With SAP S/4HANA, companies move securely on the Internet of Things (IoT) and benefit from real-time analysis. The software can be seamlessly integrated into business networks and solutions of other software providers. It is the basis for making the right decisions at the right time. The suite is based entirely on the SAP HANA in-memory platform and is available both on-premise and in the cloud.
However, a migration to SAP S/4HANA is much more than just an upgrade to a new SAP release. It brings with it a significant number of new worthwhile business and technical innovations as well as user-oriented optimizations.
Sooner or later, your company will also face the challenge of having to successfully carry out an SAP S/4 HANA conversion. Unfortunately, many long-term SAP ERP customers underestimate the challenges and complexity of a conversion project.Even before the conversion, a large number of issues must be considered:
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The greenfield approach is actually a new implementation of your ERP landscape. Customers take advantage of the opportunity to reassess all processes and in-house developments - in other words, to start from scratch and break down established structures. The biggest challenge of the greenfield approach, however, is the hardly calculable effort (both organizational and personnel) and the duration of the implementation project - business processes are redefined and coordinated with all participants, processes are mapped in the system and tested in detail, documentation is created and/or adapted, new applications are developed and implemented, and users are trained and instructed. Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
In contrast, the brownfield approach is characterized primarily by a relatively short project duration. Already defined processes and in-house developments are technologically migrated in a first step and then adapted step-by-step to new requirements and innovative business ideas. The brownfield approach thus offers decisive advantages compared to the greenfield variant - above all through the reduced complexity of the migration project and the significantly shorter project duration. These are the main reasons why the majority of SAP customers choose the brownfield variant.
Behind the brownfield strategy is a system conversion in which the existing SAP ERP system is transformed to SAP S/4HANA in phases. For this purpose, a SAP S/4HANA Roadmap is created, which shows the way to SAP S/4HANA step by step.
With the brownfield approach, the new SAP S/4HANA environment can be set up more quickly because the existing processes are largely retained.
By taking over existing processes, the project scope is reduced and the risk of errors in the mapping of processes in the new system is reduced.
With a system conversion, such as the brownfield approach, the project effort and time frame can be better planned.
Step-by-step migration brings users closer to the system. This reduces the amount of training required and the associated costs.
Established processes and in-house developments are continued in the first step and gradually modernized.
Since all company and system landscapes have grown individually, there is no general recommendation how to successfully migrate to SAP S/4HANA. Nevertheless, we were able to identify a number of success factors that must be taken into account in all migration procedures.
The basis of all migration projects is a clear objective, supported by all departments involved, the national subsidiaries and the management.
Furthermore, it is recommended to use the most current software version of SAP S/4HANA. This is the only way to avoid that a multi-year program plan is prolonged by upgrades.
Furthermore, a high quality of the master data used is important. Ideally, the standardization and harmonization of the master data objects should begin parallel to the process design. This is because standardization accelerates migration and speed is an important factor for project success.
Peripheral systems such as SCM or CRM must be included, as shifts in functionality may occur.
The employees also play a decisive role. The acceptance of a migration to SAP S/4HANA stands and falls with the speed of implementation. Agile working methods and early piloting of Minimal Viable Products (MVPs) are therefore crucial for success. Small concessions in localization or the takeover of old functions can win the hearts of employees.
Then we recommend that you get started with our Strategy Workshop for SAP S/4HANA. All further steps in the project build on the knowledge gained in this workshop.
In this case, we recommend that you carry out a pre-study. This takes a detailed look at all layers of an SAP S/4HANA conversion - individually tailored to your situation. The end result is a roadmap that takes you directly to SAP S/4HANA.
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SAP S/4HANA is the new Business Suite from SAP. An ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software that supports all business processes of a company and technologically replaces all previous Enterprise Core Components (ECC) of the SAP Business Suite.
The name SAP S/4HANA means SAP Suite for (4) HANA, which also means that the solution runs exclusively on the SAP HANA in-memory database. SAP S/4HANA is available both as an on-premise version and in the cloud as SAP S/4HANA Cloud.
With SAP S/4HANA and SAP Fiori, SAP delivers modern user interfaces that enable a better user experience (UX). At the same time, the data model is significantly simplified thanks to the underlying in-memory database.
There are basically three different ways to switch to SAP S/4HANA. The choice of the best scenario depends strongly on the customer's situation, the objectives and the time schedule.
The IBsolution Strategy Workshop for SAP S/4HANA provides a recommendation for the preferred migration path including an individual schedule.
Two thirds of the companies still have to deal with the introduction of the Business Partner (Customer Vendor Integration - CVI). This becomes mandatory with SAP S/4HANA and must already be implemented before the system is converted to S/4HANA.
With our Harmonization Package for SAP Business Partner, we enable the conversion from the classic to the new data model at a fixed price.
The architecture and database structure of SAP S/4HANA also have an effect on the authorization system. Working with Fiori apps requires changes to roles and associated authorization objects. As a first step, an authorization check provides information on where exactly the companies need to start.
Custom code that is still needed functionally, it is worth considering implementing them as an independent service on the SAP Cloud Platform and decoupling them from the SAP S/4HANA migration.
Similar to the Business Partner (CVI), SAP is making the New General Ledger a mandatory requirement for SAP S/4HANA. Compared to the classic general ledger, the New G/L offers a number of new functional enhancements. The data structure has been enhanced with new fields and can be further enhanced with customer-specific fields.
The Migration Package for SAP S/4HANA General Ledger helps to introduce the new general ledger pragmatically and efficiently on the basis of an existing system. After the migration to SAP S/4HANA, there is then only one journal table based on the New GL structure.
Postponed is not abandoned. Even though SAP recently extended maintenance for Business Suite 7 by two years, companies should not put off SAP S/4HANA migration. This is the only way to plan and execute all necessary steps in good time.
The maintenance extension for SAP Business Suite 7 until 2027 only gives companies a breather at first glance. Moving to SAP S/4HANA is a complex project that takes time. In addition, some activities must be completed before the actual migration. In this respect, companies are well advised to make good use of the remaining time until the end of SAP ERP 6.0 support.