SAP Activate Q&A: SAP Authors Answer Your Questions

Sven Denecken, Jan Musil, Srivatsan Santhanam, and Bob Byrne, SAP employees and authors of our book SAP Activate: Project Management for SAP S/4HANA, sat down this week for an SAP Activate Q&A, answering reader questions about the methodology on our Twitter profile. Here's a recap of what was asked, and what they had to say.


Q: Does SAP Activate cover SAP modules such as finance, logistics, SAP APO, EWM, TM, and BI?

A: Yes. SAP Activate covers the full scope of SAP S/4HANA and beyond. Check it out on the Roadmap Viewer here. SAP Activate also covers hybrid deployment scenarios between SAP S/4HANA Cloud and SAP S/4HANA instances running in headquarters and subsidiaries. Many customers benefit from SAP Activate guidance here.


Q: Can SAP Activate be used in all contexts and, if not, what are the prerequisites for its use?

A: SAP Activate works for all contexts of software—from basic learning to agile solutions, and we have optimized it for SAP projects. The SAP Activate methodology Jam page has 35,000 members and is open for everyone. You can find more guidance from peers here.


Q: How does SAP Activate compare to ASAP?

A: We can’t deny the role of Accelerated SAP (ASAP) to shaping how SAP implementations are done today. SAP Activate built on the good and added cloud, fit-to-standard, quality, and agile content to make it more applicable for today’s projects.



Q: Is an agile approach part of SAP Activate? Is it relevant for ERP implementation? What are the situations where a waterfall approach is still valid?

A: Absolutely! SAP Activate builds on a SCRUM, agile approach. The key for SAP customers is to couple the agile approach with reuse of preconfigured content and fit-to-standard. SAP Activate combines best practices, proven implementation methodology, and guided configuration tools to fast-track the deployment of SAP S/4HANA. It’s the project management methodology to perform a successful SAP S/4HANA implementation in an agile way.


Q: Is SAP Activate always applied in the same way or are there variants? If so, how does the customer know how their implementation project will go?

A: SAP Activate can scale up or down depending on solution, size, geographic scope, etc. We have specific variants for SAP S/4HANA, SAP Ariba, SAP SuccessFactors, SAP Analytics Cloud, and more. With these, the general principles are adhered to, but also tailored to solution specifics and technology.


Q: Is there any prerequisite for business requirement gathering prior to performing an implementation with SAP Activate?

A: The requirements are gathered progressively throughout the project, but the majority do happen in fit-to-standard workshops in the explore phase. Fit-to-standard is so important—especially in times like these—because it helps you to not get lost in the specialties of any IT project from the get go. Customers that don’t want to miss a beat in these challenging times can use the Playbook for remote fit-to-standard as a guide. These fit-to-standard guides can be found at the Roadmap Viewer—the specific guides we recommend to review for fit-to-standard in the cloud can be found here.


(Learn more about the Roadmap Viewer here.)


Q: What is the importance of the role of SAP project manager or director for the future, taking into account agile and other methodologies?

A: The project managers/director role is important in SAP projects. SAP Activate provides you with a roles and responsibilities accelerator that details it out well beyond this single role.


Q: Does SAP Activate require the use of an external integrator such as Accenture, IBM, etc.?

A: It is not a requirement; many customers have skilled project teams themselves. That said, good partners always help, provided they leverage SAP Activate.


Q: At what point in the SAP Activate methodology would you hire a partner to help you implement an upgrade to SAP S/4HANA?

A: Typically the consideration of system integrator would happen in the discover phase as part of your strategic planning. Always check for experience, especially for the partner’s cloud mindset as well. Having a true cloud mindset is a very important dimension and success criteria when you pick a partner.


Q: Does the SAP Activate prepare phase always end with a baseline build to better explore gaps?

A: The prepare phase focuses on getting the system ready for fit-to-standard conducted in the explore phase. Customers use BP or MC content to set up. In the explore phase, the customer gets to see a working system and can judge required configuration and tailoring. Delta requirements go to the backlog for work in the realize phase.


Q: Would you please clarify “preconfigured solution” in SAP Activate? Is it hardware? Software? Is it documentation?

A: Preconfiguration provides a starting point with ready-to-run business processes that can be put into the initial system for fit-to-standard. Generally speaking, SAP provides Model Company (multinational industry and LoB) and best practices. Our partners also have packages that can be used.


Q: It seems that the SAP Activate methodology is able to promise a secure implementation project. Can you explain precisely how? What is the added value of this particular methodology compared to another?

A: Great question. There are numerous security and quality-focused areas as part of SAP Activate. This includes quality planning in the prepare phase, Q-Gate execution all throughout, physical and application security in the guidance, and more. Security is part of the design work all the way through.


Q: Will there be changes to SAP Activate in the future? If so, should I wait to migrate to SAP S/4HANA until it's mature?

A: SAP continues to invest in and evolve SAP Activate to keep it in step with the product offerings and lessons from projects. You can keep in step with SAP Activate on the SAP Activate Jam page—sign-up and we can keep the Q&A going there.



Q: How does SAP Activate support machine learning and robotic process automation?

A: SAP has added machine learning (ML) and robotic process automation (RPA) content into the Extensibility workstream, and incorporated it into the fit-to-standard procedures as part of the flow of SAP Activate. You can find the content in SAP Activate for SAP S/4HANA Cloud today and more will be coming this week with the 2005 release.


Q: What is covered in your book?

A: Our book introduces SAP S/4HANA and SAP Activate, explores key concepts and the methodology, and details adoption scenarios using SAP Activate—whether that be an on-premise, SAP S/4HANA Cloud, or hybrid deployment; new implementation (greenfield); system conversion (brownfield); or selective data transition. The book also overviews other opportunities for utilizing SAP Activate, such as with SAP Ariba, SAP SuccessFactors, etc. Finally, the book includes certification preparation questions for you to test yourself with.


Q: Is your new book just support material for the courses for certification?  Or would I be able to read this material and achieve certification?

A: While the book does not substitute the courses, it of course contains preparation questions and helps expand your knowledge as well.


Explore five golden rules for implementing SAP S/4HANA with SAP Activate here.


SAP Activate: Project Management for SAP S/4HANA and SAP S/4HANA Cloud
SAP Activate: Project Management for SAP S/4HANA and SAP S/4HANA Cloud

Planning your SAP S/4HANA implementation project? This book has the expert guidance you need for every step of the journey! Learn about SAP Activate, including key concepts, the methodology, and supporting technologies. Understand your workstreams for configuration, data migration, extensibility, and more—then dive into deployment. Walk through the key phases and deliverables for your project, whether you’re performing a new implementation or system conversion, and see what’s possible with a two-tier ERP setup. Get ready for a successful go-live!

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Sven Denecken, Jan Musil, Srivatsan Santhanam, and Bob Byrne
by Sven Denecken, Jan Musil, Srivatsan Santhanam, and Bob Byrne

Sven Denecken is the head of product management and co-innovation for SAP S/4HANA at SAP. He is responsible for both on-premise SAP S/4HANA and SAP S/4HANA Cloud. Jan Musil is the chief product owner of SAP Activate and the owner of the SAP Activate certification exam. Srivatsan Santhanam leads the two-tier ERP Center of Excellence from the SAP S/4HANA Cloud product management team. Bob Byrne is a senior product manager in the product engineering board area.