More organizations are beginning to implement SAP S/4HANA, especially now that business transformation is a must to not only survive, but to thrive in this new landscape. As business and IT leaders look for best practices to follow, SAP is making it easier to standardize and scale these projects. Introduced in 2017, SAP Model Company provides preconfigured end-to-end processes, business content, and accelerators for organizations looking to implement SAP S/4HANA.

ASUG sat down with the authors of “Introducing SAP Model Company for SAP S/4HANA” from SAP Press to hear how SAP Model Company can help customers reduce the cost, risk, and time associated with an SAP S/4HANA implementation. Dr. Babu Joseph and Sudhakar Kovuri, both principal consultants for SAP, walked us through the main topics within the SAP Press E-Bite, including implementation, deployment options, services, and the key value the solution brings.

Sharon: What is SAP Model Company?

Babu: SAP Model Company is a prepackaged, ready-to-use, end-to-end reference solution. It is tailored to a specific industry or a line of business, and it is made up of state-of-the-art applications and best practices. SAP Model Company was designed based on information gathered from thousands of ERP implementations over the past 50 years.

Sharon: What are some of the practical ways in which SAP Model Company can be used to ensure a successful SAP S/4HANA implementation?

Babu: SAP provides several accelerators and some content to help customers successfully complete their SAP S/4HANA implementations. The SAP Model Company solution can be used to better understand how less customization and more standard business processes can be beneficial for an organization. The preconfigured solution can be used during the explore phase to run demos during workshops. As we know, demos are very important because they help customers understand and relate their processes to the standard SAP Model Company processes and push toward a more standardized solution approach.

Sharon: The SAP Model Company solution was first introduced in 2017. Can you give us a high-level overview of how it has evolved since then?

Babu: There have been two areas of major improvement. The first one is that SAP has included several of the intelligent technologies into the SAP Model Company solution, including machine learning and SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation. Second, there has been a significant increase in the number of Model Company solutions. Currently there are 19 industry solutions, 12 LoB solutions, three foundation solutions, and two local versions. SAP is continuously adding new industries and LoB solutions.

Sharon: What are the deliverables customers can expect when purchasing an SAP Model Company license? How is it different from SAP Best Practices?

Babu: Contentwise, there are three items that customers get when they buy an SAP Model Company license. The first one is the preconfigured solution. The configuration includes one company code per country and standard organizational elements like plants, purchasing organizations, sales organizations, segments, and functional areas. The sample data provided will be sufficient for conducting initial demos during the explore phase. The solution is available in both cloud-based and on-premise versions. The main idea behind SAP Model Company is not only to use preconfigured organizational elements for demos, but also to use them as starting points for configuration.

Second is the business content, which includes business process flows, reports, enhancements, and forms. These can be used during different phases of the implementation and can help speed up the process of the implementation.

And the third item is accelerators, which include test scripts, configuration guides, and master data lists. This also helps in speeding up the implementation process with ready-to-use tools. Accelerators are a particularly strong reason for adopting SAP Model Company.

Whether or not SAP is the implementation partner, SAP provides some basic services with Model Company.

One of the differences between the SAP Model Company and SAP Best Practices is that the Model Company solution is only available to customers and approved partners, whereas SAP Best Practices is available to customers and all partners. Secondly, SAP Model Company is a ready-to-use solution that can be used immediately when the project starts. This preconfigured solution is very helpful in running the explore workshops. SAP Best Practices, on the other hand, needs additional configuration for the demos. Model Company includes a preconfigured solution with organizational elements and processes, whereas SAP Best Practices only includes standard templates.

Sharon: What are the different deployment options available for SAP Model Company? How are they different and how can a customer decide which one is right for them?

Sudhakar: There are three deployment options when implementing SAP Model Company: The first two are cloud-based and can either be through SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud or through a hyperscaler such as Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, or Amazon Web Services. The third is on-premise. SAP Model Company will provide the same solution, independent of deployment method. What varies is the timeline of the implementation.

With SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud, the customer should allow six weeks for deployment with phases that include prepare, deploy, and finalize. With a hyperscaler, depending on whether or not the customer already has a preexisting relationship with the hyperscaler, deployment can take as little as one week with the same number of phases. An on-premise option can take two to four weeks for deployment and only includes the prepare and deploy phases.

SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud is the only option where SAP manages the solution and hardware, whereas the other two are customer-managed.

Sharon: Let’s focus on implementation. How can using SAP Model Company during an SAP S/4HANA project help reduce cost and risk? What are the different implantation phases?

Sudhakar: The SAP Model Company not only reduces cost and risk by making available a preconfigured and ready-to-use solution, but it also enables a faster adoption of SAP S/4HANA. With a traditional approach, customers must wait anywhere from three to eight months to get a preview of the system they’re getting. SAP Model Company takes out the surprise factor and allows customers to preview processes and functionalities in less time.

There are three phases of implementation, which include discovery, scoping and contracting, and delivery. We recommend using the SAP Activate Methodology when implementing SAP Model Company, though it is not obligatory.

The discovery phase allows the customer to understand the various capabilities and functionalities within the different industries and LoBs. This phase helps guide the customers in making the right choices before getting to the contracting and scoping phase, which is the nuts and bolts of the implementation. And finally, the delivery phase, which is the last phase is when the customer goes through a readiness check, cutover, and finally go-live.

Sharon: Can you give us a high-level overview of the various services available with SAP Model Company?

Babu: SAP provides a set of different services, including the basic Model Company services, which are available regardless of whether SAP is the implementation partner.

The type and level of service a customer gets depends entirely on the implementation strategy. Customers can do an implementation on their own, use a partner, or use SAP. Level of service also depends on the phase of the project and whether the customer is using a prepackaged solution or has opted for a custom edition. SAP-led implementations will typically involve SAP Advanced Deployment service, while partner- and customer-led implementations will be performed with the help of SAP Value Assurance. Each of these services includes various components that aid in the implementation process, but ultimately the level of service depends on the implementation strategy.

SAP MaxAttention and SAP ActiveAttention are two other services available from SAP. These services can be deployed on both SAP-led and partner-led projects, and they vary in terms of level of service and sometimes type of services.

Sharon: What do you want ASUG members to know about SAP Model Company and what they should consider next?

Sudhakar: SAP Model Company is a jump-start solution. It gives customers a preview as well as an opportunity to understand the SAP Best Practices for different industries and processes before getting started on the SAP S/4HANA implementation. It enables you see the value of standardizing processes and allows you to reduce cost and risk associated with your implementation.

Sharon: Can you summarize the book in a few sentences?

Babu: This E-Bite provides a comprehensive view of what an SAP Model Company is and the solutions available. SAP Model Company is an extremely powerful and innovative tool that can help ensure the success of an implementation project better than any other tool or methodology. The E-Bite helps customers and implementation consultants make full use of Model Company. It can be used as a ready reference on different LoB and industry solutions. It explains how SAP Model Company is different from best practices, it provides details on different deployment options in detail, and it provides a clear picture of do’s and don’ts in an SAP Model Company implementation. The E-Bite helps understand how to make use of preconfigured solutions, accelerators, and business content. And the E-Bite provides a comprehensive picture of service options available from SAP.

Register for the ASUG Express: Achieving Success with SAP S/4HANA Virtual Boot Camp series, beginning on Oct. 27, 2020, to learn about strategy and vision, building a business case, project planning and preparation, successfully executing, change management, and how to execute a 100% remote project.