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How standard software is finally becoming the standard

Implement SAP S/4HANA easily with SAP Activate

We recently received a request for a quote for the planning and realisation of an ERP implementation project.  It contained basic descriptions of organisations and processes, screen shots of the current IT solution and a catalogue of requirements with nearly 770 questions on a variety of functions and other demands. Our reply would be considered in a vendor selection procedure and ultimately result in negotiations. In the end, we were supposed to create a business blueprint document for our solution as part of a preliminary project.

As a result of this procedure, the customer’s requirements concentrated primarily on the status quo. The new solution was mainly intended to replace the legacy ERP on a 1:1 basis; new functions were implemented with secondary priority, if at all. In most cases, this led to heterogeneous solutions that were heavy on compromises. But we aspire to raise enthusiasm for the available standard functions and templates.

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Why new approaches to ERP implementation are needed

Cloud-based ERP solutions need a different implementation mind set than on premise solutions. It focuses more on standardised, best-practice-based solutions and less on customer-specific developments. All operational formats in the SAP environment now benefit from such methods, from the classic variant with a national hosting partner or on premise to a variety of cloud approaches. 

SAP Activate defines a project methodology that has been developed especially for SAP S/4HANA. It contains technical and methodological tools that incorporate standard industry and country processes and default settings as early as the analysis phase of the ERP implementation, as well as those available during that phase. Based on this information, the customer can determine which operating models are possible at all. If there are functional, legal, or organisational requirements that the cloud versions do not (yet) support, the on premise solution is the better choice. This means SAP Activate can save time, money and other resources compared to conventional blueprint documents. 

This method is applied regardless of whether the SAP S/4HANA project is a completely new implementation or a migration project for a conventional SAP ERP 6.0 system. The new system not only has to replace the legacy solutions on a 1:1 basis; it also has to serve as the foundation for organisational developments in the coming years. SAP S/4HANA will thus become the intelligent core for consolidating information, processes and people; for process automation and for all forms of digitalisation that have to be integrated in the business context. 

SAP S/4HANA: Standardised processes are making ERP software the standard

To unleash the full potential of SAP S/4HANA, it can’t just meet the requirements from the past. It has to be based on the defined best practices as far as possible and only marginally designed around customer-specific functions. We believe that SAP Activate is the ideal procedure for turning these standards into a standard software solution. Unexpected surprises can be ruled out.

SAP Activate uses agile methods, guarantees efficient realisation as close to the SAP Best Practices as possible – published and proven in thousands of installations – for standard processes and default settings, eliminating all significant project risks that were potentially present in the original methods. Among the most important new features of SAP Activate is the extensive solution documentation of the preconfigured industry-specific and country-specific best practices. The key elements of this documentation consist of business process model and notation (BPMN) flowcharts, process and function descriptions and references to the relevant web and mobile apps for utilising the respective functions.

The benefits are apparent:

  • Extensive, theoretical blueprint documents are no longer needed.

  • The vast majority of the processes can be modelled in accordance with best-practice standards.

  • Operability is guaranteed 100 per cent, thanks to standardisation.

  • Any necessary additions to the standard can be defined as binding and designed in detail.

  • Customers prioritise their enhancements intentionally and cost-efficiently – and the wish list shrinks.

  • All documentation is produced for the specific customer over the course of the project and made available online, in the latest version over the entire life cycle of the SAP solution.

From SAP Activate to Innflow iActivate

Innflow AG took SAP Activate and streamlined it for use in SMEs, while enhancing it with additional document templates. Our method is Innflow iActivate. Compared to earlier methods, the preliminary project in iActivate has a full-featured SAP S/4HANA sandbox system, including best-practice default settings and fully-defined model company, from the beginning. A plant tour and updated outline of the business model is followed by a strategic future assessment with regard to growth, organisational development, internal and external digitalisation, and any additional stages within the value chain.

After this, fit-to-standard workshops (Workshop A) are used to compare the customer’s business process list with the standard industry-specific and country-specific functions that are available in the SAP solution. A note is made wherever the customer is satisfied with the scope of standard functions. An exclamation mark is entered next to processes where the customer requires the standard to be enhanced or altered.

Workshop B then deals with all of the processes so marked. Any desired additions to or deviations from the SAP standard are described in detail and only keyword classification is needed here (mandatory/desirable/planned/optional), since the functional proof for all of the standard processes accepted has already been provided. 

Other benefits of Innflow iActivate

This method also lets customers get to know the new world of SAP with its functions and terminology. We believe that it’s better to look ahead than to use a blueprint document to re-tread the past.

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