By Manoj Bajaj and Rajaram Gopalan

Several organizations are considering a move to SAP S/4HANA now or in the future. Those on SAP ERP Central Component (ECC) 6.0 have the option of migrating to the on-premise version of SAP S/4HANA, either in a private cloud or a more traditional environment. Implementing SAP S/4HANA on premise gives organizations the flexibility to customize the environment, develop tailored interfaces, user experiences, reports, and more.

Adopting a “greenfield” approach with an on-premise environment enables organizations to capitalize on the many simplifications, enhancements, and database performance and throughput improvements available in the SAP S/4HANA system. This approach can truly put them on the path to a digital transformation or help them re-invent processes that are ready for going digital. They will have a foundation for integrating machine learning, IoT, and AI solutions to better meet the demands of their customers, vendors, and partners in the digital economy.

But what are the best ways to deploy an on-premise SAP S/4HANA environment?

In this multi-part blog series, we will discuss the steps you can take to set up an on-premise SAP S/4HANA system based on SAP Best Practices, so you can get a jump-start on your SAP S/4HANA journey. Our recommendations are based on CenturyLink experiences in setting up a SAP S/4HANA 1610 environment, which was subsequently upgraded to SAP S/4HANA 1709.

What Are SAP Best Practices?

An SAP Best Practice contains everything you need to map and start using an industry-standard business process in SAP. To provide the look and feel of the SAP S/4HANA environment, a Best Practice includes:

  • Implementation methods
  • Configuration
  • Sample master data

Why Use SAP Best Practices?

Activating an SAP Best Practice reduces the time for prototyping and test-driving the solution, and minimizes the learning curve for setting up and adopting industry-standard, pre-delivered content. It enables assessment of available functionality in the standard system that can address your business requirements. It can also streamline any requirement-gathering workshops or fit-gap analyses you might conduct.

How Do You Activate SAP Best Practices?

Activating SAP Best Practices in an on-premise SAP S/4HANA system is a straightforward process. Start by importing the solution (or solutions) from the Best Practice solution content, via transaction /n/SMB/BBI.

Use this menu path for importing the solution:

You will see a pop-up window with available Solution Builder content. The naming convention includes the SAP HANA version and country code. For example, the SAP S/4HANA 1610 Best Practice content for the United States will be under “BP_OP_ENTPR_S4HANA1611_USV3.XML.”

Import installation data through this menu path:

You should see a pop-up window with available installation zip files. Once again, the file-naming convention includes the SAP S/4HANA version number and country code.

After importing the necessary content, you’ll need to decide which SAP Best Practices to activate. SAP provides a number of Best Practices in every module, but you can limit the scope by selecting the ones most relevant to your current business processes and business drivers.

For further information, you can find detailed descriptions and process flows for all SAP Best Practices here.

The installed solution set is copied to create a Z version. In this version, select only the SAP Best Practice based on the identified scope.

Now select the solution, and click on “Implementation Assistant” button.

On the subsequent screen, click on “Activate” button. Doing so activates the SAP Best Practices you identified.

Make a Client Adjustment

Client 000 contains all the configuration settings that used to be available as part of the IDES client in earlier versions of SAP S/4HANA. Client 000 also includes sample company configurations in SAP S/4HANA. During a new install of SAP S/4HANA, the system is set up with client 000 in a sample configuration, and client 100 with an empty configuration table. Once SAP Best Practices are activated, the configuration for those specific processes is copied into client 100.

During our SAP S/4HANA Best Practice activation, we noticed that some of the configurations are either missing or not complete. For example, a few of the standard movement types were missing  not all of the material types were in the new system. We were able to address these issues by running a program to copy the missing configuration from client 000 to 100, or adjusting the client 100 configuration data by comparing it with client 000.

Take the Next Steps

SAP Best Practices can help accelerate your S/4HANA journey when you’re taking a greenfield approach to an on-premise environment. Of course, SAP Best Practices can also be helpful in “brownfield” on-premise implementations. You can use the SAP Best Practice library to compare and adjust the processes you have previously implemented.

In the next blog post, we will cover test data, test scripts, process flows, and other accelerators available as a part of the SAP Best Practice activation. We’ll also share our own experiences with testing and activating various business processes for our demo and proof-of-concept SAP S/4HANA 1709 environment, which is being used by several customers for assessments, demos, and proofs of concept.

In the meantime, if you’d like some help with your SAP S/4HANA journey or have any questions about activating SAP Best Practices, please register for a free one-hour consultation.

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