Deploying SAP and Coupa at the Same Time: A P2P Case Approach (Lessons From the Trenches)

Recently, we have been profiling (here and here) the highlights of a Coupa P2P implementation that went in parallel with an SAP deployment at a high-growth company. From a launch (and post-launch) tactics and change management perspective, the organization had many tips to share based on its own experience.

For one, the company kept a war room for the first 2 weeks after go-live, but quickly closed it – there were no P2P issues needing involvement based on the careful planning upfront.

Second, the sourcing director implemented a “3-day rule” for any ticket – if his team believed they could sort out a problem within 3 days, they would own it and fix it themselves. If the problem were estimated to take longer than 3 days to resolve, it would get escalated (an escalation that was rarely called upon).

From a training perspective, the company conducted one live formal training session run by the internal team – involving 400 internal users. To sustain the momentum, his team created several short (1-3 minute) YouTube videos that cover most regular tasks. There was no Coupa-specific P2P issues post launch, but a number with SAP because of the parallel rollout.

Additional launch and usage considerations include:

  • The firm is not using Coupa in China yet, as there is no Chinese UI available
  • The company is not using Coupa’s supplier portal either, but plans to turn this on in 2015 to 
get the PO flip functionality going
  • The organization plans to implement incremental modules, which are insufficiently 
addressed by SAP’s own modules

The opportunity to learn from past implementations is one that far too few organizations involved in P2P selection processes and rollouts take advantage of. Reference calls (when they happen) tend to focus on the experience with a given vendor. Perhaps more important than even technology selection are the in-the-trenches lessons from what comes after go-live.

This post is based on an implementation case analysis in the Spend Matters white paper: Cloud P2P Deployment: A How-To Guide to SAP and ERP Integration with eProcurement and Beyond (free download). It is authored by Xavier Olivera, director of P2P research, Jason Busch, founder and managing director, and Thomas Kase, vice president of research.

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