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Author's profile photo Andreas Muno

The first 5 steps to sustained customer success with SAP S/4HANA Cloud

When budgets are too tight for cloud implementation projects, the Solution Adoption workstream of SAP Activate for SAP S/4HANA Cloud might get thrown under the bus. But cloud projects that do not take solution adoption, organizational change needs or end user training seriously might set themselves up for failure. Then, all budget was a waste.

You can set up your cloud project for sustained success with these 5 steps.


  1. Before beginning to execute along the tasks of it, study the entire SAP Activate Roadmap workstream for Solution Adoption beginning to end thoroughly.
    The purpose of this workstream stretches far beyond the realm of the otherwise implementation focused Activate methodology. It is defined from the perspective of customers’ aim for quick yet sustained and increasing business value creation along the entire subscription lifecycle. One main prerequisite for that value creation is quick and sustained adoption by the users of S/4HANA Cloud. One of your leading questions might be, what will have to be true for employees to embrace S/4HANA Cloud with enthusiasm?
  2. Work backwards through the Activate phases, Run, Deploy, Realize, Explore, Prepare, Discover. Ask yourself, what will have to be accomplished in which of the previous phases for the last phase, Run, to be declared a sustainable customer success.
    With purpose, goals, and indicators of success in mind you can more easily determine the steps leading up to them and their pace.
  3. Use quality gates of Activate to list and check for those accomplishments. Negotiate with your project management to allow for Solution Adoption Q-gates to be marked off early to initiate the next phase.
    As you work backwards you might notice that organizational change management and the associated learning take longer times than the Activate phases for system related tasks might call for. You probably need to start out some tasks as early as possible. Example: Learning by end users could start as early as the Discover phase. There may be some user groups you know from the beginning will most likely be affected by the introduction of cloud ERP. They can start learning right away. Trial systems are available for free. Product documentation like SAP Help and SAP Best Practices are available at any time.
  4. Now that you know what the expected outcomes are, determine your preferred role(s) and define how you would like to contribute specific value in the solution adoption workstream, along the model roles SAP Activate calls for during Organizational Change Management team setup (below). Those OCM roles are OCM Team Lead, OCM Expert, OCM Team Member, OCM Team Resource from Departments, Change Agent, or Training Lead.
    With skill profiles, responsibilities, required activities well described in advance, clarity on your preferred role and defined value contribution indicate transparency and competence to the other OCM team members. It helps in finding out about roles yet to be assigned, in simplifying collaboration down the line, and may help prevent finger pointing later.
    As a customer, with the implementation project progressing, you may want to take on ever more responsibility for organizational change management. By the time you go live, you should have all organizational measures in place to sustain and perpetuate your adoption momentum. As you adopt new features, functions and technology with frequent updates of SAP S/4HANA Cloud, you may want to focus your own employees on conceiving of ways to run your business ever better, and consider relegating routine activities to business process outplacement specialists, or to bots. Learning how to automate routine activities and monitor them efficiently should become some of the foremost skills to acquire for your process experts.
  5. During the Discovery phase, share and discuss the SAP Customer Organizational Cloud Readiness whitepaper, assess the cloud ERP adoption risk, and familiarize yourself with the Activate workstream at depth (see #1). Learn about the specific corporate strategy, the objectives of the organization’s digital transformation. Connect strategy and DX objectives to the implementation project. Assume and embrace your project role. In any OCM project role, carry the banner of sustained customer success.
    The whitepaper and the Activate workstream assets indicate typical expectations for project outcomes and continuous transformation requirements. The cloud readiness assessment provides for insights into the specific status quo of the organizational mindset towards cloud adoption, reveals explicit adoption obstacles, and determines respective aggregate risk. It then offers counter measures commensurate to the identified risk levels guiding towards successful and sustainable cloud ERP adoption.


SAP Recommended OCM Team Composition.png

Solution Adoption Tasks in SAP Activate Roadmap.png

If you have further questions about solution adoption, go to the SAP S/4HANA Cloud Customer Community homepage, and speak with Edmin, ask the community, talk to your SAP Customer Success Partner (CSP), or your systems integrator.

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      Author's profile photo Feras Al-Basha
      Feras Al-Basha

      Great blog and helpful guidance. Thank you for sharing Andreas !

      Author's profile photo Marissa Ren
      Marissa Ren

      May I know the initial set-up of organizational structure is set by the customer or SAP?

      Author's profile photo Irene Dennehy
      Irene Dennehy

      Hello Marissa Ren , thank you for reaching out!

      While the SAP S/4HANA Cloud road map gives the customer the guidelines and set-up of OCM structure, it is the customer's responsibility to ensure all road map tasks are covered and completed, one by one, in the right time. It is the customer who needs to own the OCM activities, by forming the "Solution Adoption team" with a team lead, professional OCM team members, the head of learning as well as departmental resources and change agents. Ideally, the assembly of an OCM team and the initial approach to OCM concepts should start as early as the discover phase. For further info on this road map please check here:

      However please note that certified and highly skilled SAP or partner consultants are available to provide further guidance with insights from past implementation and OCM successes. The solution adoption work stream does provide for an active role for partner or SAP OCM experts and team lead as you can see in the figure below. so customers won’t have to go this transformation journey alone.

      The beauty of the activate methodology lies in the fact that it is defined from the perspective of the customer's aim for highly motivated user adoption, and their ambition for sustained and increasing value creation along the entire subscription lifecycle.

      I hope this clarifies your question?

      Author's profile photo Marissa Ren
      Marissa Ren

      Thank you Irene Dennehy for the very detailed answer. One more thing to confirm, can the customer activate Best Practices by themselves or it can only be done by SAP operation?

      Author's profile photo Andreas Muno
      Andreas Muno
      Blog Post Author

      Marissa Ren, yes, customers can activate individual Best Practice scope items in S/4HANA Cloud themselves. You find them at Most of them are pre-activated with the broad selection made during the Digital Discovery Assessment. The implementation portal, part of SAP Cloud Application Lifecycle Management (SAP Cloud ALM or CALM for short) at guides through the project governed by the SAP Activate implementation methodology. In the Explore and Realize phases the scope of the implementation details for going live and beyond is determined by the project team in the so-called Backlog and then configured in the customer's S/4 Quality tenant in agile sprints. There may the occasional scope item which may need some support through SAP's operation team, but they are the exception rather than the rule. Please turn to your SAP Customer Success Manager (CSM) or Customer Engagement Executive (CEE) when you get to those.

      Does that help answering the question?

      Author's profile photo Marissa Ren
      Marissa Ren

      Thank you, Andreas Muno. It's clear now.