If your organization is looking to implement new software, it is important to know exactly how you will be utilizing that software and how it can improve your processes. A capability assessment can be the catalyst to a successful project and realizing long term ROI.
Capability assessments can be conducted with an outside party, someone like a system integrator that understands your business and supporting solutions, that has conducted many projects before and knows the outcomes. They will come in and conduct workshops, engaging leaders from both the business and technology organizations, to get a good understanding of your organization’s environment—the challenges and key issues you are facing. The workshops will also work to find those processes that are working well and don’t need to change, and others that are due for something new.
You’ll also identify your current state from a business and technical perspective and build a roadmap to support the future state that you are striving for. This will enable you to focus in on the steps that need to be taken to achieve your goals.
Who is Involved in Capability Assessments?
I have personally worked with customers on capability assessments in the past. The people in the workshops vary depending on each individual organization. In a recent set of workshops we conducted with a large grocer, we had key IT leadership and key business resources in the room. We had VPs and the people on the front lines. There was a wide variety depending on the sessions.
That mix is important. You want to have people participating in the capability assessments that have a good handle of what your current processes are. At the same time, you want to have the senior leaders in the room who will be able to provide insight and vision for the future.
In this specific case, we came in and played the role of facilitator, and brought in key Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) from SAP Retail to help answer customer solution questions. In my role, along with my /N SPRO colleagues, we were able to focus on functional knowledge, look at the nuances, then brought in SMEs where we needed the extra support.
In this particular case, we cast a wide net for this capability assessment. We looked at everything from finance and supply chain, to marketing, store operation, and point-of-sale (PoS). We also examined master data and ecommerce processes and technology for the grocer.
This was an expansive capability assessment, but not all of them have to be that way. Your organization can narrow it down to a few key processes to examine. It’s up to you to determine what you need to meet your specific goals and objectives. What we do is link to your strategic initiatives and in tandem build out a solution roadmap to support those.
The Primary Objectives of a Capability Assessment
Whoever is involved, both internally and externally, there are three key objectives we expect to achieve with a capability assessment:
- Gain a good understanding of your organization’s goals and objectives, and tie that in to a strategy that will drive success. This includes the resources involved, such as external help from system integrators and solution providers.
- Establishing priorities and deciding what will provide the most “bang for your buck”, always looked at through the lens of the overall strategic vision.
- Lay out a roadmap of what needs to be done to get from your current state to the end state that matches your goals from a solution perspective. This looks at everything from infrastructure and hardware, to implementation timelines, to licensing with help from SAP itself, including the resources required.
There is a fourth element that many organizations choose to include which is a more formal business case to support their strategic initiatives. Overall, a capability assessment can help your organization gain a better understanding of the all that goes into an SAP implementation and ensure greater success when that project kicks off.