Describing the 3 Pillars of SAP Activate


After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Identify the three SAP Activate pillars
  • Describe SAP Best Practices
  • Describe the deployment tools and SAP Activate Methodology Structure
  • Describe SAP Activate Methodology and benefits

The Three SAP Activate Pillars

The SAP Best Practices

SAP Best Practices helps project teams accelerate time to value. They provide content that helps jump start the implementation with ready-to-run processes and other assets.

The Best Practices contain rich business scenarios and business content. This helps customers get predictable and repeatable results from the Best Practices. The Best Practices and some prototyping, for example, personalization, additional configuration, or enhancements of the pre-delivered content, can be used as a baseline for an implementation project.

Best Practices can be deployed in the cloud, which further improves flexibility and time to value.

SAP Best Practices are available in two distinct formats:

  1. Documentation:

    The documented format of the SAP Best Practices can be found on the SAP Signavio Process Navigator, From this platform, best practices content is available for review, download, and use with your projects.

  2. Configuration:

    The configuration format of the best practices is found directly inside of the system. These best practices are preconfigured business processes which lay dormant inside of the system. Once activated these Best Practice processes are now 'ready to run'. Configuration best practices allow the user to execute the process inside the system.

The Deployment Tools and Structure

The SAP Signavio Process Navigator provides package content specific to the scope of your solution. It includes all business process scope in documentation format for all business processes inside the application.

The following information can be found in SAP Signavio Process Navigator:

  • Scope item fact sheets: A description of the business process including business benefits and key process steps covered.

  • Process flow: A representation of the standard business process to show how the software works by default.

  • Process flow (BPMN2): A downloadable version of the business process flow that can be edited in process modeling applications if the standard process flow is customized. It's important to document any process that no longer follows the standard process.

  • Test scripts: A procedure for testing the standard Best Practice processes in the system.

  • Set-up instructions: A guide with instructions to set up the prerequisite requirements (usually an integration) before the test script can be completed.

You can reduce the cost of operations by using the pre-delivered processes, and use the country-specific content to manage multiple geographies, divisions, subsidiaries, and ledgers. Best Practice content is updated on the Release to Customer (RTC) date for your selected solution with the latest enhancements and new features.

The following additional content can be found on the SAP Signavio Process Navigator.

  • SAP Signavio Process Navigator Solution Package: contains descriptions and corresponding content.

  • Guidance: helps select best approach, for example, in Analytics or Integration.

  • Solution Description: provides high-level structure and description, such as Partner Solutions.

For cloud solutions tool: SAP S/4HANA Cloud Release Assessment and Scope Dependency helps to find inter-dependencies between scope items for upgrade planning.

The diagram above displays the naming structure of the best practices documentation in the SAP Signavio Process Navigator.

When accessing the SAP Signavio Process Navigator, logging in with an S-User ID is required to display all of the available content. When browsing via public access, you will be prompted with a log in screen for the user to log in.

SAP configuration Best Practices is an accelerator, as the standard processes are already configured, and once activated, make the system 'ready to run'. But Best Practices may not always provide coverage for every customer around the world. In any case, should the Best Practice provide good coverage for the business, then creating a Best Practice client and activating the Best Practice processes is the preferred approach. When the Best Practices do not provide coverage for the business, the traditional approach is applied, which entails configuring the system from the beginning without leveraging the Best Practices.

The configuration Best Practices can be found in the Solution Builder transaction using transaction code /n/SMB/BBI inside of the SAP S/4HANA system.

From the Solution Builder, all available Solution Packages can be searched for by country, language, and version. Once found using the Implementation assistant all project / customer scope, Best Practice can be activated.

The task is performed by the SAP Basis consultant when doing an on-premise implementation, and is a service performed by SAP when doing a Cloud or Private Cloud deployment.

The above diagram displays a comparison of the different Best Practices terminologies between the SAP Signavio Process Navigator, the Solution Builder, and SAP Cloud ALM using the example of S/4 HANA..

Configuration in the public cloud solution is performed via Self-Service Configuration UI (SSCUI) and the Configuration system.

SAP Central Business Configuration is a tool designed to configure business processes from one central place. It facilitates leveraging Solution Builder's Best Practice content. Leading to increased business process flexibility and reduced configuration efforts.

Configuration for on-premise solutions as well as private cloud is performed via the traditional Implementation Guide (IMG) in Transaction SPRO.

SAP Central Business Configuration is designed to provide guidance for your implementation project by controlling the completed activities sequence. In the Project Experience, you can manage your team members, complete activities to set up and configure your systems, and view the project status. Activities are grouped into phases, and each phase ends with a milestone.

The configuration activities in SAP Central Business Configuration are designed to support customers in adapting the preconfigured SAP Best Practices content to their requirements. The available configuration activities are based on the active scope and country selections. Configuration activities may vary by country because not all business scenarios (scope items) are available in all countries. Configuration activities can be mandatory, recommended, or optional.

The Project Management tasks from SAP Central Business Configuration can also be transferred to SAP Cloud ALM for Implementation. Then the status can be tracked centrally in SAP Cloud ALM for Implementation together with all project tasks, requirements, user stories, testing activities and defects.

All configuration for on-premise and private cloud is performed via the IMG in transaction SPRO. By starting your build with the activated Best Practices, consultants only need to perform delta configuration to configure the additional functions or features requested by the business during the Explore phase workshops.

The SAP Activate Methodology and Benefits

The third component/pillar of the SAP Activate framework is the SAP Activate Methodology.

The SAP Activate Methodology provides one simple, modular, and agile methodology, and is the successor of ASAP and SAP Launch methodologies.

SAP Activate Methodology provides full support for initial deployment and continuous business innovation with a harmonized implementation approach for cloud, on-premise, and hybrid deployments.

SAP Activate Methodology is designed to support all SAP solutions.

The methodology also enables co-innovation with customers, and is accessible for partners.

The methodology uses, as default, agile project delivery principles. It builds on the ready-to-run business processes and the SAP Best Practices documentation. It uses the configuration tools to adjust the baseline solution to customer needs based on the results of the fit-standard workshops, which is conducted in the Explore phase.

The SAP Activate Methodology provides project teams with structured approaches to implement the solution and the solution and product specific content for implementation or transition to SAP S/4HANA and other SAP products.

The SAP ecosystem is familiar with the ASAP methodology. there are some differences between SAP Activate and ASAP that you should be aware of for an on-premise implementation:

In SAP Activate Methodology, we are leveraging the SAP Best Practices as a default way to build the baseline system for fit-to-standard.

There are four core project phases in SAP Activate that we do not have separate phases for the final preparation and go-live support, but instead execute them in one phase called 'DEPLOY'.

In the SAP community page, you can learn about SAP Activate, which describes the deliverables per phase. This helps those accessing the SAP Activate materials to review content and to understand the key goals of a phase.

The blueprint activities that were represented in ASAP, have been replaced with fit-to-standard analysis workshops. The project team uses the SAP Best Practices based system to validate the customer's requirement against a working baseline solution. Then, the team captures the delta requirements and/or user stories in the backlog. This information is then used for implementation of requirements during the Realize phase.

SAP Activate Methodology supports not only the on-premise deployment, but also cloud deployment, with one consistent approach. SAP Activate brings together the approach for on-premise and cloud. It harmonizes the approach across these different deployment models which also helps to support hybrid deployment projects.

SAP Activate supports not only SAP S/4HANA, but also other solutions like SAP SuccessFactors, SAP Sales Cloud, SAP Service Cloud and SAP Ariba. SAP offers content for these solutions in the SAP Activate Methodology, which can be found in the SAP Activate Roadmap Viewer.

The SAP Activate Methodology six phase descriptions will vary slightly for each implementation scenario (for example, SAP Activate Methodology for SAP Cloud for Sustainable Enterprises) but will have the same phase name. In the example in the figure SAP Activate Methodology for RISE with SAP S/4HANA Cloud, private edition will have the following high-level phase descriptions:

Discover phase

In the Discover phase customer’s core team is enabled to understand breadth, depth, and functionality of RISE with SAP S/4HANA Cloud, private edition. The team would learn the benefits and value the solution can bring to customers’ business.

Prepare phase

The Prepare phase is where the project is jump-started. The project environment gets set up, the project manager needs to set up the project governance, clarifying the project team roles and responsibilities, and provide the team with project standards. Project is kicked off and the team starts answering the Business-Driven Configuration questionnaire. Towards the end of this phase the team will be setting up the initial system for fit-to-standard workshops.

Explore phase

In this Explore phase the project team will conduct fit-to-standard workshops, verify, and confirm the to-be business processes with process models. Meanwhile master data and organizational requirements get identified. Organizational learning needs are identified and documented. After sign-off on delta requirements, design documents, and implementation plan the Q-gate from Explore to realize gets closed.

Realize phase

Project management joint with workstreams will plan sprints. Project team focuses on implementing defined solution using incremental build iterations. It will configure, extend, integrate, test, confirm, and document the entire end-to-end solution and prepare for legacy data conversion. The project team actively works with business representatives to ensure a good fit of the built solution to the requirements from the backlog.

The team executes build cycles called ‘Sprints’ to build and test the functionality. The team will conduct walkthroughs with the business users within each sprint to provide frequent checkpoints that the build is meeting the requirements. And will go through multiple iterations to develop functionality that is then ready to be released to production. For each release, the team conducts full end-to-end testing. The project team releases results of multiple iterations to the business users to accelerate time to value and provide early access to finalized functionality. Each sprint release is thoroughly tested in the end-to-end integration test and the user acceptance test.

The Realize phase is completed with the Realize-to-Deploy Q-Gate

Deploy phase

In the Deploy phase, the team makes sure that the business is ready to perform the cutover activities. The complexity of these activities will depend on various factors including the number of users that are impacted by the solution and the business scope of the deployment. Teams may need to conduct multiple cutover simulations as part of the preparation for go-live. Once the solution is live, the project team provides a defined period of post go-live support (sometimes called the hyper-care period). The project is then formally closed, and the solution is now in a separate PRODUCTIVE OPERATIONS or RUN phase

Run phase

Customer is live, with this begins the continuous learning process, that includes validation of newly released features and value assessment of business relevant innovations against current solution.

Behind this high-level phase descriptions, SAP Activate Methodology provides helpful details for deliverables and tasks as well as more sources to relevant information.

Summary of the Benefits of the SAP Activate Methodology

  • Enables consistent project delivery, reduces complexity and increases quality by providing common framework and language for all SAP projects.
  • Broad product knowledge, including support for all transition scenarios for SAP S/4HANA, SAP S/4HANA Cloud, and all other applicable solutions.
  • Scalable, supports all sizes of projects, from small fast cloud deployments to comprehensive global deployments in on-premise or hybrid environments.
  • Prescriptive and comprehensive – provides guided work for phases, deliverables, tasks, and accelerators.
  • Accelerates project delivery through the use of SAP Best Practices, fit-to-standard analysis, agile project management, application visualization, and use of cloud technology.
  • Methodology foundation fully aligned with proven project management practices such as the Project Management Institute, like formal quality, risk, and issues management. 

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