How to Choose a New SAP S/4HANA Implementation Supplier Mid-Project

February 24, 2022  |  Andrew Dvirnyk

Recently, we sat down with Inga Prangishvili, Deputy Director of the Information Technology (WBS) branch of the JSC Georgian Railway, to talk about a challenging innovative SAP/S4 HANA implementation project. JSC Georgian Railway is a major transportation company, and the largest employer in its country. Companies like this have unique demands for SAP/S4 HANA, and a host of challenges in the best of circumstances.

In our candid, three-part conversation, Inga walks us through some of those challenges. In this installment, Inga shares how the GR engaged IBA Group after the initial project had stalled in the Deploy phase failing to transition from legacy systems to S/4HANA.

She offers helpful insight on when to involve project managers and project architects in the supplier selection process and how to create a matrix to select the right supplier for a project when the stakes are high.

Transitioning From Legacy Systems to SAP S/4 HANA Problems

“In the summer of 2017, we faced difficulties completing the Deploy phase and transitioning to S/4 HANA and had to choose a supplier to help us restart the project. We had full support and executive sponsorship for this,” Inga explains. As a result, the GR needed to choose a new supplier when they were crunched for time, and quick turnaround was imperative.

After committing time, money, and trust to the initial SAP S/4HANA project, it was a “difficult decision” to take a step back and restart. However, as Inga explains, the GR needed to find experts who could deliver on time and meet the project’s objectives.

So, the company was strategic about the selection process. They developed a specific set of requirements and a clear idea of needs. Then they evaluated meticulously.

“When Georgian Railway faced the necessity to find a new SAP deployment supplier mid-project, there were concerns that the first of the year deadlines would not be met, says Inga, “but thanks to IBA Group, we were able to meet our deadline and get superior quality.”

Selection Process

The GR looked at five SAP S/4HANA implementation providers. Inga notes that it is important to involve the project manager and the project architect at the selection phase. These are the individuals who understand the scope of the project. They need to be able to have a good workflow with the supplier and to feel confident that project goals are met in a timely manner.

Throughout the selection process, Inga says, the GR was looking for “a strong, well established company in the market who [also] had strong subject matter expertise.” They narrowed down the search to five SAP S/4HANA suppliers. Because the company had no time for error, they not only held personal meetings with each of the suppliers; they “went onsite to look for a good team that knows how to work together.”

SAP S/4HANA Supplier Selection Matrix

Inga and her team looked at what projects the prospective suppliers had completed previously. They looked at the results of those projects. And they reviewed how the suppliers were perceived by customers. After meeting with suppliers who had successful large-scale projects and good customer feedback, the company created a matrix and weighted the answers.

In addition to evaluating projects, they used the matrix to look at the people who needed to be involved in the project. The matrix was built on the initial project’s experience. They evaluated partners, project managers, architects, analysts, organizational leaders, and their respective areas and levels of expertise.

We analyzed the data collected in the partner selection matrix,” says Inga, “and it showed that IBA came out first in virtually every selection criterion.”

Choosing the Right SAP S/4HANA Supplier

Inga admits that, even after the rigorous selection process, she and her team still could not be sure if they made the right choice. After the issues they encountered in the original project, Inga and her team “couldn’t be sure IBA Group wouldn’t fail either.”

But after taking a leap of faith, it was time to get started. The company engaged IBA Group in November 2017, to start on the project with a go-live date of January 1, 2018.

What Happens When the Unexpected Arises and You’re Running Out of Time?

In the second part of our conversation, Inga and IBA Group’s Global Delivery Director for SAP Services, Igor Bordak, talk about what happened with the implementation project.

They speak frankly about some of the surprises they encountered. They talk about the flexibility required by a supplier who inherits a project mid-way through the process. And they explain whether it is possible to simplify implementation solutions for a company – and a project – of this magnitude.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of our conversation!

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