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SAP’s Perfect Match

The Business Transformation Management Methodology and the ASAP Methodol-

ogy for Implementation are two prominent methodologies introduced by SAP AG in
order to react to ever changing environments. However, the scope of application is
different for both cases. In fact, there exists a huge synergy potential between both
methodologies, which are discussed in this article.

by Axel Uhl, Jan Musil, Tammy Johnson and Lisa Kouch

Transformation is a common challenge The key objective of BTM2 is to support
and procedure for most, if not all, organi- the management of large scale trans-
zations. On the one hand, external chang- formation initiatives, like e.g. business
es such as sustainability, technological model changes, post-merger integration,
innovations, globalization, economic shared service center implementations,
conditions, and the changing nature of and large ERP implementations. This
the workforce have a profound impact on means that IT can, but does not neces-
the way organizations execute business. sarily need to play an important role when
On the other hand, internal changes such using BTM2. In a nutshell, BTM2 helps to
as product innovation, restructuring, and manage the transformation – the path
new business model adoption, also po- how to get from A to B.
tentially result in large-scale transforma- In contrast, the key objective of ASAP is
tion and consequently in a disruption in to better implement IT solutions such as
the workplace. Organizations require an ERP systems. Therefore, IT always plays
excellent transformation process in order an important role when using ASAP.
to sustain competitive advantages (Uhl Clearly said, BTM2 and ASAP are two
2012). methodologies that provide a perfect
In business transformation, both Busi- match to each other and at the same time
ness Transformation Management Meth- benefit from significant synergies in the
odology (BTM2) as well as ASAP Meth- context of IT implementation programs.
odology for Implementation (referred In the process of transformation, BTM2
to as “ASAP”) describe methodologies focuses on the strategic to tactical levels,
to realize and implement changes in whereas ASAP concentrates on tactical
the business environment. Some may to operational levels. The appropriate
wonder: “Are both methodologies inter- methodology to choose depends on the
changeable? If not, what are the key dif- complexity, scale, and implications of the
ferences and synergies between them?” change.
This article answers this question and
provides insights into the relationship of An Overview of BTM2 and ASAP
BTM2 and ASAP by analyzing them from Successful projects – be they in large,
different perspectives and finally illustrat- medium or small scale – depend on well-
ing recommendations in four use cases. defined, proven, and adaptable method-

ologies. Both BTM2 and ASAP were de- between different departments. There-
veloped based on thousands of executed fore BTM2 provides powerful coordina-
transformation programs. tion mechanisms to coordinate and align
BTM2 provides a holistic and integrative between those different management
view on the organization and the com- disciplines (Uhl 2012).
plexity of its ecosystem. The framework BTM2 delivers sufficient consistency and
manages extensive and complex chang- guidance and ensures that the business
es on which an organization’s future suc- understands the transformation need
cess strongly depends. The framework is and its impacts. At the same time, BTM2
based on a meta management discipline is flexible enough to be adopted by all
focusing on rather soft cultural factors like kinds of transformation projects, which
values and behaviors, leadership, conflict are by nature extremely diverse, e.g. in
resolution, and meta-communication, as terms of industry, project portfolio, or
well as on established management dis- people involved.
ciplines, including strategy management, The ASAP Methodology is SAP’s pre-
value management, process manage- scriptive methodology for implementing
ment, risk management, IT transforma- and upgrading SAP software. It leverag-
tion, competence and training manage- es the insights that SAP and its partners
ment, and program management (see have gained through years of hands-on 29
fig. 1). Each individual discipline is well experience with projects in many differ-
developed, with a large body of knowl- ent customer environments and indus-
edge, and targets a specific group of tries. ASAP provides accelerators, tools,
professional people. Although, of course, and best practices from thousands of
each group is very valuable for the orga- successful implementations. Its prescrip- Fig. 1: Focus
nization, there is still a strong tendency tive approach helps reduce project time, areas of BTM2
for separation and a lack of integration cost, and risk. The latest release of ASAP and ASAP

Meta Management BTM² drives Transformation

as a Frame
Strategy Value Strate- Process Program IT Org. Compe-
gic Change tences



Strategy Value Impl. Risk BPM Project ALM / TSM Change Training

ASAP executes Transformation

Level of impact High Medium Low


methodology (version 8) extends the BTM2 ensures that the coordination and
solid foundation of ASAP – built around interplay of the individual projects and the
Business Process Management, Project overall transformation are a success.
Management, Organizational Change
Management, Technical Solution Man- From Strategy to Execution
agement, and Application Lifecycle Man- The ability to manage business trans-
agement – with prescriptive guidance formation is crucial for companies to
and strong governance to ensure project stay competitive. One success factor
success. is to adapt quickly to an ever changing
The ASAP methodology is structured into environment. Major changes, such as
six phases that support clients through- technology shifts, changes in customer
out the life cycle of a SAP solution – when behavior, competitive moves, and merg-
you plan it, when you build it, and when ers & acquisitions, might have an impact,
you run it in your day-to-day operations. either negative or positive, on the ability
ASAP provides a framework for aligning of a company to achieve its strategic ob-
IT and business strategies, quickly get- jective. A major transformation might be
ting your software up and running, and required in order to align the strategic vi-
keeping it operating smoothly at peak sion and keep the organization profitable.
30 levels. In addition, it includes process In this context, BTM2 intends to support
checks to ensure that the implemented the business in defining and implement-
solution delivers the value you expect ing a significant business transforma-
from your SAP investment. tion. It focuses on fundamental business
Both methodologies include several changes which have a strong impact on
management disciplines, like business the organization’s strategic focus. BTM2’s
process management, value manage- primary object is “doing the right things”
ment, or organizational change manage- and it focuses on the organization’s ca-
ment (see the columns in fig. 1). The dif- pabilities to ensure the best execution
ference between BTM2 and ASAP is the and situational adoption of this plan (e.g.
level of detail. in terms of Return on Investment). The
BTM2 focuses on the strategy and pro- framework describes all relevant aspects
gram level, where the coordination of which need to be considered along the
transformation activities plays a key role. transformation process. It helps to coor-
One aim is to leverage the synergies of dinate and align all efforts necessary to
the different stakeholder interests. Fur- reach the final transformation target and
thermore, BTM2 reveals the possible specifies the direction, roles, and respon-
value and the corresponding risks from sibilities of all key stakeholders involved
an enterprise-wide perspective. in the transformation process. The actual
The business transformation activities execution of the transformation process
are then broken down into several small- is then moved into the project and service
er projects, some of which are executed delivery framework ASAP (see fig. 2).
using ASAP. Typically, these projects ASAP focuses on the more tactical
are characterized by limited complexity, changes and provides clear guidance,
dependencies, and stakeholder groups time frames, and deliverables for IT proj-
and have well-defined individual project ects. It supports traditional as well as agile
goals. On this level a pressure to deliver projects and provides a framework for the
exists. design of industrialized services. ASAP is
Again, each project has to be planned concerned with “doing things right” and
considering different viewpoints, and specifies a detailed process in order to
only the combination from all relevant reach certain project goals. Typical sce-
disciplines can lead to success. narios where ASAP is applied are when
In summary, ASAP ensures that each pure data migration or technical upgrades
individual project is a success, whereas need to be managed, i.e. where no busi-

From Strategy to Execution

BTM² drives Transformation

Mission & Vision Strategic

Sets Objectives


Directs Transformation Affects

Initiation / Design of Incremental
Planning Solution Capability

ASAP executes Transformation

© 2012 SAP AG. All rights reserved. 2

ness change is involved. It is also applied agement is a fundamental pillar of the Fig. 2: From
to manage small, incremental change meta management layer of BTM2 (Stiles strategy to
even if the business side is affected. and Uhl 2012).Typical key stakeholders in execution
To summarize, BTM2 considers the stra- BTM2 are board members, C-level man-
tegic and tactical perspective of a trans- agement including the CIO, business unit
formation and describes the necessary managers, program and project manag-
steps and paths to take. ASAP comple- ers, and transformation managers, as
ments these activities on the tactical level well as the entire middle management.
and drives them to execution. Other, more IT-related stakeholders are
BTM2 will only be used where the trans- involved as well, but the key part is to
formation is large, ASAP can also be observe the business strategy and intro-
used in projects without large organiza- duce possible changes.
tional changes. Since ASAP is a more technical and
engineered approach, its key stakehold-
Major Stakeholders ers are usually somehow involved in IT.
Considering the characteristics of the The typical stakeholder groups are CIOs
two frameworks, we can differentiate be- and CIO subordinate levels, as well as
tween various stakeholder groups. As we enterprise and solution architects, proj-
highlighted in the previous section, BTM2 ect stakeholders, IT consultants, service
focuses on the strategic and tactical level managers, and SAP key users.
and supports the business in defining and In a nutshell, BTM2 is applied when the
implementing significant business chang- enterprise needs to react to external
es. Therefore, in BTM2 it is essential to markets, change the operating model,
involve stakeholders on all hierarchical and make important business changes.
levels as part of the transformation. As ASAP is applied in order to introduce or
a consequence, active stakeholder man- enhance IT-related concepts.

Deliver Services
Initiate Plan Execute & Close
Fig. 3: ASAP Project Project Project Control Project
phases Project

Skills and Competences nical upgrades, like changes in the data

As BTM2 and ASAP complement each handling and data constraints, modifica-
other, the skills required for the individual tions in the graphical user interface, und
methodologies are of different nature. updates to external interfaces. In gener-
BTM2 experts are more generalists than al, this scenario has no significant influ-
specialists and need strong cross-depart- ence on the way the business is operated
mental thinking. Therefore, they require a today.
solid basis of “soft-skillsˮ on leadership Changes which have no significant influ-
and culture, and competencies like stra- ence on the business operation are im-
tegic thinking, as well as emotional and plemented using ASAP (see fig. 3). The
32 political intelligence. Analytical skills and methodology provides clear and practi-
in-depth domain knowledge are less es- cal guidelines for the implementation. As
sential. the project does not influence the overall
In contrary, ASAP experts are more spe- business strategy, BTM2 would not be the
cialized in certain domains and topics. appropriate methodology in this case.
Besides strong analytical skills and ex- The result of the project is an updated
cellent social skills for holistic analysis, version of the existing IT system.
they also offer transformation support
and fulfill a communication role. In ad- 2) Global Process Standardization
dition, cross-departmental knowledge is An organization is running SAP in all lo-
also important, yet ASAP experts use a cations in Germany. Outside of Germany,
language that is closer to the one used by they have other IT systems and process-
IT experts. BTM2 experts instead speak es in place. In order to stay competitive
a business language in order to explain and to ensure a consistent IT landscape,
their concerns. the organization wants to align the core
In the following sections, we will introduce business processes and avoid regional
four use cases to illustrate the different differences as much as possible. Part of
business scenarios and scopes where this initiative is standardizing the HCM
either BTM2, ASAP, or both are applied. scenario and the corresponding busi-
In each use case, we will first describe ness processes across all countries.
the situation of the organization and its This transformation scenario has a sig-
objectives, before giving reasons for the nificant impact on the way the business
choice of a method and summarizing the operates, therefore BTM2 is the appropri-
associated outcome. ate methodology to support it (see fig. 4).
The change has major influence on sev-
1) Technical Upgrade of an SAP HCM eral different management functions,
Scenario and several BTM2 disciplines need to be
Imagine an organization running SAP for taken into consideration. For example,
their entire process landscape includ- the change requires a strategic align-
ing its human resource processes. After ment of all countries and does not only
a certain period, the technology vendor focus on changing IT systems. Coordina-
SAP releases a new version of the SAP tion and communication with all stake-
Human Capital Management (HCM) sce- holder groups are key to success. Usu-
nario, which contains some major tech- ally, standardizing such processes also
Use Case 2 – Process Standardization

involves big changes in responsibilities

and in the organizational structure. One
possible achievement during such a long BTM2
term project might be the introduction of Strategy Phase Realization Phase
a completely new IT strategy.
BTM2 provides the relevant methodology
Envision Engage Transform Optimize
to make complex changes a success and
to make sure all relevant aspects are con-
sidered right from the beginning. After an Execution
extensive planning phase and a redefini-
tion of the strategy, ASAP is applied to
implement the required changes on the
project level. ASAP - Deliver Services
The long-term results of this scenario are
a coherent process landscape, a smooth-
er execution, an alignment of the required
© 2012 SAP AG. All rights reserved. 4
IT systems and standardized training ef-
forts. The overall benefit is cost savings. business scenarios. The implementation Fig. 4: Top-down
is done in an agile manner, and the over- approach 33
3) Process Standardization Using all transformation is achieved in smaller
SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions iterative projects (see fig. 5). After each
The third use case is a slight variation of iteration, the overall system is in a stable
the second use case and explains how mode and can be run productively. This
transformation projects can be executed allows continuous improvement of the
in an agile environment. Again, we as- environment to reach the final transfor-
sume that an organization is running SAP mation goal.
in all locations in Germany, and outside
other IT systems and processes are in The final goals again are achieving a co-
place. The transformation requires a stra- herent process landscape and shorter
tegic alignment of all locations and does execution life-cycle. However, this sce-
not only focus on changing IT systems. nario frequently involves smaller sub-
One part of this initiative is to standardize goals. For example, processes can be
the HCM scenario and the corresponding aligned step by step, and each iteration Fig. 5: Top-down
business processes across Use Case 3 –improves
all countries. Process Standardization (withagile
the solution. SAP RDS)
As highlighted in the previous scenario,
since the business is driving the change,
BTM2 is used to realize the transforma-
tion. However, on the tactical level the
transformation is executed using SAP’s
Rapid Deployment Solutions (RDS)
methodology, which is based on ASAP.
An RDS can be generically referred to as Strategy Phase Realization Phase
a “packaged solution” with a clearly de-
lineated scope, quick to implement and
Envision Engage Transform Optimize
offered at a fixed price. It includes a com-
prehensive and integrated offering that
addresses specific business challenges,
enabling companies to go live with new Deployment
software to address these challenges
(Winter 2011). One advantage of RDS
ASAP - Deliver Services
is that it enables implementing smaller
packages which clearly target specific

© 2012 SAP AG. All rights reserved. 5

Use Case 4 – IT feature update resulting in strategic

ASAP - influencing different management func-

Services tions as well. In addition, new roles and
BTM2 responsibilities need to be defined to
Strategy Phase
make this sales channel a success.
Realization Phase

With this development, the scenario be-

Envision Engage Transform Optimize
comes more strategy-oriented and the
transformation is growing in complexity.
Execution Consequently, the initially rather tactical
project is shifted into a major transfor-
mation effort, which needs to carefully
ASAP - Deliver Services
consider all facets of business trans-
formation. In order to support the new
transformation target, BTM2 is used to
© 2012 SAP AG. All rights reserved. 6 facilitate the entire process and to coor-
Fig. 6: From 4) Small Change Resulting in a Stra- dinate between the different disciplines
bottom-up to tegic Transformation and stakeholders. Eventually, the stra-
top-down An organization running SAP plans to tegic change also leads to a number of
34 implement a new feature of the SAP tactical changes. On this level, ASAP is
Sales and Distribution scenario. As ex- utilized again in order to execute the in-
plained in the first use case, such feature dividual projects.
updates usually have no major influence The original goal of making a technical
on the overall business. upgrade turned into a major shift in the
Such transformation projects are a tac- strategic positioning of the sales efforts.
tical issue and typically executed using At the end of the transformation project,
the ASAP methodology (see fig. 6). Dur- the organization has a new e-commerce
ing the implementation of the project, the sales channel in place and a new set of
organization is consulted about the new roles and responsibilities installed. Over-
possibilities offered by the feature set, in- all, the company could increase their to-
cluding a new e-commerce sales chan- tal sales thanks to this strategic change.
nel. The organization feels that there is
benefit potential in selling its services Conclusion
and products via internet. The deci- In this article, we highlighted the interac-
sion of adding an e-commerce channel tion of the two methodologies BTM2 and
changes the original business strategy, ASAP. Both methodologies, individually
used, provide great instruments to plan,
realize, and implement changes in a
Key Learnings business environment. Yet, together they
benefit from synergies and create a huge
► BTM2 is used primarily by business functions, and ASAP value addition.
is used primarily by IT functions. As learned from the use cases, on the one
► BTM2 focuses on the strategic level, whereas ASAP hand BTM2 is a methodology that focuses
concentrates on the operational level. BTM2 concentrates on the strategic level. It concentrates on
on “doing the right things” and ASAP focuses on “doing “doing the right things” and considers all
things right”. relevant activities necessary to make a
► BTM2 describes the necessary steps and paths to take. business transformation successful. On
ASAP complements these activities on the tactical level the other hand, ASAP is a methodology
and drives them to execution. to execute the actual changes. It focuses
► The appropriate methodology to choose depends on the on “doing things right”. The appropriate
complexity, scale and implications of the business trans- methodology to choose depends on the
formation. complexity, scale, and implications of the
change project.

Prof. Dr. Axel Uhl is head of the Business Transformation Academy at SAP. He has
been a professor at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzer-
land (FHNW) since 2009. Axel Uhl received his doctorate in economics and his master
in business information systems. He started his career at Allianz and worked for Daim-
lerChrysler IT Services, KPMG, and Novartis. His main areas of research are sustain-
ability and IT, leadership, and business transformation management.

Jan Musil has over 20 years of consulting, general management and operations expe-
rience in the IT industry. He is currently leading the Global Project Management Prac-
tice in the SAP Services organization. Jan is passionate about project management
excellence; he works closely with SAP customers advising how to improve time to value
through efficient use of acceleration techniques proven in SAP implementations. Since
starting in SAP in 1996, Jan has held various roles in product development, quality
management, customer support, consulting organization and operations in the United
States, Germany and Czech Republic. 35

Tammy Johnson is the North Central Practice Head within Business Transformation
Services in North America, leading a team of Business Transformation Principals fo-
cusing on transformation roadmaps, innovation, business architecture, and value man-
agement. She has over twenty years of consulting experience developing enterprise
application strategies for global organizations requiring significant value adoption, or-
ganizational redesign and process improvement.

Lisa Kouch is a Senior Project Manager at SAP. She is a graduate of Villanova Uni-
versity and is a registered Project Management Professional (PMP) with PMI. Previous
to joining SAP, Lisa worked for The Amber Group and Accenture specializing in the
Financials, Controlling, and Project Management areas.


► Stiles, P., Uhl, A. (2012). Meta Management: Connecting the Parts of Business Transformation.
360° – the Business Transformation Journal, issue no. 3, February 2012, 24-29.
► Uhl, A. (2012). “Introductionˮ. In: Uhl, A., Gollenia, L.A. (eds.). A Handbook of Business Transforma-
tion Management Methodology. Farnham, UK: Gower Publishing, 1-12.
► Winter, J. (2011). “SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions – The Basics”, SAP Services Blog, 3 October
2011. Available from:
%E2%80%93-the-basics/ [Accessed 21.11.2012].