The concept of left to right ‘System Flow’ thinking combines the speed and agility of building and integrating a solution with the quality controls required to deploy and operate it without failures. Integrated quality management and the control center approach play a key role by ensuring quality throughout the application management life-cycle. However, initially, continuous innovation starts with SAP Activate, a unique combination of SAP Best Practices, Methodology, and SAP Guided Configuration delivered with a reference solution, introduced with SAP S/4HANA.

SAP Best Practices are ready-to-run business processes optimized for S/4 HANA containing OLTP and OLAP, delivered with the product. A reference solution in the cloud enables a fast start for project prep. In addition, SAP Best Practices for integration and migration to S/4HANA are available for extensibility to either enhance SAP processes or create your own processes.

Guided configuration includes tools for an assisted implementation, both for the initial implementation and for continuous innovation. Business and IT are empowered through user assistance and business process orientation. For example, key users can easily adjust business configuration with the ability to view and adapt configuration settings facilitated by filtering of configuration activities to only those required by the pre-selected scope. Included are adjustments of basic settings, e.g. org structure and master data settings, which do not typically change the business process flow. Content awareness and history makes transparent the content context and what has been configured.

The SAP Activate Methodology offers SAP Best Practices for any implementation, and for different deployment modes – cloud, hybrid, on premise, or mobile. Iterative implementation with frequent validations are achieved with a phased approach that is rapid, prescriptive, and repeatable. Moreover SAP Activate methodology is consistent with the second of Gene Kim’s three ways. SAP Activate methodology shortens and amplifies feedback loops with frequent touch points with the Business to iteratively and quickly capture user feedback and adapt to it.

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The methodology starts with pre-assembled solutions and that jump-start the ‘Preparation’ phase by reusing knowledge assets and pre-built content such as pre-configured processes and process steps. Rapid Deployment Solutions offer pre-configured scenarios, content to accelerate project, and services. In addition, all the required building blocks to run an industry vertical end-to-end are available with Model Companies. These provide standardization and sophistication for a LoB-specific or industry solutions by providing a ready-to-go, end-to-end system landscape built on best practice (or existing processes) and a comprehensive baseline for rapid prototyping. New business process scenarios are prototyped in your environment using real master data and real process integration. With accelerated prototyping, the Business is able to make fact-based decisions, with IT and SAP providing a proof of concept with state-of-the-art technical infrastructure. Model companies also provide customer specific cloud (facilitating demos) as well as simplified and harmonized implementations in target segments. In this way, projects are prepared to leverage the flexibility and speed of the cloud.

In the ‘Explore’ phase, delta requirements and gaps are identified and validated. A baseline build is the starting point and an early opportunity for Business buy-in and feedback. The main objectives of a baseline system is to demonstrate Standard SAP (solution demo approach), verify SAP standard processes, define and agree on a baseline scope, build the baseline system with company data and structures, identify business requirements, identify initial solution gaps/deltas (initial backlog), and refine the process scope and solution architecture. A key activity is solution validation, of which there are two steps.

In a first step, a solution validation workshop sets a value reference value by providing process, value and strategic context (tying these to the business case and value drivers), and by setting boundaries. SAP standard key design elements are demonstrated, starting with the overall solution before drilling down to detail. This is not so much to educate Business participants as to challenge changes to standard and ensure alignment to business value. In this way, gaps to Standard are identified and additional scope items are collected in an initial backlog for the delta scope prioritization. In a second step, a delta design workshop produces updated business models and process designs. The solution designs and visualization are then verified and accepted by the Business. Supported by the significantly enhanced ALM capabilities of the SAP Solution Manager 7.2, solution validation workshops with the Business result in a prioritized product backlog.

In the ‘Realization’ phase the solution is built in short, time-boxed sprints that result in higher quality solution through iterative, incremental build with frequent inspection points and quality gates. SAP Activate builds on SAP Best Practices, solution validation, and iterative solution build with strong safeguarding through Integrated Quality Management and the control center which will be discussed in the next post in this series.

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