What is the difference between SAP Best Practices and an SAP Model Company?
Last updated: June 7 2021
SAP Best Practices are used to accelerate customer’s SAP cloud and on-premise implementation projects. You can find lots of excellent content on the benefits and value of using them in SAP implementations. This blog looks at what they contain and describes the key differences between SAP Best Practices, SAP Model Company and Rapid Deployment Solutions. It answers some of the questions often asked by customers. It also contains useful links to get the latest information.
The blog covers SAP S/4HANA cloud and on-premise deployments. See my related blog to understand the S/4HANA deployment options. https://blogs.sap.com/2019/08/22/sap-s4hana-cloud-and-on-premise-deployment-options/
Once you have read this blog, see my latest blog that describes the different types of SAP Best Practice content and shows some of the useful content that is often missed or overlooked by customers and consultants.
SAP Best Practices
SAP Best Practices have evolved and improved for many years. They provide baseline configuration, standard business processes and a library of detailed documentation. They focus on cross-industry scope for S/4HANA but also cover C/4HANA and other cloud solutions.
The same Best Practice content generally exists in S/4HANA cloud and S/4HANA on-premise. (There are a few exceptions). They cover 42 countries in on premise and cloud. There are over 250 scope items representing business processes or functions. Each scope item can be activated in a sandbox or development system and has a process diagram and detailed test script.
SAP Best Practices are available free of charge and can be seen or downloaded at the Best Practices Explorer with your s-user: https://rapid.sap.com/bp/. You can also find SAP packages for integration, data migration and analytics topics. Some partner solution packages are also available.
See my latest blog that describes the different types of SAP Best Practice content and shows some of the useful content that is often missed or overlooked by customers and consultants.
SAP S/4HANA Best Practices have significantly improved since 1) they became the foundation for S/4HANA Cloud and 2) they are developed and tested at the same time as the software by the same team. This means different SAP Best Practices work together seamlessly and continuously evolve based on feedback from cloud customers. S/4HANA Cloud Best Practices are updated every quarter and on-premise S/4HANA Best Practices are updated once a year. (Note: SAP S/4HANA Cloud Extended Edition uses the on-premise S/4HANA Best Practices!).
They can be selectively activated into your on-premise sandbox or development system using a tool called SAP Solution Builder. (This creates a large number of predefined configuration settings). You can choose which countries you want, what scope items you need and certain other input parameters. S/4HANA cloud customers get content activated by SAP as part of their deployment. Activation creates new configuration settings and does not change the standard configuration that is part of a normal on-premise installation. For example, they may create one company code and other selected organization units that can then be renamed. There are also tools to generate sample master data.
Activation in on-premise solutions is usually a one-off process. However, after the initial activation, an experienced team can do more delta activation. For example, to add an additional country or extra scope items. New configuration is added to the system by activation. S/4HANA Cloud Essentials Edition customers can selectively activate new configuration content with each quarterly upgrade.
Once activated, even inexperienced SAP users can run end-to-end integrated business processes immediately by simply following the test script documentation. The greatest acceleration can be achieved by activating the configuration content into a new development system at the start of a project creating transports as you go. Alternatively, if you are already underway, a sandbox can be a good reference for project team members.
With SAP Best Practices available, why start with an empty system? Once the Best Practice configuration is activated, an on-premise customer can change whatever they like with the IMG. S/4HANA Cloud Essentials Edition customers can change configuration using SSCUIs.
Read on further to see how SAP consulting can activate SAP Best Practices for you. Alternatively, get a hosted 30-day trial (no licence required) here https://www.sap.com/cmp/oth/crm-s4hana/index.html. Or customers and partners with licences can use an “appliance” to get an activated sandbox quickly. This uses the Cloud Appliance Library (CAL). https://blogs.sap.com/2018/12/12/sap-s4hana-fully-activated-appliance-create-your-sap-s4hana-1809-system-in-a-fraction-of-the-usual-setup-time/
SAP Best Practices are also available through the Enterprise Management Layer for SAP S/4HANA (for cloud and on-premise) . SAP activates the SAP Best Practices for you. They allow you to use SAP Best Practices for multiple countries in one SAP instance. They form a baseline for your SAP S/4HANA implementation. For more details on this important “foundation” , see my blog: https://blogs.sap.com/2019/09/25/multinational-corporations-model-company/
SAP’s implementation methodology, SAP Activate, recommends the use of SAP Best Practices in a “solution-led” approach. It advocates executing Fit-to-Standard workshops instead of the traditional Blueprint workshops that were part of the old ASAP methodology. Starting from day one with the standard SAP solution allows you to keep to standard and minimize customizations.
Many on-premise customers use SAP Solution Manager for the application lifecycle management of their SAP solutions. All the SAP Best Practice business processes diagrams and accelerators can be imported into Solution Manager and changed to reflect your project design.
SAP S/4HANA Cloud Essentials Edition customers can use the Cloud Application Lifecycle Management implementation portal instead of Solution Manager.
SAP Model Company
SAP Best Practices provide excellent cross-industry baseline solutions. What if you need deeper industry or line of business functionality and processes? Or, what if you want to avoid having to learn how to activate SAP Best Practices yourself?
SAP Model Company services built on top of parts or all of the S/4HANA Best Practice baseline content. They provided additional processes, solutions, configuration and scope items. The SAP Model Company concept is being adjusted and re-branded in 2021 as part of SAP’s shift to cloud first.
The good news is that:
- The activation and use of SAP Model Company content for on-premise solutions and SAP S/4HANA Cloud Private Edition can still be bought as part of a larger SAP Services engagement. This includes industry specific and Line of Business content that goes beyond the SAP Best Practices. For more information reach out to your SAP Services contact.
- SAP Model Company content for cloud solutions e.g. SAP SuccessFactors are now available as SAP Best Practices.
- The very popular SAP Model Company for Multinational Corporations is available as the Enterprise Management Layer for SAP S/4HANA.
Rapid Deployment Solutions
Before SAP Model Company services were released, SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions (RDSs) were available. Most RDSs have been replaced by broader industry or line of Business SAP Model Company services. A few RDSs remain for areas such as analytics and integration and are still available in the Best Practice Explorer.
Any more questions? SAP Partners can ask them through the SAP S/4HANA Project Coach sessions.
I hope you found this blog informative.
Enterprise Architect at SAP Services UK