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Author's profile photo Jan Musil

Updated 5 Golden Rules for implementing SAP S/4HANA Cloud

Happy new year 2023. I’m happy to announce the recent updates to SAP Activate methodology for implementation of SAP S/4HANA Cloud, private edition that will help you establish better governance and controls in your program.

Since introduction of SAP Activate to the market in 2015, we have learned a lot about what it takes to deploy SAP S/4HANA Cloud in organizations efficiently. One of the key learnings that impacts the efficiency of the deployment is project team’s ability to manage scope of requirements that result in new custom code, code changes, and new objects introduced in the system. You may hear your project team talk about implementing with clean core mindset, cloud mindset, or fit-to-standard mindset. All these terms mean that the project team wants to carefully consider and control all requirements introducing new custom code that will need to be managed during the system lifetime. And that they have preference for re-using standard processes before introducing custom code and custom objects.

SAP recently published detailed guidance for extending SAP S/4HANA solution document on sap.com – Extend SAP S/4HANA in the cloud and on premise with ABAP based extensions. This document forms foundation for the Golden Rules for implementation of SAP S/4HANA with Cloud Mindset that SAP first introduced few years back to align the project team members along common set of practices and rules that help streamline the deployment process for SAP S/4HANA Cloud. We have recently updated these golden rules and related accelerators in the SAP Activate methodology. This blog post will provide you with the updated golden rules and key resources to leverage them in your next SAP S/4HANA Cloud program.

Golden Rules for Implementing SAP S/4HANA

SAP introduced these five golden rules for Implementing SAP S/4HANA with Cloud Mindset few years ago mostly focusing on customers deploying private cloud version of SAP S/4HANA Cloud. While they were aimed at that audience, I believe these rules represent the optimal way to deploy the SAP S/4HANA software and enable continuous innovation through the lifetime of the system. Let’s look at these rules as they are embedded into the SAP Activate methodology and are enabled through pre-configuration that SAP and SAP partners deliver.

  1. Foster cloud mindset by adhering to Fit-to-Standard and Agile Deployment detailed in SAP Activate
    • Leverage SAP standard processes where possible
    • Deploy your solution incrementally with short releases and sprints
  1. Use pre-configured solutions with predefined processes and utilize SAP Fiori UX
  1. Use modern integration technologies
  1. Use modern extensions technologies
    • Follow guidance from Extend SAP S/4HANA in the cloud and on premise with ABAP based extensions
      (A) Extend solution using released remote or local SAP APIs; (B) Extend SAP objects only via predefined extension points; and (C) Leverage cloud-enabled and released technologies.
    • Retire custom ABAP extensions that you no longer need and renovate existing custom ABAP extension using cloud extension techniques
  1. Ensure transparency on deviations from these Golden Rules
    • Any deviation must be clearly documented as part of the implementation process; this will help the customer replace these with standard capabilities if they are offered in the future
    • Use standard capabilities of SAP Application Lifecycle Management tools to document the solution

(*) only included in the subscription package for SAP S/4HANA Cloud, extended edition
(**) only applicable for SAP S/4HANA On Premise, SAP S/4HANA Cloud, extended edition, and SAP S/4HANA Cloud, private edition

5 Golden Rules for implementation of SAP S/4HANA Cloud

Customers that adhere to these rules realized following benefits:

  • Faster time to value
  • Lower cost of initial deployment and on-going cost of running the solution
  • Ability to absorb innovation delivered by SAP at a faster rate
  • Lower risk during the deployment of the solution
  • Higher flexibility and lower reliance on one system integrator
  • Deployment of future-proof solution utilizing modern technologies

You will find these rules in the SAP Activate methodology in Roadmap Viewer or in accelerators in SAP Cloud ALM as you use the methodology in your implementation project.

Governance and its benefits

While these rules are easy to understand conceptually, they can be challenging to enforce unless your project team puts in place appropriate governance structures and processes. To do that, SAP Activate offers task and associated accelerator providing template to establish so called Solution Standardization Board (SSB), or if you prefer Design Control Board. This governance entity is established as part of the deployment program. The SSB template recommends the composition of the board (roles and responsibilities), as well as meeting cadence, and process flow for reviewing all requirements that could result in custom code or custom objects (see on the image below).

Governance framework: Solution Standardization Board

Customers that implemented this governance process and controls in their projects have reported significant savings and increased ability to control the scope of work. Review this blog post from Andre Malan about project that significantly reduced number of custom objects despite setting up the SSB governance during the Realize phase. If you follow Activate you will be setting up your governance in Prepare phase before fit-to-standard workshops begin and will have even better control of the requirements.

I hope that the resources introduced in this blog post will help you get your project under control and enable you to continuously innovate your SAP S/4HANA Cloud environment. Summary of the key resources listed in this blog post:

Let me know in the comments about your experiences in managing the scope of custom code in your program. What works? What doesn’t? What have you learned that could help others in their future deployments?

Stay tuned for more updates and blogs.

Follow the SAP Activate page on the SAP Community. Remember to turn on your notification to receive updates or information about items requiring your attention. To enable notifications, follow the steps on the SAP Community Resources page.

SAP Activate minute

Check-out our bite-size videos on SAP Activate Minute on our YouTube playlist. New videos are dropping every two weeks in 2023.

Inside SAP S/4HANA Podcast

As always, I would like to encourage you to subscribe to our new 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 practices.

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      5 Comments
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      Author's profile photo Saumitra Deshmukh
      Saumitra Deshmukh

      Thanks for the updated rules Jan Musil

      Author's profile photo Sergio Ferrari
      Sergio Ferrari

      Thanks for updating the 5 Golden Rules and keep us updated with latest SAP ACTIVATE news

      Author's profile photo Frank Li
      Frank Li

      Thanks for sharing.

      Author's profile photo Anil Bhardwaj
      Anil Bhardwaj

      Thanks for sharing. Indeed, helpful info.

      Author's profile photo Michael Huang
      Michael Huang

      Thank you very much for sharing.