In 2020, SAP announced a shift of focus to its new SAP S/4HANA platform, providing minimal mainstream support for SAP ECC until 2027. How has this position impacted your portfolio of clients, and how far along are they on their journeys to SAP S/4HANA?
The announcement by SAP has led to varied reactions from my clients. Larger clients, especially those with significant customization and a vast user base, see this transition as complex and risk-laden. The very nature of customization means it's tailored to unique needs, often making projects intricate. An expansive user base necessitates the design and implementation of solutions with their perspective in mind. Many of these clients are cautious about the transition due to the long-term maintenance implications of their custom solutions. Meanwhile, mid-sized clients are more proactive, keeping an eye on the higher maintenance charges post-2027. Some even view S/4HANA as a pathway to enhance their digital landscape and formulate new cloud strategies, with the aim of sustainable growth.
Some clients view S/4HANA as a pathway to enhance their digital landscape and formulate new cloud strategies, with the aim of sustainable growth.
There's an inclination towards phased rollouts among these corporations. This approach is all about handling change in palatable increments, ensuring minimal disruptions.
Can you elaborate on the main concerns for larger companies when it comes to migration?
Migration, predominantly for sizable corporations, is laced with multiple concerns. The chief among them is the timeline of migration and the unavoidable downtime. Every company's primary quest is to fathom the tangible advantages they can derive from platforms like SAP S/4. When talking about downtime, while some can compromise with a limited duration, others, especially those in sectors like retail, seek the shortest downtimes. Hence, I prefer emphasizing more flexible migration timelines over precise durations. Moreover, there's an inclination towards phased rollouts among these corporations. This approach is all about handling change in palatable increments, ensuring minimal disruptions.
How do you approach risk management in your projects, and what steps do you take to mitigate potential risks?
Risk management is an inextricable component of our projects. We undertake comprehensive risk assessments, focusing on dimensions like technology, data, resources, and scope change. Once potential risks are spotlighted, they're ranked based on their prospective impact and the likelihood of them materializing. Mitigation strategies are then crafted to curtail their potential damage. The whole process is bolstered by consistent monitoring and timely reporting. This ensures that stakeholders are always in the loop and any emergent risks are swiftly addressed.
How do you approach change management, and what best practices do you follow to ensure smooth transitions for your clients?
Change management, to me, is a two-dimensional process. The first is within the project team including clients team. Here, our focus is on upskilling, continuous learning, and valuing individual contributions, especially those pivotal to a project's success. The second is organizational change management, which is broader, encapsulating how sweeping changes affect roles and everyday operations. This often demands ceaseless communication to set the right anticipations and manage any resistance. The ultimate goal is ensuring that both project teams and the larger organization are prepped and onboard with the changes, ensuring a frictionless transition for clients.
The ultimate goal is ensuring that both project teams and the larger organization are prepped and onboard with the changes, ensuring a frictionless transition for clients.
As the landscape evolves with emphasis on digital transformation, how do you see its future, particularly in promoting innovation within teams?
Digital transformation is more than just a buzzword—it's the roadmap to the future. The essence lies not only in imbibing new technologies but also in redefining how businesses function and offer value. When it comes to innovation, the onus is on urging project teams to pioneer, challenge the conventional, and think unconventionally. This mindset is the catalyst for actual transformation. By fostering such an environment, we can ensure not only alignment with diverse client needs but also position ourselves at the vanguard of the digital revolution wave.
When it comes to innovation, the onus is on urging project teams to pioneer, challenge the conventional, and think unconventionally. This mindset is the catalyst for actual transformation.
Mukund Shinde is an experienced digital transformation leader with deep experience with SAP and its products since 1998. His role involves managing delivery for various clients and overseeing business development efforts. As a senior leader, he is responsible for finding innovative solution for critical business practices while ensuring excellent service delivery having worked with clients in a range of industries, including manufacturing, utility, retail, CPG, oil and gas, pharma and life sciences.