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Author's profile photo Greg Banks

SAP Project Manager’s Guide to SAP Project Cutover

This SAP blog post provides an overview of an SAP Project Cutover starting from the initial SAP Cutover Strategy to the final SAP Production Cutover and Go Live. The content is gathered from SAP Activate methodology and experience obtained from multiple SAP projects.

The post is targeted for SAP Project Managers and Cutover Leads with its content based on the SAP Activate Methodology and a generic SAP Solution implementation project.

A key part of an SAP Project is the Deploy phase, covering implementation of the target SAP solution into a Productive (Go Live) state for use by the target business users; this is referred to as the Project Cutover.

The SAP Project Cutover journey commences with the SAP Cutover Strategy and Planning (SAP Realize phase), progressing to the SAP Cutover Simulation and Production Cutover (SAP Deploy phase), then to the Post-Cutover and Business Adoption of the SAP solution (SAP Run phase).

The following diagram maps the SAP Cutover steps to the SAP Activate methodology phases and provides highlights for each key step.

SAP%20Project%20Cutover%20Aligned%20to%20SAP%20Activate

SAP Project Cutover Aligned to SAP Activate

The following content provides an overview of an SAP Project Cutover by SAP Activate Phase with a brief description of the key cutover steps.

REALIZE PHASE

Cutover Strategy is an essential initial cutover step, where early visibility of the planned Cutover Approach can be required months in advance to support business and IT planning and preparation. The Cutover Strategy provides the roadmap for the Cutover Planning and Execution to follow, hence it is imperative it is reviewed in detail and approved by the key stakeholders.

Cutover Planning covers the cutover tasks to achieve the Production Cutover with the required quality, outcomes, and timelines. Cutover Planning includes all aspects to execute a cutover including logistics, communications, key decision points, continuity and contingency planning and a detail Cutover Project Plan.

Cutover Project Plan is utilized during Production Cutover (and Simulation) as the mechanism to orchestrate the cutover activities; communicating when to start, receiving updates when completed and then initiating the next activity in the sequence. The Cutover Project Plan is defined and reviewed prior to any Cutover Simulation and is refined and updated during or post the Cutover Simulation prior to the Production Cutover.

Cutover Logistics covers the physical and IT related setup, tools and equipment required to support the Production Cutover. This can include items such as physical location for the Cutover Team (sometimes referred to as a “Mission Control”), physical and IT systems access and authorizations, IT infrastructure including PC’s and laptops, defect management software etc.

Cutover Communication Plan covers all aspects of communications through all the steps of the cutover. Cutover Communications include daily status cutover calls, cutover status updates / reports, organization-wide communications, and external party communications.

Continuity Planning is to be included in the Cutover Planning, covering cutover delays, issues and impacts to the organization including business operations, IT operations, integration with external partners etc. Continuity Plans are to be defined in detail and tested prior to the Production Cutover.

Contingency Planning covers the inclusion of contingency allowances for the Production Cutover. This can include slack / additional time, identification of tasks that can extend post Go Live, backup resources, backup IT infrastructure, alternate physical locations etc. These are to be documented in detail and tested prior to the Production Cutover.

DEPLOY PHASE

Cutover Simulation / Dress Rehearsal is to test all aspects of the cutover prior to the Production Cutover; emulating the Production Cutover as close as possible including the Cutover Plan, processes, logistics, resources, IT environments etc. A key objective of the Cutover Simulation is to provide confidence of executing the Production Cutover successfully. The Cutover Simulation is to follow the SAP Solution build and testing cycles; ensuring the SAP Solution is locked down and stable.

Refine Cutover Plan, Processes, Logistics is conducted prior to the Production Cutover based on lessons learned from the Cutover Simulation. Ensure adequate time is allowed for re-running / testing aspects of the cutover including re-running the Cutover Simulation if required (in part or full).

Cutover Readiness refers to the practice of monitoring and assessing progress to the Production Cutover leveraging pre-defined criteria that govern the readiness to commence and execute the Production Cutover. Cutover Readiness can include assessments for SAP Applications, Data Migration, Business Preparation, IT Operations, Cutover Planning and Simulation etc.

Production Cutover refers to the deployment of the SAP Solution into a Productive (Go Live) state for use by the target business users. Production Cutover can vary from hours to multiple days depending on the project scope and complexity. The Production Cutover is managed using the Cutover Plan, processes and logistics tested in the Cutover Simulation and ideally the cutover team / resources used in the Cutover Simulation.

Production Go Live is where the developed SAP Solution is released to the target end users. The Production Go Live is usually governed by a final decision point (“Go / No Go”) where key stakeholders review the progress of the Production Cutover and approve or reject the request to release the SAP Solution. The “Go / No Go” Decision is usually scheduled to provide sufficient time for a restore / recovery back to the legacy systems and processes without impacting business operations

 RUN PHASE

Business Adoption and Performance are key outcomes of a successful project and Production Cutover. The quality of the Cutover Planning, Execution and Post Go Live Support and Activities are critical components contributing to business adoption and performance utilizing the implemented SAP Solution.

Post Go Live Support commences from Production Go Live to a pre-defined date / period / criterion to support users of the SAP Solution during this initial period. It is essential that Post Go Live Support personnel, processes and tools are included in a Cutover Simulation or other testing, prior to the Production Cutover.

Post Go Live Activities are those cutover activities executed or continued post the Production Go Live. These can include additional end user training, continuing data migration loads and planned subsequent releases. These are to be included in Cutover Planning and Cutover Simulation.

Transition to Support is whereby knowledge transfer of the SAP Solution is delivered to the (Business as Usual – BAU) support team (IT and business). This can range from discreet knowledge transfer sessions to engaging the support team during Post Go Live Support or even earlier.

I hope this is of help to SAP Project Managers planning or executing an SAP Project Cutover and feel free to contact me for further information.

I will be publishing further SAP blogs on SAP Cutover, including a Cutover Readiness Assessment Framework based on the experiences across multiple SAP projects.

 For more information on SAP Activate and SAP Project Cutover check out the following links:

  • SAP Activate Community here
  • SAP Community Call “Get to Know SAP Activate” (27Oct’21), register here
  • SAP Activate Roadmap Viewer here
  • Remote SAP Cutover here
  • Cutover Highlights for SAP S/4HANA here.

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      Author's profile photo Jan Musil
      Jan Musil

      Congratulations Greg Banks on your first post. And a great one to add. Looking forward to more blogs in the future.