SAP Customer Data Platform Project Delivery Framework
Project Delivery Framework Fundamentals
Before going into details about how each release and phase works, there is a set of fundamental principles and practices which should be understood for an SAP Customer Data Platform project.
The SAP Customer Data Platform can be implemented by applying different project methodologies. However, SAP Activate is a proven methodology that can help you to move fast.
The project approach for the SAP Customer Data Platform is not strict about agile or waterfall methodologies. Nevertheless, the recommendation is to use principles that are rooted in agile development methodologies such as building a minimum viable product (MVP), creating a backlog of use cases and activities from which you can prioritize, and realizing those use cases iteratively with quality baked in and clear acceptance criteria.
The project approach is based on multiple releases and phases within a release. This is sometimes referred to as a crawl-walk-run approach.
Identify the most valuable use cases to be delivered with the functional and technical scope. Consider keeping the scope such that it is both small enough but delivers the right level of business value within the time constraints that you may have. For example, consider only three use cases within a single region/business area leveraging 3-5 data sources and 2-3 destinations.
Always keep compliance with consent and legal regulations top of mind.
Delivering SAP Customer Data Platform with SAP Activate
The project delivery framework for SAP Customer Data Platform as described in this article is aligned with SAP Activate. The image below will provide you with a quick reference of SAP Activate phases for the first release of your SAP CDP implementation.
Note that the Discover and Run phases are no less important to the success of your project, but are represented differently since they are not the focus of this article.
- Explore and define the “where”, “why”, “how” and “what” of the project, including scope, architecture, planning and costs.
- Create an initial solution design.
- Software licenses are typically procured and the base solution provisioned
- Some level of handover from the team who were involved in purchasing the solution; possibly having defined the business case for the solution, and an adoption roadmap
The main goal of the prepare phase is to, set the foundation for the project
- Project Planning and Governance
- Formally recognize that a new project exists and initiate the work
- Align concerned parties around the project; its goals, scope, and plan especially
- Obtain a commitment to proceed
- Secure the required resources
- Develop all required project management and planning documentation
- Prepare a consistent system for overseeing efficient and effective project execution
- Project Team Alignment and Enablement
- Have the team build their knowledge and skills related to the SAP CDP. There are a number of learning journeys, videos, formal trainings, and help pages available to facilitate this.
- Give the team enough time to review the project definition and the project information prepared above.
- Project Kick-off and Onboarding
- Ensure project team alignment on scope, timeline, resources, and assumptions
- Ensure that the project team resources and concerned parties have all the information that they need to be engaged in the project
The main goal of the Explore phase is to have an updated and approved scope baseline to move into the Realize phase, and build the solution. The phase is structured with three workshops, but these may not be held on different days/events. Conceptually, the use cases are to be defined, evaluated to determine which ones should be delivered within the project constraints, and then the technical details are fleshed out. The results of the workshops should be documented so that the project team and concerned parties are clear on the way forward.
- Use Case Definition (workshop #1)
- The goal is to discuss and formulate the key use cases for the CDP implementation
- The output is the initial set of use cases
- Value Determination and use case prioritization (workshop #2)
- The goal is to evaluate the use cases for measurability and business impact
- Further, it is to determine the key use cases to include in the MVP and prioritize them
- Finally, this workshop should document the goals and key performance indicators for the project and the post-go live metrics
- Design Principles definition (workshop #3)
- The objective of this workshop is to further prioritize the use cases based on business value
- Determine the necessary configuration and integration architecture to solve the use cases.
- The output of the workshop will be a refined set of use cases with documented configuration and integrations needed.
- Document Results
- Two documents are typically used for this purpose; a Functional Specification Document (FSD) which outlines the use cases themselves, and a Technical Design Document (TDD) which supports the technical aspects of those use cases.
- These may not be documents per se, but Epics, user stories, and associated test cases within an agile project tool.
During the Realize phase, the solution is configured in order to achieve the prioritized usecases
- Configure the solution
- Create Schemas
- Create Segments
- Create Activity Indicators
- Create Processing Purposes
- Set up Sources and Destinations
- Create Audiences, Journeys, and CX Flows
- Solution and integration testing
- Ensure that the data is properly loaded into the solution
- Prepare a test plan
- Ensure that the business processes and use cases are working as intended
- Address any significant errors
The Deploy phase is when the project team and the operations teams align on the preparedness of the solution to go live
- Go-live readiness Review
- Prepare the package from the development workspace to be imported to production
- Prepare connections from production CDP workspace to the related source and destination solutions
- Production cut-over
- Important considerations for cutover to production: have a clear approach and execution plan to import the packages, and ensure that the source system data is coming in and being captured properly
- Enable the audiences and CX Flows and ensure that the activity indicators are firing as expected
- Validate that the data is being sent out properly.
- Delivery to support handover
- Establish the technical operations monitoring and support processes.
- Ensure that there is a post-production support strategy in place
- Begin, or continue, to drive organizational change management plans
During this phase, the SAP CDP is live, and processing data as expected. Additional requirements/use cases may be in play and those can be added iteratively using a similar methodology as has been described, but may not necessitate a full project. Typically there is a period of time with active project team engagement post-go-live, so called “hypercare”.
Below are two tables outlining a typical make up of a project team.
SAP CX Services or Implementation Partner Project team
Customer Project team
|Key concerned parties||
|Marketer / Engagement Strategist||
|Marketing Operations / Data Strategist||
|Data Privacy Officer||
During a project, there will always be complexity and uncertainty that solution implementation teams must manage. Although this cannot be entirely eliminated, it can be significantly reduced by building the solution based on stable software such as SAP Customer Data Platform, and leveraging an appropriate methodology. There is no one-size-fits-all method for successful software development; the ‘right’ approach depends on your project needs which may even require combining different methods. The key is to have the appropriate skills and experience to understand the different options and how best to apply them.