Transformation is Now – Highlights of the SAP S/4HANA Cloud 2108 Release and SAP Activate
In 2020, we called it a ‘year of transition’. In 2021, I would like to rebrand the “year of transition” to a “year of transformation”. Jan Gilg, President of SAP S/4HANA, said in an August 4th SAP Press Release, “…we can look forward to shaping our future rather than just grinding through the present. Companies are re-configuring their operations and inviting opportunities to transform their businesses”. I could not agree more with Jan. Our customers are contacting us daily and asking for help to not only transform their business to the cloud, but to transform their entire ecosystem to be in lock step with the future. Our customers are not only reevaluating their business goals but are convinced that they must adjust in real-time and sometimes change the goals entirely with the changing market conditions.
In my blog post from last week, Highlights of the SAP S/4HANA Cloud 2108 Release, we announced the 2108 Release of SAP S/4HANA Cloud. Filled with many new innovations and features, SAP S/4HANA Cloud is transforming the way businesses operate. We not only evolve with the world; our technology evolves how the world operates. With the ever-changing regulations and the charter to remain compliant with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), the many EU regulations, and now the “Lieferkettengesetz”/ Supply Chain Law in Germany/EU, we have launched many enhancements to SAP S/4HANA Cloud which is directly helping our customers gain more control of their financial data.
In another blog post from last week, Best Practice and Agile – How Does That Go Together? Differentiating Processes Are the Flip Side of Commodity Processes, I spoke about “Transforming your business is key” as one of the leading themes and introduced you to two customer examples that perfectly balance the two flip sides of the same digital transformation coin: The fast lane and unprecedented time to value with commodity processes on one side and agile and fail forward adoption of differentiating processes on the other. SAP Activate’s Fit-to-Standard workshops are centered around the “cloud mindset” and help our customers in both use cases. These workshops are the core of SAP Activate to help the customer go through this decision making and design process. In both customer examples Fit-to-Standard is used to identify truly differentiating processes and focus on how to preserve their value or in some cases increase their value. Whereas with the commodity processes Fit-to-Standard looks how to optimize its continuous innovation and adopt the processes as close to the cloud standard as possible.
SAP delivers all these innovations at an increasingly faster pace. Just a few weeks ago Almer Podbicanin, Head of SAP S/4HANA Cross Product Management and SAP S/4HANA Portfolio at SAP SE, posted here about the release of “Continuous Feature Delivery” in SAP S/4HANA Cloud. With this new capability to deliver software innovation faster, our customers gain access to new features more rapidly while being able to set their own pace in adopting these new features.
I realize that this is a lot of information to consume for anyone and I wanted to provide more confidence and value with wrapping the discussion around our methodology. SAP Activate is the SAP implementation and deployment methodology that is “connected at the hip” with our Product Engineers and Co-Innovation teams. From asset management to sustainability, Product Experts work together to write the guidance for implementing and running all the great new features of SAP S/4HANA Cloud. Just last week, the same day as the SAP S/4HANA Cloud 2108 Release was announced, the SAP Activate for SAP S/4HANA Cloud implementation roadmap was released.
The SAP Activate is in lock step with the product itself. It includes Best Practices for all SAP S/4HANA Cloud scope items and the project plans from Discover phase through the Run phase throughout the entire lifecycle of the project. I realized that no other company in the world does it this way. SAP Activate is the key to the SAP S/4HANA Cloud car created at the same factory by the same engineers. SAP Cloud Application Lifecycle Management is the mission control center for getting the car ready for the race. Self-guided and content-driven implementation plans based on SAP Activate methodology and Best Practices content. Fast onboarding of project teams and progress monitoring of implementation activities. Project planning synchronized with SAP Cloud solutions release timelines manages implementation tasks – automatically generated and adapted to the customers’ scope -, supports Fit-to-Standard workshops with convenient visualization of business models and process descriptions, prepares and manages manual and automated testing scenarios and it also comes with integrated reporting capabilities.
Some of the key highlights from the SAP Activate 2108 Release to help guide the customer through the implementation journey are:
- Added to the run phase, a new task on the Test Data Refresh service that allows customers to refresh the Quality tenant with transactional and master data from the Production tenant. The task,Evaluate and Request Test Data Refresh Service, provides guidance and links to content supporting the service.
- Improved the guidance in task Access SAP Cloud ALM and Create Users related to the initial setup of SAP Cloud ALM. New procedure steps and an accelerator link to a setup blog were added.
- Improved the guidance related to the setup of the quality tenant via SAP Central Business Configuration in task Execute Initial Setup of the Quality System via SAP Central Business Configuration.
- Exchanged the links and references to the SAP Activate jam group with links and references to the new SAP Activate Community. Please follow the community to stay informed of the latest content.
- Remodeled the deliverables and tasks in the Operations and Support workstream to provide better guidance and more detail. Added new accelerators to support the procedure changes.
- Consolidated several tasks in Run related to support services into one task, Access SAP Support Service. This enhances the user experience by consolidating the needed information and accelerators.
For a complete list of improvements, please see the release notes on SAP Activate for SAP S/4HANA Cloud Release blog post. You can access the SAP Activate methodology for SAP S/4HANA Cloud here.
In addition to the SAP S/4HANA Cloud, public cloud edition, the SAP Activate Methodology content for RISE with SAP S/4HANA Cloud, private edition has been enhanced for SAP S/4HANA Cloud 2108 with improvements to help guide the customer through their implementation journey. Here again are some of the key highlights:
- New User Experience tag in the Roadmap Viewer to improve the navigation and help identify the deliverables, tasks and accelerators relevant to SAP Fiori and User Experience.
- Extensive addition and improvements to the Operations and Support workstream to include the information on SAP’s Customer Center of Expertise (CoE). Examples include update to the task Clarify Operational Readiness and Ensure Operational Readiness in the Prepare phase, new deliverable Operations Model and Capabilities with three new tasks update and a new task Plan Transition and Handover.
- Updates to the Roadmap Graphic to reflect all changes made. The graphic can be found in the Overview section.
- Various improvement based on the feedback we continue to gather from our internal stakeholders, partners, and customers.
Inside SAP S/4HANA Podcast
As always, I would like to encourage you to subscribe to our podcast “Inside SAP S/4HANA”. This 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.
openSAP microlearnings for SAP S/4HANA
Just a couple of months ago, we launched openSAP microlearnings for SAP S/4HANA as an exciting new learning opportunity. What began with a small batch of 20 videos, has now become a channel with more than 50 microlearnings that have generated over 20,000 views since then. Today we cover multiple lines of business, like Finance and Manufacturing & Supply Chain, and key technology topics like Master Data Management, Extensibility, User Experience, and Upgrade Management. We are continuously adding new microlearnings to the SAP S/4HANA channel, so make sure you check them out.
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 Community – now fully integrated with SAP Community. The community brings together SAP S/4HANA Cloud customers, partners and SAP experts and has a clear mission: deliver an interactive community to engage with one another about best practices and product solutions. We invite you to explore the new SAP S/4HANA Cloud Community ‘one-stop shop’ as the central place for all resources, tools, content questions, answers and connect with experts to guide you through your SAP S/4HANA Cloud journey.
For more information on SAP S/4HANA Cloud, check out the following links:
- The power of best-in-class and Next Practices business content for a modern ERP blog post
- SAP S/4HANA Cloud: The Intelligent ERP blog post
- SAP S/4HANA Cloud: New Product Releases here
- Latest SAP S/4HANA Cloud Release blog posts here
- SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation Content here
- SAP S/4HANA Cloud release info: http://www.sap.com/s4-cloudrelease
- SAP S/4HANA PSCC Digital Enablement Wheel here
- Inside SAP S/4HANA Podcast here
- SAP S/4HANA Cloud Community here
- SAP Activate Community here
- Best practices for SAP S/4HANA Cloud here
- Help Portal Product Page here
Follow us via @SAP and #S4HANA, or myself via @SDenecken