If you have an SAP Ariba system of any kind, you know that the S/4HANA migration deadline is fast approaching. There’s so much buzz around this required upgrade that it’s become intimidating for a lot of our clients, and for many other companies that are unsure about what to do next. The key is to right size your S/4HANA migration to make it as simple and straightforward as possible.
The S/4HANA upgrade is like any other SAP Ariba implementation. There are best practices to follow to make it work specifically for your company and your company’s unique needs. And there’s really nothing new under the sun when it comes to getting ready for this upgrade.
Here are the lessons you can take from those guidelines that also apply to the S/4HANA upgrade:
1. Data Management
In our pre-deployment readiness article on preparing for a supplier management deployment, we wrote about the importance of data cleansing to weed out the supplier data that you no longer need. This is just as important when preparing for an S/4 migration.
Obsolete data that is still in the system is always an issue in any organization. It’s simply human nature to hang onto information “just in case” it’s needed down the road. Moving huge volumes of unnecessary data this data, however, will just complicate the process.
A better approach is to incorporate a phase for cleansing your data, and then deleting and/or archiving it where appropriate. Many companies have implemented ECC ten or more years ago, but a lot has probably changed in your organization since.
Perhaps you have divested operating companies, but still have that master data held within your ERP. Or you may have added new business units and have not yet harmonized data, such as commodity codes. Reducing the sheer volume of data and harmonizing the data to be transferred will save time and money and allow you to begin this new era with a clean ERP system that is customized to your organization today.
2. Time Frame
Time frames are always a consideration when doing any type of implementation or upgrade. We discussed Big Bang vs. Phased Go-Live deployments in Adoption and Stabilization: A Timeline.
These are the same guidelines you’ll want to follow for your S/4HANA upgrade. However, with S/4HANA, the one thing you have to keep in mind is that there is a deadline. Standard support for any current SAP ERP system ends in December of 2027; 2030 for a pricier extended support contract.
Waiting too long to find an implementation partner, create a roadmap, and start the project can limit your options. If you want to approach the upgrade with a phased approach, now is the critical time to begin the planning process to determine what areas to prioritize and how to complete all transition by the deadline. The right partner can help to make sure that you have considered all requirements and ensure a successful transition well before the end of 2027.
As anyone with even a slight familiarity with the S/4HANA migration knows, there are three options for transitioning to S/4HANA: Greenfield, Brownfield or Hybrid.
- Greenfield: Start from scratch with a new implementation.
- Brownfield: An upgrade or conversion of your existing system.
- Hybrid: Combines the two, keeping what works and upgrading what does not.
There are no hard and fast guidelines for which of these three approaches is the best for your company; that’s something that has to be determined when assessing your current and future goals. However, in general, particularly for the small and mid-market client, CCP Global recommends an agile, hybrid approach because we find that an out of the box, one-size-fits-all approach is almost never the best one for everyone.
That is why our expert deployment teams always start with an assessment of your existing processes to determine what is currently working well and can be migrated and other areas where a Greenfield approach may be most successful.
Right Sizing Your S/4HANA Migration
At CCP Global, we recommend a Right Sized approach to your S/4HANA project, regardless of the size of your organization.
- Rapid deployment model
- Innovative solutions for existing challenges
- Goals to create a roadmap for success
- Hybrid deployment
- Tactical project approach
Using this framework, we can help you to successfully upgrade your ERP with minimal stress and disruption while keeping your organizational goals at top of mind.
Think of the S/4HANA migration as just another project, that takes a lot of the stress and uncertainty out of the planning, because, in reality, it’s just another implementation.