A Day in the Life of a Global SAP Program Manager

3 Mins read

Organizations today have realized that digital transformation is critical for business transformation. Digital technologies are helping organizations become more resilient, competitive, and responsive while remaining profitable in the face of constant disruption.

SAP solutions have been helping many organizations across industries transform their business landscape right from raw materials, supply chain tiers, and evolving customer demands to drive better and more personalized service and fulfillment opportunities.

Organizations have been able to transform processes, drive business model innovation and reinvent the organizational culture to drive greater collaboration and productivity using SAP technologies.

SAP program managers play a crucial role in ensuring that the technologies at work deliver the rewards they promise. SAP projects and implementations are complex given the multiple touchpoints they interact with. SAP programs are large, transformational programs and need constant and focused efforts. Here are some of the things that an SAP program manager has to do that are “all in a day’s work”.

Transform organizational mindset

One of the foremost responsibilities a global SAP program manager undertakes is to transform the organizational mindset from a small vision ecosystem that operates in silos into an SAP-structured environment. They manage the program approach, tools, and processes used to support business transition events.

The program manager keeps communications transparent and clear and helps all the stakeholders realize the importance and benefits of becoming an interconnected enterprise. With deep knowledge of SAP technologies, global SAP program managers enable seamless change management by helping users understand the impact of the change and the benefits it delivers.

This is an important aspect to cover since SAP implementations impact most existing business processes and necessitate a change in business operations, processes, and workflows.

Overall management of projects throughout their lifecycle

SAP implementation delivers ease of business, enables productivity, drives collaboration, and facilitates better and more informed decision making. These programs are delivered as projects and each project has its own, individual and specific requirements. An SAP program manager is responsible for the overall management of the portfolio of projects across the enterprise throughout their lifecycle including delivering defined project outputs to time, budget, and project quality criteria.

The program manager plays a crucial role in assisting the Opportunity Management Phase of the customer engagement. They provide proposal inputs specific proposal deliverables – especially in the area of delivery model, project structure, organization, scoping, estimation, and risk assessment.

Project coordination

A Global SAP project manager also has to manage the relationships between project stakeholders, including internal and external clients. One of their key responsibilities is to manage projects that require coordination of work between various parties like third-party sub-contractors, and other SAP verticals such as Cloud Delivery, SAP custom development, SAP support organization, etc.

One of the primary objectives of the SAP program manager is to ensure proper governance of the projects to ensure that all actions contribute positively towards achieving project objectives and that the governance ecosystem is operating effectively.

This becomes even more critical for larger projects that have multiple stakeholders.

Realize the business value and meet P&L targets

Helping organizations realize the business value from their SAP implementations falls within the purview of the program manager. They, as such, have to shoulder the critical responsibility of balancing the trade-off of the triple constraints of time, cost, and scope.

They are also charged with managing the financial aspects of the project including budgeting and estimating to actual variance. The program manager has to capably conduct proper quality forecasting to understand the accurate financial position.

One of the primary responsibilities of the SAP program manager thus becomes ensuring that all KPIs are achieved and all P&L targets are met. Ensuring close and clear communication between project stakeholders and the client-side and closely negotiating consensus amongst diverse groups and exercising influence to align the activities of those not in their own reporting structure to the benefit of the program.

SAP program managers deliver project leadership and champion the business case for change. They have to manage the reporting and resolution of risks, issues, and dependencies. Proactively identifying planning gaps, driving actions that close problems and issues, and implementing mitigations to risks are some of their key activities.

It’s ok to believe that SAP program managers are like superheroes who problem solve and deliver solutions in challenging situations. They capably run multiple change projects in parallel and help organizations navigate change better and more effectively through precise planning, prompt problem-solving, and clear communication.

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About author
Chetan plays the role of making digital technology "simple" for enterprise businesses. Chetan has years of experience in solution selling, transformation, design, development, and implementation of digital systems. He specializes in solving complex problems for businesses. He works as a Delivery Partner at Groupsoft.
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