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What is SAP Brownfield System Conversion and What You Should Know?

Brownfield conversion, also known as brownfield system conversion, is a complete lift-and-shift migration approach to upgrade an existing system to a brand-new platform or architecture while preserving existing data structures. 

Now, let us tell the same thing without making any technical innuendos. 

So, as an organization, you probably already have a structure that you’re using to operate. It’s old and traditional, but it still does a perfect job – no matter what task you are giving to it. 

But as you want to keep moving in the world of business, you want to upgrade your system or maybe bring something new to it. However, you don’t want to abandon the older structure. 

So, what do you do? 

In this case, you will have to opt for the brownfield conversion technique. With it, you will be able to integrate the older structure into a newer one and start working accordingly. 

The goal of this technique is to modernize your existing system by adding new technology to it. This will improve its performance even more and boost its scalability massively. 

What Does the Brownfield Conversion Technique Include? 

Although it might sound quite complicated, a brownfield conversion method is quite easy. It’s also less technically tricky. Therefore, it can be done pretty efficiently, even with a little bit of technical knowledge. The conversion process usually includes the following – 

  • System readiness check 
  • Master data / custom code update to ensure that it’s compatible with the new structures 
  • System conversion with SAP Software Upgrade Manager 

The best thing about this method is that you will not have to change or delete the system that you have been working on before. So, it will be less time-consuming and won’t take a massive amount of resources to be completed. In a way, it’s beneficial for the organization. 

The Benefits of the Brownfield Method 

Whether you believe it or not, the brownfield technique can be highly beneficial if you’re able to do it properly. Here’s what you need to know in this regard. 

1: A Cost-Effective Approach 

Unlike a greenfield transformation, with the brownfield method, you’ll not have to start it all from the beginning. So, the requirement for new resources and technologies will be low too. 

Now, if you are using the same infrastructure that you used before as your base, it’ll be easier for you to integrate new tools. This way, the need to get new construction will be reduced. 

2: Reduced Time Requirement 

When it comes to creating an infrastructural base from the beginning, it might take more than a month to complete the entire project. And in some cases, it might take even more. 

However, as you are not creating anything else with this approach, the time consumption with this one will be quite low. If you’re integrating something on SAP, you’ll need even less time. 

3: Minimal Business Disruption 

As mentioned before, you won’t have to build anything from scratch while using this method. If you want, you can still use your base infrastructure partially to keep operating. 

It, in turn, will help you avoid business disruption and keep you going whilst the structure of your company is being upgraded. So, the issue of money loss will be quite low with it. 

4: Better Usage of the Existing Resources 

With brownfield implementation, you can have a better understanding of your current process or infrastructure. So, you can use the existing resources perfectly to make your system better. 

In addition, thanks to this method, you don’t have to delete the server or database you’ve been using previously. Hence, the risk of data loss will not be there as well. 

5: Improved Integration 

With this method, you will be able to integrate an SAP software program with whatever system you are currently working with. The process will get completed seamlessly as well. 

This will ensure that the data you have is being shared efficiently and accurately. Moreover, it will also be easier for you to minimize the risks, such as data loss, to some extent. 

6: Excellent User Adoption 

Even after the brownfield process is complete, the entire system is going to be based on your existing system. This is something that most people in your company already know about. 

Therefore, even if you’ve added something new to the mix, they can understand and use it in an efficient manner. There’s no need to be worried about manual mistakes or training at all. 

The Challenges of Brownfield Implementation 

Brownfield implementation can, indeed, be a decent option for an organization that’s trying to keep its previous infrastructure intact. But it can also come with a few risks. 

Here’s what you need to know about them. 

1: Integration Complexity 

Implementing a new system on a moderately-unrelated infrastructure can be difficult for any person. And, if you are not careful enough, you might end up making a mistake or two too. 

This, in turn, can cause confusion and might affect a certain part of your business severely. In addition to it, you might also have to start from scratch if the error is too prominent. 

2: Issues Related to Data Quality 

The existing data source you have in your structure might not meet the standard of a new SAP software program at all. In some cases, they might be entirely unrelated as well. 

In that case, this inconvenience might lead the infrastructure to produce error-prone data in an unfortunate string of turns. So, you won’t be able to make well-informed decisions anymore. 

3: Resistant to Change 

An employee who was much more used to the previous application or infrastructure may not like the sudden change in the working structure of the schedule.  

This, in turn, might make them resist the change entirely. 

The Final Say 

When it comes to choosing between a brownfield and a greenfield implementation method, it should depend on your existing system. If you have an error-prone system, it may be better to delete everything and focus on creating a new system. 

However, if you want to keep the older variant, we’d ask you to go for the brownfield option. This way, you won’t lose anything at all.