A SAP project might involve the design and implementation of one or more SAP solutions (whether mySAP ERP, mySAP Business Suite or any other individual component within SAP NetWeaver). A SAP R/3 implementation within mySAP Business Suite makes sense if customers do not have an integrated ERP system and want to pursue the best possible integration among applications; however, in most cases a project implementing several mySAP Business Suite solutions is the natural evolution for existing and productive SAP R/3 customers.

Like traditional R/3 implementation projects, implementing mySAP solutions is fundamentally a business or e-business project, and so business managers should normally lead it. But since the boom of Web enablement, eCommerce, collaboration, and integration needs, there is a fundamental difference in terms of implementation costs and efforts that companies should be aware of. In the case of mySAP projects, involving several components and a great deal of integration, technology issues have a much more important role and should be carefully considered. The reasons for this are discussed later in this chapter.

Even if the solutions within mySAP Business Suite are focused on strategic business processes, the mySAP implementation projects should be seen as part of the overall vision of the company. SAP solutions and even some of the components of the SAP NetWeaver integration platform still provide a horizontal and integrated view of the business processes, just as the ERP system, aka SAP R/3, used to do, even if now the integration can be both intra- and intercompany, cross-system, process oriented rather than component oriented, and not just at the database and data model levels. Customizing is still the basic process for configuring most SAP solutions, but with additional possibilities, reuse of settings, automatic distribution of customizing, standard business content, Business Process Repository, global rollout functionalities, and new tools and facilities for making these tasks even easier.

Programming requirements are extremely reduced and left for those specific company processes not completely covered on standard systems. From experience in many real implementation projects, we learned that every company requires some level of programming to cope with changes in some specific business process, for data load or interfaces or for additional reporting needs. It is very important when deciding to implement SAP Solutions and SAP NetWeaver projects that upper management is committed, understands the environment, and thinks that this type of project is not just another yet IT project.

The range of solutions within the mySAP Business Suite and the SAP NetWeaver integration platform incorporates not only state-of-the-art Web technology and Java Environment, but also (and as usual within SAP traditional history) efficient and collaborative e-business processes, which might lead to organizational or structural changes for dealing with new markets and new business partners. Implementing SAP Solutions means to set up and configure one or more of the mySAP Business Suite or mySAP ERP, to handle the company's information needs and collaboration models enabled by the Web, and to support efficiently the current and future business processes.

According to the nature of the mySAP projects, a company might implement one or more of the mySAP solutions or the migration of the classical R/3 systems to a mySAP environment (other solutions within mySAP Business Suite). However, implementing mySAP Business Suite solutions does not mean a migration from R/3, but an evolution and integration with it. A SAP R/3 upgrade might certainly be needed, depending on the current R/3 release and the degree of integration required with the rest of the mySAP solutions. This is specifically true if requiring the technology foundation of SAP NetWeaver. R/3 actually should be considered the ERP solution within the platform.

The activities to be performed by the project team must be supported by a corresponding solid implementation methodology. It was with R/3 that SAP developed the ASAP (AcceleratedSAP) implementation solution set as the set of tools, processes, and services to guarantee successful projects. In the more complex mySAP world, the set of implementation tools have evolved and improved for covering a full solution cycle and are supported by new tools and platforms to make it not only easier, but also more userfriendly.

SAP Implementation Tools

With the introduction of the extensive solution within mySAP Business Suite and SAP NetWeaver platform, SAP has evolved and included new implementation tools and aid for facilitation of the implementation of the mySAP solutions, including a new comprehensive umbrella covering the full solution life cycle management to preconfigured systems. Following is an introduction of these SAP initiatives to streamline the implementation process and help customers in this type of projects. Some of these topics are covered with greater detail in the next sections of this chapter.

  • Solution life cycle management. SAP calls solution life cycle management the full life cycle approach for the implementation and continuous improvement of enterprise software. Under this umbrella lies the collection of tools and methodologies to be used by SAP customers and consultants from the process of evaluation to the implementation and to continuous feedback and improvement. Among these tools, customer and consultants can find the ASAP methodology, ValueSAP, SAP Solutions Maps and Solution Composer, and the Solution Management strategy, which uses the SAP Solution Manager as the platform.
  • ASAP. This is the well-known methodology for classical R/3 implementation projects, made later available for several of the SAP solutions. For most projects, ASAP, which encompasses the methodology, the project plan and several of the basic tools for implementation, will be the basic framework for the definition of the activities and tasks involved in SAP projects. ASAP is explained in detail in the following sections of this chapter. A variation of ASAP known as GlobalASAP is meant for supporting multisite and multiproduct implementations. These tools are shipped in specific CD Kits within the SAP solutions. ASAP methodology and tools are now replaced and included within SAP Solution Manager.
  • ValueSAP. This was the first initiative in the form of a set of tools for supporting the entire customer cycle for the evaluation and implementation of a collaborative e-business platform, and so to help customers to transition to other SAP and mySAP Business Suite Solutions. ValueSAP consisted of supporting five phases in the solution cycle: identify, define, implement, manage, and improve. Figure shows this cycle. Edition 2 of ValueSAP included ASAP, GlobalASAP, and the full solution life cycle for SAP R/3, SAP SCM (APO), SAP CRM, SAP BW, and mySAP SRM (e-procurement).
  • SAP Best Practices. In short, the Best Practices for SAP are preconfigured and prepackaged mySAP Business Suite solutions available for different industries and cross-industry implementations, laying the foundation of the mySAP All-in- One Solutions. With this type of prepackaged solutions, customers can quickly build prototypes and get systems up and running. It is obviously also a good solution for hosting or for ASP (Application Service Provider) solutions provided by SAP partners.
  • SAP Business Maps and Business Scenarios Maps. These are SAP's approach for graphically describing and specifying integrated business scenarios or cross industry business blueprint supported by SAP solutions. They are particularly oriented to process integration and enterprise collaboration, and they can better show how the SAP solutions fit into this particular type of processes in search for efficiency among collaborating companies. The business maps are a collection of blueprints, including cross industry, specific industry and infrastructure. There are nearly hundreds of business maps and business scenarios. Figure shows an example of a SAP Business Map for the mySAP ERP.
  • Solution Composer. This is another tool, PC-based, that can be used by SAP customers to have a better view of the scope of the mySAP solutions. The Solution Composer includes access to the SAP Solution Maps and the SAP Business Scenarios Maps. With this view, companies can make a better definition of the functionality and their business processes, which are needed for the implementation of SAP and SAP partners' solutions.
  • SAP Solution Architect and SAP Solution Manager. This is best described as the SAP implementation and operation portal, and it is the latest implementation tool offered by SAP. The aim is to provide an online platform as a central point of access to all the other implementation tools, content, and methodology for supporting the full solution life cycle on SAP solutions: evaluation, implementation, quick adaptation, and continuous improvement. Besides customers, partners can also use this tool to create content for their own implementation products.
  • Implementation tools. In addition to all the SAP initiatives to streamline implementation, projects, ail the SAP solutions include improved customizing and implementation tools coming from traditional SAP R/3 systems. These tools allow for easier and better-controlled adaptation of business processes within mySAP environments. Among these are the following:
    • IMG (Implementation Guide) as the electronic guide for doing a step-bystep configuration of the SAP applications, better known as SAP Customizing (see the next section)
    • Business Configuration Sets, which can be used for defining reusable copies of configuration and customizing settings
    • Test Workbench, which allows for setting test scenarios and performing integrated system and process checks with the CATT (Computer Aided Test Tool) and the eCATT (Extended Computer Aided Test Tool)

ValueSAP Solution life cycle

ValueSAP Solution life cycle

SAP business map for mySAP ERP

SAP business map for mySAP ERP

SAP Customizing

SAP customizing is referred as the main configuration process of any of the SAP Solutions. Within traditional SAP industry or cross industry solution, customizing work is the main task within the Realization phase of any SAP project and performed by means of the Implementation Guide (IMG). The IMG or Implementation Guide is a tool that includes a step-by step guide to customizing functions, with direct links to all necessary transactions to adapt the selected SAP modules or applications to the current business requirements as defined in a previous Blueprint or Functional Analysis.

Using the IMG, it is possible to train end users (especially key users) in the customization techniques and options so they can configure the system themselves according to their business and organizational needs. The IMG includes utilities to manage the so-called customizing projects. Using these project management utilities, customers and consultants decide which parts of the system are to be customized, and institute projects for which the system automatically generates a hierarchical list of the necessary customization steps for the selected application modules.

The IMG is accessed by opening the customizing main menu and then selecting the necessary functions or utilities under the Implementation Projects menu. In traditional SAP R/3 system in latest releases, the IMG includes around 10,000 configuration objects. That number does not mean the need to customize all those settings, but only the ones relating to the business process modeling. Subsets of the IMG are set up using IMG projects, which can be generated by selecting and including those applications or components that are part of the project. The tool will also automatically select any previously required customizing object, even if the object was not selected. Figure shows an example of the IMG.

The IMG in SAP Enterprise

The IMG in SAP Enterprise

The following sections explain in detail the ASAP methodology and SAP Solution Manager, which is meant to be the widely common framework for implementation and operation of SAP solutions.

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