Over the last 5 years, I have had the fortune to learn from hundreds of SAP implementations in Brazil, Mexico and Argentina. Below are the top 3 lessons learned from the engagements I have seen and that you should take into consideration for your SAP global rollouts/projects in Latin America.
- SAP configuration is always underestimated — Many of these countries, especially Brazil, have some of the most complex tax requirements in the world, if not the most complex. In about 50% of the engagements, we see that either the budget or the timeline is underestimated.
Solution: Look for pre-configured SAP Rapid Deployment Templates. These not only simplify your configurations, but can buffer your SAP system against ongoing changes caused by your upgrade cycles or the government changes.
- Local country selection process when running a centralized or regional instance of SAP — many times these decisions are made at the local level for solutions, but unlike European eInvoicing, Latin America WILL AFFECT your SAP configuration and throw a wrench into your management and COE procedures.
Solution: look for solutions that can consolidate your interfaces and handle multiple countries with a single platform. It is painful enough to keep up with multiple governments let alone keeping up with 4 local vendors that are not concerned with your ERP upgrade or processes.
- Not evaluating support capability — the number of times I hear; I wish we could speak with someone in english, portuguese and spanish depending on who is calling equates to about 95% of the conversations I have. Often, with ERP systems located in US, Canadian or European data centers — there needs to be support in local languages for the local teams, and in english for the global teams. These support teams can act as a buffer, so that global teams don’t have to get involved with issues that can be solved locally.
Solution: Ensure your providers have support in english, portuguese, and spanish. Also, ensure that the support include Phone – as you don’t want your warehouse waiting on a computer generated ticket when your truck is not able to leave.
Many companies are faced with tight deadlines or IT projects that come up because of new market acquisitions or a change in the business strategy. Latin America is a massive growth market and continues to be a focus for SAP roll outs — don’t get behind and find yourself delaying your projects.