SAP S/4HANA Best Practices Tour: Content Often Missed
Last updated: September 15 2021
When I work with customers and consultants, they sometimes do not know where to find all the SAP Best Practice content for S/4HANA. Some content is not understood and some is not found or just missed. This is particularly true for on-premise projects that could use some of the S/4HANA Cloud content to accelerate the project. Read on to make sure you are not missing anything. I provide 16 tips as I go along. All the SAP Best Practice content is accessed online free of charge.
If you are completely new to SAP, start with my colleagues Andrew Saunders’ blog for beginners: What is an SAP Best Practice anyway? For more detail including how SAP Best Practices are different to a Model Company, read my blog: What is the difference between SAP Best Practices and an SAP Model Company? This blog focuses on SAP Best Practices for SAP S/4HANA and does not cover SAP Model Company services or Best Practices for other SAP products.
Many SAP Best Practice scope items are the same for S/4HANA Cloud and On-Premise. However, there is some Cloud content that is not published for On-Premise. Conversely, there are some SAP Best Practices that are only relevant for Cloud and some that are only-relevant for On-Premise.
Solution Packages in SAP Best Practice Explorer
As ever, your first destination is the SAP Best Practice Explorer (BPX) at https://rapid.sap.com/bp/#/browse/categories/sap_s%254hana. Tip 1: Make sure you login to see all the accelerators. BPX is organized into solution packages and I describe the main ones here.
Most SAP Best Practice scope items are in the two main packages below:
- SAP Best Practices for S/4HANA Cloud (for public cloud previously called Essentials)
- SAP Best Practices for S/4HANA (on-premise, Cloud Private Edition and Cloud Extended Edition)
Tip 2: the Cloud package contains more scope items than the on-premise package and a lot of the documentation is still valuable for on-premise projects. More on this later.
These two packages are relevant for Cloud and On-Premise:
- SAP Best Practices for analytics with SAP S/4HANA: covers embedded analytics and content for SAP Analytics Cloud.
- SAP Best Practices for SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation integration: covers software, tools and content to automate processes.
Tip 3: go to the accelerators section in BPX and check out the scope presentations for a good summary of each Best Practice. Click here for a presentation that provides a super overview of SAP Analytics Cloud content for SAP S/4HANA Cloud.
The package Rapid Data Migration to SAP S/4HANA is only relevant for on-premise and uses the software called SAP Data Services that is not used in Cloud projects. The package provides predefined SAP Data Services content for many SAP data objects.
4 Categories of Best Practice for S/4HANA Cloud
In the SAP Best Practices for S/4HANA Cloud solution package, there are 4 categories of SAP Best Practice:
- Line of Business: End to End business processes enabled by configuration organized into building blocks. These are the most widely understood scope items.
- S/4HANA Cloud Integration: integration with other SAP Cloud solutions (e.g. Ariba), SAP on-premise solutions (e.g. Global Trade Services) and third-party solutions (e.g. OpenText).
- S/4HANA Cloud for Hybrid Deployment (2-Tier ERP): Line of Business and integration scope items for end-to-end hybrid scenarios where SAP Cloud S/4HANA integrates with SAP On-Premise. For example: a scope item for Subsidiary Integration of SAP S/4HANA Cloud to Central Finance (1W4).
- S/4HANA Cloud Extensibility: technical scope items about how to extend the solution. They cover “Side-by-Side extensibility” with SAP Cloud Platform (1RW) and “In-App extensibility” (1N9).
Tip 4: types 2, 3 and 4 are easily missed because they are not shown in the Best Practice Explorer (BPX) by default. (This used to be the case in the past). You must use the selector as shown in the screenshot below.
Like Line of Business scope items, Integration Best Practice scope items contain a factsheet, process flow and a test script. Line of Business scope items are enabled by configuration contained in building blocks. Instead, integration scope items provide “set-up instructions” telling the customer how to implement the integration. Tip 5: the integration set-up instructions are also useful for on-premise projects.
Many integration scope items also contain a Cloud Integration Automation Service (CIAS). This is only available in S/4HANA Cloud. It is a workflow that semi-automates the integration set up by leading the customer through the set-up step by step. Tip 6: To see a list of integration scenarios first click on the accelerator: SAP Best Practices content library. Then select SAP S/4HANA Cloud Integration as shown below.
2-Tier ERP scenarios are where SAP Cloud S/4HANA integrates with SAP On-Premise to provide end-to-end processes. On-premise is used for headquarters or shared service processes whilst cloud is used for subsidiaries, affiliates or partners in an eco-system. 2-Tier ERP scenarios consist of regular Line of Business Scope Items and Integration Scope Items. Tip 7: this presentation provides an overview.
Tip 8: In the accelerators section of BPX there are some useful links that can be overlooked.
These are particularly good:
- SAP Best Practices content library: a fast way of seeing a catalog of scope items with all the most useful links in one place.
- Create your own Master Data: all your master data in one place with master data scripts that step you through the process of creating master data.
- Task tutorials: step through recordings of the execution of Line of Business scope items. There are some available for SAP S/4HANA 2108 and 2020 on-premise that are not in BPX: https://education.hana.ondemand.com/education/pub/s4/index.html
- Process Steps, Business Roles and Apps: comprehensive Excel showing roles required to access apps.
SAP used to publish configuration guide PDFs for all the pre-delivered configuration in SAP Best Practice building blocks. These are no longer in BPX. As of release 1909, configuration guides were deprecated in the SAP Best Practices for SAP S/4HANA package. Tip 9: on-premise customers can generate information about pre-configuration in the system using transaction code /SMB/CONFIG_GUIDE_UI. See the Administration Guide here for instructions. Simply select the scope item ID, or building block ID. The report provides the IMG activity ID and IMG menu path for the configuration.
Business Driven Configuration Questionnaires
Tip 10: The SAP Activate roadmap for SAP S/4HANA Cloud provides useful questionnaires to plan and drive workshops and configuration. A lot of this content can also be used by on-premise projects. The questionnaires are published as Excel spreadsheets at this link in the roadmap. Part of the Finance example is shown below.
Activating SAP Best Practices for SAP S/4HANA On-Premise
SAP sets up the SAP Best Practices for SAP S/4HANA Cloud customers. Many organizations implementing SAP S/4HANA on-premise also get SAP to activate the SAP Best Practices through purchasing consulting or an SAP Model Company. Or they 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/
It is also possible to activate the content yourself using a tool called SAP Solution Builder. You can select what scope items you want and do not want. Activation creates many predefined configuration settings in your system. You can decide whether or not to create sample master data during activation. Tip 11. Many people think SAP Solution Manager is required to activate SAP Best Practices. It is not. Although it can be used alongside SAP Solution Builder, SAP Solution Manager is not mandatory.
SAP Solution Builder is software that runs in the S/4HANA instance. It allows you to import SAP Best Practice Content and selectively activate it into your on-premise development system or sandbox system. Use transaction code/n/SMB/BBI. In a development system, the transport system must be turned on to allow all the configuration to be captured in transports. Tip 12. Refer to the Best Practices administration guide for all the latest detailed instructions:https://help.sap.com/viewer/S4HANA2020_AdminGuide/c156f7d72c3a4a40963e9e12257da29f.html
Tip 13: Also refer to the SAP Activate Roadmap page which provides additional detail here: https://go.support.sap.com/roadmapviewer/#/group//roadmap/S4HANATRANSONPRE/node/001999B7BD851ED68D9533E2290F02CE:
There is also information about using SAP Best Practices with SAP Solution Manager. Tip 14. Check out this presentation
SAP Best Practice Upgrades
In S/4HANA Cloud Essentials Edition, upgrades to SAP Best Practice are published every quarter. Details are visible in BPX which provides guidance on what is new in the accelerators section. Customers can choose whether to activate new scope items or not. Customers regression test the configuration and software changes (master data is not changed). Tip 15: For more details see the SAP Activate Roadmap. Legal software changes are managed through this process.
In S/4HANA on-premise (and Cloud Private Edition / Cloud Extended Edition), upgrades to SAP Best Practice are published once a year. Again, details are visible in BPX which provides guidance on what is new in the accelerators section. If any changes are applied this is done manually or selectively using SAP Solution Builder. Tip 16: Because you have made your own changes to configuration using the IMG, the Best Practice changes may break your solution. They should be tested thoroughly in a sandbox before being applied to development.
I hope you found this blog informative.
Amin Hoque, SAP Services UK