The S/4HANA migration is imminent. What needs to be considered?

With the discontinuation of the SAP R/3 support, all SAP customers are forced to migrate their systems to SAP S/4HANA. This change is a monumental task for many companies and must be planned well in advance, as it takes place on different levels and involves significant process and infrastructure changes. The best is for companies deploying SAP to rethink some aspects of their SAP landscape.

The infrastructure

SAP only supports Linux for its HANA database, which presents a challenge for many SAP customers, as they also need to change the underlying operating system. Installing and migrating SAP systems under Linux with HANA require new skills not all organizations have in-house. Because of these challenges, it is advisable to take the opportunity to introduce a higher degree of automation. Unwanted differences in configuration between development, integration and production systems will then be a thing of the past. The application of SAP best practices and guidelines can be an implicit part of such automation.

Taking advantages of cloud services is increasingly a topic linked to the S/4HANA migration. Many SAP customers want to combine the transition to S/4 with a transformation to the cloud in order to gain more flexibility and optimize costs at the same time. Also for this purpose the automation of infrastructure, deployment and configuration is an essential aspect for successful transition and continued operation.

The processes

SAP S/4HANA is more than just the successor to the SAP Business Suite. As the digital core of the IT architecture, S/4HANA has an impact on existing business processes, as the new generation of SAP brings many new functions. The use of S/4HANA can make business processes leaner or even superfluous – the introduction therefore offers an opportunity for innovation and optimization, which should be used by SAP users to question existing processes in the company.

With proper documentation and mapping of business processes, the effects of S/4 on the company can be understood and decisions can be made about the appropriate implementation strategy for the new software. Should S/4HANA be newly implemented and should the processes be redesigned (greenfield approach) or can they be transferred and adapted to the new SAP system (brownfield migration)? Both variants have advantages and disadvantages that should be thoroughly compared and individually evaluated.

The applications and integrations

The integration of SAP data in peripheral systems is a central requirement for many SAP customers. The switch to S/4HANA forces customers to recreate these solutions, which were often implemented using proprietary SAP tools. A good opportunity to look around and consider alternative approaches, such as open source or cloud solutions.

The new ERP solution brings with it new technologies and functions, so the S/4HANA implementation is far more complex than a pure software upgrade. SAP users should use this innovation potential to simplify business processes, introduce new technologies and prepare for current and future digital market requirements. To do this, organizations facing SAP transformation need a trusted partner with expertise in all required areas and the ability to independently and thoroughly evaluate all options so that planning decisions can be made.

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