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How to go-live when the world becomes remote overnight?

Few weeks ago, I have blogged about our effort to bring you relevant guidance in SAP Activate methodology that helps you stay on target in your SAP implementation in this new world of remote work. You can find that post here.

Today I’m pleased to share with you another playbook for project teams that are preparing for cutover and go-live activities while keeping entire or significant part of the cutover project team remote.

Figure 1 – SAP Activate lifecycle and key activities

We have created this asset based on recent experiences our consultants and project managers have from taking our customers live with their solution while having limited number of people on-site during the cutover activities (or no people on-site at all). The remote cutover playbook is an asset that reflects collective experience from broad number of SAP projects across all regions where SAP operates that went live over the past 4-8 weeks. Right in the middle of peek remote work for most countries.

What are the lessons from these projects and how can you learn from them to get ready for your cutover? That’s exactly what the Remote Cutover Playbook aims to give you in comprehensive format covering all aspects of cutover. It is split into several sections that take you through the remote cutover steps and post-cutover adoption and hyper-care activities.

Let’s now take a look at what you can find in each of the sections:

Overview – introduces the cutover process and discusses the specifics of the remote cutover preparation, planning execution and post-cutover activities. You will also learn about the key steps, recommended composition of your cutover team and tools to support your cutover activities. Figure 2 below shows the overview image (one of the slides) of the key steps of the remote cutover project.

Figure 2 – Overview of the remote cutover flow

Cutover Planning – this section goes deeper into the steps and activities your team should be doing to prepare for successful remote cutover. We provide specific checklists and list of considerations to assess your readiness and ability to conduct remote cutover. The guidance focuses on your organizational readiness, technology readiness, data readiness, etc. These are key components of your remote cutover success.

Dress Rehearsal – in this section we cover specific guidance for conducting remote cutover dress rehearsal to confirm that the cutover plan is realistic and that the cutover project team is ready to bring the business into the new system without issues. All go-live critical issues identified during this stage need to be resolved before commencing with production cutover. This stage is also used to confirm the understanding of the cutover flow, hand-off points and timing of specific cutover activities (for example data loads, manual data input, etc.). It is a chance to simulate the final cutover and the cutover team should conduct it exactly as they plan to run remote cutover (including location of resources that are planned to be on-site / off-site).

Remote Production Cutover Execution – this section provides detailed guidance on how to structure your production cutover team coordination in remote or partially remote setup (for example bringing live warehouse or production facilities). The guide also provides examples of the cutover weekend schedule for remote teams and overview of the coordination through virtual war room (see figure 3 below).

Figure 3 – example of the remote cutover coordination through virtual war room

Post Cutover Activities – now that the system is live, the objective of this stage is to ensure the adoption of the business processes by end users as they get used to working in the new system. During this hyper-care period it is critical to rapidly address any potential issues, ensure that users know how to run their daily activities and drive/monitor adoption of the system by reviewing key adoption metrics daily.

This playbook complements the existing guidance and accelerators for cutover we already have in SAP Activate methodology today. You can download download the Remote Cutover Playbook via a direct link here. It will soon be available in the SAP Activate methodology in SAP Roadmap Viewer where we will continue to maintain it going forward.

Please let us know if you are using this asset and what is your experience with it. Also let us know if you have specific area that your project team is struggling with in remote setup. We will consider it in planning future playbooks. You can let me know in comments to this blog post or directly in SAP Activate JAM.

I hope everybody has relaxing and healthy weekend and successful work week.

For more information on SAP Activate and SAP S/4HANA, check out the following links:

  • Review the guide for Successful Off-site Delivery here
  • Access Remote Fit-to-standard Playbook blog here
  • Access SAP Activate methodology here
  • Inside SAP S/4HANA Podcast here
  • Sing-up for SAP Activate Jam space here

Follow us on Twitter via @SAP and #S4HANA, or myself via @janmusil

2 Comments
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  • Great article, thanks, Jan!

    Among others, the very valuable point made on separate dedicated communication channels on each critical workflow, and responsibility for them.

    Lack of communication, simply having “usual” conf. channels busy, not having an easy accessible tracking & communication hub dedicated to each process is a non-obvious issue as not easily noticeable, and at the same time, something you can never underestimate nowadays.

    • Alex Ivanov yes, you are right. The remote execution of the cutover is more than “just” turning the on-site war room to virtual call. There are many moving pieces and criticality of handoffs can’t be underestimated as is the bias to action and as we call it swarming around issues to resolve them.

      In remote setup communication is important to keep all parts of the whole moving in the same direction and keep everybody on the same page. And it off course doesn’t stop once you are technically live, the focus on adoption and support for end users is even more important when you can’t physically observe in the office that they may be struggling to adopt to the new system. The volume of business transactions and objects created/processed in the system give clear indication of the actual use by the end users.