Maximizing the potential of SAP S/4HANA implementation within organizations entails maintaining the solution as closely aligned with its standard configuration as feasible. This strategic approach enables expedited integration of the latest advancements introduced by SAP for both cloud-based and on-premise systems, thereby fostering a rapid adoption of innovative features.
During the SAP S/4HANA implementation, organizations can leverage the remarkable flexibility and extensibility options ingrained in the solution, facilitated by the comprehensive development environment. However, it is crucial for the implementation team to exercise careful judgment as certain choices made during the project can potentially result in escalated total cost of ownership during subsequent regular operations and system upgrades. To ensure a cost-effective and seamless environment, SAP strongly advises project teams to prioritize adherence to standard functionality and exercise caution when utilizing extensibility and custom coding techniques, reserving them exclusively for critical scenarios that necessitate adaptation to align with specific business objectives. When undertaking an SAP HANA migration, partnering with a knowledgeable SAP implementation partner can further enhance the implementation process, ensuring optimal utilization of the solution’s capabilities while minimizing any potential cost implications.
SAP has released a set of invaluable guidelines to assist project teams, architects, technical and functional consultants, as well as key users, in the successful implementation of SAP S/4HANA. In the subsequent sections, we will delve into each of these guidelines, providing a comprehensive understanding of how to apply them effectively within your SAP S/4HANA project.
Let us begin by examining these guidelines from a high-level perspective and exploring the associated business benefits.
Cultivate a Cloud-Centric Mindset
In order to minimize or completely prevent customization, it is essential to carefully align cloud solution implementation with the software’s standard capabilities. By incorporating a fit-to-standard strategy into your project, you can organize seminars around an assessment of the basic features offered by SAP software. These packages offer pre-delivered procedures as a starting point whether you decide to base your solution on SAP Best Practises, the enterprise management layer for SAP S/4HANA, or an SAP-qualified partner package.
You may gain the support of your business users and work together to identify any new requirements, also known as delta requirements, that might call for configuration or creation during the software implementation by displaying these already-existing processes to them. This method reduces the need for considerable customization while maximizing the power of standard functions, fostering a more streamlined and effective SAP S/4HANA setup or SAP HANA migration.
Utilize Preconfigured Solutions and Harness the Power of SAP Fiori
The second golden rule builds upon the principles discussed in the previous section, emphasizing the use of preconfigured and readily available standard business processes. By adopting these preconfigured processes that align well with your organization’s needs, you can leverage the inherent functionality of SAP S/4HANA. However, implementing this rule may require a significant focus on change management within your organization, encouraging stakeholders to embrace the new standard processes instead of customizing them.
This approach is particularly relevant for business processes that are essential for your organization’s operations but do not provide a distinct competitive advantage. In such cases, it is beneficial to adopt the standard processes and rely on SAP for continuous innovation and enhancements. By doing so, you can streamline your implementation project, reduce complexity, and ensure ongoing alignment with SAP’s latest developments.
Some examples of these processes that lend themselves well to standardization include:
- Financial and accounting closure
- Asset management
- Accruals for purchase orders
- Maintenance in advance
- Emergency repairs
Harness the Power of Modern Integration Technologies
The third golden rule emphasizes the importance of leveraging modern integration technologies to connect your SAP S/4HANA solution with other systems within your landscape. SAP offers a range of predefined integrations specifically designed for SAP-to-SAP integration scenarios. These integrations, recommended by SAP, enable seamless connectivity between SAP S/4HANA and other SAP software, such as SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central or SAP Ariba. To discover these pre-delivered integration scenarios, you can explore the SAP Best Practices Explorer.
When it comes to integrating homegrown systems or systems from other vendors, SAP suggests utilizing SAP’s Cloud Integration capability, which is available through the SAP Integration Suite. This capability covers both cloud-to-cloud and cloud-to-on-premise integration scenarios. By employing SAP’s Cloud Integration capability, you can achieve robust and reliable integration between your SAP S/4HANA solution and external systems, ensuring seamless data exchange and process synchronization.
Embrace Modern Extensibility Technologies
The fourth golden rule emphasizes the utilization of modern extensibility technologies available in SAP S/4HANA to tailor the solution to the unique requirements of your business. SAP S/4HANA offers a diverse range of extensibility options that enable organizations to customize and enhance the solution. Here are the recommended extensibility options:
Key User Extensibility: This option empowers business users with the ability to adapt and extend SAP S/4HANA without the need for extensive technical knowledge. Key users can leverage built-in tools and features to configure and personalize the solution to better align with specific business processes and requirements.
Developer Extensibility: For more complex customization requirements, developer extensibility allows developers to create custom logic, enhancements, and extensions using advanced programming techniques. This option provides a higher degree of flexibility to tailor SAP S/4HANA to unique business needs while ensuring compatibility with future upgrades.
Managed Extensibility Using SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP): SAP BTP provides a comprehensive set of tools and services that enable organizations to manage and deploy extensions in a cloud environment. This option facilitates the development, deployment, and maintenance of custom applications, integrations, and workflows, ensuring seamless integration with SAP S/4HANA.
When implementing SAP S/4HANA, partnering with an experienced SAP implementation partner is highly recommended. They possess in-depth knowledge of these modern extensibility technologies and can guide you in selecting the most suitable options for your business requirements. Collaborating with a skilled implementation partner ensures that your extensibility efforts align with the best practices, enabling a robust and future-proof SAP S/4HANA implementation or SAP HANA migration.
Foster Transparency in Deviations
The fifth golden rule focuses on the significance of maintaining transparency regarding any deviations from the preceding rules (Rules 1-4) throughout the SAP S/4HANA implementation or SAP HANA migration. It is crucial to document these deviations clearly to ensure accessibility and understanding for future system upgrades, application of patches, or maintenance activities conducted by the service center. The primary purpose of this rule is to provide visibility into the design decisions made during the software implementation process.
Transparency regarding deviations becomes particularly essential during upgrades when new capabilities are introduced, potentially requiring reconfiguration of existing features to align with the updated software. For instance, new functionality introduced in a subsequent release (X+1) may impact the way the application operates, necessitating adjustments to the configuration. In such scenarios, comprehensive documentation that includes decision rationales becomes paramount. This applies not only to configuration but also to integrations and extensions implemented within the system.
By following these guidelines and leveraging the recommended strategies, organizations can unlock the full potential of SAP S/4HANA, drive digital transformation, and achieve sustainable business growth.