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Product and Topic Expert
Product and Topic Expert

Project delivery framework for SAP Marketing Cloud

The space of digital marketing is a fast paced and constantly evolving environment and so are the people working within it. Digital marketing projects need to live up to high time-to-value, value realization, and agility standards. Our framework and principles are derived from dozens of projects across regions and industries to help you to meet these high standards.

Table of Contents

Project Delivery Framework Fundamentals

Before going into details on how each release and phase works, there is a set of fundamental principles and practices that need to be understood for an SAP Marketing Cloud project.  These principles are important across all releases and phases.

  • SAP Marketing Cloud can be implemented by applying different project methodologies. However, SAP Activate is a proven methodology that can help you to move fast.

  • The project approach for the SAP Marketing Cloud is not strict about agile nor waterfall methodologies. Nevertheless, it is important to follow the principles of agile mindsets.

  • The project approach is based on multiple releases and phases within a release.

Delivering SAP Marketing Cloud with SAP Activate

Project Releases & Phases

The project delivery framework for SAP Marketing Cloud as described in this article is aligned with SAP Activate. The image below will provide you with a quick reference of SAP Activate phases for the first release of your digital marketing transformation journey.



    • Technical availability check

    • Initial steps: Connections & Admin Users

Kick-Off workshop

    • Corporate & Marketing Objectives introduction

    • Project plan introduction

    • Identification of business owners, key users, operation owners, technical key resources from customer side

    • Articulation of mandates and responsibilities of all involved parties

    • Introduction of the steering committee members, cadence, decision process and meeting structure


Business workshop

    • Business scenario identification

    • Communication outbound channels definition

    • Organizational unit nomination

    • Country or regional selection

Technical & functional workshop

    • Data source definition

    • Feature minimal set definition

    • Architecture translation

    • Data model & API enhancements

Business foundation activation workshop

    • Profiling Match & Merge generic tactic

    • Marketing Area common denominator identification

    • Permission Marketing configuration in compliance with internal policies

    • Authorization granularity

Project Setup

    • Fine tuning of the timeline and team member assignments

    • Re-validation of scope item backlog based on scenario priorities

    • Documentation of all workshop results including the decision criteria per functional and technical item


The realization activities highly depend on the workshop results from the Explore phase. Based on the multi-release and phased approach we highly recommend you work with a minimal functional and technical set in the first release.


    • Profiling configuration for connected data sources

    • Permission configuration

    • Segmentation configuration

    • Outbound channel configuration

    • Content Studio configuration

    • Campaign configuration

    • Fact sheet configuration

    • Business role setup and creation

    • Connect SAP Analytics Cloud

    • Activate standard analytical stories


    • Connect data sources

    • Apply enhancements to the data model and APIs

    • Enhance integration packages to comply with enhanced data models or custom Extract-Transform-Load logic

    • Create custom integration package to connect to a non-SAP data source via a push method (the source system is pushing data against a custom integration package)

    • Apply minor enhancements of views for the Segmentation for custom filters and key figures



    • Run integration tests (single and volume) and document the results

    • Apply corrections and re-run tests until the minimum quality level threshold is reached

    • Migrate the configuration to the production tenant

    • Run the initial data migration from the connected sources and start the delta load

    • Create a technical operation hand-book and do a hand-over workshop


    • Run a production smoke test by applying a seed list and simple campaign

    • Build the campaigns identified in the business scenario workshop together with the key business users

    • Create a campaign warm-up plan and execute it together with the business and operation team

    • Document the created campaigns and warm-up plan campaigns step-by-step as follow-up documentation for the business team


    • Hyper-care the campaign warm-up for at least four weeks

    • Scope and design the next project wave.

Keep in mind that the organizational and geographical dimension of your second wave will be become more important. You will most likely need to split the second wave into two streams: one to re-iterate the steps above and another one to execute the organizational and geographical roll-out.

Releases and Iteration

SAP Marketing Cloud projects should be broken down into slices or increments called a release following a crawl, walk, run approach. The size of a release can vary depending on the context. When possible, we recommend you schedule releases with relatively equal duration. Smaller releases can help reduce the project's risk, improve time-to-market, and give more immediate visibility to the business and end-users. If you follow the Minimal Viable Product approach paired with the described phases above, your project duration should be between eight to twelve weeks.

SAP Activate project example: SAP Model Company

To learn more about how SAP has configured their own MVP’s for organizations kick-starting their digital transformations, review the SAP Model Company for SAP Customer Experience. SAP’s Model Company offerings are preconfigured MVPs designed for the purpose of meeting MVP timeframes and setting up for the next wave of implementation.  As per SAP's implementation process for SAP Marketing Cloud, there are marketing related MVPs serving specific business scenarios, addressing the “The Six Dimensions of Success and Failure”, which are delivered based on a bill of materials purchased by our customers.


This project framework is applicable as a standalone implementation or part of the overall SAP Customer Experience program. You can refer to Overall SAP Customer Experience Project Framework to learn more about the project setup with multiple solutions across the portfolio.

Disclaimer: Original version of this article was published in SAP CX Works.