In a digital world economy, Tools and Technology are changing at an accelerated phase and customers are looking for a faster implementation with a quick return on investment. If we go back to earlier years, for any product, the next release used to take some time such as one to two years and also the delta used to be minimum. But with technology disruption, the version releases are happening at faster pace with a major additions which is driving clients to execute implementations in a shorter period with an intermediate results instead of waiting till the last phase. The existing implementation methodology of SAP (ASAP methodology) or system integrators methodologies need to be re-visited to take care of new approaches to enable business on Cloud, on-premises or in a Hybrid environment.
SAP has come up with a new methodology called “Activate” in place of ASAP methodology for any new implementation, system conversion or for a landscape transformation to SAP S/4 HANA.
SAP Activate framework is based on agile methodology with an embedded best practices and with a guided configuration which will help in less implementation cycle time with a streamlined project life cycle of four phases.
The methodology is divided into four phases as compared to earlier five phases ASAP methodology.
Prepare: The prepare phase tasks are more or less similar to earlier one which primarily focusses on project governance procedures,
Explore: This blueprint print phase of earlier has been replaced with Explore phase which primarily focus on conducting Fit/Gap workshops to explain S/4 HANA Enterprise management functionality and to assess the gaps. In this process, the business scenarios will be divided into sprints, design sprint plans and show the standard process scenario demos using best practices, proof of concepts for each sprint, identify the gaps and close the gaps.
Realize: Like ASAP methodology, configure and build system for the business scenarios/processes in an incremental way by executing build, test for each sprint instead of doing it for all processes at a time. This way, the client team needs not wait till the end to see the result.
Deploy: Prepare S/4 HANA to move to production environment by performing cut-over activities in production environment and support production environment.
Also, Activate brings up Guided configuration functionality which helps to minimize configuration time and test scripts preparation time. It is a tool that helps you configure, test, and supports data migration process that are needed the selected best practices. For a functional consultants who spent large amount of their time in IMG, it is not a threat but it helps in reducing the effort in configuring core steps. At a very high level, the flow is like this
. Identify Best practices ( View solution scope)
Configure your solution : This is a self-service configuration utility which will to perform depended configuration steps in an automated way. For example, while setting up company code by answering business scope checklist steps, the system take care of the dependent configuration steps. It helps two things, one is it will reduce the errors and also minimize errors. Also, it helps in designing automated test scripts and data migration activities by providing the list of data objects and templates.
Activate supports SAP recommended migration/conversion of three different deployment options:
1. System conversion: It is SAP R/3 or SAP Business suite conversion running on any database to SAP S/4 HANA landscape
2. Landscape transformation: Landscape transformation scenario deals with designing a global on premise/cloud edition from an individual business suite landscapes.
3. New implementation: It is a brand new implementation from an existing SAP customer or third part ERP software.
My observation is that these tools will be really a great help for new implementation projects, but not much to the system conversion projects.
SAP Activate is free for SAP customers and partners upon request. SAP has provided good number of tools to support the transformation to S/4 HANA, but it is a long way to go, but the team is fully focused to make it a successive one.