InfoSENTRY Quality Assurance Review of a Transportation SAP® Implementation Project
Under contract with a State CIO’s quality assurance group, InfoSENTRY prepared a detailed quality assurance (QA) audit of a state department of transportation’s (DOT) project to implement components of SAP® throughout the agency. The project involved implementation of many of SAP®’s core modules and development of key, new modules relating specifically to Federal funds management. DOT anticipated a hands-on user community of well over 2,000 people. The quality assurance review procedures, which the state’s information resource management division mandated, followed closely published industry standards for such quality audits.
InfoSENTRY attended numerous project team meetings, reviewed the entire body of project management documentation, and interviewed scores of project sponsors, managers, staff members, and vendor representatives. The review found that the project had developed very good procedures for preparing documentation and managing its meetings. The project’s technical processes had properly configured core SAP® modules. The project had accurately and completely implemented the security features of the product. The review also found that the project had successfully built initial manager support for modifying business processes and built support for a conversion from the existing mainframe systems that the DOT had developed over 25 years. However, the project had critically failed to establish and maintain an organizational change management component. The project had not maintained a clear communication operation. It had drastically underestimated the cost and time required to train the user community for its conversion from mainframe applications to the much more sophisticated SAP® environment. At the same time, the project had allowed scope creep by turning its attention to implementation of a data warehouse.
Largely as a result of InfoSENTRY’s QA audit findings regarding lack of organizational change planning and the scope creep problem, the state’s information technology (IT) oversight group mandated a significant delay in the rollout of SAP®. The CIO’s office and the oversight group required DOT to develop and implement a detailed communication and training strategy before beginning a full rollout in all of DOT offices throughout the state. The CIO’s office, with ultimate concurrence from DOT, determined that the risk of proceeding to roll out a $75+ million implementation without having an organizational change, communication, and training strategy in operation was simply too great.
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