External SAP Consultants: Pros, Cons, and Best Practices

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  • Nov 23, 2021

External SAP Consultants: Pros, Cons, and Best Practices

The use of external SAP consultants can be efficient and beneficial for organizations under certain circumstances, but it also comes with considerations and potential challenges. Here are some factors to weigh when deciding whether to engage external SAP consultants:

Efficiency and Benefits:

External SAP consultants typically possess specialized knowledge and expertise in SAP systems and implementations. They can offer valuable insights and best practices that might not be easily accessible within your organization. Moreover, they have the capability to accelerate the implementation process by drawing upon their experience to optimize the project and reduce potential delays. External consultants provide an impartial perspective, devoid of internal biases or preconceived ideas about the way tasks should be executed. This enables you to adjust the size of your consulting team as required, granting you the flexibility to allocate resources as needed. Collaborating with external consultants can also facilitate the transfer of knowledge to your internal teams, empowering them to cultivate expertise for forthcoming projects.

Considerations and Challenges:

Hiring external consultants can incur significant costs, including fees, travel costs and additional resources that may be required. They may not fully understand your company’s unique culture, processes, or industry requirements, which can lead to difficulties in aligning SAP implementation with your business goals. There is even a potential risk of over-reliance on external consultants, which can lead to a lack of ownership and accountability within your internal teams. While external consultants can provide valuable support during initial implementation, it is important to consider the long-term sustainability and maintenance of the SAP system.

Achieving seamless integration between external consultants and your internal teams and ensuring effective collaboration can be challenging. It’s critical to prepare your internal teams to assume responsibility after consultants leave.

Best Practices:

To make the use of external SAP consultants efficient, consider the following best practices:

  1. Define clear project objectives and expectations for the consultants from the outset.

  2. Ensure that knowledge transfer is part of the consulting engagement, so your internal teams can take over effectively.

  3. Promote collaboration between internal teams and external consultants to maximize the consultants’ contributions and align with your business goals.

  4. Develop a well-defined budget for consulting services and closely monitor costs to avoid overruns.

  5. Choose consulting partners with a strong track record, relevant experience, and a good cultural fit with your organization.

  6. Appoint an internal project manager to oversee the consulting engagement and maintain accountability.

  7. Develop a long-term plan for SAP system support and maintenance beyond the consulting engagement.

In conclusion, the use of external SAP consultants can be efficient and effective when properly managed and integrated into your organization’s SAP project. It’s important to carefully consider the specific needs and resources of your organization when deciding whether to engage external consultants and to ensure that their involvement aligns with your long-term business goals.