Approach for a Differentiation Strategy rather than an Extensibility Strategy
Article Series “Bringing Together Clean Core, Cloud, the SAP Extension Suite and SAP BTP – A Clean Core and Differentiation / Extensibility Strategy”
This posting is the seventh part of a series, which proposes a functional-strategic approach to Clean Core to help overcome the challenges, which the prevalent technical approach entails. Visit the overview page for a management summary and links to the other postings.
Introduction and Recap
As described in the previous post on the Clean Core Strategy, the Differentiation Strategy is specified, once the business capabilities have been identified which require an implementation using the SAP Extension Suite and optionally the SAP BTP. Those businesses capability, for which the SAP Standard can be used without any development, are treated separately. The Differentiation Strategy complements the introduction of the SAP Standard and details a new architecture and a new approach which are applied in parallel to it. Both activities are compatible and need to be run in synchronization, as will be described in the post on the methods for the new approach.
A New Approach Bringing Together Clean Core, the SAP Extension Suite and SAP BTP
However, as has been argued in the post on the required paradigm change, it potentially causes a lot of problems, if the traditional approach is applied to the new situation with Clean Core, the SAP Extension Suite and SAP BTP. Instead of just incorporating them and continuing with a technical approach, a fundamental switch towards a strategic-functional approach is required. Therefore, the first concerns should not be about the selection between the different extensibility options, but about the specification of a comprehensive functional and technical architecture which provides an integrated overview of all required differentiation logic. Additionally, the starting point is not the SAP standard so that a completely new approach is required for Clean Core.
Matching with the new framework for Clean Core as proposed in the previous post, the new approach focuses on the organization-specific differentiation instead of on the SAP standard. Clean Core means planning the differentiation from the beginning on from a functional-strategic perspective and designing an overall architecture for the differentiation which leverages both standard functionality and the SAP BTP capabilities for building up an SAP landscape, which is optimally adapted to the individual organization. Therefore, the starting point and basis is the specification of a strategic vision for the standard-based custom applications as part of the clean core strategy described above. Consequently, Clean Core is primarily a functional-strategic task, and the first step is a review of the business strategy and business architecture to deduct a strategic target picture specific to the differentiation composed from standard services. In contrast to the procedure of classic Fit-to-Standard, with Clean Core, organization-specific processes neither need to get squeezed into the straitjacket of the SAP Standard, nor does the standard need to get twisted to support them. Instead, Fit-to-Standard is only used for processes and capabilities which do not implement any competitive advantage and can get completely adapted to the SAP standard, as described above.
An Integrated Instead of An Isolated View
A further key difference between the new functional-strategic and the traditional approach is that the individual pieces of functionality are not dealt with in an isolated way. Instead, first an overall functional concept and application architecture is designed, including a solution map which shows which service delivers which functionality. The functional overview is subsequently translated into an overall technical solution architecture, which outlines how the individual services are integrated and which additional logic is required to glue them together. Furthermore, it details the architecture principles and structures which are required for realizing a flexible service- and API-based application.
Methods and Techniques for the New Approach to SAP Clean Core
An overview of some methods and techniques for putting the new approach into reality is provided in the next post.