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S/4HANA Migration Services – All You Need to Know

With the ever-so-shifting consumer trends changing the market, it has become important for businesses to prioritize investments in adaptive and technological innovations to ensure long-term success and relevance. 

And this is precisely where SAP’s brand new ERP, S/4HANA, shines the most.  

For instance, it can simplify your business processes and improve your IT landscape in order to make you more efficient. Secondly the UX of S/4HANA, thanks to SAP Fiori, tends to be much more efficient and relevant. Thirdly the lowered cost of ownership with a simplified or easy-to-use technology landscape can also be considered as another benefit in this aspect. 

While many claim that transitioning from ECC to S/4HANA is inherently challenging, it is important to note that the process can be simplified and made less tedious with the right approach and support. 

Why Should You Migrate to SAP S/4HANA? 

In a recent interview, SAP has exclaimed that it wants to stop offering support to their older ERP system in 2027. And in our book, that’s a prominent enough reason to change the track you are going on and jump on the S/4HANA bandwagon. 

Apart from that, here are some other reasons that should be compelling enough for a move – 

Migrating to SAP S/4HANA offers several compelling reasons for businesses. Here are some key advantages and benefits of migrating to SAP S/4HANA: 

Benefit – 1: Simplified Data Model 

SAP S/4HANA introduces a simplified data model that eliminates redundancies and provides real-time insights. It replaces traditional row-based databases with an in-memory computing platform, enabling faster data processing, analytics, and reporting. This simplification leads to streamlined business processes and improved operational efficiency. 

Benefit – 2: Enhanced User Experience 

SAP S/4HANA provides a modern and intuitive user interface called SAP Fiori. Fiori offers a consistent user experience across devices and enables personalised, role-based access to relevant information.  

The responsive design and user-friendly interface make it easier for employees to navigate and interact with the system, resulting in increased productivity and user satisfaction. 

Benefit – 3: Real-time Analytics 

With SAP S/4HANA’s in-memory computing capabilities, businesses can perform real-time analytics on large volumes of data.  

This allows for instant insight into business operations, enabling timely decision-making.  

Real-time analytics help identify trends, patterns, and anomalies, facilitating proactive actions and faster response to market changes. 

Benefit – 4: Advanced Planning and Optimization 

SAP S/4HANA integrates advanced planning and optimization capabilities, such as embedded analytics, predictive analytics, and machine learning algorithms.  

These features enable businesses to optimise supply chain management, demand planning, production scheduling, and inventory management.  

The ability to analyse data in real-time helps businesses make informed decisions and respond quickly to changing customer demands. 

Benefit – 5: Improved Agility and Innovation 

SAP S/4HANA is designed to support digital transformation initiatives and foster innovation. It provides a foundation for emerging technologies like Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), and blockchain.  

By leveraging these technologies, businesses can automate processes, enhance customer experiences, and explore new business models.  

S/4HANA open architecture allows seamless integration with other systems and enables the development of applications, extending its functionality as per business requirements. 

Benefit – 6: Lower Total Cost of Ownership 

Migrating to SAP S/4HANA can lead to cost savings in the long run. The simplified data model, real-time analytics, and streamlined processes reduce data storage and maintenance costs. The elimination of batch processing and data redundancy also helps boost hardware resources.  

Additionally, SAP’s cloud deployment options, such as SAP S/4HANA Cloud, offer cost benefits by reducing upfront infrastructure investments and providing scalable solutions. 

Benefit – 7: Regulatory Compliance and Security 

SAP S/4HANA incorporates robust security features to protect sensitive data. It supports compliance with various industry-specific regulations and data protection standards.  

The system provides comprehensive auditing capabilities, role-based access controls, and data encryption, ensuring data integrity and confidentiality. 

Bonus – Seamless Integration and Migration Tools 

SAP offers a range of tools and services to simplify the migration process. Tools like the SAP S/4HANA Readiness Check and the SAP Transformation Navigator help assess system readiness and plan the migration journey.  

SAP’s Data Migration Services provide methodologies and best practices for data migration, ensuring a smooth transition from legacy systems to SAP S/4HANA. 

Note: migrating to SAP S/4HANA requires careful planning, considering factors such as data readiness, system landscape, and business process changes.  

Engaging with experienced SAP consultants and partners such as cbs can help organisations effectively navigate the migration process and maximise the benefits of SAP S/4HANA. 

What Are the SAP Migration Services? 

SAP provides a range of migration services to support organisations in transitioning to SAP S/4HANA.  

These services are designed to facilitate a smooth and successful migration, ensuring minimal disruption to business operations. Here are some key SAP migration services: 

1: SAP S/4HANA Readiness Check 

This service helps organisations assess their existing systems and landscapes to determine the readiness for migration.  

The Readiness Check analyses the compatibility of the current system with SAP S/4HANA, identifies potential issues, and provides recommendations for the migration process. 

2: SAP Transformation Navigator 

The Transformation Navigator is an online tool that helps organisations plan their journey to SAP S/4HANA.  

It provides guidance on which SAP products and solutions best fit their business needs, outlines the necessary steps for migration, and offers insights into the scope, effort, and dependencies of the migration project. 

3: SAP Advanced Deployment 

SAP offers various deployment options for SAP S/4HANA, including on-premises, cloud, and hybrid deployments.  

The Advanced Deployment service helps organisations choose the most suitable deployment option based on their –  

  • business requirements  
  • IT infrastructure, and  
  • strategic goals. 

It provides guidance on the technical aspects of deployment, system landscape design, and integration considerations. 

4: SAP Activate 

SAP Activate is an agile implementation methodology that guides organisations through the entire lifecycle of an SAP project, including migration to SAP S/4HANA. It provides pre-configured best practices, templates, and tools to accelerate the implementation process, reduce risks, and ensure a successful migration. 

5: SAP Data Migration Services 

Data migration is a critical aspect of any SAP migration project. SAP offers Data Migration Services to assist organisations in transferring data from their legacy systems to SAP S/4HANA. These services include data profiling, data cleansing, data transformation, and data validation. SAP provides methodologies, tools, and expertise to ensure data integrity and consistency throughout the migration process. 

6: SAP Migration Factory 

The Migration Factory is a comprehensive service offering that combines SAP’s expertise, tools, and methodologies to support end-to-end migration projects.  

It covers all aspects of the migration process, including project management, technical implementation, data migration, testing, and training.  

The Migration Factory leverages SAP’s best practices and accelerators to streamline the migration, reduce risks, and optimise the time and cost of the project. 

7: SAP Cloud Platform Integration 

For organisations adopting a hybrid approach or integrating SAP S/4HANA with other cloud applications, SAP Cloud Platform Integration provides services for seamless data integration and process orchestration.  

It enables the exchange of data and business processes between SAP S/4HANA and other systems, ensuring smooth interoperability and data consistency. 

How to Plan an S/4HANA Migration? 

Planning a successful SAP S/4HANA migration requires careful consideration and a well-defined strategy. Here’s a guide on how to plan your SAP S/4HANA migration: 

Step – 1: Set Objectives and Define Scope 

  • Clearly define the objectives of your migration project. Identify the specific business drivers and goals you want to achieve through the migration. 
  • Determine the scope of the migration, including which business processes, systems, and data will be migrated to SAP S/4HANA. 
  • Assess the impact of the migration on your organisation, including changes to business processes, roles and responsibilities, and system landscape. 

Step – 2: Perform System Landscape Assessment 

  • Evaluate your current system landscape and architecture to understand the dependencies and technical requirements for the migration. 
  • Identify the systems and applications that integrate with the existing SAP landscape and determine how they will be affected by the migration. 
  • Assess the compatibility of your current systems and databases with SAP S/4HANA. Use tools like the SAP S/4HANA Readiness Check to identify potential issues and perform system sizing. 

Step – 3: Define the Migration Strategy 

  • Choose the appropriate migration approach based on your organisation’s needs and constraints. Options include greenfield, brownfield, or selective data transition. 
  • Determine the deployment model (on-premises, cloud, or hybrid) that aligns with your IT strategy and business requirements. 
  • Define the project timeline, milestones, and key deliverables. Identify the resources and expertise required for the migration. 

Step – 4: Develop a Roadmap: 

  • Create a detailed migration roadmap that outlines the sequence of activities, dependencies, and timelines. 
  • Define the order in which systems and business processes will be migrated to SAP S/4HANA. 
  • Identify any prerequisites or pre-migration tasks that need to be completed before the migration, such as system upgrades, data cleansing, or process optimization. 

Step – 5: Data Readiness and Preparation 

  • Assess the quality and completeness of your data. Perform data profiling to identify data inconsistencies, duplicates, or gaps. 
  • Develop a data migration strategy that includes data cleansing, data mapping, and transformation rules. 
  • Determine the tools and methodologies you will use for data extraction, conversion, and validation. Consider SAP’s Data Migration Services and data migration tools available in the market. 

Step – 6: Plan for Customizations and Enhancements 

  • Evaluate the customizations and enhancements in your current SAP landscape. Determine which custom objects will be migrated to SAP S/4HANA and assess their compatibility. 
  • Identify opportunities to simplify or standardise business processes and reduce customizations where possible. 
  • Develop a plan for adapting or re-implementing custom functionality in SAP S/4HANA, ensuring alignment with best practices and future-proofing your system. 

Step – 7: Engage Stakeholders and Establish Governance: 

  • Involve key stakeholders from different departments and business units to ensure their buy-in and participation throughout the migration process. 
  • Establish a governance structure with defined roles and responsibilities, clear decision-making processes, and regular communication channels. 
  • Assign dedicated project teams responsible for managing the migration, including project managers, functional-technical experts and change management specialists. 

Step – 8: Develop a Testing and Training Strategy 

  • Define a comprehensive testing strategy that includes unit testing, integration testing, and user acceptance testing. 
  • Plan for data migration testing to validate the accuracy and completeness of the migrated data. 
  • Develop a training plan to ensure that end-users are equipped with the knowledge and skills to effectively use SAP S/4HANA. Consider training materials, workshops, and post-go-live support. 

Step – 9: Execute the Migration 

  • Execute the migration following the defined roadmap and project plan. 
  • Monitor the migration process, track key milestones, 

In conclusion, by following these steps and implementing a well-thought-out plan, you can increase the likelihood of a successful SAP S/4HANA migration. Remember to involve key stakeholders, assess your system landscape, develop a roadmap, ensure data readiness, plan for customizations, engage stakeholders, and establish governance. With proper testing, execution, and post-migration activities, you can achieve a seamless transition to SAP S/4HANA and leverage its benefits for your organization’s growth and success. 

FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions 

What are the different migration paths available for SAP S/4HANA? 

  1. SAP provides three main migration paths:
  • Greenfield: In this approach, organisations start with a new SAP S/4HANA implementation, allowing for a fresh start and the opportunity to optimise processes and data structures. 
  • Brownfield: This approach involves converting the existing SAP ERP system to SAP S/4HANA while retaining business processes, configurations, and customizations. 
  • Selective Data Transition: Organisations can selectively migrate specific data, processes, or business units from the existing system to SAP S/4HANA, typically as part of a larger transformation initiative. 

How long does an SAP S/4HANA migration typically take? 

  1. The duration of an SAP S/4HANA migration varies depending on factors such as the complexity of the existing landscape, the chosen migration approach, the scope of the migration, and the availability of resources. Migrations can range from a few months to over a year, depending on the size and complexity of the organisation.

What are the key considerations for a successful SAP S/4HANA migration? 

  1. Some key considerations include:
  • Defining clear migration objectives and scope. 
  • Assessing system readiness and compatibility. 
  • Planning the migration strategy and roadmap. 
  • Ensuring data quality and readiness for migration. 
  • Testing and validating migrated data and processes. 
  • Providing comprehensive user training and change management. 
  • Establishing a governance structure and involving key stakeholders. 

Do I need external assistance for SAP S/4HANA migration? 

  1. While it is possible to perform an SAP S/4HANA migration internally, many organisations choose to engage external consultants or SAP partners like cbs, with migration expertise. These experts bring specialised knowledge, best practices, and experience, helping to ensure a smoother and more efficient migration process.

Can I migrate directly to SAP S/4HANA from older SAP ERP versions? 

  1. Yes, it is possible to migrate directly from older SAP ERP versions (such as SAP ECC) to SAP S/4HANA. However, system prerequisites, data readiness, and technical requirements should be carefully evaluated to ensure a successful migration. The use of SAP’s migration tools and services can help simplify and streamline the process.