Manage your S/4HANA Migration: A Planning Guide

The deadline for the mandatory transition from SAP ECC to SAP S/4HANA is looming. Here's how to seamlessly plan and manage your S/4HANA migration.

The S/4 Deadline is Looming

The mandatory move from SAP ECC to SAP S/4HANA is on the mind of every company that hasn’t firmed up their plans for meeting this important deadline. Unfortunately, procrastination is a fact of life. The complexities of trying to plan how to manage your S/4HANA migration can make it tempting to keep tabling the issue.

However, regardless of your company size, ECC users have until the end of 2027 to make the switch to S/4HANA. There will be no regular maintenance of SAP ECC after 2027, unless you purchase the extended maintenance package. This maintenance will allow you to run your ECC system until 2030. But it’s also pricey and comes with some caveats. That includes a requirement to purchase S/4HANA by the end of 2027 and install it by the end of 2030.

Make an Informed Transition Decision

There are three approaches to an S/4HANA migration: Greenfield (new implementation), Brownfield (full migration) and a Hybrid approach that, as its name implies, is a combination of the first two.

We discuss all three approaches in more detail in our article Greenfield, Brownfield, Hybrid: S/4HANA Conversion Options.

Get Ready for your S/4HANA Migration

Regardless of the option you choose for your migration to S/4HANA. There are some best practices to follow in any successful migration process.

  1. Understand the Current System: Analyze the capabilities, limitations, and identify areas for improvement. This will ensure you’re getting what you need from the new system and that it will be a quantifiable improvement.
  2. Set Clear Goals: Define specific goals and objectives for the migration project. These goals should align with the organization’s overall strategy and desired outcomes.
  3. Create a Detailed Project Plan: Develop a comprehensive project plan that includes roadmaps, timelines, and deliverables. This plan should outline the steps involved, allocate resources, and estimate the budget required.
  4. Identify Data and Processes to Migrate: Identify all the data, applications, and processes that will migrate to the new system. Prioritize critical elements and ensure a smooth transition. The most crucial step here is to ensure you have clean vender and material master data.
  5. Clean your Data: Make sure that the data that you intend to transfer is squeaky clean. You don’t want to spend time and money transferring bad data. This is a long and complex process and something you shouldn’t put off until the last minute.
  6. Assemble a Dedicated Team: Form a team with the necessary skills and expertise to manage the migration process. Assign clear responsibilities and establish communication channels to ensure coordination.
  7. Test in a Non-Production Environment: Perform thorough testing in a controlled environment to uncover any issues. This safely verifies the stability, accuracy, and security of the new system.
  8. Train Employees: Provide comprehensive training to all relevant employees to ensure they are proficient in using the new system and understand any changes in workflows.
  9. Monitor and Support: Implement a monitoring system to track the performance of the new system after migration. Be prepared to provide ongoing support and address any unforeseen challenges.
  10. Data Backup and Contingency Plans: Develop data backup and recovery plans to safeguard critical information during the migration process. Additionally, establish contingency plans to handle potential setbacks.
  11. Communication and Change Management: Keep stakeholders informed about the migration progress and any potential disruptions. Effective change management is crucial to ensure a smooth transition for all parties involved.

A Well-Rounded Approach

Those are all steps any company can take on their own, but having an outside consulting partner with experience in big process changes and implementations can be an invaluable step in your migration journey as well.

SAP Ariba consulting experts like those at CCP Global have have deep expertise in all phases of big process changes and improvements, both the technical aspects and the less quantifiable aspects, like change management. An outside consultant also offers an impartial viewpoint that can be of great benefit to your internal team. Our 25+years of experience means we can effectively help you manage your S/4HANA migration with our proprietary low stress, “Right Sized” approach.

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