Why Activate Alone Won’t Guarantee SAP S/4 HANA Success

Activate is a methodology created by SAP which is used to implement many of their products including S4/HANA. Launched in 2015 it is the successor to previous methodologies such as ASAP and SAP launch. Divided into 6 phases, it can be described as a hybrid approach to project management combining waterfall elements such as quality gates with agile elements such as waves and sprints to produce work packages. While activate is a solid foundation on which to base a SAP S4/HANA implementation, it can’t work alone without customisation or additional considerations.

One common criticism of Activate is that it’s a purely technology-based approach which fails to accommodate organisational change management. By not considering how the target operating model will impact roles and business processes, implementation projects will struggle to formally close down and move to a BAU state as staff are not able to work properly in the post implementation environment. The overall organisational structure of a company may need to change as certain functions become obsolete. Job roles may need to be altered as certain tasks once carried out by staff become automated. The skills profile of an organisation will need to be re-evaluated, some skills will no longer be required while others may now be in demand (and if there is a shortage, HR may need to look to the external market and launch recruitment campaigns).

Activate also assumes standard project management practices take place without explicitly defining them. Communication is a critical workstream in any project which is underrepresented in Activate. Project managers need to ensure stakeholders are kept up to date to prevent delays or dependencies being missed. There is also little recommendation with regards to reporting. With several key optics to consider including schedule, risk, and benefits, as well as a hybrid project management approach, governance reporting needs to be carefully considered and agreed to ensure meaningful MI is presented to facilitate informed decisions.

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About the author

Michael has been part of Integrated Cloud's journey since 2013 and has worked as a key resource on several large transformation programs for clients all across the world. Michael is Head of Product Configuration, meaning he uses industry knowledge and expertise to head up the team that implement changes to CloudCube using the CloudCubeDNA low code application builder toolset.