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What is Selective Data Transition and what does a Successful SDT project foundation look like?

With the release of SAP S/4HANA and the move from ECC a discussion between greenfield and brownfield has forced many organizations to face the challenges of deciding which migration approach is best suited for them. While both these approaches come with their own set of challenges and limitations, Selective Data Transition (SDT) offers a more elegant, flexible way of migrating to SAP S/4HANA, providing a middle ground between the two traditional migration paths.

SDT allows organizations to selectively migrate their data to SAP S/4HANA while retaining the existing business processes and customizations. This approach provides a much faster and less risky migration option than greenfield, as the organization can continue to leverage their existing investments in SAP. At the same time, it offers more flexibility compared to a brownfield approach, as there is no need to migrate all data, and the existing customizations can be reviewed, optimized, and selectively migrated to the new system.

SDT also provides flexibility in terms of the migration timeline allowing organizations to move to S/4HANA in phases while still retaining the existing system landscape. This can be particularly useful for larger organizations with complex landscapes, where a full migration to S/4HANA may not be feasible or desirable.

SDT allows organizations to selectively migrate their data to SAP S/4HANA while retaining the existing business processes and customizations.
Abishek Subramanian
Senior Advisor

This blog aims to shed light on these areas and help address questions that organizations will have when considering an SDT approach when moving to S/4HANA.


How do I build my initial S/4 configuration environment?

Most of the software products used to transfer from legacy SAP systems to the new S/4HANA platform aim at solely moving application data. This is done during multiple load cycles to test and streamline the approach prior to migrating data into the productive environment. Data residing in the configuration tables of the ECC system typically are not part of the migration activities. For this reason all SDT projects require the creation of an empty shell early in the project lifecycle. An empty shell copy involves creating a configuration-only client using client copy functionality, which contains all the necessary system configuration settings and customizing, but no transactional data. Depending on database size and appetite to leave configuration behind there are 3 options to choose from when creating your target S/4 configuration environment:


  • Using client copy tools:

Starting with a system copy of PRD, a configuration-only client is created using client copy functionality. Depending on the customer’s wishes, users and variants can also be included. The original “full data” client is then deleted using client copy functionality, and to speed up the process, large tables can be dropped prior to client deletion. Afterwards, the shell system can be upgraded to S/4.


  • Using modified heterogeneous system copy:

An export of ECC PRD is taken in copy and then a heterogeneous system copy is performed with the export being modified by excluding master data and transactional tables. The import can be done in the target system with standard tools, and some post-processing is necessary to clean up any “unwanted” tables. Afterwards, the shell system can be upgraded to S/4.


  • Based on vanilla installation:

A new installation is done with the same release level as the current ECC PRD instance, leaving behind any non-used add-ons or third-party applications. Configuration (customizing tables) is moved with migration software and directly inserted at the table level. ABAP is moved with regular SAP transport based on usage analysis. Afterwards, the shell system can be upgraded to S/4.


After the initial shell has been established a backup is created which will be restored in every load/test cycle to build the target S/4 HANA landscape. Following this approach requires the establishment of a retrofitting process between source ECC productive system as well as the S/4HANA development box. If changes were made to the source system’s custom code or configuration during the SDT project, those changes will need to be retrofitted to the target development system after the initial creation of the “shell”. This will ensure that the target system is up-to-date and fully functional.

Whether it be a green or brown approach to data migration choose the Power of Orange and see how cbs can help you find the solution your organization deserves.  Reach out to learn more.

Victor Puente
Manager, Sales & Marketing