Whether your company is already running on a legacy SAP application or is considering joining the SAP environment as a newcomer, one thing is certain: you’ll need to run on SAP S/4HANA by the end of 2027.
A successful migration is based on 2 key success factors:
- Your migration strategy
- Your migration team
Table of Contents
SAP S/4HANA MIGRATION STRATEGY
The first key success factor of your migration is your migration strategy.
The S/4HANA product consists of two editions:
SAP S/4HANA On-premise
SAP S/4HANA Cloud
There are 3 ways to deploy SAP S/4HANA:
Deployment on-premise: locally managed server / database;
Deployment in the cloud: hosted public server / database;
Deployment through a hybrid model: hosted private server / database.
The first decision to be taken in your migration process is to define whether you stay on-premise, move to cloud or choose an hybrid model?
The next step of the migration strategy is the approach to be chosen according to various criteria: Greenfield, Brownfield or Hybrid.
WHAT IS A GREENFIELD OR NEW IMPLEMENTATION?
In a Greenfield deployment, you start from scratch. This approach is usually recommended :
When a lot of heavy custom coding has been accumulated;
When the legacy system is no longer efficient;
When the core business or the company’s strategy are in constant, rapid state of evolution;
For SAP newcomers.
The main steps of a greenfield deployment are :
A new SAP system is configured;
Old data are cleansed and mapped with new features of the SAP S/4HANA system;
A data load plan must be defined.
Note that the greenfield approach is a time-consuming process as it requires:
a complete in-depth overhaul of the system to solve pain points during the implementation;
a significant input from key users to ensure the data conversion.
WHAT IS A BROWNFIELD OR SYSTEM CONVERSION?
A brownfield is not S/4HANA implementation.
SAP recommends this approach for a system conversion from the existing SAP ECC to SAP S/4HANA.
This means that the actual data and specific programming are maintained as they are.
It’s a technical upgrade of the system.
Brownfield is not suitable if you have decided to migrate to S/4HANA cloud.
With the brownfield approach, there is :
no data cleansing ;
no data mapping ;
no data migration.
S/4HANA’s new tools for more IT landscape’s flexibility to digital transformation and intelligent enterprise are integrated in further steps after the conversion.
WHAT IS A HYBRID DEPLOYMENT?
A hybrid deployment is a combination of a brownfield and a greenfield.
A hybrid deployment aims at taking the advantages of both approaches.
It reuses the customizing and developments of the existing ERP and enrich it with new features of S/4HANA.
We could compare the transition as build and / or renovate a new house.
With the greenfield deployment, you build a brand-new house on an empty field while with a hybrid approach you renovate the house keeping the same standards or update them to new required standards.
In both cases you will have a house with fire detectors, solar panels, and condensing heating to replace an obsolete boiler.
At the end of the process, we get a passive ecological house.
If the actual house’s configuration is no longer adapted to the high technological standards required, then you will need to take the decision of rebuilding a new house.
Otherwise you can go forward with hybrid.
Mix of greenfield and brownfield
Existing system update
Enrichment with selective data
Fits for cloud
YOUR MIGRATION TEAM
The second key success factor of your migration project is your team.
Migrate to S/4HANA requires you to dedicate the adequate team within your business. You will need to select employees who know your business process perfectly.
In most cases, it is difficult for a company to manage a S/4HANA migration on its own.
You will certainly require an external support.
As a team of experienced SAP Consultants, S4IC has been involved in many S/4HANA migration.
We can provide you an end-to-end assistance, from the migration approach to adopt to the migration process itself.
We have developed specific tools to facilitate the migration from ECC to S/4HANA on-premise and on the cloud.
If you need more details or advice for your path to S/4HANA, contact us.