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Author's profile photo Jan Musil

Busting Myths of SAP Activate Part 2

Some weeks ago, Dan Ciecko posted first article about the myths he has heard from our users or hesitant users. Today, I want to expand the list with few more myths about SAP Activate that I have heard over the past few years. Let us know if you like this type of blog posts and we may make this into a regular series. You can also share with us your questions or myths you have encountered in your use of SAP Activate or concerns you have personally. We are here to help you adopt SAP Activate in your current or next project.

 

Myth 2.1 (as part 2 myth 1): Using fit-to-standard in my design workshops will limit my options. I’ll be forced to use standard processes in my business. This will lead to destruction of value in our unique processes.

I have heard this myth expressed in many ways. Whether it is concern about being boxed into using SAP standard process or concern about destroying value that the organization has in the differentiating processes they developed over time.  These concerns are based on misunderstanding of the mindset applied during fit-to-standard. It is not an either-or proposition, but rather framework for thinking about business processes. The framework prioritizes use of SAP delivered Best Practices for non-differentiating commodity processes and preserves ability to extend pre-delivered processes for situations where organization created additional value with their own practices.

Sven Denecken posted examples of such situation in his recent blog “Best Practice and Agile – How Does That Go Together? Differentiating Processes Are the Flip Side of Commodity Processes”. He discusses the different approach used in situations where customer implements non-differentiating commodity process vs. when you implement truly differentiating processes.

The fact is that SAP S/4HANA Cloud provides you with capabilities to extend the solution using technology like open APIs or using RPA, AI and ML. Even in case of standardized commodity process, you have ability to adjust it to fit your context while preserving ability to innovate rapidly with each new release of software deployed to your system.

The goal is to strike balance between use of standard pre-delivered business processes for where organization will gain value from rapid innovation provided by SAP and where your organization creates value through truly differentiating business process or business practice.

Even for customers deploying SAP S/4HANA applications in private cloud or on-premise settings, SAP Activate provides guidance for setting up your project governance including Solution Standardization Board to better follow the 5 Golden Rules for Deployment of SAP S/4HANA Cloud. I have posted about this framework earlier in this blog and Andre Malan posted about his experience with this framework in customer project here – spoiler it helped the project team avoid large number of unnecessary modifications and developments.

Reality: Fit-to-standard approach doesn’t limit your options. It does however prioritize use of standard processes where their adoption provides organization with added benefits of faster initial deployment (e.g. time to value) and faster innovation cycle during the lifecycle of the software. Organizations can still decide to tailor the business processes that create additional value using the available extensibility and integration capabilities in the solution (including RPA, ML, AI and open APIs).

 

Myth 2.2: I cannot use SAP Activate in my organization that follows Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) practices

In the past few years I had conversations with several SAP customers that have adopted Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) in their IT organization for managing their implementation and operations teams. In some conversations customer team expressed that they can’t use SAP Activate in their SAP environment as they already use SAFe. While I understand that SAFe provides organization with value in orchestrating the work and aligning it with overall strategic intent, it doesn’t provide any SAP specific content and guidance. Thus, organizations using only SAFe are missing out on product specific guidance and instructions SAP delivers in SAP Activate.

To help customers using SAFe adopt SAP Activate I have summarized the recommended practices and principles to apply in this blog post. Not only do both apply the same principles of delivering value incrementally; using time boxes and iterations to focus the team on common goal and achieve it quickly; closely involving business users in the project activities; and using language common to agile space. They also align very closely from bottom up – SAP Activate is based on SCRUM framework for agile iteration to keep the agile framework lightweight for all sizes of customers. This allows you to adopt SAP Activate on the Team Level of SAFe seamlessly – the team performs the standard set of activities that they usually do during the agile project delivery – use backlog as repository of requirements, iterate in short sprints on subset of backlog items that they committed to deliver, perform planning, daily standup, sprint demo and retrospectives. The alignment on the Program and Large Solution Level can also be achieved, though in these areas I recommend you review the previous blog post as it details the work streams of Activate and their alignment into SAFe.

Reality: Customers that use SAFe can leverage SAP Activate in their projects and benefit from both the implementation guidance provided by SAP as well as realize the benefits provided by the scaled agile framework.

 

Thank you for reading this far. I hope you enjoyed another installment of SAP Activate Myths. You can explore more SAP Activate resources in SAP Community using tag  #sapactivate, we also encourage you to consider following our sister communities SAP S/4HANA Cloud and SAP Cloud ALM. Let us know your thoughts in the comments to this blog post or via questions in the SAP Activate community.

As always, I would like to encourage you to subscribe to our podcast “Inside SAP S/4HANA” and follow the SAP Activate tagon SAP Community. The podcast leverages the unique knowledge and expertise of SAP S/4HANA product experts, partners and customers to address your needs by sharing product insights and project best practice. There is no customer success without product success and project success; we help you get to the next level and make your SAP S/4HANA projects a success. Subscribe now and benefit from the shared knowledge.

Your voice matters! 

If you want to learn more and actively engage with SAP subject matter experts on SAP S/4HANA Cloud, join our SAP S/4HANA Cloud Customer Community. This platform which is available to SAP S/4HANA Cloud customers and partners has a clear mission: deliver an interactive community to engage with one another about best practices and product solutions.

For more information on SAP S/4HANA Cloud, check out the following links:

  • SAP S/4HANA Cloud Release Blogs here
  • SAP S/4HANA PSCC Digital Enablement Wheel here
  • Help Portal Product Page here

Follow us via our SAP Community tag and page #sapactivate and also the #SAP-S-4HANA-Value-Series, or myself directly via Jan Musil.

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      2 Comments
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      Author's profile photo Norbert Brumbergs
      Norbert Brumbergs

      Nice blog Jan!  As you know, I am a fan of fit-to-standard but I have found many consultants go overboard and lose sight of the fact that many customers have some differentiating processes whether for competitive advantage, branding or unique aspects of their sub-industry.  You have listed some great examples of how to make sure any of those unique requirements can co-exist with an otherwise standard SAP implementation.  This topic probably needs constant re-enforcement among SAP Activate practitioners.  My consultants at Applexus hear it from me all the time. 🙂

      You may want to check out my blog from earlier in the week about how we have included BPI to help identify some of those opportunities for RPA, ML, AI, etc.

      Author's profile photo Jan Musil
      Jan Musil
      Blog Post Author

      Thanks, Norbert Brumbergs. It is all about finding the right balance. I’ll make sure to check out your blog post.