SAP's S/4HANA Activate Methodology: The Missing Pieces

Written By: Michael Huang
Date: July 1, 2019

Despite improvements over previous methodologies to implement SAP S/4/HANA transformation, the Activate methodology is not a silver bullet that addresses all the needs of your S/4HANA transformation. In fact, blind faith in the SAP Activate methodology is what has led to SAP failures at Revlon, Lidl, and other organizations in recent years.

Some challenges that we see a lot of organizations run into includes: rushing into implementation with no clear vision or plan, delegating the entire transformation to your system integrator without addressing their deficiencies, and having unrealistic expectations. This article is designed to outline a few missing pieces that you can use to ensure a successful SAP S/4HANA implementation so that you can run your business smoothly without any hiccups.

Cliff Diving into your SAP S/4HANA implementation

This first challenge of cliff diving refers to when your organization dives into a project without really knowing what they want. This is problematic because at this point the SAP system integrator may take over and you’ll be stuck trying to make decisions while the meter is running.

Something important to note: Never let your technology run your company; know what you want out of it and don’t just hop on board new software expecting it to solve all your problems. When you just jump off the cliff into your project you also will be spending too much time and money on it that could have been avoided if you had planned earlier.

This may lead to some organization frustration down the road as your team members/employees may wonder why you’re even trying to implement something if you don’t have a plan for it. That’s why it’s important to outline what you want and what you expect before you start your digital transformation project. This should all be part of your SAP S/4HANA transformation readiness plan.

Critical missing pieces of SAP S/4HANA Activate methodology

When we’re looking at the SAP Activate methodology, we can outline a few things that are missing. These missing pieces are important to understand because sometimes they can make or break your project. Only by understanding what’s missing in the methodology can we understand what we need to do to further the project.

  • Organizational design: There’s no workstream here that’s focused on making standardized or common business processes. The Activate Methodology doesn’t exactly pinpoint what your organization should do to alter its design to better handle S/4 HANA.
  • Standardized/common business processes: While you may want to do a specific business process to be done a certain way, the methodology doesn’t exactly outline how exactly the business processes will be done on the other end. Model Company is not a one size fits all solution.
  • Change impact analysis: How do we want our jobs to change? How will this methodology change the way we do our jobs? These and other key questions should be addressed in your SAP organizational change management strategy.
  • Build skills and competencies (non-technical): How can we make sure that we understand what the methodology will bring to our organization? How can we leverage this methodology so that it helps us in the future?
  • Communications Plan and Materials: Communication of the plan is absolutely important for the success of the project. If nobody understands what’s going on, then the plan won’t go anywhere and may delay the project.

Conclusion: The Activate SAP methodology is a good starting point, but know where to augment it with other critical transformation best practices

At Third Stage we want to make sure that your project goes as smoothly as possible with no hiccups along the way. We are a technology agnostic group with deep expertise in SAP, as well as with other ERP systems.

As always, we are here to give you any advice you need, and you can also check out the video that we posted regarding this topic as well (see above). Understanding the missing pieces to the SAP S/4 HANA Activate Methodology is important to your project’s success, and we at Third Stage are here to help you every step of the way.

Feel free to contact us to discuss how our independent and agnostic approach to S/4HANA transformations can help make yours more successful.

Michael Huang

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