Will internal consultants and external consultants in SAP implementation projects mutual embarrass or mutual success?
In SAP implementation projects, it is normal for Party A’s internal consultants to work with Party B’s external consultants. During the implementation of the project, it is inevitable that there will be some differences of views or opinions between the internal consultants of Party A and the external consultants of Party B. Both internal consultants and external consultants are SAP peers. The relationship between SAP peers is very delicate. There has been a saying in China since ancient times that “scholars despise each other”, and SAP consultants may also despise each other based on different experiences and perceptions among SAP peers. SAP consultants are high-end crowd, and their starting point is high. Their educational level and professional level are also high. It is normal that they are not easily convinced of each other.
Different SAP project implementation modes lead to different relationships between internal and external consultants. After the implementation of an SAP project, internal and external consultants of SAP may become comrades in arms who appreciate each other, or acquaintance who will never contact after the project is end.
1, SAP implementation project led by external consultants. Although many enterprises have internal consultants, when implementing SAP projects, the internal consultants are not deeply involved. In this case, the project team composed of external consultants leads the whole implementation process. During the implementation of the SAP project, the internal consultants either do not participate at all or are auxiliary. They only participate in the discussion but do not play a decisive role in the business blueprint or solution design. This is the situation I often encounter. The detached attitude of internal consultants can give external consultants full play and performance space, and the harmonious working relationship between internal and external consultants can be maintained. Of course, in such implementation projects, the external consultants have relatively heavy tasks, pressure and responsibilities, and are fully responsible for the success of the project implementation. In this mode, the internal and external consultants do not have a deep intersection of work, there is no conflict basically, and they may become good friends.
2, SAP implementation project led by internal consultants. Some multinational enterprises have their own strong internal consulting teams, which play a leading role in the project of overseas factories to rollout the global templates. The determination of project implementation scope, implementation cycle, business process definition and core solution design are all led and completed by the internal consulting team of the headquarters. The external implementation consultant team is in a supporting position. They can only complete the tasks assigned by the internal consultant according to the determined project plan. Under this mode, the internal consultants are absolutely authoritative and can not be challenged. The external consultants are also relaxed. They don’t make decisions and don’t have to worry too much about the solution design. They just need to complete their work tasks on time. In this mode, the internal and external consultants have a deep intersection of work, but there will be no conflict. They see each other as friends who can help each other and may continue to cooperate in the future.
3, The most difficult relationship between internal and external SAP consultants is the project implementation mode between 1 and 2 above. Although the external consultants lead the implementation of SAP project, the internal consultants are deeply involved in everything. When meeting to discuss the solution or process, they always see that the external consultants are not pleasing to the eye and think that the external consultants are fooling around, so they always put forward different opinions. In fact, it is normal for internal consultants to do so. After all, on behalf of Party A, internal consultants need to find out the risks in the process of project implementation in time, safeguard the interests of the affiliated enterprise, and reflect his personal value, personal ability and personal profession in the process of project implementation. External consultants are also uncomfortable when they encounter internal consultants who are like excrement stirring stick. Quarrels are inevitable. Of course, in most case, external consultants may need to accept the opinions of internal consultants. In the process of SAP project implementation, the solution cannot be finalized as schedule due to the deep involvement or embarrassment of internal consultants, which leads to the increase of external consultants’ work tasks and the overtime of external consultants. Of course, if internal consultants toss or embarrass external consultants, it may also be an improvement and promotion for external consultants. Due to the need to fix the internal consultants, the external consultants need to spend more time and energy to design better technical solution or need to do in-depth research on multiple alternative solutions to figure out the advantages and disadvantages of each solution. Although these processes are somewhat tangled and painful, they will undoubtedly improve the professional skills of external consultants. Anyway I naturally have no good feelings for those SAP internal consultants who like to be excrement stirring stick. Although they are my peers, I will only stay away from them. After the SAP project ended, I will basically never contact them again.
During SAP project implementation, do internal consultants and external consultants mutually success or embarrass? This is a matter of different opinions. Mutual embarrassment maybe can realize mutual success. The process of mutual success may be the process of mutual embarrassment. Internal consultants and external consultants on the same project must understand that they are actually on the same boat, and their work objectives are actually the same: to ensure the successful go-live of SAP implementation project! As long as it is for the same purpose, the so-called disagreement, the so-called conflict and tossing are normal and floating clouds.
Written on June 23, 2022.