S/4HANA Migration : Risks & Challenges

S/4HANA migration: risks and challenges

Table of Contents

Introduction

SAP S/4HANA is a combination of a modern database with a technology platform allowing its integration with multiple systems and tools.

SAP S/4HANA represents the future of any SAP customer or SAP Newcomer that has opted for being totally or partially in the cloud.

If you are running on a SAP application, moving to S/4HANA with a greenfield, brownfield or hybrid approach is not an easy task.

Before migrating to S/4HANA, you will analyze all technical aspects of your existing application upgrade. This migration analysis must be included in a global digitization strategy for your company.

Your migration strategy depends on multiple factors:

  • Your organization.
  • Your business processes.
  • Your IT Architecture
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IT Risks & Challenges

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Misleading objectives

The IT transformation must be considered as a support of the business transformation. With S/4HANA, they must follow common objectives, otherwise you will not reach the expected competitiveness.

IT Architecture redesign

It is crucial to have a good overview of all peripheral tools that should communicate with the SAP S/4Hana system.

  • Release management: need to upgrade to new technological platform.
  • Functionalities review:  are the functionalities of those peripheral tools in line with business objectives.

 

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Customizations

With S/4HANA, the data structure of the legacy system would be different from the new application. Some SAP systems are supported by a considerable amount of custom code which represents an unmissable challenge for the move to S/4HANA. Customizations need to be examined and then removed, replaced with standard S/4HANA functionalities, or updated for S/4HANA. We advise you to analyze in detail the tools offered by S/4HANA and linked adds-on, and compare them with your custom code. There is a great temptation to maintain the existing, but some of them could be a hindrance to your business development.

Data Cleansing

With the greenfield and hybrid approach, existing data conversion is a challenging process that can put the whole migration timeline and budget at risk.

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All these aspects put together is a huge project on its own.

Process Related Risks & Challenges

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Digital transformation 

SAP S/4HANA is based on new technologies that enable the enterprise to enter the digital era. By considering the S/4HANA migration as a single technical upgrade, the potential of S/4HANA is not integrated, and your company will miss the opportunity to go to a digital world in an efficient way.

Organizational Risks & Challenges

Methodology, planning & preparation

Be careful not to underestimate an S/4HANA migration, especially if you adopt a greenfield or hybrid approach. S/4HANA migration is a “changing the world” step, while in the past, upgrades in ECC did not have such an impact on your business advancement. Starting from scratch means upstream rethink and preparation.

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Mobilization 

Transforming your business is not only a technology challenge but a redesign of your business. This process requires mobilizing all the resources of your company while ensuring the business continuity. Data migration could be the bottleneck of your S/4HANA migration process if the required internal resources is not foreseen.

Project team

Your migration team must be made up of people from your organization with a strong knowledge of your business but also people that have a good view of all organizational and business projects. If not, the situation could be critical at every stage.

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Availability of SAP migration experts

On boarding of such a project, your company will probably hire external SAP experts from several business domains and expertise. It is therefore crucial to work with people who can integrate your team but also with great capability to communicate with multiple project teams.

Lots of SAP customers will have to migrate to S/4HANA by 2027 knowing that after this deadline no SAP support will be provided for ECC applications. If you wait too long, you too could be facing the scarcity of those SAP external resources.

 

Contact us if you’d like to discuss your migration options.