For the remainder of this course, "customer" refers to someone who has purchased SAP software for their organization, or someone within the organization working as part of the larger project team to support the implementation of that solution. "Partner" refers to someone working for an organization with which SAP has established a partner program to build, sell, service, or run SAP solutions. As an employee of a partner organization preparing to implement an SAP solution, you are a service partner. SAP also implements our solutions for customers, but we rely on our partner ecosystem to meet the global demand and bring specialized industry expertise to customers with unique requirements.
In the Discover phase of the SAP Activate Methodology, the customer executive sponsor(s) have already built a business case for their organization to purchase SAP S/4HANA Cloud, worked with a sales person from a partner or SAP to complete the Digital Discovery Assessment, and made the final purchase decision. They are often in the Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Chief Information Officer (CIO), or other similar roles within their organization. The customer executive sponsors will have a counterpart from the partner or SAP, depending on who is implementing the solution. Communication from the customer executive sponsors within their organization is an important part of the change management plan that will be defined later in the project.
The customer System Admin should be identified and communicated to SAP as early as possible, so we know who should be assigned the permission role of the IT Contact. This role grants administrator access to support applications and the ability to provision the systems purchased by the customer. If no one has been explicitly chosen when the SAP S/4HANA Cloud contract is signed, the signer (CTO, CIO, or similar) will be granted the IT Contact role by default. This can be changed at a later point in time.
The implementation of SAP S/4HANA Cloud begins in the Prepare phase when a partner/SAP implementation project team starts work on the project. In the Prepare phase, the priority is to get all systems necessary for the project provisioned, and provide access to these systems to the implementation project team members. A partner/SAP implementation team should be staffed with minimum one expert representing each line of business (LoB) to be implemented for the customer, a project manager, and a lead configuration expert, who will complete the majority of the business process content activation and initial setup activities in the SAP Central Business Configuration tool. Ideally, there would be two partner/SAP experts per LoB, with the number increasing proportionally based on the number of business processes that need to be implemented in each LoB. For example, Finance is one of the biggest LoBs and Professional Services is one of the smallest, so there would always be more experts in Finance than in Professional Services on projects where these two LoBs are in scope.
Additional members will be added to the customer project team, including a project manager who is the counterpart of the partner/SAP project manager, and a change management team should be established if the customer did not already purchase change management services from the partner organization. Regardless of who handles change management, someone (partner or customer) needs to be responsible for the communication and training and adoption tasks during the implementation project and after go-live. If the consumers have difficulty adopting the business processes in the new SAP S/4HANA Cloud system, it will have a very negative impact on the overall success of the project.
The most important task in the Explore phase are the Fit-to-Standard analysis workshops conducted for each line of business. Experts representing various business roles in each LoB from the customer organization are now added to the extended project team to participate in the Fit-to-Standard workshops. During the workshops, partner/SAP LoB experts demonstrate each business process chosen on the Digital Discovery Assessment from start to finish in the SAP S/4HANA Cloud Starter System. This serves several purposes:
- Teaching the customer LoB experts how end-to-end processes are navigated in SAP S/4HANA Cloud
- Giving the customer LoB experts time to carefully review each process and provide feedback if certain changes are necessary to make the process fit their needs
- Partner/SAP experts leading the workshops gather configuration values and additional requirements from the customer LoB experts, which will be used later when setting up the customer's actual systems
- Building relationships with the customer LoB experts with the goal of inviting them to complete user acceptance testing (UAT) of the same processes after they have been configured in the Realize phase. UAT is mandatory and must be completed before the implementation project can move into the Deploy phase.
It's important the customer LoB experts invited to the Fit-to-Standard workshops are responsible for the day-to-day activities that are being covered in the workshops, because they will be able to provide the most detailed and accurate feedback the closer they are to the process in real life.
Additional members will likely be added to the customer's extended project team as the tasks of integration, customization, and data migration are being completed by the partner/SAP implementation project team. For integration, this is because custom integrations will need the support of developers on the customer-side to both support building the integration and also so they know where the integrations lives (ideally in SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP)) and can maintain it in the future. For customizations, partner/SAP consultants are responsible for completing extensions within SAP S/4HANA Cloud using the extensibility Fiori apps. For side-by-side that live in the customer's BTP system, they have two options: 1) low/no-code extensions made with SAP Build, which is included in the GROW with SAP enablement package, and 2) classical code-based extensions hosted through a different service on SAP BTP. It would be most cost-effective for the customer to have their own developers tackle these side-by-side extensions, although a partner/SAP resource can also be brought on the project for an additional fee. For data migration, the partner/SAP implementation project team will need contact(s) within the customer organization that have the permission to access and extract data that needs to be migrated to SAP S/4HANA Cloud.
Finally, the consumers of the solution (customer end user employees) need to be onboarded and trained by the change management team to ensure there is a successful transition from the old systems to the new SAP S/4HANA Cloud system in the Deploy phase.
The extended project team includes customer Line of Business process exerts, and other supporting customer experts involved in integration and customization activities. Partner consultants will lead the LoB-specific workshops to collect configuration values, evaluate standard SAP Best Practices business processes the customers are willing to adopt (replacing their original process(es)), integration specifications, customizations that are required, and other information used in the Realize phase to configure the solution. In addition, it's important to have at least one Organizational Change Management expert (customer or partner) involved in each workshop to identify the change impact for each LoB. Assessing the change impact is essential to determining the training requirements to efficiently and effectively ramp up employees / consumers of the solution (L3 stakeholders).