Grow with SAP Public Cloud – Implementing SAP S/4HANA with a Cloud Mindset

Grow with SAP Public Cloud – Implementing SAP S/4HANA with a Cloud Mindset

We start implementing SAP S/4HANA public cloud projects by fostering a cloud mindset. We start with Preconfigured Best Practices Business Processes. It is ideal to foster the same degree of cloud mindset even if we are implementing private cloud or on-premise solutions so the systems are stable for upgrades. A cloud mindset is building the solution in a way it is stable for upcoming release upgrades, making it easy to evolve over a period of time.

We generally start implementing public cloud projects with pre-configured best practices. We can find them in the SAP Process Navigator.

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Here, in Process Navigator, we can see all the preconfigured best practices for SAP S/4HANA Public Cloud for all lines of business. We can see process flows that visually show us all the roles that are involved in all the activities that need to be completed in the system. We try to stick to these standard business processes while doing Public Cloud implementations so it will be easier for the customer to manage the system over a period of time. It helps the customer to enhance their functionality without much complexity and also helps the customer to implement modern technologies that are associated with business processes. If we find a Business Process Issue where a SAP delivered standard process is not meeting the business needs or customer’s business processes are not delivered by SAP as a part of Best Practices, then Consultants prefer to use the Custom Fields app to add custom UI fields in SAP S/4HANA Public Cloud. They explore the Business objects app to create custom objects and generate application UIs. The better way is using BTP as these custom objects would be decoupled in BTP. As a last option, we use Developer extensibility in the Development tenant of Development System.

The cloud mindset is essentially getting at or trying to build things in your system in a way they will be stable through future release upgrades. This also makes it easy for you to enhance, change or evolve your system over time. if we stick with the standard processes as much as possible, when SAP does a release upgrade, it will be easier for the customer to manage their system.

When we talk about implementing with the cloud mindset, The first thing is “Activate methodology”, where we can find standard tasks and deliverables. Here we can find everything you have to do in your implementation project without requiring redesigning or building. In some of the Public Cloud projects we may be implementing the entire enterprise scope plus a bunch of artificial intelligence as well as building something in business technology platform, and we may also enable the Mobile start app.

During Public Cloud implementation, usage of preconfigured solutions is very much enforced. You all know, we have this cloud mindset concept not only for public, But SAP also recommends customers to have a cloud mindset even for private cloud and for on premise implementations in order to have a consistent system.

To filter those things or tasks that we do in Public Cloud implementations, we usually use SAP Cloud ALM. When we set up the project, we establish the link from SAP Cloud ALM to Activate methodology. In this way we bring Activate Methodology content in SAP Cloud ALM for our project. This is the same even in case of the private cloud Implementation Projects. For public cloud projects, it’s very, very important because we do most of the implementation and project management activities in cloud ALM.

SAP Cloud ALM also gives you the ability to add additional custom tasks. Usually the project manager spends most his time managing the resources assigned to the project, tracking tasks, staffing people to different tasks. This tool gives a complete view of the Implementation project.

Plan the landscape with the integration solution advisory methodology.

The next step would be using modern integration technologies as an umbrella. During Public Cloud Implementations, take a look at integration solution advisory methodology, and just like the activate methodology.

The Next Step in Public Cloud Implementation would be using modern integration technologies. It helps customers in managing integrations. So first, we want to take a look at something called the integration solution advisory methodology. It is just like the activate methodology – having a bunch of tasks and deliverables focusing on the end and implementation of S/4. The integration solution advisory methodology is really focused on helping the customers evaluate their current integration landscape.

As a consultant we need to know the customers’ integration landscape. This is to understand what products are integrated to their current system. Maybe third-party solutions or even other SAP solutions.

We may need to set up integrations either to send data to S/4 or consume data from S/4. Once we have a meeting or call with the customer to walk through this to understand their current integration landscape, we will know which integrations need to actually be rebuilt. And then we can also propose some options to set up integrations. We also verify the benefits of actually using business technology platform instead of building integrations.

From a maintenance perspective, BTP is going to be easier to maintain in the long run. Because again, you don’t have to worry about the platform. Where your integration is running, it’s running in BTP. That platform is guaranteed to be up and running based on the service level agreement, which is likely 99.8% or more ( this is just example percentage) of the time.

BTP gives us many different options and where we have packages that you can reuse or build your own custom integrations. If a customer needs a business-to-business integration or a business to government integration, BTP provides a library of all of the options to help the customers decide what’s going to be the best fit for them.

So we start with integration advisory methodology. And that’s really something that the customer’s own developer team is going to take a look at and then filter out, to understand what doesn’t need to be set up with your S/4 system. Identify exactly what does need to be set up based on a digital discovery assessment. We can see those integration needs from DDA as we ask the customer what other products they are purchasing and planning to implement from SAP moving forward, or that they might already have. This will help the implementation team understand more precisely.

Using Modern Extensibility Technologies

1. Key User n-app Extensibility via SAP Fiori Extensibility apps
2. Side-by-Side Extensibility via SAP Build or other services on SAP Business Technology platform
3. Developer in-app extensibility using SAP S/4HANA Cloud ABAP Environment

Modern extensibility technologies

If we need to do some type of customisation or extensions, e.g. if customer needs a custom field on an app (as that app is not collecting all of the data that they need) they may need some additional fields to capture information.

First, we have to verify if we can use Extensibility apps to add that custom field rather than going to developer extensibility in the development tenants of the development system. The only thing we have to make sure of is that the newly added custom field that we’ve created in the app is collecting the piece of data that you need. So we can create extensions in the app using the in-app extensibility. These extensions are stable through future release upgrades and we need not worry about future release upgrades. The only concern point is if SAP releases a new app that replaces the original app that has been customised. Keep this in mind any time you have an extension. There is going to be a certain degree of maintenance, so if there’s a release upgrade at some point in the future, a new app gets published and replaces the original one. Someone needs to go in and make sure to add that custom field that we’ve created to the new app. As another option, we consider using business technology platform then integrating into S/4HANA. Then change lives in BTP. There’s an app that allows you to pull in to S/4HANA from BTP via Token created in BTP.

BTP is a public cloud platform as a service. It is easy to integrate two public clouds and is very easy to set up that connection. We already know, as part of the Grow with SAP package, customers are getting a bunch of free user seats to use as they prepare to build process automation and build apps.

Of course, you do have the ability to go into the development tenant of the development system. Remember that we do the majority of our work In the customising tenant, not the development tenant of the development system. Usually we want to avoid this as much as possible because that is always going to increase the maintenance requirement. So we always try to stay away from customising things as much as possible. In my opinion, we will have to avoid doing extensions using apps as there is always going to be some type of maintenance and upkeep there.

Whether we did it using key user extensibility or developer extensibility, we still have to redo the customisation that was built. But extension done using side by side extensibility, will be separated. Generally that’s going to be the least affected by any release upgrades because we’re decoupling, we’re separating that customisation in a totally different system. It no longer lives in the S/4HANA system, it lives in the business technology platform and is simply integrated in to S/4 via Token.

As a consultant, I always keep in mind this question: how do I make it easy for the customer to maintain after go live and through future release upgrades? This kind of cloud mindset makes the customer’s life easy as they can maintain the system easily in the future.

Scheduling &Conducting Fit to standard workshops by fostering Cloud Mindset

The objective of the Fit to standard workshop with Business users is to get confirmation from the Process owners that the scope defined in Digital Discovery Assessment works for them and also takes the additional requirements. It is a “Show & Tell” session. Implementation consultants demonstrate business processes to Process owners and validate.

Ideally, I will have the same Business process experts that participated in the business-driven configuration questionnaires. I will also expect the same Business team for testing and UAT also. In a perfect world, it should work this way.

During Fit to standard workshops, we will show and tell Business processes end-to-end on a Public Cloud system by fostering a cloud mindset. During this session they will see how the SAP Public Cloud system works. We can also create user IDs for them and can give them access to the starter system if they want to try it out for themselves.

Consultants show them how to download Test Script from process Navigator. They can download the test script and walk through the process themselves.

They provide feedback on what their system needs to look like and now consultants can actually build it and test it in the starter system.

Please note, people participating in Fit to standard workshops may be the same or some people might be joined additionally. So we will have to give them a background on what we’re implementing. If this does not happen, people who are newly joined won’t be aware that kickoff has already happened, and they may also be unaware of what product.

Consultants working on the public Cloud project must understand that business users’ participation is incredibly valuable. We don’t know their company – but they know their company, their business, what they need, and what reports they need. So consultants need them to look at the software with those eyes. They learn how to do their job tasks in this new system. When you talk about each individual scope item, discuss them one at a time. We look at the process flow diagram.

It would be good to have two consultants leading each workshop. One person should be demonstrating and showing the customer experts. And the other person can open “requirements app” in SAP Cloud ALM to record requirements.

Once we get requirements, we may also have to verify if there is any configuration. We need to do this from Central business configuration.

To conduct Fit to standard workshops for SAP S/4HANA Public Cloud Implementation projects, you may visit

Roadmap Viewer (

You will be able to download PowerPoint presentations provided by SAP to start F2S workshops. Consultants will prepare these decks before they start F2S workshops. Consultants can structure their workshops in the way they plan to run the workshops. We have to execute all business process end-to-end because we have to demonstrate the entire test script in the starter system to a group of people who are going to have questions, and then every time we stop for questions we have to write those questions down. This takes time. Ideally, we would go through it once the first time and just say hold questions to show and tell end to end script. This gives them an overview about the Business process of how this works. Then, we run again a second time to show them a little bit slower and to understand what the business experts’ feedback is.

The first workshop would be on SAP Terminology and on organisational structure and general data. Subsequently, all other workshops would be to cover those scripts that covers scope items. Some scripts may be relatively short and some may be a day long. The Project Manager from the customer’s side should ensure the business process experts who participate in these workshops  have the time to spend on this. This is extremely important as if one of his team member gets asked to participate in the workshop, he has to free up his schedule, and do everything possible to support him. Freeing up their schedule is actually incredibly important because if we don’t have our own employees meeting with the consultants who are trying to figure out how to set up and configure this new system, we’re not going to have a good system. It is imperative to participate in the workshops to give the consultants the data that they need in the best interest of the project.

About the author:
Dr. Ravi Surya Subrahmanyam is a technical and financials writer with a background in SAP Financial Accounting, Funds Management, Group Reporting, Financial Supply Chain Management, Cash Management & in-house cash, SAP S/4 HANA Finance. He has been working as a Senior Director for the SAP Practice for The Hackett group India Ltd, (Answerthink Company). He completed his master’s degree in Finance from Central University, Master of Commerce from Osmania University, Master of Commerce from Andhra University, and a Finance from one of the best universities in India. His research papers have been published in national and international magazines. He has been a Visiting Instructor for SAP India Education and SAP Indonesia Education. He has been working on Conversion and Upgradation projects. He has been a SAP Certified Application Associate – SAP S/4HANA Cloud – Public Edition – Finance. He is a Certified Solution Architect for SAP S/4 HANA and an SAP S/4 HANA Certified Professional. He can be reached at