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Gain Rapid Time-to-Value and Greater Business Agility

by Raimar G. Hoeliner and Betsy Bohling | SAPinsider

October 1, 2012

The SAP Advanced Delivery Management approach helps companies deliver rapid time-to-value and achieve a predictable, accelerated means of adopting and deploying business solutions. This article delves into one of four delivery models – the assemble-to-order approach – and precisely how it can support a successful solution implementation.

As businesses tighten the reins on spending and assess every investment to make certain they are gaining solid returns, they increasingly seek out solutions that can deliver rapid time-to-value. That’s one reason the SAP Advanced Delivery Management approach has recently been in the spotlight. This approach meets customer demand for a predictable and accelerated way to adopt and deploy business solutions.

A previous issue of SAPinsider explored the four delivery models of SAP Advanced Delivery Management — expert-based, design-based, assemble-to-order, and industrialized — each of which is tailored to provide flexible deployment and pricing options for implementing business solutions.1 In this article, we focus on the third approach: assemble-to-order. The phases of this approach provide a solid example of what a typical engagement with the SAP Advanced Delivery Management team might look like.

An Assembly-Line Approach to Solution Implementation

The assemble-to-order model uses a modular, iterative approach to deliver a complete solution — generally made up of multiple SAP Rapid Deployment solutions and other services — based on a tightly defined scope that is tailored to suit a business’s requirements. Basically, assemble-to-order allows customers to combine multiple modular, preconfigured components into custom solutions that meet their needs.

Think of this approach as a process similar to how the automotive industry builds cars. Car components are designed for and used across multiple models, yet they come together in a way that presents a unique car model. Re-using components for multiple models saves time and money and makes maintenance easier. The same concept and benefits apply to the innovative, modular assemble-to-order approach.

Let’s take a closer look at how an assemble-to-order engagement might unfold.

The Discovery Process

Consider a company that is looking for a solution for its human resources (HR) department that will allow the business to simultaneously implement HR functionality at its locations around the globe in a cost-effective manner. The first step of this engagement is the discovery process (see Figure 1), which defines the scope of the implementation. At this point, the business can define its priorities and work with SAP to determine which of the SAP Advanced Delivery Management approaches is appropriate for the project.

SAP will then work with the customer to identify which engineered services from the services catalog are applicable to the project and to document any existing functional gaps in the company’s current processes. Then, based on the outlined priorities and functional and technical dependencies, a high-level roadmap is built that breaks down the project’s scope into manageable phases. Next, the appropriate governance, infrastructure, and realization activities are added to the plan.

Example phases of a fictional assemble-to-order engagement using multiple rapid-deployment solutions
Figure 1 Example phases of a fictional assemble-to-order engagement using multiple rapid-deployment solutions

Project Phases

Depending on its scope and complexity, a project may have one or more project phases. Each phase is like a self-contained implementation with a production schedule and a go-live. Breaking up a project like this allows a company to quickly see and take advantage of some of the benefits of its project, even as the team works on the next phase. The idea is to re-use engineered solutions as much as possible, to deliver value early and to build a baseline to enhance the solution over time.

Companies can also engage SAP’s expert services, add configuration and development activities, or include application lifecycle management (ALM) packages (such as setting up SAP Solution Manager) as part of any of these implementations. So, let’s say that, after the discovery process, the company in our example decides to implement its solution in two phases (again see Figure 1):

  • Phase 1 will deliver the SAP ERP Human Capital Management (SAP ERP HCM) rapid-deployment solution for personnel administration and organization management, the localization of this functionality to sectors around the globe, and interfaces in the cloud.
  • Phase 2 will add the SAP ERP rapid-deployment solution for employee and manager self-service and the SAP Executive HR Reporting rapid-deployment solution.

For phase 1, the project duration is targeted for 25 weeks (see Figure 2). For this project, it is decided that SAP will provide a cloud-based quick start, a preassembled, preconfigured, pretested set of rapid-deployment solutions. To enable this, a cloud-based project environment is brought on premise or a certified SAP partner provides a cloud-based production environment.

Phase 1 of our fictional company’s HCM project rollout
Figure 2 Phase 1 of our fictional company’s HCM project rollout

The implementation approach here includes an early validation cycle for the business to better visualize and understand the rapid-deployment solution and best practices. In this example, the number of interfaces and localization requirements are also determined at this point. After deploying, validating, and testing the HCM solution implementation, SAP builds the localization and interfaces off-site with comprehensive integration tests and final package tests.

Phase 2 of the project focuses on additional improvements of the solution and adding enhanced reporting functionalities.

Throughout the project, more than 80% of the work is done remotely, either near-shore or offshore. A virtual project environment allows for seamless project execution and control, with lower costs and timely availability of resources.

The Benefits of Assemble-to-Order

The assemble-to-order model of SAP Advanced Delivery Management provides several benefits, including:

  • Faster time-to-value. Since this model uses prebuilt SAP-engineered content and services, the implementation and go-live processes are much faster. Also, since SAP experts are part of these processes, companies can be sure that they will be run according to best-practice methodologies. Finally, because the solutions are delivered in phases, companies can quickly take advantage of some of the solution’s benefits even as they work to add more functionality.
  • A clear focus on business value. The assemble-to-order approach engages business users early on to find solutions that meet their  needs. The validation cycle within the implementation is also focused on ensuring that the solution will meet the business requirements.
  • Flexibility. The assemble-to-order modular approach lets a customer implement a baseline solution and then add enhancements to it. This means that the business can more easily react to market and technology changes and add new functionality to keep its solution up to date and optimized. 

Committed to transforming the industry with this award-winning2 delivery approach, SAP will continue to innovate with services and rapid-deployment solutions that provide even more options for our customers.

For more information, including a schedule of SAP Advanced Delivery Management webinars, visit

Raimar G. Hoeliner ( is a Business Support Manager in Delivery Enablement CEQA at SAP America. Raimar focuses on advanced delivery management, business process management, implementation acceleration, and the agile approach.

Betsy Bohling ( is a Program Manager at SAP America, focused on enabling global strategic initiatives within North America. Betsy has broad software industry experience in implementation, consulting, sales, and management.

1 See “SAP’s New Delivery Approach Enables Innovation, Value, and Efficiency” by Nicolás Steib, Ann Rosenberg, and Hannah Pong in the July-September 2012 issue of SAPinsider. [back]

2 The Technology Services Industry Association presented SAP Advanced Delivery Management with the 2012 Vision Award. Visit to learn more. [back]

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