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Key aspects of an effective business rollout process

FEBRUARY 28, 2024

Julio de Miguel Calleja | Linkedin

What is “rollout” in the world of business, and why is it so important?

If you’ve ever been in business, you’ve probably heard the term “rollout. But what does it really mean, and why is it so important to growing organizations? Simply put, a rollout is the process of deploying systems, applications, or business solutions to new locations, branches, or business units within an organization. It is like taking an organization’s operational and technology infrastructure to new frontiers, either geographically or in terms of functional expansion.

Organizations are like living things. They are constantly changing and adapting to market conditions. In this process of adaptation, circumstances arise that force us to expand our S/4HANA. One of them, which is particularly relevant because of its impact on our ERP, is the process of acquiring companies, buying or building new production facilities, and the process of creating new companies. This is due both to the fact of having new activities and to the extension of the activities already carried out to other countries (internationalization).

IDOM’s experience

This process usually puts a strain on the company’s IT services, since adapting the systems to the new reality means ensuring that the new plant or subsidiary can be managed by the company’s systems, while at the same time adapting to the deadlines set by the management for the integration of the new element.

In IDOM’s experience, it is often preferable to adopt rational strategies that may involve temporary adaptation of the old systems in order to meet the deadline, and to plan the implementation process according to the reality of the project. Proposing an appropriate strategy for the definition of the rollout process, adapted to the reality of our system, to the available resources and to the deadlines defined for the process, forces us to define a realistic and adequate project plan for the rollout process.

The problems we usually encounter at IDOM during the rollout process are related to the following issues:

  • Resistance to change. The new organization is often reluctant to adopt the new tools.
  • Lack of resources in the organization to address the process.
  • Inadequate use of the new systems, often maintaining parallel systems on top of Excel and using the new system simply as a record keeping element for “reporting back to headquarters”.

In short, identifying and defining the activities necessary to transfer our corporate system to the new plant, company, or structure to be merged is key to avoiding any type of problem. Looking at this at the system level, we should consider the following questions:

  • The scope of the implementation on S/4HANA. Which modules can serve us as they are and which aspects are different in the new structure that we need to consider and extend.
  • Scope of implementation on satellite systems. In addition to SAP, there are other systems that interact with S/4HANA that we also need to migrate. These can be MES systems, plant planning systems, CRM, and all the systems that are part of our application map and that may be relevant.
  • Adapting to the legal requirements of the new structure. We have to consider aspects such as globalization.
  • Identify gaps not covered by the corporate systems and develop a mitigation plan.
  • Define and execute change management, an important aspect to avoid rejection of the new system or lack of use due to lack of knowledge of the implemented processes.

In our experience at IDOM, planning and executing all of these activities requires, in addition to resources dedicated to the process, a methodology for executing the rollout process. This methodology should not only be based on the technical issue but should also include complete and adequate change management and communication processes. This will ensure not only a correct technical execution of the implementation project, but also the culmination of the rollout process, with the new processes implemented and adopted by the new users. The involvement of the organization’s management, both local and corporate, in sponsoring and promoting the entire project, providing resources and encouragement at key moments of definition and implementation, is also key in this process.