What is the difference between SAP Best Practices and an SAP Model Company?
Last updated: December 21 2022
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 and the content that used to be called SAP Model Company. 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 and some other SAP cloud solutions e.g., SAP SuccessFactors.
Similar Best Practice content exists in S/4HANA cloud, public edition and for S/4HANA Cloud, private edition and on-premise. 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 the documentation 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.
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 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 twice a year with each release and on-premise S/4HANA Best Practices are updated around 3 months after each on-premise release. (Note: SAP S/4HANA Cloud, private 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, public edition customers get content activated by SAP as part of their deployment. Activation creates new configuration settings and does not include the standard configuration that is part of a normal on-premise installation (Client 000). 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 private cloud and on-premise solutions is usually a one-off process. S/4HANA Cloud, private edition customers can selectively activate new configuration content with each release 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. 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, private edition customers can change configuration using SAP Central Business Configuration and SSCUIs.
Read on further to see how SAP consulting can activate SAP Best Practices for you. Alternatively, get a hosted 30-day trial (no license 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 by buying the SAP Enterprise Management Layer service for SAP S/4HANA (for private 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 SAP Solution Manager and changed to reflect your project design.
SAP S/4HANA Cloud, private edition customers can use the Cloud Application Lifecycle Management instead of Solution Manager.
SAP Model Company Replaced or Retired
SAP Best Practices provide excellent cross-industry baseline solutions. What if you need deeper industry or line of business functionality and processes?
In the past, 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 has been retired but:
- 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 and ask about “Standard Content activation”.
- 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 Retired
Before SAP Model Company services were released, SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions (RDSs) were available. All RDSs have been replaced by SAP Best Practices.
I hope you found this blog informative.
Enterprise Architect at SAP Services UK
It's really a nice read addressing the concern raised by many and also very well articulated.
its really a short and Informative blog
SAP Best Practices
SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions
SAP Model Companies
I really enjoyed Reading it
Very well crafted explanation. It gives complete picture about RDS, SAP Best Practice and Concept of Model Company
Hi Amin Hoque,
Appreciate this blog on explaining SAP Offerings. Could you please clarify more on Master Data area? Is Model Company prebuilt with sample master data i.e Org Structures, Business Partners and materials?
Thanks & Regards,
Yes, an SAP Model Company comes with sample organization structures which can be renamed. For example, the multinational model company comes with one company code per country.
Solution Builder allows you personalize your organization structure before you do the activation of SAP Best Practices. See the help guide here:
Sample master data is delivered and documented in the Best Practice Explorer accelerator called "Master Data Overview".
There are also detailed documents called Master Data Scripts that guide you through creating the main master data objects. Examples here:
Useful information! Thanks for sharing.
A very clear a descriptive article. Things have come a long way since we configured companies and processes from the ground up in each implementation.
Thank you for this blog Amin. I'm currently learning SAP Activate and Solman and your blog fits perfectly!
Great content! Congrats.
Is it that only SAP DBS team can activate the Model Company or Partner Resources can also do the same?
Also, you refer to as using the model company for building a sandbox. What are the disadvantages or limitations on using this for actually configuring a real D, Q & P landscape? Clearly it does have benefits of effort savings around manually configuring LOB specific processes.
Only SAP DBS can activate a Model Company.
You do not normally use a Model Company for development systems. There may be some exceptions. Customers, partners or SAP DBS may selectively activate Best Practices into a development system. They need to understand SAP Solution Builder to do this.
Another option for customers and partners is a fully activated appliance. Again, this is restricted to sandboxes.
Clear and helpful!
Thank you for the information.
Great Concept Amin . Thank you.
Currently I am about to finalize an S 4 HANA deal with SAP.
Can SAP Model Company done by any partner or it should be implemented only by SAP themselves please?
Thanks for the short feedback
Only SAP can assemble and activate Model Companies. Partners can do SAP Best Practices.
Thank you for your reply.
Could you kindly share with me few best pricices links related to Construction and Projects business please.
Thank you in advance for your support
Nearly all SAP Best Practices scope items are cross-industry. Some will apply for a Construction and Projects business.
There is no Model Company for the construction industry.
See page here: https://www.sap.com/services/implementation/preconfigured-industry-solutions.html
Thank you Amin
Dear Amin, could you please help me to understand what are the differences between SAP Model Company trial edition, and the option we have to deploy via SAP CAL ? Are both Cloud hosting, right ?
Thank you in advance,
Both are cloud hosted.
SAP CAL for Model Company
Trial Edition Model Company
for BP Installation in S?4 HANA 1909, is this a paid service now for partners? pls confirm.
SAP Best Practices are free and installation can be done by customers themselves or they can get paid assistance from partners.
Model companies are bought from SAP and installed by SAP.
See my latest blog for details on how to activate on-premise S/4HANA SAP Best Practices yourself free of charge: https://blogs.sap.com/2020/04/14/sap-s-4hana-best-practices-tour-content-often-missed/
Customers, who want to implement an S4 public cloud, best practice will be upgraded quaterly along with Model company that is upgraded quaterly too?
S/4 Public Cloud is now called S/4HANA Cloud essentials edition. Quarterly SAP Best Practice upgrades are provided. These do not include Model Company specific content.
See my related blog;
SAP S/4HANA Cloud extended edition is not upgraded with Best Practice content but can include Model Company content up-front.
Thanks for this wrap-up, Amin.
One - crucial for some customers - characteristic might be added: The Best Practice Content in S/4HANA Cloud (Essentials) always stays up to date under SAP Governance (Content Lifecycle Management, delivered to all customers via automated updates), whereas in all other Deployment Options incl. Model Company it's up to the customer or system integrator to maintain the content after the initial consumption, e.g. to be compliant to new local tax reports etc.
So, with S/4HANA Cloud (Essentials) the customers continuously benefit of most recent best practices and therefore "stay accelerated".
Yes indeed.... this is a key difference with SAP S/4HANA Cloud Essentials Edition. I also cover this in my related blog: https://blogs.sap.com/2019/08/22/sap-s4hana-cloud-and-on-premise-deployment-options
Please could you clarify the relationship between SAP Activate (SAP’s implementation methodology) on one hand and SAP Model Company (the template configurator tool for accelerating SPRO for a new implementation of S4HANA) on the other. I'm afraid the term "activate" is used a bit too frequently and I would benefit from some distinctions.
SAP Activate is known as a framework. The main element of the SAP Activate framework is the methodology. You can see this in the SAP Activate roadmaps. You will see there are different roadmaps e.g. one for on-premise SAP S/4HANA and another for S/4HANA Cloud. They describe the activities in the implementation projects.
SAP Best Practices and SAP Model Company services are considered another element of of SAP Activate. These kick start projects by providing a documented working end to end solution on day 1. The methodology recommends the use of SAP Best Practices and SAP Model Company services.
Hope that helps
Hi Amin, I see that Model companies can be implemented on On prem systems but I can't find the technical documentation to do it by my self, do you know any specific site to get this info?
thanks in advance
For more detailed information on many Model Company Services look at the “Getting Started Guide” PDF available to download within the CAL. This includes information on hardware requirements, specific software licences required and the SAP Best Practice scope items included in the scope. The Model Company must be bought from SAP and then the content can be released and deployed.
I remember you from the Druid days. Excellent blog! Really useful!
Yes.... lots of fun at Druid. Many thanks! I will be updating it next year.
Excellent material, thank you Amin. I've bookmarked this so that I can keep coming back!
I heard a rumor that the model company is no longer being developed - especially the utilities.
Thank you for the information.
Some rebranding is planned. Watch out for information in April.
See latest updated version.
Fantastic blog Amin! Remember our days at Camelot?
Thank you. That's a long time ago! I am very well. Hope you are keeping well too.
excellent blog, thank you for your effort and time
I would like to ask you for an additional explanation on the Cloud ALM FAQ in the below screenshot.
Why we have these two approaches Fit-to-Standard for the SAP Activate and Fit-to-gap for SAP FB?
What I understood from the above answer - it looks that that SAP Activate for SAP Cloud ALM will not provide so many inputs like in the case of Focused Build (SAP Best practice + Model company) therefore during the Prepare/Explore phases we should run two different analyses:
Would you be so kind to comment on my above thoughts - are they correct or not?
One more question is it possible to use SAP activate in Focused Build?
Thank you in advance for your reply.
Approach varies on S/4HANA deployment option and nature of the project.
All are covered in SAP Activate. Fit-to-Standard refers to using a predefined Best Practice solution during the Explore phase. Fit-Gap Analysis tends to be longer / bigger because of the larger gaps.
More info in SAP Activate on Focused Build.
Do we have Best Practices content for Industry solutions like and Oil and Gas. I was not able to find any content for Oil and Gas in the Best Practices Explorer.
Industry specific baseline configuration is available from SAP for S/4HANA on-premise and Cloud Private Edition. This must be purchased through a service from SAP. SAP activate the content in your system(s). This content used to be called SAP Model Company but is now referred to as "SAP Standard Content Activation". For more information reach out to your SAP Services contact e.g. your Service Account Executive.
Content is available for Oil and Gas, Consumer Products, Retail, Mining, Telecoms, Chemicals, Utilities and others.
There is some separate industry specific SAP Best Practice content in the SAP S/4HANA Cloud (public) solution. This is visible in Best Practice Explorer. Look under "Solutions for Specific Industries" in SAP Best Practices for SAP S/4HANA Cloud.
this answer is really important - do you have an overview about other industries?
I can find only: https://www.sap.com/swiss/industries/chemicals.html
At the moment we do not publish the details externally. The content is available as part of a SAP Services engagement with a customer or partner. For more detail you must contact your Services Account Executive and ask about "Standard Content Activation" which is the replacement of the "SAP Model Company".
We have S4 system with 1909 Best Practice set up Version with SolMan same . Now we want to import the BP US 2022 version only to SOLMAN system (7.2) using SOLADM feature to load the process models and accelerators.
These Process models will act as base line for our Process designing using SIgnavio . Could you provide input if it will be an issue if we keep the S4 older version but just get the BP loaded to SOLMAN 7.2 ?
SAP keeps on updating new best Practice versions so every year it is not possible to activate same in S4 systems with SolMan. What is the best way to identify the deltas ?
The newer version of documentation in SAP Solution Manager may not match some of the older versions of SAP Best Practices in your S/4HANA system. When you find a difference you could look at the old test script and compare.
Documentation on the differences in SAP Best Practices is limited. The overview presentation provides a list of scope item stating whether they have been changed in some way. The software release notes also include some details on changes to configuration.
If you have not already, you should look into the latest information available in Signavio in the OPAL initiative.
Please reach out to Signavio team. You could try Patrizia Calvia
If we use these accelerators from Signavio , will we get the executable and process step linkage like we were getting when we import the SAP BEST practice from SolMan to signavio?