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ULG’s Language Solutions Blog

Familiar SAP Pitfalls: What Not To Do During Global Rollouts


A global Enterprise Resource Planning rollout that’s planned properly and leverages SAP and language masters can do wonders for a business looking to integrate data systems in foreign countries; but failure to prepare and a lack of resources will derail an implementation.

Successful rollouts provide organizations and their clients robust and consistent solutions that streamline processes and ease common pain points associated with international business.

However, the size and scope of these projects creates a large margin for error. And some companies have figured that out the hard way.

Below are some common mistakes made during international SAP rollouts.

Overlooking Cultural and Language Barriers

When looking to complete a rollout in a foreign country, it’s important to study the region’s language and culture before work starts. It’s unwise to assume that English is spoken by everyone.

You’ll also have to become familiar with the work-related customs of the region. Business is done differently everywhere, and developing a mutual understanding of a project’s scope and goals will help to create a successful end product.

Hiring experienced SAP language masters is necessary to put together global user interfaces that can be understood by all employees.

Choosing a Partner Based on Price, Not Experience

In 2017, the average project cost for an SAP rollout is over $1 million dollars, according to Panorama Consulting. The expense of rollouts can make it tempting for companies to look for the lowest price, instead of the most experienced SAP partner.

However, cutting expenses at the cost of quality won’t pay off in the long run. Working with a knowledgeable SAP translation and consulting firm will ultimately increase ROI and eliminate the need for costly rework.

The same goes for translation – going without linguistic expertise, or relying on internal employees as language resources, is a good way to cut costs but likely will sacrifice language quality.

Poor Testing Processes

Global SAP rollouts require both language and software functionality testing. Language Acceptance Testing will determine the completeness and accuracy of translated lines of UI text. It usually makes sense to include language testing within general user testing, as it reduces overhead.

Poor (or no) testing procedures may leave inaccurate translations undiscovered and cause functionality issues. For defects or troubleshooting, developing a ticketing system helps to quickly solve software and language issues.


A Lack of Understanding

SAP rollouts are extremely complex; for this reason, companies should have stakeholders undergo some sort of process education before designing project plans. Going into a project without knowledge of SAP terms, best practices and challenges faced during the process is an easy way to set your company up for failure.

Little to no experience with selecting a vendor or ERP processes could mean a longer project and ultimately higher costs.

Failing To Update Systems

Once the initial translation of a system UI is completed, there’s still more work to do. As processes evolve, your SAP partner should be able to update translations in a cost-effective manner to accommodate changes in functionality.

The management of an ERP system is an iterative process, and continues well past the go-live stage. Thinking about how users’ needs will change down the road allows for better planning and a smoother rollout.

Improve Business Processes and Performance

Going into an SAP rollout with a solid understanding of the project’s scope, long- and short-term requirements and a knowledge of the region of implementation will save headaches for companies in the long term.

Avoiding the mistakes mentioned above will save time and money while also allowing users to fully realize the potential of their new data systems.

When done correctly, a proper SAP installation can drastically improve business processes and performance and make operations easier for global employees and clients.