In my previous blog post, Fit-to-Standard: How Does It Support the Big Picture, I provided a high-level overview on how the fit-to-standard process plays a role in the Application Design and Configuration workstream. The purpose of this blog post, however, is to expand upon some of the areas that I talked about in my previous blog post and to provide a more detailed view of the inputs and outputs of the fit-to-standard process, taking inspiration from a discussion I had with a customer about fit-to-standard.
Before I do a deep dive into the input and outputs of the fit-to-standard process, I think it is always a good idea to level set the blog post with a friendly reminder of what the purpose of the fit-to-standard workshops are.
The purpose of the fit-to-standard workshops is to plan for configuration in the Realize phase by demoing the solution and the pre-delivered content, SAP Best Practices, and identifying any delta requirements.
Now that we are all on the same page on what the purpose of the fit-to-standard workshops are, we can take a deeper dive into the inputs and outputs for the fit-to-standard workshops and discuss how this helps support the purpose of the workshops.
To be able to plan for the execution of configuration in the Realize phase and to identify any delta requirements in the SAP Best Practices business processes, the following inputs need to be in place to have an effective and efficient fit-to-standard workshop discussion:
- A Cloud Mindset: The most critical component to a successful fit-to-standard workshop is a cloud mindset. The goal of the fit-to-standard workshops is to understand how the business processes match to the standard. Now, the definition of standard can vary by the solution and by the goal of the project (for example for a multi-country roll out the “standard” would be the configuration of the other countries for the company). Nonetheless, the goal of the fit-to-standard process is not to reinvent the wheel, but to see how the business’ current processes adapt to the SAP Best Practices processes so it is easier to adapt future innovations to come and to allow the business to focus on the areas that really differentiate them from their competition. Therefore, analyzing where standard processes can be adopted first and then tailoring the solution to further meet the needs is having a cloud mindset.
- Self-enablement: Perhaps one of the most driving factors on what makes an effective and efficient fit-to-standard workshop is how much the participants of the workshops prepare by becoming self-enabled on the scope items that will be discussed. Self-enablement includes reviewing any of the pre-delivered business process content, such as: test scripts, business process flows, tutorials videos, etc. Ideally the participants should not be hearing about some of this content for the first time during the fit-to-standard workshop when the Configuration Expert is demoing the solution. Having some exposure to the material prior to the workshops allows participants to have a richer discussion during the workshops, which inevitably leads to better planning of configuration.
- Scope: To perform the fit-to-standard workshops the configuration experts and the business process experts need to understand and know which scope items they will be talking about in the workshops. For cloud projects, it is assumed most of the scoping discussions take place during the Discover phase and that most of the scope is determined before the fit-to-standard workshops. Remember the purpose of the fit-to-standard workshops is not to determine scope. It is expected to have some further refinement to the scope for the project during the fit-to-standard process, however, not most of the scope. Often the scope for the workshops and project is dictated by the form of scope items, or pre-delivered business process content.
- Initial Business Process Assessment: Gaining a foundational understanding of the business prior to the fit-to-standard workshop allows the Configuration Expert to tailor the fit-to-standard workshop discussions in a relevant way. The Business Driven Configuration Questionnaires can be leveraged to help drive and document the business process discussions. In these assessments Level 2 questions can be asked before the fit-to-standard workshops, while Level 3 are more detailed questions that can be leveraged during the fit-to-standard workshop discussion to gain further understanding and information on what configuration values may be needed. In addition, any existing documentation of business processes should be shared with the Configuration Expert to help aid in the foundational understanding of the business to help navigate some of the questions that will come during the fit-to-standard workshops. All of the available Business Driven Configuration Questionnaires can be found in the Preform Initial Business Process Assessment task in the respective implementation roadmap (the one linked here, as an example, is for SAP S/4HANA Cloud).
- Access to a System: It is crucial that the Configuration Experts and the Business Process Experts have access to a system prior to the fit-to-standard workshops. Having access to a system allows 1.) Configuration Experts to add any Master Data or perform any configuration needed to demo the business processes during the fit-to-standard workshops and 2.) allows Business Process Experts to practice the execution of the business processes prior to the fit-to-standard workshops if they desire. It is not required for the Business Process Experts to practice executing the business process prior to the fit-to-standard workshops. However, they should ensure they have access to the system prior to the workshops so they are able to practice the business processes in the system after the business process is demoed by the Configuration Expert.
The following are outputs of the fit-to-standard workshops that help support the goal of identifying any delta requirements and planning for configuration in the Realize phase:
- A Backlog: One of the main outputs of the fit-to-standard workshop is configuration values required captured in the form of backlog items. These backlog items can either be captured in SAP Cloud ALM or in another central backlog tool. Ideally, these back log items are consolidated in one central location before being handed over to the respective technical experts for the Planning and Design Workshops. Later, after the Planning and Design Workshops, these backlog items will be prioritized prior to the end of the Realize phase.
- Identified Delta Requirements: During the fit-to-standard workshop areas that need further analysis by a technical expert, those areas of the business processes that are not easily matched to the standard, should be captured as delta requirements (such as integration, extensibility, analytics, etc.). These delta requirements will, in addition to the backlog items relevant to the topic, be handed over to the technical expert for analysis and to determine how, if possible, each requirement will be converted into a backlog item.
- Meeting Minutes, Action Items and Recordings: Any sign off key decisions, general meeting minutes, parking lot items, recording of the workshops, or follow up/action items should be captured to ensure any key decisions or action items are not lost. Ideally, these items are stored in a central tool where the project team and fit-to-standard workshops participants can access to review or make comments.
- Updated Business Process Flows: Based on the discussions during the fit-to-standard workshops, all pre-delivered business process flows that should be adjusted to reflect the business’ to be process flow. These updated business process flows help to document the to-be state of the business and help the technical experts understand the requirement the business is trying to achieve when reviewing the backlog items and delta requirements during the planning and design workshops. These process flow will be further updated as the technical experts review the requirements during the planning and design workshops.
- Final Business Assessment: As mentioned earlier, the Business Driven Configuration Questionnaires must be used prior and during the fit-to-standard workshops. The Level 2 questions are meant to be discussed with the business prior to the fit-to-standard workshops, while the Level 3 questions are more detailed questions that are meant to be discussed during the fit-to-standard workshops. All of the Business Driven Configuration Questionnaire questions that are relevant to the scope of the project should be asked and answered, or have a documented action item, by the end of the fit-to-standard workshops. Note, the answers to these questions might be captured in the form of a backlog item, delta requirement, or an action item.
- Identified Pre-Approved Expert Configuration: Any identified pre-approved expert configuration should be identified and captured. The request of the Expert Configuration to the Service Center does not take place until the Realize phase, however, should be planned for during the Explore phase, after the fit-to-standard workshops. The list of the pre-approved expert configuration can be found in the Request Expert Configuration task (the one linked here, as an example, is for SAP S/4HANA Cloud).
- Refined Scope: Any update to the scope of the project should be updated and documented, in the scope statement, in a central location where all the project members can access for review. Update to scope includes update, or de-scoping, of scope items.
Recently, I wrote a blog post, Fit-to-Standard: Mural Template, that describes how a Mural template can help facilitate and capture some of the inputs and outputs mentioned above. Therefore, if the Mural template is being utilized the pre-filled Fit-to-Standard Mural Template would be considered an input before the fit-to-standard workshops and the filled out, or export, Fit-to-Standard Mural Template would be considered an output of the fit-to-standard workshops. For a more in-depth description of how the template supports each of these inputs and outputs please review the blog post Fit-to-Standard Mural Template.
In addition, some of the preparation tasks, and inputs of the fit-to-standard workshops can be found in the blog post How to Conduct Fit-to-Standard workshops in SAP S/4HANA Cloud Implementations – A Business Simulation, where you can find simulation videos showcasing what to expect before and during the fit-to-standard workshops.
For more enablement material on the fit-to-standard process make sure to check out the following links from SAP Roadmap Viewer:
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