communication is the glue that holds your SAP implementation together. Maintain open and transparent communication channels among all stakeholders throughout the process. Foster collaboration between IT and business departments to ensure the SAP solution aligns seamlessly with your business goals and objectives.
  4. 4. Continuous Training and Skill Development: Technology evolves, and so should your team’s skills. Provide ongoing training to your employees to keep them updated with the latest features and functionalities of the SAP system. This enhances user proficiency and maximizes the benefits of SAP implementation derived from your SAP investment.

Incorporating these best practices into your SAP implementation methodology can significantly increase your chances of success. By focusing on ongoing support, change management, communication, and skill development, your organization can unlock the full potential of SAP solutions and drive meaningful business transformation.

How Hexaware Can Help

As an esteemed SAP Gold partner, we offer a complete suite of services for both on-premise and cloud-based SAP applications. Whether you’re revitalizing legacy systems, streamlining processes, or pioneering digital innovation, our SAP transformation programs ensure tangible, results-driven success. Hexaware seamlessly navigates consultation, design, construction, and management, tailoring solutions to meet your industry-specific SAP consulting, implementation, and integration needs.

Experience a New Era of S/4HANA Implementation with Hexaware’s TRIADIC Framework

Unleash the potential of S/4HANA Implementation guided by Hexaware’s proprietary TRIADIC Framework. Designed to suit diverse enterprise sizes, TRIADIC aids in selecting the ideal cloud strategy based on your unique requirements. For smaller organizations, TRIADIC recommends a seamless vanilla Public Cloud implementation of S/4HANA. Meanwhile, larger enterprises benefit from a phased approach, spanning key milestones such as cloud migration, transformation empowerment, evolutionary leap, and pinnacle efficiency.

Accelerate Your Cloud Migration with Hexaware’s Solution Accelerators

Leverage Hexaware’s innovative solution accelerators for an efficient cloud migration journey. Our tools ensure a seamless transition from virtual data management to data migration, Data quality enhancement, and rapid application development. We also expertly manage archived data migration, providing a holistic transformation experience.

Choose Hexaware – Your SAP Transformation Partner

Embark on a journey of innovation and excellence with Hexaware. Partner with us today to redefine possibilities and achieve unparalleled success through SAP transformation. Contact us now to learn more.


  1. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/gartner-75-all-erp-projects-fail-why-blog-e-school-cloud/
  2. Panaya, “Survey: What’s the Secret to a Successful SAP S/4HANA Migration?”, 2019.
  3. Aberdeen Group, “SAP Configuration: Tailor Your SAP System for Business Success”, 2015.
  4. TechValidate, “Customer Interview: Crafting a Smooth SAP S/4HANA Migration Strategy”, 2020.
  5. SAPinsider, “2018 SAPinsider Reporting: Implementing SAP S/4HANA”, 2018.
  6. ERP Focus, “Post-Implementation ERP Success”, 2021.

About the Author

Balaji Thyagarajan

Balaji Thyagarajan

With over 25 years of extensive experience in SAP, Balaji Thyagarajan has held diverse roles ranging from delivery head and pre-sales to competency head, practice management, consulting, solution development, enterprise architecture, and program and portfolio management. As a seasoned digital transformation leader, Balaji specializes in architecting significant bid solutions, establishing customer Centers of Excellence (CoE), devising effective governance models, and cultivating the growth of emerging SAP technologies within the practice. His expertise spans the entire spectrum of SAP, reflecting a comprehensive understanding of the intricacies involved in driving successful transformations and fostering technological advancements.

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