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Last time I talked about how “greenfield” and “brownfield” are outdated approaches to your digital transformation as every company has a unique starting point, goals, risk tolerance and more.  (https://blogs.sap.com/2021/09/16/greenfield-brownfield-both-neither/)  I covered how the Applexus RunWay approach was developed based on five driving principles:  speed to value, agile, user experience first, smart processes and insight to impact.  These principles guided us away from green and brown into a thought process on how to get started and what the journey through a digital transformation should be.

The Applexus RunWay approach for digital transformation includes four building blocks with three general options to build a customized roadmap for your journey.  Each building block will consist of one or more projects. We recommend starting with an assessment to choose the general option and lay out the roadmap to achieve your company objectives in a way that makes sense for your situation.  The four building blocks are:

Applexus RunWay building blocks

  1. Get Started – “The hardest part of any journey is taking that first step” is a variation on an ancient Chinese proverb and it applies perfectly to a digital transformation journey. The RunWay approach offers three choices for this first step or project depending on your current landscape, adaptability to change and your risk tolerance.  The first step could be a Discovery phase where you consider and define the amount of change your company can absorb along with assessments of your current situation.  Second, you can jump right in and make the initial transition to S/4 as quickly as possible.  The third option is a “get started” housekeeping project to clean up processes, code and data before launching into an S/4 migration.

  2. Build Baseline – “A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him” - David Brinkley. Building the baseline is a lot like laying the foundation for your digital transformation.  In our RunWay approach, we evaluate the bricks you have and determine if or how we will use them to build your baseline.  The baseline includes the initial migration to S/4 as well as other foundational elements such as a strong user experience and leveraging the built-in innovations provided by S/4 such as embedded analytics.  This baseline gets you to a place where you have the key functionality to be successful but on a modern platform that enables continuous improvement and innovation to help your company stay competitive. It may take more than one project to achieve the baseline depending on decisions made during the initial assessment.

  3. Process Improvement – In Six Sigma training, practitioners learn that the key to process improvement is to remove barriers, waste, rework, and inefficiency. Now that your baseline is in place, S/4 provides opportunities for process automation, artificial intelligence and other newer technologies that can be identified through Business Process Intelligence and Monitoring. These short agile projects can bring quick value as processes become more efficient with reduced effort and waste.

  4. Innovation – “Every once in a while, a new technology, an old problem, and a big idea turn into an innovation” - Dean Kamen. Now that you have a strong baseline along with efficient processes, what’s next?    The SAP HANA platform and S/4 provide many opportunities to innovate for competitive advantage.  The advanced tools and technologies can be applied to old problems that were previously limited by available technology to create new opportunities to improve your competitiveness.  Faster data recall and enhanced decision making can solve problems that were previously unsolvable.  The key here is imagining the possible.

In Runway, steps 2 through 4 described above may require multiple projects depending on your current state, ability to absorb change, budget, and other factors.  The agility of this approach is that ideally, none of these projects take more than three to four months so that if business conditions or priorities change, you are not left with a huge investment and no result. The initial roadmap developed by Applexus should achieve some business value in each project to keep your business sponsors engaged and willing to continue the investment in your digital platform.

Finally, each project is suitable to leverage the SAP Activate Methodology or Applexus RunningStart which is based on SAP Activate.  These methodologies help accelerate the projects while mitigating the risk of your digital transformation.

There is a lot more detail to share, so I encourage you to reach out to me to learn more about how we can help build your digital transformation roadmap leveraging SAP S/4HANA and our RunWay approach and create a platform that enables innovation for competitive advantage.