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The Ultimate Guide

SAP Activate Methodology

The SAP Activate Methodology is designed to guide SAP customers to work through complex SAP implementation projects and conversions with ease and greater success.

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Even for the most experienced project managers, planning and executing multi-million dollar SAP projects comes with plenty of unique challenges. To assist in the organization of deliverables, resources, and deadlines, SAP has developed SAP Activate – a framework that involves Activate methodology to increase the quality and success of complex SAP projects. 

The SAP Activate methodology is especially helpful for SAP experts as they migrate to SAP S/4HANA. It is a part of the SAP Activate framework, which benefits both internal project managers and those working in a consultancy capacity. The aim is to leverage SAP's best practices and guided configurations to make the transformation to S/4HANA successful and straightforward. 

What is the SAP Activate Methodology?

The SAP Activate methodology is a project-implementation methodology used to plan and execute complex SAP solutions. As part of the SAP Activate framework, it’s designed to improve the quality and success of any SAP project. By following the methodology’s roadmap, project managers can implement SAP solutions with much more ease.

SAP Activate Methodology Phases and Activities.Source: The Beginner's Guide to SAP Activate

The SAP Activate methodology is part of the SAP Activate framework. This framework consists of three important pillars to help project managers use the SAP solution to achieve business goals. The three pillars are SAP Best Practices, Guided Configuration, and the SAP Activate Methodology.

  1. SAP Best Practices
    As a leader in enterprise software, SAP has developed the knowledge and experience to deliver ready-to-run business processes which are optimized to run on SAP S/HANA. This is the first pillar of the SAP Activate framework. Consultants and customers can access the SAP Best Practices Explorer for all the SAP standard business process flows, roles, responsibilities, test scripts, etc. which can be integrated alongside the customer’s own unique processes.

  2. Guided Configurations
    Guided configurations make it easier for consultants and customers to configure their SAP systems. To globalize and standardize best practices across industries, SAP is continually developing standard configurations that can be used to run business processes.

  3. SAP Activate Methodology
    Lastly, the SAP Activate Methodology is the latest project implementation methodology used to deliver SAP updates and solutions. Using one of 15 solution-specific roadmaps, the methodology is then designed to continuously improve project quality and success of SAP projects and migrations. 

Once the correct roadmap has been established, then the six SAP Activate methodology phases can be leveraged to complete the implementation. These phases are Discover, Prepare, Explore, Realize, Deploy and Run.

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SAP Activate methodology roadmaps

Before implementing the SAP Activate methodology, project managers must identify which SAP Activate roadmap is needed depending on the SAP solution in question. The SAP roadmap viewer has provided 15 possible roadmaps for general and solution-specific implementation. The methodologies may differ greatly for the migration to SAP S/4HANA depending on whether or not an enterprise is using the Greenfield, Brownfield, or Hybrid implementation conversion approach.


  • SAP Activate Methodology for New Cloud Implementations (Public Cloud-General): Intended for SAP cloud solutions that do not have solution-specific roadmaps. The goal is to guide the implementation team through general cloud implementation. 

  • SAP Activate Methodology for Business Suite and On-Premises- Agile and Waterfall: Guides the implementation team through On-Premise implementation, which utilizes Agile Methodologies.
Solution Specific:
  • SAP Activate Methodology for SAP S/4HANA Cloud: Designed to guide the SAP team through the S/4HANA Cloud implementation. 

  • SAP Activate Methodology for RISE with SAP S/4HANA Cloud, private edition: This will guide the implementation team through an SAP RISE with SAP S/4HANA Cloud, private edition implementation.

  • SAP Activate Methodology for SAP S/4HANA Cloud, extended edition: This will guide the implementation team through the SAP S/4HANA Cloud, extended edition implementation.

  • SAP Activate Methodology for SuccessFactors: This implementation roadmap guides teams through SAP SuccessFactors implementation. 

  • SAP Activate Methodology for SAP Service Cloud Roadmap: This implementation roadmap guides teams through SAP Service Cloud implementation with the goal of connecting customer service operations to the value chain.

  • SAP Activate Methodology for SAP Data Warehouse Cloud: The roadmap for implementing SAP Data Warehouse Cloud for data warehouse-as-a-service solution.

  • SAP Activate Methodology for Intelligent Spend Management Roadmap: The implementation roadmap for Intelligent Spend Management. 

  • SAP Activate Methodology for SAP Analytics Cloud: The roadmap for implementing the SAP Analytics Cloud. 

  • SAP Activate Methodology for the Intelligent Enterprise: Guides project teams through the implementation of business scenarios which are enabled by two or more SAP products and integrated into the Intelligent Enterprise.

  • SAP Activate Methodology for SAP Sales Cloud Roadmap: Takes teams through the Sales product portfolio. This could be either Cloud for Sales, Commissions or Agent Performance Management.

  • SAP Activate Methodology for Transition to SAP S/4HANA: Guides the implementation process through the transition to SAP S/4 HANA on-premise. 

  • SAP Activate Methodology for Transition to SAP BW/4HANA: The roadmap for the implementation of the Transition to SAP BW/4HANA.

  • SAP S/4HANA Upgrade and Product Integration Roadmap: Customers who have already migrated to S/4 HANA will need to use the Upgrade and Product Integration Roadmap to plan and run necessary upgrade projects.

  • SAP Activate methodology for S/4HANA Central Finance: The roadmap provides end-to-end visibility and everything you need to know before beginning S/4 HANA Central Finance Project Implementation.

SAP Activate methodology phases

Once the appropriate roadmap has been identified, SAP teams and consultants will work through the six phases of the SAP Activate methodology to solve their business pain points. Each of these touchpoints provides a clear step in the process of guiding customers through the SAP implementation lifecycle and identifying the right solution for specific business needs.

1. Discover phase


The SAP Discover phase of the SAP Activate methodology is the point where the customer realizes there is a need for a solution. SAP customers will begin to search the SAP landscape for the solution to fulfill the needs of the enterprise. During this phase, customers are able to discover the solution capabilities, understand the business value and determine which roadmap is in alignment with the solution capabilities.


The outcome of the Discover phase is to then go ahead with the required SAP solution and move into the next phase of the implementation lifecycle.

LeanIX’s Enterprise Architecture Management for SAP S/4HANA Transformation provides a scalable, shared inventory that streamlines the Discover process. The LeanIX EAM explores the current state of the Enterprise Architecture and identifies key stakeholders, dependencies, and risks. LeanIX also doesn’t limit access based on user licenses so those both inside and outside of company networks can access the platform and participate in architectural reviews.

2. Prepare phase


Once the Discover phase is complete, SAP customers can move into the Prepare phase. This phase of the SAP Activate methodology will provide the initial project planning and preparation which ensures that key activities are accounted for in the project timeline. 

During this phase, the project is initiated and plans are finalized. It is key that teams are on board and are able to validate the core set of activities, as well as finalize roles and responsibilities and establish strong governance procedures to steer the project towards success. The project team will go through a few iterations to align and confirm project goals.


The outcome of the SAP Prepare phase is to prepare consultants for what is arguably the most important phase of the life cycle (the Explore phase) by answering any questions they may have regarding the SAP solution and project. During the Prepare phase, SAP or enterprise architects will build the S/4HANA business case for migration, which outlines the benefits and reasons for migrating from older SAP ERP systems to S/4 HANA.

LeanIX works to facilitate project planning during the Prepare phase by providing on-demand, configurable landscape reports which play a crucial role in mapping business capabilities to value drivers. Landscape reports depict IT landscapes at specific points in time or within a given timeframe. They can be grouped according to various capabilities, processes, and other technical and functional requirements.

3. Explore phase


The Explore phase of the SAP Activate methodology lays the foundation for the success of the entire project. During the SAP Explore phase, customers will finalize the business process to be followed in the new SAP system through a series of SAP Fit-to-Standard Analysis sessions where the SAP Best Practice business process flows are showcased to the business process owner.

The purpose of the Explore phase is to establish key deliverables such as standard migration templates and Customer Execution of Standard Processes. All of the customer’s requirements in terms of additional objects (WRICEF - Workflows, Reports, Integrations, Conversions, Enhancements, and Forms), as well as configuration values, are noted in the Backlog document provided by SAP. This will be signed off by stakeholders. 

The fit-to-Standard analysis is conducted through a series of workshops that allow for the validation of predefined scenarios. Project teams should be familiar with the SAP Best Practices content available in SAP Best Practices Explorer before launching Fit-to-Standard workshops.


A change impact analysis will be completed to understand how the new system will benefit the business. This outcome of the Explore phase is to enable a smooth transition to the new system. 

LeanIX’s interface maps and data flow diagrams offer insight to identify gaps and changes which need to be made. They also design new workflow processes for the target architecture. These maps and diagrams support collaboration between both business and IT users as they dissect their ecosystem of applications, interfaces, and data exchange protocols. The integrated connection between LeanIX and Lucidchart allows users to map out business architectures, IT processes and data flows without leaving their primary EA tool.

4. Realize phase


The purpose of the SAP Release phase of the methodology is to start configuring the SAP systems according to the Backlog document which should have been signed off during the Explore phase. Project teams will work based on multiple planned sprints which break down the backlog requirements into smaller deliverables. These deliverables will be showcased to the business process owner and signed off once they match the agreed-upon completion criteria. 


SAP functional consultants and business users will work together to ensure the custom objects are delivered within the timeline and to a high standard. Once all the deliverables are satisfied, a cutover plan is made to move the configurations, SAP WRICEF objects, and master and transactional data to the system which will be used by the business in real-time.  

During the building and testing phase of the SAP Activate methodology, customers will need to continuously update maps of the IT landscapes. It’s important to visualize the impact of the changes being made over time. LeanIX provides in-depth functionality, including timeline sequencing and scenario planning, allowing you to dissect fast-changing IT landscapes.

5. Deploy phase


The SAP Deploy phase of the SAP Activate methodology is usually done over a weekend or during office downtime, as the new SAP system is deployed for use. The cutover in SAP signals the culmination of months of hard work, but once completed and checked by the partner and customer, business users will continue to be supported if there are any doubts or face any issues.


The outcome of the Deploy phase is to implement the new SAP solution so that customers and partners can benefit from the new system while continuing to receive support in case of problems or concerns.

LeanIX supports the Deploy phase by instantly adding confirmed completed architectural changes to architectural documentation.

6. Run phase


The final phase of the SAP Activate methodology is the SAP Run phase. This phase signifies the end of the customer’s lifecycle; from identifying the right solution for their business need to finally implementing the solution and running business processes as needed.


The only task for consultants during the Run phase is to keep up-to-date with the latest innovation and technologies in SAP as part of the product’s “Continued Learning” philosophy. Once the transformed SAP landscape is up and running, the focus shifts to continuous improvement and risk management.

The LeanIX EAM provides everything you need to monitor the technical and functional fit of SAP solutions and all architectural elements. As business demands and technical needs evolve over time, the insights captured by LeanIX guide ongoing improvement efforts.



The SAP Activate methodology has been designed specifically to aid SAP customers in implementing and upgrading vital business software and has matured into a significant methodology for SAP S/4HANA implementation and other conversion projects. Following this methodology will speed up and improve complex solution implementation projects by providing clear guidelines and roadmaps for success.

Further solutions such as LeanIX EAM can be used to benefit SAP Architects and SAP Project Managers by providing additional insights into their architecture and business processes.

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Discover: Strategic goal definition and roadmap planning


Prepare: Project scoping, planning, and team enablement


Explore: Fit-to-standard analysis and process modeling


Realize: Configuring, building, and testing the new environment


Deploy: Setting up a system in production and moving


Run: Driving adoption and continuous improvements

Answers to frequently asked questions on SAP Activate methodology

What is the SAP Activate methodology?

The SAP Activate methodology – part of the SAP Activate framework – is a project-implementation methodology which can be used to plan and execute complex SAP solutions. It has become crucial in helping businesses migrate their ERP system to SAP S/4 HANA. 

What are the 6 phases of the SAP Activate methodology?

The six phases of the SAP Activate methodology are Discover, Prepare, Explore, Realize, Deploy and Run.

What is the purpose of the SAP Activate methodology?

The purpose of the SAP Activate methodology is to provide SAP customers and consultants with clear and detailed steps to provide accelerators that make complex SAP solution transformations easier to accomplish. 

What is the difference between ASAP and activate methodology?

The goal of the SAP ASAP (Accelerated SAP) Methodology is to design SAP implementation as efficiently as possible. ASAP is also only designed for on-premise implementations. The main purpose of the Activate methodology, however, is to leverage an Agile approach to SAP implementation, and can be used for on-premise, cloud, and hybrid landscapes. 

Why does SAP separate its SAP Activate content into different roadmaps?

SAP separates its SAP Activate content into different roadmaps because different projects and conversions require slightly different approaches. This can be because of the solution-specific implementation project, or whether the enterprise deploys an on-premise or cloud-based SAP solution.

What is the SAP Roadmap Viewer?

The Roadmap Viewer provides SAP customers with a list of easy-to-navigate, solution-specific guides for the SAP Activate methodology. 

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