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Greenfield Vs. Brownfield

Choosing the Right Sap S/4hana Migration Approach: Greenfield Vs. Brownfield Strategies

SAP S/4HANA is a revolutionary technology that transforms the way businesses operate by replacing complex legacy workflows with high-speed operational insights using in-memory computing. For companies seeking to modernize their SAP landscape and gain a competitive edge, migrating from SAP ERP Central Component to SAP S/4HANA is essential.
Choosing the right migration approach is critical to ensure a smooth transition, with two options available: upgrading the existing system to a new version and migrating data, or migrating from the current version with the help of a third-party service provider. Making the move to SAP S/4HANA accelerates digital transformation and enhances operational performance.

SAP S4HANA Cloud Process

When starting a new project, developers must choose between a brownfield or greenfield approach. It also involves budget, timeline, and environmental impact, which can vary significantly between brownfield vs greenfield.
In this article, we will explore the key differences between greenfield vs brownfield SAP projects, identify some critical safety concerns that all developers should be aware of, and discuss strategies to help you achieve a successful outcome that benefits businesses.

Migration strategies for SAP S/4HANA- Greenfield vs. Brownfield

The process of SAP S/4HANA migration is complex and requires a suitable approach and method. SAP HANA enables the storage and retrieval of data from various sources, including middleware systems and enterprise applications, thanks to its support for structured and unstructured data types. Proper planning, preparation, and execution are essential for achieving success. There are various migration options available, but the two most common approaches for migrating to SAP S/4HANA are:

Greenfield Implementation In SAP:

The Greenfield approach allows businesses to start fresh with SAP S/4HANA. It gives organizations the chance to completely reengineer their processes and simplify them significantly, taking advantage of the latest technological advancements.

Greenfield migration is a strategic approach to updating systems and transferring data. It involves creating a new environment or system and migrating data and processes from the old one. Organizations choose this method when they want a fresh start, taking advantage of the latest technologies and best practices while leaving behind legacy constraints. Greenfield migration can lead to improved efficiency, reduced technical debt, and enhanced performance for businesses embracing innovation and modernization.

The most typical benefits of a SAP greenfield deployment are

  • Provides a clean slate beginning of the new implementation
  • Addresses deep-rooted challenges and declutters complicated workflows and heavily customized codes
  • Enables adoption of best practices for process simplification, landscape consolidation, and rationalization of legacy systems
  • Unlocks greater operational efficiencies by re-engineered processes, optimal workflows, and enhanced SAP-centric system capabilities
  • Allows for greater automation, innovation, and business continuity
  • With a SAP greenfield implementation, you can design SAP S/4HANA to fit your business needs
  • SAP Greenfield implementations give you access to all the latest SAP S/4HANA features, without compatibility concerns

However, the Greenfield Approach has some drawbacks. It takes time to get the new system up and running, and the cost of greenfield deployment is higher than brownfield deployment. The main disadvantage of this approach is that it requires a complete assessment, planning, and redesign of business processes. A greenfield deployment is the best method to create a project or system that meets your current needs and uses the latest technologies and best practices, leading to greater efficiency and reduced risk.

Greenfield deployment is best suited for companies that seek to improve their existing processes and add-ons to S/4 HANA, as it provides enhanced capabilities for managing financials, logistics, and other business operations.



Brownfield Implementation:

The brownfield approach is a popular method for upgrading existing SAP S/4HANA systems that have been in use for at least a year. This method allows businesses to take advantage of new features without disrupting current processes. Brownfield migration involves upgrading the hardware and software of an existing system with minimal disruption to the legacy systems. This approach is faster and less expensive than building a new system from scratch. Brownfield migration is a strategic approach to updating systems without disrupting operations or wasting resources. Unlike greenfield projects, which start fresh, brownfield migration leverages existing infrastructure to transition to newer systems or technologies. This cost-effective and practical approach optimizes systems while minimizing downtime, ensuring a seamless transition and a competitive advantage.

Advantages of brownfield deployment include:

  • Faster deployment times
  • Minimal impact on business processes
  • Allows for re-evaluation of previous customizations and existing workflows
  • Supports selective component picking during the migration from ECC to the SAP S/4HANA platform.

Brownfield deployment is a cost-effective and efficient approach for businesses to transition to SAP S/4HANA, leveraging their existing IT infrastructure and systems while incorporating new S/4HANA capabilities. A brownfield deployment approach integrates new technology or systems into an existing infrastructure, building upon the existing framework to modernize operations without disrupting investments in current systems.

What you need to know when choosing between Greenfield and Brownfield

Greenfield Vs Brownfield

When deciding between SAP Greenfield vs Brownfield , there are several factors to consider, including budget, timeline, business goals, and IT infrastructure. brownfield implementation may require more investment, but it can provide more significant long-term benefits, such as increased efficiency and improved business processes. Greenfield implementation may be more budget-friendly and less disruptive, but it may not provide the latest technologies and best practices. 

Ultimately, the choice between Greenfield vs Brownfield implementation depends on the company’s unique needs and objectives. A thorough analysis of the existing IT environment, business goals, and budget can help organizations make an informed decision that aligns with their overall strategy.


Choosing the best SAP migration approach depends on your organization’s modernization goals and the level of risk you are willing to take. If you want to start with a brand new system implementation, then the greenfield approach is suitable. It’s important to note that the difference between the greenfield and brownfield approaches is that the former does not require any new application development, and existing applications remain unchanged. In contrast, a brownfield approach involves developing new applications that integrate with your current ERP system, typically through OBIEE. Ultimately, the choice depends on your organization’s unique needs and preferences.

Why Choose A5E? 

At A5E, we have extensive experience in both greenfield and brownfield implementations, and our consulting services are tailored to meet the specific needs of each project. Our approach combines specialized process consulting services with cutting-edge technology platforms to enable organizations to become more flexible and responsive in addressing the constantly changing demands of the market. 

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