Posted: 23 Jun. 2021 15 min. read

Transforming Capital Projects with SAP

A celebration of connection and creativity

In the post-COVID19 era, different industries will be looking to capital intensive projects to both kick-start economies and stay competitive through the recovery.


Organisations will be looking to utilise the advancements in technology to re-invent project management to deliver efficient results with limited resources (a known problem in the project management world only exacerbated in the current climate).

The project management fraternity advises the use of different structures to control projects, which has given rise to concepts such as work breakdown structure (WBS), cost breakdown structure (CBS), asset breakdown structure (ABS) and organizational breakdown structure (OBS).

The objective behind these structures is to focus the attention of the project team members on specific areas of the project and provide them with the capability and specialization to effectively manage those areas. Although effective, this siloed approach often leads to disharmony and results in poor project performance.

Project control is most effective when management is based on an integrated WBS that harmonizes the dimensions for scope, time and cost. The integrated WBS represents the translation of the asset scope (the ultimate deliverable of the project) into discrete component deliverables (intermediate products required to affect the asset scope) for which work (both time and cost) can be planned and controlled effectively.

This advancement in approach has increased the complexity and not had the desired impact on poor-performing projects. It has, however, provided an opportunity for technology to reduce these complexities by making the approach as seamless as possible. The new challenge organizations face is the selection and implementation of a project management information system from a plethora of options.

Common questions that arise during this process are as follows:

  1. What are the key drivers/capabilities of our industry that drive selection of project management information systems?
  2. Should we go with commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) applications to manage the different areas of cost, time, and scope and integrate them with the corporate ERP systems or select a wholistic system that addresses the majority of our needs?
  3. How do we implement this system?
  4. What is our maturity level and which capabilities of program/ project management can be implemented in our organization?
  5. How do we harmonize the different structures and integrate them for best results?


At Deloitte, we have focused our solution on SAP which provides the most comprehensive suite of products to address capital project requirements (including downstream integration) and use it as our starting point for organizations looking to adopt new ways of managing projects.

1. We have achieved significant success in designing a solution which integrates SAP with a standard WBS. By defining a common WBS across all other structures, we allow each structure to build upon a common hierarchy with the associated details (eg. the cost management system can use the lowest level of WBS and append the cost elements to manage cost effectively.) This approach reduces the associated technical complexity and facilitates the integration of information coming from different systems onto a common point i.e. the lowest level of the common WBS.

2. Our capability model breaks down the business capabilities required by the client to deliver capital projects to a level at which the SAP applications and paper-based processes required to support those capabilities can be mapped. A well-structured and stratified capability model provides the scope, context and high-level content required for business process development (reducing process development effort by as much as 50%) which is further supplemented by our proprietary business processes by industry (IndustryPrint).

3. We further assist our clients on charting a roadmap to full adoption of project management capabilities keeping in mind their maturity and the most effective journey to achieve end-state.

4. Keeping the clean ERP core, we assess the need for custom enhancements and rationalize the requests based on our industry and system best practices that have been beneficial to many of our clients in harmonizing the different systems and making project management more effective.

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