This blog is part of a series created to demonstrate the value of SAP® Activate. SAP Activate is a three-part innovation adoption framework developed to support faster S/4HANA implementation with clear guidance, easy-to-use tools, and automated updates for continuous innovation. It combines SAP’s 40 years of experience and the power of HANA with SAP best practices, SAP S/4HANA’s new guided configuration capabilities, and an agile implementation methodology.
Today’s SAP customers expect ever more simplified and streamlined ways to implement SAP solutions. They want to build their solutions on SAP’s solid best practices without losing the competitive advantage of their own expertise. And they want to do so with speed and agility, meeting the challenges of a fast-changing business environment.
With the launch of SAP S/4HANA, my colleagues and I saw an opportunity to help customers adopt SAP technology more quickly and easily. We developed the SAP Activate Methodology as a simplified approach to solution implementation, based on proven and validated experiences, that uses the power of SAP S/4HANA to get companies up and running quickly.
With a new methodology come many questions. Here are the ones we’re asked most:
Why does SAP need a new methodology?
As the pace of development quickens, our new business suite, SAP S/4HANA, will be delivering even greater innovation opportunities. Traditional methodologies based on waterfall techniques require longer planning cycles. We decided to offer an agile methodology built for the future with SAP S/4HANA in mind – one that could help customers adopt much more quickly to today’s rapid development cycles.
Can you provide a high-level overview of the new SAP Activate Methodology?
SAP Activate Methodology is a harmonized implementation approach for cloud, on-premise, and hybrid deployments. It provides broad coverage of SAP solutions starting with SAP S/4HANA. Its simplified, modular approach supports increased customer co-innovation and collaboration, with full support for initial deployment and continuous business innovation.
In developing this methodology, we carefully considered the specificity of both cloud and on premise implementations. We made it highly scalable to support a wide range of scope, complexity, project, and solution variables. Its flexible framework allows us to provide prescriptive guidance for any SAP project.
Each SAP S/4HANA implementation starts with ready-to-run business processes based on SAP Best Practices, a key pillar of SAP Activate. The methodology then provides tools, templates, and examples used to structure the fit/gap workshops, confirm fit, and identify required delta configurations or extensions. These items are captured in a backlog document, which serves as a guide for planning software releases. Releases are structured in short cycles, using guided configuration, testing functionality, and data migration tools to build the required capabilities.
All these steps are supported with implementation project accelerators. Configuration documents, test scripts, and process diagrams detail pre-configuration processes. These assets and accelerators are integrated with your implementation methodology, complementing the generic assets and accelerators for project management, value delivery, and adoption.
What components or tools does it include?
The SAP Activate methodology contains accelerators for each implementation phase and work stream. These include templates, questionnaires, checklists, guidebooks, and other tools that facilitate efficient, consistent, and repeatable delivery of SAP implementations and upgrades. You might use templates to capture delta requirements, design a system architecture, or plan cutover weekend activities. The methodology covers an extensive range of typical work streams for SAP implementation projects.
What environments is it best suited for?
The SAP Activate methodology offers a consistent approach for cloud, on premise, and hybrid deployments, including mobile. For SAP S/4HANA, it includes transition scenario guidance, covering scenarios such as New Implementation, System Conversion, and Landscape Transformation. Each builds on proven approaches used by SAP customers and SAP partners, adjusting them to fit the needs of SAP S/4HANA. The methodology scales extremely well, becoming lightweight for smaller engagements or more robust for larger projects or programs.
Who can use the methodology?
Use the methodology on your own, or work with SAP Services or an SAP partner—the choice is yours. Cloud-based access gives you an opportunity not only to see the content, but to engage with others in the community and give direct feedback to the teams building and tuning the methodology content.
What will happen to the ASAP and SAP Launch Methodologies?
Historically SAP has offered two very different implementation methodologies – ASAP® for on premise and managed cloud implementations and SAP® Launch for public cloud implementations. With the introduction of ASAP’s assemble-to-order approach, the two began to converge. While cloud and on premise implementations still differ in technology, scope, capabilities, and solution flexibility, SAP Activate now aligns cloud and on premise implementation for customers ready to adopt SAP S/4HANA.
What are my options for using the SAP Activate Methodology?
This chart lays out the current options:
What are the phases of the methodology?
We’ve worked to bring in the simplicity of cloud implementation while retaining content required for on premise projects. We’ve struck a balance using these four phases:
- Prepare. The project is initiated and planned, including quality and risk plans. The system environment is set up, including best practices for ready-to-run processes.
- Explore. The customer team explores SAP solution capabilities while the system integrator researches the customer’s business. Together, they use fit/gap workshops to identify the configuration and extensions that best meet customer requirements.
- Realize. The team configures and extends the system, based on the prioritized requirements captured in the Explore phase. Configuration and build are done in short cycles, ensuring regular validation and feedback from the business. Structured testing and data migration activities ensure quality.
- Deploy. Final preparations before cutover to production ensure that that the system, users, and data are ready for transition to productive use. The transition to operations includes setting up and launching support, then handing off operations to the organization managing the environment.
To learn more about each phase, join the SAP Activate Methodology Jam™ group.
How can I learn more?
Join the SAP Activate Methodology Jam group to get access to experts, resources, and documentation. Or connect with our experts to figure out if SAP Activate is right for you.
Jan, I like you. Can we talk more about SAP Activate Methodology?
Anything else I should know?
Fun fact: Did you know that the SAP Activate Methodology is aligned with best practices that the Project Management Institute (PMI) documented in the PM Body of Knowledge (PMI PMBOK). Use it to minimize risk, streamline and accelerate implementation, and reduce your total cost of implementation!
Learn more about SAP Activate here