A Comprehensive List Of The Possible Results Of A Fit Gap Analysis
The ASAP implementation methodology is divided into five distinct phases and an extra pseudo phase. The five distinct phases are Project Preparation, Business Blueprinting, Final Preparation and Go Live and Support. The extra pseudo phase is referred to as Continuous Improvement. Each of these phases is divided into distinct activities. One of the activities under the Business Blueprinting phase of the ASAP implementation methodology is conducting a fit gap analysis. A fit gap analysis aims at molding the local business process to the industry best practices, determining the extent of statutory compliance and identifying the missing practices in the installed or simulated SAP ERP system.
The Different Methods of Conducting a Fit Gap Analysis and Their Benefits and Shortfalls
The simulation based SAP ERP fit gap analysis is the first method of conducting a fit gap analysis under the Blueprinting phase of the ASAP implementation methodology. It entails installing the SAP ERP system in a simulation environment or a sandbox system after which an analysis shall be made to identify any shortfalls of the old system to facilitate documentation of the gaps and fits identified. The main advantage of this method is that it allows for the stakeholders of the organization to gain a bird’s eye view of the functions and capabilities of the SAP ERP system. The disadvantage is that focus is placed on actual implementation with little or no focus being placed on optimizing business processes once the SAP ERP system goes live.
The brainstorming discussion based SAP ERP fit gap analysis is the second method of conducting a fit gap analysis. It is basically entails a series of brainstorming sessions by leading SAP ERP consultants who make technical presentations to both an audience containing both technical and business oriented project team members. Detailed system features and requirements are then duly documented. The main advantage of this is that all the requirements needed in the SAP ERP system will be highlighted and appropriately dealt with. The main limitation of brainstorming however is that discussions may end up digressing especially if not well organized and structured.
The questionnaire based SAP ERP fit gap analysis is the third method of conducting a fit gap analysis that entails SAP consultants administering standard questionnaires to SAP ERP subject matter experts. The answers gathered are compared with the initial system functionalities which in turn facilitate the identification of gaps and fits. The main advantage of this method of conducting a SAP ERP fit gap analysis is that it is extremely fast to obtain results owing to the use of standard questionnaires and the high level of technical competence of the part of the SAP ERP subject matter experts. Its main limitation however is that there is a huge risk of not obtaining comprehensive results especially if the questionnaires are of poor quality and of limited depth.
The fourth method of conducting a fit gap analysis is the hybrid type SAP ERP fit gap analysis that combines the first three methods of SAP ERP fit gap analysis. It is the cream of all other methods of conducting SAP ERP fit gap analysis as it combines features across all of them. However, using the hybrid type SAP ERP fit gap analysis often proves to be very time consuming and expensive.
The Actual Results of the Different Methods of Conducting a SAP ERP Fit Gap Analysis
Having looked at the different methods of conducting a fit gap analysis including their benefits and limitations, it is time to take a peek at the actual results of these methods. Although there are fits that can also be identified in a typical fit gap analysis, in this case we shall only focus at the gaps that can be identified. This is because implementing SAP ERP represents significant change in the way performance management in an organization is viewed. The following are some of the gaps that are identified after conducting a SAP ERP fit gap analysis:-
Weak Computer System Infrastructure
The SAP ERP fit gap analysis can identify a gap in form of a weak computer system infrastructure. A weak computer system infrastructure is related to both hardware and software. Computer system infrastructure is considered weak if it cannot handle a new software solution such as SAP ERP. A weak computer system infrastructure can be rectified by infrastructure optimization.
Inadequate Security Controls
Inadequate security controls can be identified as gaps by a SAP ERP fit gap analysis. Inadequate security controls can expose the SAP ERP of an organization to intrusion to unauthorized users. This can be rectified by proper network management.
Undefined Policy for Software Upgrades
The SAP ERP fit gap analysis can identify an undefined policy for software upgrades as a significant gap in the traditional system of the organization. This would mean that software upgrades including change to operating systems and anti-virus computer programs are not periodically done according to a defined policy. This can be rectified by introducing such a policy.
Lack of Documentation of IT Procedures
Documentation is one of the pillars of the ASAP implementation methodology. It therefore is not surprising that the SAP ERP fit gap analysis detects lack of documentation of IT procedures as a major defect in the organization. Documentation is important for future reference, to assist auditors and for tracking sources of errors. The IT policies and procedures should be duly formalized and documentation made paramount for all IT policies and procedures executed.
An Underexploited and a Non Interactive Software Platform
The term real-time is synonymous to SAP ERP. Therefore, there is bound to be a gap between the non responsive and non interactive traditional systems and the integrated and real time SAP ERP. This gap is filled once SAP ERP is successfully implemented in an organization.
Lack of Customer Focus
Businesses ought to realize that they are in existence only because of clients’ existence. It would not be possible for businesses to function without customers. Lack of customer focus is therefore one of the gaps identified by the SAP ERP fit gap analysis that can be filled by introducing the SAP ERP system which allows for due customer focus.