SAP S/4HANA Migration: Strategies and Considerations

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SAP S/4HANA Migration
Admin August 23, 2023 0 Comments

Is your organization still using legacy ERP systems like SAP ECC and uncertain about heading toward a digital transformation? Now is the right time to switch to a modern ERP solution like SAP S/4HANA, as SAP will cease its support to ECC by 2027. While this deadline may seem distant, it is closer than it appears. This is mainly because completing a thorough SAP assessment for your enterprise takes longer than you have predicted. Moreover, as the deadline approaches, migration complexities arise, like increased migration costs and reduced availability of migration experts.

Once your company finally decides to migrate to SAP S/4HANA, what next? Your business must know how to navigate through the unique challenges that come the way of migrating to SAP S/4HANA through a well-planned strategy and specific approaches.

This article describes the key steps and strategies for a successful and seamless SAP S/4HANA migration.

1.  Business Readiness Check and Requirement Analysis

A successful SAP S/4HANA migration is about preparation as much as the implementation. Check how ready your business is to embrace the new ERP system by analyzing various parameters and discussing them with key decision-makers. Knowing the reasons to migrate and understanding the requirements ensures a strong foundation and sets a clear path to achieving the goals.

2.  Current Environment Assessment

Before you proceed with the SAP S/4HANA migration, assessing your current ERP system and knowing what to migrate is essential. Filter unwanted data to reduce the network load and migration timeframe. Do an overall system landscape audit to understand the different components and their dependencies, custom configurations, and performance metrics.

Your migration team must also list the challenges and pain points in the current system and check for features that help overcome them in SAP S/4HANA.

3.  Choosing a migration method

Once you are clear on the requirements, choose a migration method based on your specific business needs and use case scenarios.

Brownfield implementation

This migration approach involves migrating the current ERP system, like SAP ECC, to SAP S/4HANA, retaining most processes, configurations, and data. You can execute the migration using this minimalistic method in less time and budget, causing minimum disruptions to the existing business operations.

You can also make custom changes to the existing data and code to ensure alignment with the new SAP platform.

Greenfield implementation

Choose this method if you want a fresh SAP implementation without carrying the existing settings or configurations. Except for the old master data, everything else is created new to match the SAP S/4HANA environment. It takes a longer time and comparatively higher cost as the processes and settings must be created from scratch.

4.  Migration timeline & cost estimation

Estimate the migration timeline based on the requirements and the current system assessment. Split the entire timeframe to accommodate various milestones to achieve. Then, calculate the migration cost, considering the expense of the resources and training, internal team and external vendors’ hourly rates, and the migration vendor’s charges

While determining the cost and timeframe, set aside a contingency budget and buffer space for unexpected expenses and delays.

5.  Custom Code Adjustment

As SAP S/4HANA is a modern cloud-based ERP, the old custom codes may not be compatible or work optimally. Hence, verifying and auditing the existing codes, including reports, extensions, etc., is vital. If any of the codes are obsolete or redundant, identify and remove them while retaining or altering only the necessary ones.

6.  Technical Implementation

If you are migrating from a non-HANA database in SAP ECC, one of the initial steps is to move to the SAP HANA database and make necessary system updates to match the chosen SAP S/4HANA version. Perform data cleansing, data model changes, UI/UX updates, and infrastructure modifications as integral parts of the technical implementation.

Test the setup thoroughly once your team adjusts the custom code, configurations, and system settings.

7.  Process Alignment

Identify existing business processes in your old SAP system and define how you must maintain these in the new ERP environment. Based on the requirement, modify or redesign them to align with SAP S/4HANA.

Once you identify and address the gaps in the business process between the existing and the new SAP platform, document the changes for easy monitoring and optimization.

8.  Third-party application integration

List the current applications integrated with your existing SAP environment and check if they are still relevant or must be retired in SAP S/4HANA. Review the various integration tools and technologies (SAP CPI, SAP PO, IDocs, APIs, etc) and choose the right fit for your migration scenario.9.

9. Backup and Recovery Strategy

Migrating to S/4HANA involves transforming and transferring large amounts of valuable enterprise data. Any downtime can lead to significant financial and operational consequences. A backup ensures that you can recover this data in the event of unforeseen problems and ensures minimal disruption to business operations.

10. Testing

Testing or validation is a pivotal phase in the SAP S/4HANA migration process, ensuring that the migrated system operates reliably, efficiently, and in alignment with business requirements. It involves comprehensively evaluating the new environment’s technical and functional aspects. During this phase, migrated data’s integrity, application customizations, integrations, and end-to-end business processes must be rigorously checked against predefined criteria.

11.  Security and Compliance

Maintaining security and compliance during an SAP S/4HANA migration is critical, given the sensitivity of business data and your enterprise’s regulatory landscape. Verify the role-based user access permissions to prevent unauthorized data access and risks of data loss. Check for strong encryption and authentication protocols in your migration tools and ensure compliance with the regional data protection regulations and laws.

You can also refer to the SAP Activate guideline, an agile methodology framework with six phases – discover, prepare, explore, realize, deploy, and run. It helps customers in SAP S/4HANA migration and provides a step-by-step roadmap to achieve the desired results.

Migrating to SAP S/4HANA represents a transformative shift for organizations, opening doors to new capabilities, efficiencies, and a future-proof business. Your company can overcome the complexities in this process by following the above-discussed strategies and partnering with a trustworthy SAP migration partner like Right Angle Solutions Inc.

Prepare to embark on your SAP S/4HANA journey with our seasoned SAP migration experts.

Feel free to contact us for more details.

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