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What is the difference between SAP Best Practices and an SAP Model Company?

Last updated: October 16 2020

SAP Best Practices and SAP Model Company services 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. 

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 came first and 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: 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 Or customers and partners with licences can use an “appliance” to get an activated sandbox quickly. This uses the Cloud Appliance Library (CAL). 

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. SAP S/4HANA on-premise, cloud hosted and SAP S/4HANA Cloud extended edition (formerly single-tenant edition) customers can go one step better. 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 build on top of parts or all of the S/4HANA Best Practice baseline content. They provide additional processes, solutions, configuration and scope items. This can include additional SAP on-premise and cloud applications e.g. SuccessFactors, SAP Analytics Cloud, intelligent innovations, SAP Integrated Business Planning and SAP Business Planning and Consolidation. Or they provide configuration and scenarios for a particular industry. They are purchased from SAP and include an engineered service to activate the SAP Model Company in your on-premise, hosted or cloud solution.

For more information see the SAP Model company page. Here is the current list of available Model Company services. Each one provides a choice of “scope options”. SAP upgrade the Model Company content at least once a year after the SAP Best Practices content is upgraded.

An SAP Model Company can be deployed in 3 ways: via Cloud Appliance Library, on-premise or hosted by SAP in HEC:

  1. They can be rapidly deployed into a new sandbox using an “appliance”. The Cloud Appliance Library (CAL) can be used to download a single SAP Model Company into Azure or AWS in a few hours. The Model Company must have been purchased from SAP, you must have the relevant software licences and pay the Azure or AWS hosting charges. CAL is available here:
  2. Alternatively, for an any-premise data centre, including cloud providers such as Azure and AWS, it can be set up in 2 to 3 weeks using a download or blu-ray disc.
  3. SAP can also host a Model Company in HEC (HANA Enterprise Cloud).

An SAP Model company can be used to jump-start a project that is SAP-led or being implemented by a partner. Some partners provide their own add-on content.

Because SAP Model Company services are all built on the same cross-industry SAP Best Practice baseline, SAP can rapidly merge or assemble many of the offerings together into a single instance. This is a good way to maximize the number of ready to run business processes.  This is called Assemble to Order and can take 3 to 4 weeks. It is possible because SAP’s content is “interoperable”.

SAP calls the deployment of one Model Company “prepackaged”.  The assembly of multiple SAP Model Company services is called a “Assembly”. An assembly typically consist of one industry Model Company combined with multiple Line of Business Model Company services.  You can use the SAP Model Company Navigator to check how they are typically combined.

An SAP Model Company is normally used to build a sandbox system. Like SAP Best Practices, they include sample organization structures and master data. It is good practice to back-up the sandbox as soon as the Model Company is deployed, so you can easily reset it if required. If a custom edition has been deployed, content can be selectively transferred from the sandbox into a development system or in some cases a “shell” copy of configuration can be transferred. SAP must know that this is the intention before setting up the sandbox.

The SAP Model Company for Multinational Corporations allows you to use SAP Best Practices for multiple countries in one SAP instance. It can form a baseline in the SAP S/4HANA Cloud extended edition.  For more details on this important “foundation” Model Company, see my blog:

A service one-page summary like the one below is available for all SAP Model Company services.

For more detailed information on a particular Model Company contact your SAP Service Account Manager. Some SAP Model Company services have detailed information in a “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. See an example contents page below.

Some of the industry and Line of Business Model Company services are available for just one or two reference countries: USA (US) and Germany (DE).  They must be localized to a target country after they have been activated.

SAP Model Company services are updated one or more times a year. The main update is done about a quarter after the SAP Best Practices are updated. Each SAP Model Company has a version number e.g. Consumer Products 1909-V2. This means it is based on S/4HANA version 1909 and this is the second version of the Model Company content released.

Note: when you deploy S/4HANA software without a SAP Model Company you get default configuration in client 000.  When a Model Company is deployed you get a subset of the client 000 configuration that is compatible with the Model Company.  This subset is defined in a “white list”. This may mean you do not get default configuration for a part of the SAP solution that is not in the SAP Model Company scope.

Trial editions of SAP Model Company services are no longer available.

For more detailed information and training, see the new course on SAP Model Company here:  Or see the intro on YouTube.

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.

Amin Hoque
Enterprise Architect at SAP Services UK

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  • Dear @Amin.Hoque


    its really a short and Informative blog


    SAP Best Practices

    SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions

    SAP Model Companies

    I really enjoyed Reading it


    Best Regards


  • 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,

  • Hi Amin

    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.

    Best Regards

    John Brittain



  • 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.





  • 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


  • Dear Amin,

    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




  • 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,

    • Hello Javier

      Both are cloud hosted.


      SAP CAL for Model Company

      • SAP licences required
      • Must buy the Model Company service through SAP.  Contact your SAP Services Account Manager.
      • Sandbox solution is yours to do with as you will e.g. configure or upgrade software or do developments.
      • Most Model Companies are available to be deployed from CAL.  They are deployed from CAL individually.
      • For assembly of multiple model companies, contact your SAP Services Account Manager.
      • Deployed from CAL to Cloud Provider: Cloud Azure, AWS or Google Cloud Platform
      • Signed Statement of Work is required to access Model Company in CAL.  Model Company available within a  few days of deployment.
      • Pay Cloud Provider hosting fees for usage.  You can check rates in CAL.
      • Must have Cloud Provider account and SAP S-user account.


      Trial Edition Model Company 

      • No SAP licences required
      • Short term 30 day trial with no extension possible
      • Limited to 10 users and some scope and documentation limitations
      • Only certain Model Companies available
      • No configuration is possible
      • Buy immediately from SAP for a nominal price via the SAP Store
      • Deployed from CAL to Cloud Provider: Cloud Azure, AWS or Google Cloud Platform
      • Available within a day or so
      • Pay Cloud Provider hosting fees for usage
      • Must have Cloud Provider account and SAP S-user account.



      Kind regards

      Amin Hoque.

  • Hi

    Customers, who want to implement an S4 public cloud,  best practice will be upgraded quaterly along with Model company that is upgraded quaterly too?

  • 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”.

  • Hi Amin:


    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. 

    • Hi James

      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

    • Hi Juan

      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.

      Kind regards

      Amin Hoque