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S/4HANA Migration: Defining your plan and scenario

2025. That’s the deadline for migrating your current SAP ERP system to S/4HANA. It seems that more than 5 years should be enough for migrating your systems to S/4HANA, right? Let me tell you something: You better start now before it is too late. I know that 5 years seems like a long time but in case of S/4HANA migration it is not. Today I want to talk a bit about the different options for migrating your systems to S/4HANA.

Possible Transition Scenarios for your S/4HANA Migration

First of all we have to consider that migrating to S/4HANA is not like upgrading your current SAP ERP system to the latest EHP available. It involves a deep and intensive work on adapting and converting your current business processes to S/4HANA. First of all we need to decide the transition scenario.

Resultado de imagen para S/4HANA migration project
S/4HANA Transition Scenarios

As you can see we have 3 different transition scenarios depending on the approach we want to follow. Let’s take a look to each of the possible scenarios

New Implementation (aka Greenfield Approach)

†We start on a new installation of S/4HANA. We won’t have data in the new system so we have to decide what to do with the old system. This usually means that the current SAP ERP system will be used as legacy system and the company will continue working in the new system so we ‘lost’ all the historical data available in our current SAP ERP. It requires to re-engineer the existing processes so it will require more time and effort.

System Conversion (aka Browfield Approach)

System Conversion (aka browfield approach): In this case we will migrate the current system to S/4HANA migrating the current data and adapting the processes. Before migrating the data it is recommended to archive/delete old data from the system to an external archiving system so the workload and effort required will be lower. We won’t need to re-implement the current business processes in that moment. This means that we can decide which process we want to re-design.

Landscape Transformation (aka Bluefield Approach)

The key in this scenario is to choose which data migrate to the new S/4HANA system. For example, if we have several companies running in our current SAP ERP system we can decide to migrate part of those companies to the new S/4HANA while the rest of the companies works with the old SAP system. This is the middle ground between greenfield and browfield and it usually requires more time and effort when migrating the data and adapting the process. It could also be kind of tricky since part of your organization will be working on S/4HANA meanwhile the rest of it works with the old SAP ERP system.

We can also uses different applications and utilities for migrating data selectively to the new system like SNP Transformation Command Center, SA Data Services, etc.

What is the best option?

That’s the million dollar question. Unfortunately it doesn’t have a best answer so we have to consider the following variables before making a decision:

  • What is the use of my current SAP ERP system?
  • How much data I have in my current system?
  • Do I need to keep the historical data within the HANA database, or could I archive/delete part of the data?
  • What is the impact to the organization that I’m willing to accept?
  • Do I plan to re-engineer the current processes, or I prefer to keep them as they are?
  • Am I planning to migrate to a Cloud provider my system while performing a S/4HANA migration?
  • In the last case, do I want to keep working with the ‘traditional’ SAP systems like IaaS, or do I prefer to migrate to a PaaS solution?
  • What are my deadlines? How much money do I plan to spend in the conversion?

As you can see there are tons of questions that you should answer before making a decision. I recommend you to check with your current SAP partner as soon as possible. As I said, 2025 seems that it is really far away but trust me, when the S/4HANA migration will take time and resources if you want to do a good job.

One of my next topics will be about S/4HANA conversion and migration. Specially for those of you that want to try converting your current SAP system using DMO. Even if you plan to hire a consulting team I think it is a good idea to know about the process, what it involves and what to do before starting.

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