After doing about 10 SAP Invoice Management by Open Text (SIM) implementations I think it is time to share a few lessons my colleagues and I learned from these projects. It is not a how to guide nor do we pretend to have the one and only way to do things, but these are merely some points we noticed and ways we think we could make sure an implementation can be a success.
For those of you not familiar with SIM check my previous blog with a small introduction:
- A standard installation of SAP Invoice Management is delivered with a baseline. This is standard customizing which covers the whole process. The problem is this is very extensive customizing with a whole lot of processes, roles, checks and options. These are too much for most implementations but they are a good starting point for your own implementation. What we do is copy an appropriate standard document type (or types) and use these as a starting point.
- The processes are also delivered in Visio’s and these should be changed to fit the desired customer process, but with the possibilities and restrictions of SIM in mind. These Visio process flows together with the blueprint make the implementation much easier. This can diminish the customizing time considerably.
- The trick is to try to minimize the roles involved in the processes and the options they have available. The more roles usually means more groups in the organization involved which leads to more opinions. This is not wrong off course but will hinder a speedy implementation. For the number of options, when there are more options available then fit on the screen the user needs to scroll which you want to avoid. Usually the more choice you have the harder it becomes to make a choice, so try to minimize the number of options available.
- Try to skip unnecessary steps in the process. When using ICC (Invoice Capture Center) as OCR engine, have a good look at the validation step. Should it be done in the validation client available or could we do it in SAP? It is usually a question of where the issue is easier to solve and who is doing the work which will determine if we have the separate validation in the validation client or not.
- We found that, although SIM offers a good solution for determining the approvers for an invoice, it usually doesn’t fit the organizational needs. The largest discrepancy we see, is determining the approval process before the invoice is entered in the system. Most companies would like to have the approval determination based on the first coding line (preferably even all coding lines). This leads to a challenge which could be complicated even more depending on when the coding is done. But if accounts payable codes the invoice then there is a good option available which can determine the first approver based on the first coding line and still using the standard SIM Chart of Authority and approval class.
- There are a lot of user-exits and options to change the standard, but use them wisely. Don’t try to change everything right away. The more custom code there is the more difficult you could make it for application management. Like with every implementation, remember that when you are done somebody still needs to maintain it.
Off course these are not all things we noticed but I think if I make this too long people will not make it to the end. But I am interested in any experience you might have. Do you recognize the points we have or do you have a completely different experience? Let me know.