Choose Your Path to S/4HANA Transition

Choose Your Path to S/4HANA Transition

SAP has long been the ERP backbone for businesses – long enough for you to have become comfortable with it. You have customized it and structured your business processes around it. But with SAP S/4HANA in the market, you can no longer afford to stay in the same comfortable zone and ignore the market leading capabilities S/4HANA has to offer. You must make the choice to transition to keep up with the digital transformation.

Should you completely re-engineer and simplify your current processes? Or should you look into how you can leverage your current SAP investments? What is the best approach to transform digitally which gives maximum ROI?

There can’t be just one answer. Every business with its own nuances has got its own priorities. And every business is unique with different starting and ending points. This makes it imperative that you recognize which path to S/4HANA transition is best for you.

In this blog, we will discuss the three key approaches to implement S/4HANA and how you could choose your approach.

1. Greenfield Approach (New Implementation)

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A new implementation of S/4HANA allows complete re-engineering and process simplification. By predefining migration objects and best practices, this approach minimizes time-to-value and TCO enabling a faster adoption.

As an implementation partner who has helped multiple industry leaders transition to S/4HANA, we often find our clients concerned if it’s too risky to move their entire SAP landscape to an architecture that has been re-engineered from both technical and business perspective. Also, it becomes difficult for them to let go of all the investment that they have made over the years in SAP – all the customizations and automations.

It’s only natural to find it daunting to recognize the dimensions of potential change caused by a radical reconstruction. This approach might not be for everyone but it allows you to completely transform with affinity for latest technologies and new functionalities.

You should consider greenfield approach if

  1. You have complex business processes and you’re looking for simplification on S/4HANA
  2. You have huge customization done and you’re looking to standardize getting rid of custom developments
  3. You want to archive your legacy data – utilizing S/4HANA for the data used for daily operations
  4. You are looking to quickly adopt S/4HANA with a rapid turnaround

And here is a glimpse of the steps for an SAP S/4HANA greenfield implementation:

  1. Landscape planning – choose S/4 edition, deployment option, number of environments, HA/DR setup requirements, data migration strategy, integration strategy, security requirements
  2. System installations – Installation for application server and HANA DB
  3. Data migration – Initial data migration from ERP or legacy systems. With the available predefined migration objects, you can easily and quickly migrate data from your current ERP.
  4. Functional configurations – Business process configurations as per business requirements.
  5. Custom code requirements (optional) – For any custom functionality needed
  6. Testing – Regular testing cycles which includes Unit, integration and user acceptance testing

And here is how an industry leader did it:

ICON Orlando 360 is an entertainment complex with one of the world’s tallest observation wheels. They wanted to transform their business processes to boost efficiency. They chose Savantis (SAP Gold partner) to implement SAP S/4HANA in the shortest time possible. With the help of Savantis, ICON Orlando replaced all basic systems like finance and procurement and did a full integration with ticketing within 8 weeks. The management could then have a 360 degree view of the company.

Watch this short video to learn more about how Savantis implemented SAP S/4HANA for ICON Orlando in 8 weeks.

2. Brownfield Approach (System Conversion)

Through brownfield approach, you can migrate to S/4HANA without re-implementation and without disrupting existing processes. Existing process flows and customizations are re-evaluated in a system conversion.

Brownfield approach preserves your prior investment into SAP to some extent. However, this may or may not imply that the cost of implementation is less than the greenfield approach. Since brownfield often requires longer timelines, bigger teams and various activities to make source compatible for S/4HANA, it’s possible that the cost is more than the greenfield implementation.

In a system conversion, many of the exciting capabilities offered by S/4HANA aren’t fully leveraged with incompatible source system and pre-requisites not met for S/4HANA conversion.

You should consider brownfield approach if

  1. You want to convert your current system into an SAP S/4HANA system
  2. You don’t have a lot of business processes configured in your existing ERP system
  3. You don’t have a lot of customizations in your current environment
  4. You want to utilize your data and not have to adopt archival or NLS solutions

And here is a glimpse of the steps for an SAP S/4HANA brownfield implementation:

  1. Landscape planning – choose S/4 edition, deployment option, number of environments, HA/DR setup requirements, data migration strategy, integration strategy, security requirements
  2. System conversion checks
  3. Business function checks
  4. Custom code checks and adjustments
  5. System installation and migration – Installation of S/4HANA system and migration using the DMO operation
  6. Functional configurations – Post migration as per business needs
  7. Custom code requirements – Additional custom development if required (Optional)
  8. Testing – Regular testing cycles which includes Unit, integration and user acceptance testing

And here is how the first Retail SAP customer went for SAP S/4HANA conversion:

Sports Basement, a sporting goods retailer based in San Francisco bay area, was looking to convert from SAP ECC to SAP S/4HANA on-premise. Working closely with Savantis, they became the first retail SAP customer to go for SAP S/4HANA conversion, and can now leverage the speed and flexibility enabled by the platform.

3. Landscape Transformation

Landscape Transformation

Landscape transformation is a hybrid approach where you pick and choose processes which you want to move on to SAP S/4HANA. From an SAP blog on landscape transformation, “Landscape transformation consolidates many instances of SAP and non-SAP ERP systems into one global SAP S/4HANA or selective data migrations.”

As you execute S/4HANA migrations in phases, you have the liberty to first unlock the potential of those parts of your businesses which require little investment and promise high returns.

As you go on to harmonize business processes one at a time, you can reduce cost of operations. You derive business value from data consolidation and process simplification. You can stay on your existing processes yet slowly move to SAP S/4HANA innovations.

You should consider landscape transformation if –

  1. You are a large enterprise with many instances of SAP or non-SAP ERP systems
  2. You are looking for consolidation into one global SAP S/4HANA systems or selective data migrations
  3. You are seeking rapid business value at a corporate-level

Identify What Works for You

To stay competitive, transition to SAP S/4HANA is imperative and you must choose a path to begin this digital transformation journey. You have to understand what matters to your business and how you can optimize return on your investments.

At Savantis, we have implemented SAP S/4HANA for enterprises from different industries. We take time to understand the nuances specific to your business and then work towards implementation with you to ensure quick adoption and time to value. We keep your business running while we help you transition to new solutions.

Schedule a free consultation with us to understand how we can help you kickstart your digital journey with a smooth transition to SAP S/4HANA.


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