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Moving from SAP ECC ERP to SAP S/4HANA

March 18, 2020 | By: enosix

Learn more about the three strategies for moving to SAP S/4HANA

No matter what industry you’re in or what business model you have, migrating to new systems is a big investment. It’s time-consuming and distracting. Not to mention the planning, design, and implementation phases can be exhausting for those involved.

Some businesses are wary of moving from SAP ECC ERP to SAP S/4HANA. A full SAP migration will be the biggest project of the decade for most IT departments and affect every single line of business in the company. That’s why SAP recently extended maintenance and support for ERP 6 and Business Suite 7 until 2027, giving customers two more years to build the migration business case, migrate operations, and re-engineer processes for SAP S/4HANA.

While the worries are understandable, it’s also important to recognize that S/4HANA is a much more efficient, flexible and feature-rich ERP for almost every business that uses SAP. Once you analyze the costs and benefits, the reasons to embrace this upgrade become obvious. SAPInsider’s recent “SAP S/4HANA Migration Benchmark Report” found that 17% of SAP customers had already gone live on S/4HANA as of Q1 2020 (up from 8% a year ago) and 85.5% of those who haven’t completed the migration are in the process or at least building the business case for it.

When you are ready to make the upgrade, one of the biggest factors to consider is your migration strategy. Here we’ll explore the benefits and challenges of three popular migration strategies so you can determine which one is right for you.

Why SAP S/4HANA

Despite the pain of moving, there are some important advantages of S/4HANA, including benefits that are meant to help SAP users optimize and grow businesses on a greater scale. 

SAP Fiori provides a significantly simplified user experience that is adaptable and usable for anyone on your team. Having an improved interface means better use of the system and faster overall operations.

S/4HANA also has better speed and performance, so you can easily access real-time data when you need it — including in integrated systems of engagement. Simple processes and embedded reporting make this possible. A faster tool enables you to make better decisions and react more quickly.

S/4HANA also allows you to combine multiple systems and dashboards into one centralized location, saving money and time. Consolidating capabilities across departments will make for a more streamlined and efficient business.

You can advance your business forward by taking advantage of some of the newest apps that are only available to S/4HANA customers. You can also trim some of your spending by ceasing to invest in elements of SAP ECC that no longer exist with S/4HANA. Understanding these benefits and preparing for a transition early is the best thing you can do. 

3 migration strategies

Choosing the right migration strategy when moving to S/4HANA sets you up for future success.

1. System conversion

About half of SAP customers choose the system conversion strategy, which transitions an existing SAP ECC ERP system into an SAP S/4HANA system. This is also known as “lift and shift.” 

System conversion is best for companies who want to transition their current system with minimal changes. Many of the changes will be technical, without a severe overhaul to current operations. One of the benefits of system conversion is that businesses can take things at their own pace and roll out larger changes as needed.

2. New implementation

New implementation is the strategy to use if you are moving from a non-SAP system to SAP S/4HANA or if you simply want to start over. 

This process is labor-intensive. Data from the previous system needs to be cleaned and loaded into S/4     HANA. Processes and management functions need to be re-engineered as well. If you are transitioning from a non-SAP system, there is also the learning curve to consider as administrators adapt to the new software.

However, starting from scratch allows you to undo some of the complexity and frustration that you had with your old system. You can revise your processes to work with S/4HANA’s capabilities and take this opportunity to streamline operations. 

3. Landscape transformation

This strategy allows you to selectively convert parts of your system to S/4HANA or consolidate your non-SAP and SAP systems into one global system. Many businesses using landscape transformation choose to migrate the parts of their process that will benefit the most from S/4HANA or provide them with the best ROI.

This strategy works for businesses who want a gradual transition to S/4HANA. It allows them to do so slowly while remaining focused on key business operations. It also works when you consolidate systems. By bringing more processes together in S/4HANA, you can work smarter and more efficiently.

Start your move to SAP S/4HANA early

If you haven’t been dedicating serious time and thought to your ECC-S/4HANA transition, you may want to start now. Defining your strategy beforehand will help make for a smooth migration. Set goals in the beginning as well, so you can measure success and ROI. You also need to decide whether you want your system to be on-premise or cloud-based. SAP has a wealth of resources to guide you through this process including informational content and migration tools.

As you prepare to move to S/4HANA, it’s a good time to reconsider your overall infrastructure architecture. In many cases, companies have a variety of front-end systems that are critical to employee or customer experience. enosix’s bi-directional, real-time integration platform runs in both ECC and S/4HANA, so integrations to these tools can be built while you run ECC and then turned into a technical move if and when you begin your S/4HANA implementation. This lets you spread development work over years if you begin planning now, and also prevents the duplication of integration work for projects that you want to start today but will also need to work in an S/4HANA future.

Our SAP      certified integration solutions are the answer for enterprise companies looking to provide a more connected and informed experience for their customers. Schedule a demo with us today to learn more!