by Caroline Macleod
Communications & Collaboration on SAP Projects in a Virtual World
As a SAP Gold Partner, we at Rocket have always worked closely with our clients. Specialising in SAP supply chain management system integration our supply chain consulting, implementation and support services mean that we do everything from developing the strategic roadmap to implementation. And as such we have had to form tight working relationships with our customers early on, building rapport that helps lead to trust and project success. The SAP supply chain management solutions (EWM, TM, S4HANA) and wider SAP landscape rely on achieving our client's project objectives in alignment with their wider business goals – and this is where relationships and industry expertise are key.
In our latest blog, we speak with Donna Unitt, Head of Delivery at Rocket Consulting, and discuss the challenges that virtual working has presented our business and our clients with - and how we are able to support them to react quickly to changing landscapes and ensure project management consistency.
We at Rocket have been working virtually and remotely since we started in 2004. We always aim to work as much face to face with our own teams and customers as much as possible as the project demands, but having an established virtual model has really benefited us – and our clients - over the past 18 months.
Project consistency in a Virtual World
"Things have changed dramatically over the past year. When the pandemic started, there was a lot of fear that project progression might stall. Our model meant that SAP projects did continue without disruption, and we continued to provide streamlined and effective experiences for our clients".
In March 2020 We were midway through a project with a large supply chain intensive electronics distribution customer, at the systems integration testing phase for SAP Extended Warehouse Management and SAP Transportation Management. The team was on-site prior to COVID-19, the project was progressing well, and strong relationships had been formed. However, the need for a more structured approach to virtual working became clear. Having meetings and checkpoints to ensure visibility of project progression was crucial, as well as giving people time and space to do their work.
Zoom started to find its way in both family and professional life and being on camera certainly become a much bigger part of business as usual. Small things like standardised business backgrounds and meeting etiquette were discussed and rolled out within the organisation helping our team feel more comfortable with increased screen time. We wanted to normalise the new way of working, and no one minded if a child or pet was in the background.
Replacing Virtual With Face to Face?
Virtual working can’t fully replace the need for in-person connection but it can still be effective for forming collaborative relationships. We ensure that we get the best talent to ensure project success, and this means reducing potential cultural or geographical barriers to achieving this. Wherever they are, our developers understand the client's industry, geography, and required project outcomes, allowing for the best collaboration.
Customer Success in a Virtual World
The way that we manage our project teams has not changed due to the reduction in travel to customer sites. We have invested heavily in remote working tools and teams continue to be productive. We have also been running successful design workshops with our clients remotely. We did an SAP supply chain management (TM & EWM) proof of concept (POC) with a new customer which is system-driven, linking up to our ERP system and making the most of the EWM and TM demo systems to flesh out the design requirements. By having full platform visibility the customer is able to use our demo system and an emulator tool with samples of their own data to get a visual representation of how the business process can work, gaps, and how we can help which is critical for their business case.
There certainly has been huge industry disruption but we are starting to move out of this phase now and we are much better placed to talk about virtual working and hybrid models. Automatically planning for 100% on-site project teams may be a thing of the past but we know can work confidently with a hybrid model that maintains engagement for our teams whilst ensuring our clients are serviced well according to their individual needs.
In any project team, it's important that the team works as a team whether they are remote or together physically, and some of the things we have started doing we will definitely continue with even when we go back to some kind of normality. The Rocket team has become closer, our projects have succeeded, and everyone is winning and the effort we have invested in wellbeing for our Rocketeers has been very beneficial.
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