Simpler Treasury Implementation – SAP Activate & Best Practices for SAP S/4HANA

December 2022
10 min read

The SAP Activate approach and Best Practices for SAP S/4HANA can help organizations deliver a fast, simplified adoption of SAP treasury functionality within S/4HANA.

Greg Williams, senior manager at Zanders, tells us what this is, how it can accelerate implementations, and informs us about new developments in 2023.

In previous articles we covered a perspective on the different types of deployment options available for SAP S/4HANA – i.e. On-Premise, Public Cloud and Private Cloud. In this article we look to provide insight into how to leverage SAP’s Activate implementation methodology and Best Practice content to accelerate your adoption of SAP’s S/4HANA treasury capability.

Previously, SAP had what they used to call ‘rapid deployment solutions’ (RDS) and content to aid implementation. But the replacement SAP Activate approach is a far more complete way to build and deploy systems. It has also evolved and matured over the years, since the first release in 2015, so it is important to keep up-to-date. The offering is now supported by very rich and mature Best Practice content that includes detailed business process documentation and test scripts.

Implementation Methodology

SAP Activate is an agile methodology that leverages the various accelerators mentioned above. In reality, most implementations will not necessarily adopt the full methodology completely, only taking what is relevant to them. However many aspects of it should be leveraged in formulating some type of hybrid agile / waterfall methodology for a treasuries implementation project – based on all of the complex real-world factors that any given organization has to accommodate.

In this article we will provide some insight into the SAP Activate elements and methodology and then look at it from a treasury perspective, examining the treasury specific scope items included in SAP’s Best Practices run-through. We will drill down into the specific detail so that you get a feel for both the breadth and depth of what SAP has to offer.

This will be like a visual tour from the highest level, with lots of graphs to come, through to the lowest level of detail. The key thing to remember is that the Best Practices content and SAP Activate methodology is applicable to the full array of system functionality and herein lies the benefit in that all parts of the business embrace this same content and approach.

SAP Activate

First let’s have a brief look into SAP Activate. Starting with the elements that are included and then looking at the phases in the project lifecycle, which will give greater insight into the methodology. The elements are:

  • the methodology,
  • tools, which are very much supported by SAP’s Solution Manager,
  • & then the content, including for example the Best Practices advice, which we will unpack a bit later.

The elements provide the project team with ready-to-use templates and accelerators, which can be used in the entire Activate journey with the help of step-by-step guidelines. We will cover what needs to be delivered in each phase and how to deploy the solution in Cloud/On-premise, according to the business needs.

Figure 1: SAP Activate elements.

Source: SAP

In SAP Activate, there are six phases. At the end of each phase, quality gates are present to make sure respective deliverables in each phase are completed, as per the standards.

This methodology is an agile framework and hence all these phases are run in an iterative manner in order to build a solution. The six phases are: Discover, Prepare, Explore, Realize, Deploy and Run.

Figure 2: SAP Activate phases.

Source: SAP. 

SAP Best Practices Content

The SAP Best Practice content is currently accessed through the SAP Best Practices explorer. This application is planned to be discontinued by end of June 2023, whilst it will not be replaced SAP will provide an entirely different application that will also cover SAP Best Practices solutions. The first release of the new application is planned prior to the end of June 2023.

Turning to the SAP Best Practices advisory content next, there are two diagrams below that show all the lines of business and business areas included in Best Practices approach for SAP S/4HANA. These diagrams are logically split between what the vendor calls Operational ERP and Administrative ERP. Treasury Management forms part of the Finance subset under the Administrative ERP side.

Figure 3: SAP Best Practices – Operational & Administrative ERP.

Source: SAP. 

Here you can view the diagram (Figure 4: Treasury Management’s position in SAP’s Best Practices implementation methodology. (Source: SAP)). that shows the full set of Treasury Management scope items included in the coverage. From here we will then select a specific scope item to demonstrate some of the detail that is included for every scope item.

Treasury Management Scope Items, are important aspects of SAP’s Best Practices implementation methodology. We will now focus Debt and Investment Management, diving into the details. Scope Item 1WV (Debt and Investment Management) is shown on the Best Practice Explorer module below, Including Process Flows and Test Scripts.

Figure 5: An example of a scope item – for debt & investment management – in SAP’s Best Practices content.

Source: SAP.  

There are 13 Process flow diagrams for scope item 1WV – Debt and Investment – alone in SAP Best Practices. A view of the debt and investment management overview process flow diagram is provided in figure 7. The process steps in the Debt and Investment Overview include: (1) Create Debt and Investment Contract; (2) Correspondence; (3) Principal Payment; (4) Period End Closing; (5) Interest Rate Adjustment; (6) Interest Payment; (7) Nominal Amount Adjustment; (8) Reclassification; (9) Terminate Deposit at Notice; (10) Transaction is Premature; (11) Transaction is Mature; (12) Reports. Scope Item 1WV also has a 188-page word based test script document. Additionally, a test script template for Cloud Asset and Liability Management (ALM) risk purposes is also included in the same content.

A view of the debt and investment management overview process flow diagram is provided below:

Figure 6: Debt & investment management process flow.

Source: SAP.

Conclusions: Solution Builder

When you embark on the initial phases of your treasury implementation you can also use the SAP Solution Builder to deploy the Best Practice content into a working sandbox test system.

You need to select the scope items for inclusion in the solution build option. It will then build the system, including configuration and master data, such that you will be able to follow the test scripts, and run the business processes. This means you can quickly and easily explore the system according to the documented functionality very early on in your project.

A good approach is to keep a dedicated Best Practices sandbox client in your development environment where you can deploy and explore content at the start of your project, and also use it for future initiatives.

It is clear that you should be able to leverage significantly faster implementation times and to get value quickly, using as much of this vendor provided advisory content as possible. In addition, it is going to be crucial to have a consistent approach for all lines of business and business areas within the project. All areas need to embrace what is on offer in a universal manner, so that the benefit of a more unified approach to your transformation journey can be fully realized. As ever, good project management and perhaps consultancy advice if it is deemed necessary, can improve any implementation template so bear in mind some thought power will still be needed by the project management team.

At Zanders we are striving to embrace the new approach to SAP S/4HANA implementations discussed in this article, while still drawing on the depth of experience and knowledge we’ve built up from both a treasury business and technology perspective over the years on more traditional approaches we’ve used in the past. This can and should be seen as a healthy tension – comparing what has worked previously with what is possible now to find the best pathway forward. This synthesis allows for the benefits of both schools of thought to be leveraged when guiding our customers through their treasury transformation journeys on SAP.


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