Setting Up SAP Best Practices for an On-Premise SAP S/4HANA System Part 2 – Using Accelerators
Organizations ready to migrate to SAP S/4HANA can leverage a full list of accelerators provided by SAP to jump-start a Best Practices-based implementation. Accelerators simplify implementation projects through previously tested and validated tools such as ready-to-use process flows, test scripts and test data.
In the first of this three-article series, we covered how to leverage Best Practices for a migration to a SAP S/4HANA on-premise environment from a legacy SAP ERP Central Component (ECC) 6. (For more information on migration Best Practices, SAP has a site with details about specific versions by function and country.)
Migrating to SAP S/4HANA allows organizations to capitalize on the improvements and simplification delivered by the solution. S/4HANA provides a path to digital transformation, creating a foundation for organizations to integrate technologies such as AI (Artificial Intelligence) and IoT (Internet of Things) to improve internal business processes and enhance the customer experience.
CenturyLink recently embarked on our own SAP S/4HANA journey to prepare for our customers’ migrations. We took full advantage of the available Best Practices and accelerators to very positive results. We used a U.S.-based S/4HANA 1610 system for our initial implementation, and subsequently upgraded to a 1709 S/4HANA system.
The scope of our project included the implementation of more than 30 Best Practices, which allowed us to leverage many of the deployment tools and accelerators provided by SAP.
We started by visiting the SAP Best Practices Explorer site, which is designed to accelerate your time to value with a S/4HANA implementation. Explore the SAP Best Practices site to expedite excellence and efficiency in your own implementation.
Figure 1 shows a screen capture of the SAP Best Practices site for a version of S/4 HANA 1709 customized for the U.S. market. The site gives you the option of choosing another version and country by clicking the dropdown box under “Version.”
To proceed, navigate to “Solution Scope” to view the business processes available for specific functions. Select the function relevant to your deployment. In our example, we selected the “Supply chain” function.
You then are given three choices to proceed: “Warehouse Management, “Extended Warehouse Management” and “Inventory.”
The “Inventory” option opens a menu of four Best Practices, each accompanied by a brief description. We selected “Procurement of Direct Materials,” as shown in Figure 2. This took us to a screen highlighting the specifics of this Best Practice, including an overview and configuration. Most of the Best Practices are assigned alphanumeric codes. You will notice the code for “Procurement of Direct Materials” is J45.
The same page also gives you process flows and test script links, as illustrated at the bottom of Figure 3. Each process flow is available in two formats – HTML and BPMN2 (Business Process Model and Notification XML format). The HTML version of the process flow is shown in Figure 4.
The BPMN version allows you to modify the existing process flows so you can adapt them to your business. To open the process flow in BPMN format, you can download a free version of Eclipse from their website.
Once the download is complete, you will need to install the BPMN Modeler tool from within Eclipse. Then you will be able to use Eclipse to open and edit BPMN Process flows.
Figure 4 shows what the HTML version of J45 looks like.
The process flow itself is pretty descriptive. SAP provides a detailed test script for each of the business processes. A separate section accompanies each test script with details of the Organization and Master data it uses. There is also a “Preliminary Section” that describes how to set up all prerequisite transactional data you need for running the test script.
Actual test steps, such as “Log on” and “Display Purchase Order,” provide detailed instructions and the expected results (Figure 5).
To learn more about the test data created when activating a Best Practice, click “Accelerators” on the SAP Best Practices Explorer page, and then click “Master data overview.”
This opens an Excel document (Figure 7) listing all the master data elements created by the activation of the Best Practice, with cross references to its use in the business process.
Preparation and Fine-tuning
In our internal migration project, we found that SAP provides useful, simple-to-use tools to explore Best Practices and rapidly implement, test and assess the enhancements available in an on-premise S/4HANA environment. We certainly benefited from using the business processes, detailed process flows, and test data and plans. As a result, we gained a better understanding of the nuances of the solution and are better prepared to handle business processes and fine-tune them when required.
In the third – and final – installment of this blog series, we will cover data migration tools and options. We also will share some of the lessons learned from the implementation of a Best Practice-based SAP S/4HANA 1709 environment, which is now set up in our COE and being used by several customers for assessments, demos, and proofs of concept.