Project Delivery Framework for SAP Cloud for Customer (Sales)
Selling today is more complex than ever; you need to know your customers’ unique challenges, their industry, what they like, and how to help them achieve their business’ objectives. To top it off, customers are better informed, more socially-connected, and switch products, services, and vendors more easily than ever before. To overcome these challenges, high-performing sales organizations are building their sales forces with SAP Cloud for Customer. Therefore, sales projects need to be up to speed, productive, scalable, and impactful. This is why we use SAP Activate framework to run our projects. It allows us to benefit from an agile and iterative approach that's been tested in many projects across various regions and industries.
Table of Contents
Project Delivery Framework Fundamentals
Before going into the details on how each phase works, the following principles and practices need to be understood because they are the foundation of every SAP Cloud for Customer project and they are important across all phases.
- SAP Activate is the combination of SAP Best Practices, assisted implementation, and agile methodology
- Build the cloud solution rapidly to accelerate validation activities and initiate realization
- Fit-to-standard analysis
- Leverage key system design principles and recommendations
- Use iterative build of capabilities (sprints) and prototyping. Additionally, frequently validate the results with business users to facilitate adoption and product release
- Manage project and perform normal risk and quality management, with a structured quality management plan and pre-defined quality gates, from the start
- Do not treat change management as an end-state. Instead, acknowledge that continuous enhancements will be the new way of operating
Delivering SAP Cloud for Customer with SAP Activate
The project delivery framework for SAP Cloud for Customer described in this article aligns with SAP Activate and adapts to the different phases below. SAP Activate is the next generation SAP implementation framework. It gives customers the freedom to get up, run quickly, and innovate continuously with SAP Cloud for Customer. SAP Activate is the guiding methodology for the Prepare, Explore, Realize, Deploy, and Run phase. This section will cover the importance of each phase, at a high level.
The Prepare phase provides the initial planning and preparation for the project. During this phase, the project is started, plans are finalized, a project team is assigned, and work to start the project optimally is underway.
- Define project goals, high-level scope, and a project plan
- Identify and quantify business value objectives
- Secure executive sponsorship
- Establish project standards, organization, and governance
- Define and secure approval for the implementation/upgrade strategy
- Define roles and responsibilities for the project team
- Validate the project objectives
- Develop a project team training strategy and start project team training
- Establish project management, tracking, and reporting mechanisms for value delivery
- Document all initiation activities in the project charter
- Pre-assemble (or establish) the project environment, infrastructure, and IT systems
- Prepare for the Explore phase
The Explore phase is where you perform a fit/gap analysis to validate the solution functionality, included in the project scope, and confirm whether the business requirements can be satisfied. You will also, identify gaps and configure values, which will be added to the backlog and used in the next phase.
- Prepare, setup, and conduct solution validation workshops
- Refine business requirements
- Identify master data and organizational requirements
- Confirm potential business processes
- Define functional solution design (including a gap analysis in solution design workshops)
- Explore custom development scenarios
- Associate business requirements to the process hierarchy and the solution components
- Identify integration scenarios and define conceptual walkthrough of integration
- Obtain business sign-off on delta requirements and design documents
- Collect end user information, analyze learning needs, and develop a learning deployment strategy
- Establish project management, tracking, and reporting for value delivery
During the Explore phase, solution experts from SAP lead a series of structured show-and-tell and solution design workshops. The workshops are designed to review the best practice functionality of the SAP solution, identify delta requirements or gaps, and document the conceptual design of the SAP enterprise solution to-be delivered.
The Realize phase is to build and test the integrated business and the system environment, using the business scenarios and process requirements identified in the previous phase. During the Realize phase, data is loaded, operations are planned, and adoption activities begin.
- Establish the solution landscape
- Implement the solution in the development environment using incremental time-boxed iterations
- Set up a QA, production environments
- Test the solution end-to-end in the QA environment
- Maintain Business roles and finalize screen layouts
- Set up user access rights and restrictions
- Set up interactive dashboards and custom reports
- Prepare for data migration and data archiving
- Conduct performance testing
- Conduct project team and key user training
- Finalize end user training materials and documentation
- Track and report on value delivery
During the Realize phase, the project team uses a series of iterations to incrementally configure, test, confirm, and document, the entire end-to-end solution. They will also, create legacy data conversion programs and work with business representatives, to make sure the built solution meets the requirements from the backlog. Towards the end of this phase, the project team releases the results of multiple iterations to business users (accelerates time to value) and provides early access to the completed functionality. The release is then thoroughly tested during the end-to-end integration and the user acceptance test.
The Deploy phase sets the production system, confirms customer organization readiness, and shifts business operations to the new system.
- Resolve all crucial open issues
- Conduct system tests
- Check that system management is in place
- Proceed with cut-over activities, including data migration, and end user setup
The Run phase optimizes and automates the operability of the solution. Operability is the ability to maintain IT systems in a functioning and operating condition. Operability guarantees systems availability and necessary performance levels to support the execution of the enterprise’s business operations.
Releases and Iteration
A large project is normally divided into slices or increments called a release. The size of a release can vary depending on the context and the feature’s complexity.
An example would be breaking down a 12-month project into 2-3 smaller releases, of relatively equal duration, with each release containing all the project phases. We recommend scheduling releases with relatively equal duration, whenever possible. Smaller releases can reduce project risk, improve time-to-market, and give more immediate visibility to the business and end-users. However, they need to be balanced with the overheads involved starting/ending each release.
Consider the following points:
- Before planning a release, it is necessary to know approximately when the customer team would like to release the working software to the business (frequency and approximate dates)
- The team also needs to know the relative priorities of the project backlog items that are based on input from the process owner
- Backlog items are prioritized and sequenced by the customer, with input from the implementation team
- Effort estimates in ideal person days are converted into calendar time, using known or estimated velocity. Velocity indicates the amount of work effort the team can complete per day, per work week or per sprint
- It is often necessary to estimate a team’s initial velocity. Be conservative for the first few sprints and calibrate the estimate from sprint 1-3
Combining SAP Best Practices, guided configuration, and SAP Activate methodology together will help you build smart and run simple. This project framework is applicable as a standalone implementation, as part of the SAP Sales Cloud, or the overall SAP C/4HANA program. You can refer to Overall SAP C/4HANA Project Framework to learn more about the project setup with multiple solutions across the suite.
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