SAP Best Practices and Building Block Concepts
In this era of restricted technology budgets, it is becoming increasingly important for customers to efficiently build, deploy, and extend functionality in their ERP environment. This notion, coupled with the requirement that IT-based projects are competing for limited funds with other non IT-related projects, has forced a change in the overall ERP project lifecycle. SAP has responded to this challenge through the development of Best Practices Content and deployment through an SAP installation tool.
Best Practices content and concepts are organized in a way that new and existing customers can leverage this functionality to standardize and optimize their organization’s business processes. SAP Best Practices content is available to customers via the following website link (help.sap.com/bestpractices) and is composed of three main packages: baseline packages, cross industry packages, and industry packages. This approach allows SAP to develop standardized business processes in smaller objects called ‘building blocks’ and provides the capability to deliver functionality using a ‘layering approach.’ In other words, SAP’s baseline package represents the foundation layer of an SAP solution (which contains core content).
Cross-industry functionality (such as service management or HCM) can be layered on top of the baseline package and industry content (specific items pertaining to industry specific pain points) can be installed to complete the overall solution. Each building block within the package provides a business process flow, business process procedure, configuration guide, and unit test scenario. Any new system deployment should start with a review of each package’s building blocks, with each building block being reviewed in terms of fitness for the customer deployment. This approach allows the customer to personalize their solution based on their preferences and business needs.
The actual build of any Best Practices Solution (be it an initial installation or an incremental addition of business processes) is though a standardized SAP tool called Solution Builder. The Solution Builder allows a customer to select what building blocks (i.e. business scenarios) to install, personalize the organizational structure, and carry out the installation. What’s more, the tool also allows a customer to revisit and install additional building blocks at a later date. Solution Builder uses ECATT and business configuration set (BC set) activations to properly install the configuration and master data; and sequences the building blocks appropriately (with pre-requisite building blocks installed first). This approach simplifies and achieves a predictable and reliable approach to installing SAP business scenarios and industry functions.
SAP’s Best Practices approach has helped provide solutions to common pain points in the industry. The content will continue to be developed as business conditions evolve and will enable customers to tailor their ERP platform to achieve their strategic goals.