S/4HANA Migration: A Fast-Track To Digital Transformation
SAP has established the end of 2027 as the deadline for discontinuing support for its Business Suite 7 core Applications. For the majority of businesses currently reliant on SAP for their operations, the question is not whether to migrate to SAP’s next-generation ERP system, S/4HANA, but rather when to do so. To ensure a seamless transition and uninterrupted business operations, these companies should already have initiated their migration programs or, at the very least, be in the advanced planning stages.
The decision by SAP users to transition to S/4HANA underscores the numerous advantages it offers compared to its predecessors. S/4HANA is an intelligent and fully integrated ERP system built on a high-speed, in-memory database. It empowers companies to swiftly and easily adopt new business models, make quicker and more informed decisions, and overhaul their IT infrastructure to align it more effectively with their business needs.
S/4HANA's Key Attributes
Fresh Architectural Design
A contemporary architectural framework rooted in modern, open standards and seamless connectivity, creating opportunities for interconnected value chain models and practical applications.
Automation and Smart Capabilities
S/4HANA enables the transformation of business operations through intelligent automation, bolstered by the inclusion of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic process automation (RPA).
Adaptable Infrastructure Choices
A range of flexible deployment options, encompassing on-premises, hybrid cloud/on-premises, or cloud-based solutions, all unified with a consistent data model, codebase, and enhanced conversational user interface and user experience.
With SAP extending the deadline for businesses transition from SAP ECC to SAP S/4HANA migration from 2025 to 2027, the importance of a swift and seamless migration has intensified. SAP’s own estimates suggest that the migration from traditional SAP systems to SAP S/4HANA usually spans 12 to 18 months. However, real-world studies indicate that ongoing migrations often take longer. Consequently, achieving the 2027 deadline is attainable, but contingent on initiating your migration journey without delay.
Gaining the Edge: How SAP S/4HANA Migration Benefits Your Organization
1. Enhanced Performance: SAP’s latest ERP platform, underpinned by the SAP HANA database technology, enables real-time data insights and faster access to your organization’s entire data repository. This facilitates comprehensive big data analysis, supporting corporate-wide planning, agile decision-making, and speedy execution of complex transactions.
2. Streamlined Processes: SAP S/4HANA streamlines your organization’s IT environment, making it more transparent and centralized. After integration, organization’s workflows and business processes become more efficient and easier to manage thanks to automation capabilities. This leads to benefits across all departments in your organization.
3. Elevated User Experience: SAP S/4HANA offers a more user-friendly experience, with SAP Fiori providing an intuitive and customizable interface. It delivers clear insights into your organization’s corporate data and transactions, ensuring you always have a comprehensive overview.
4. Innovate Your Business: SAP S/4HANA seamlessly integrates with forward-looking technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Internet of Things, and Robotic Process Automation. These innovations enhance workflow efficiency, productivity, and future-readiness.
5. Increased Agility: SAP S/4HANA outperforms ECC by offering a range of deployment options. Whether you choose on-premises hosting or opt for a public, private, or hybrid cloud solution, you can provide global access to your organization’s corporate data resources, enhancing your organization’s flexibility and agility.
6. High Sustainability: The integrated SAP HANA database’s in-memory technology operates more efficiently and requires less storage space. This not only reduces your organization’s data footprint but also lowers maintenance costs. Additionally, SAP S/4HANA provides tools for measuring your organization’s carbon footprint, contributing to ecological sustainability.
7. Optimized Total Cost of Ownership (TCO): SAP S/4HANA simplifies IT infrastructure, handling larger data volumes and transactions. This enables organizations to achieve more with fewer resources, reducing ongoing operational costs, such as hardware expenses, while accelerating time-to-value. Deployment options like cloud, on-premises, or hybrid further streamline the IT landscape and optimize TCO.
8. Seamless Integration: SAP S/4HANA seamlessly integrates with other SAP applications, present and future. This is especially valuable for organizations already using SAP products, such as Ariba, SAP Analytics Cloud, and FieldGlass, as it ensures effortless integration with their existing SAP environment.
SAP S/4HANA Implementation: Major Transformation Initiative
The move to S/4HANA is a major transformation initiative that can take years to complete, especially for organizations with large and complex SAP landscapes. Some organizations may also use this as an opportunity to move their SAP estate to the cloud, which can offer speed and innovation benefits.The specific approach to migrating to S/4HANA will vary depending on the organization’s specific needs and requirements. However, there are three basic options:
- Greenfield: This is a from-scratch re-implementation of one or more SAP systems in S/4HANA. This option gives the organization the most flexibility to customize the software to their specific needs. However, it can also be the most time-consuming and expensive option.
- Brownfield: This is a “lift and shift” approach that moves existing systems like ECC onto the S/4HANA platform. This option preserves the organization’s existing processes and customizations, but it may not take advantage of all of the new features and functionality of S/4HANA.
- Hybrid: This is a combination of the greenfield and brownfield approaches. Some existing systems are moved to S/4HANA “as is,” while others are adapted to take advantage of the new technology. This option can offer a balance of flexibility and efficiency.
Based on experience working with SAP customers, most organizations are taking a hybrid approach to migrating to S/4HANA. They are rationalizing some existing systems, moving functionality that is business-critical to S/4HANA, and starting from scratch for new modules or functionality that supersedes what is available in ECC.
The best approach for an organization will depend on their specific needs and requirements. It is important to weigh the pros and cons of each approach carefully before making a decision.
Drive Value with A5E Consulting: Your Path to SAP S/4HANA Success
Crafting a robust SAP S/4HANA strategy and roadmap lays the cornerstone for establishing a resilient foundation for future processes and S/4HANA application landscapes. The power of S/4HANA lies in its ability to drive value through enhanced decision-making capabilities, offering a clear vision, and outlining the necessary steps to transform your digital aspirations into reality.
As a trusted SAP Partner, A5E Consulting specializes in delivering top-tier implementation and support services for SAP S/4HANA, alongside other SAP S/4HANA consulting solutions and our exclusive SAP add-on solutions. We are committed to empowering businesses with the tools and expertise needed to navigate the journey to a digital business swiftly and flexibly. Our team of product and domain experts has a rich history of guiding clients through the transition to SAP S/4HANA, enabling them to harness the full potential of AI, RPA, and real-time analytics. Leveraging rapid deployment methodologies, we ensure precision and speed, making your transformation a seamless and successful endeavor.