SAP S/4HANA is a next-generation platform developed to effectively interact with multiple business processes in real time and enable organizations to digitize their core.
At the beginning of the digital journey, whether it’s SAP S/4HANA implementation or migration, organizations have to define business needs and priorities. Then the appropriate strategy must be chosen to achieve goals with minimal disruption.
Every customer is unique, therefore usually each of them will choose one of three routes: implementation from scratch, conversion from an existing system, or landscape transformation (combination of several SAP or hybrid installations). These implementation strategies are usable for new SAP deployments, however, they are also applicable with slight modifications to migration strategies.
The first step is to identify business needs, build a business case and develop a strategy and roadmap. Once this is completed, you can determine the path to implementation.
STEP 1: CHOOSE THE RIGHT PLATFORM AND MIGRATION PATH
In order to facilitate a successful SAP HANA migration, it is important to choose a platform that addresses your business challenges and meets your requirements, in terms of budget and resources. SAP HANA on-premise deployment provides you maximum control and risk reduction; deployment in the cloud increases flexibility, scalability, and faster time usage.
With on-premise deployment; you can select a certified SAP HANA appliance from one of the SAP’s hardware partners. At the same time, SAP HANA Tailored Data Center Integration (TDI) gives you more facilities to significantly reduce infrastructure costs and simplify the integration of SAP HANA using the current hardware and your own data center.
There are many scenarios for deploying clouds. SAP also has its own cloud offer called SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud. It includes a license for SAP HANA software, a basic cloud infrastructure, and services managed by SAP.
STEP 2: GET USERS ON BOARD
Providing business users support for the implementation and decision-making process is just as important as the technical aspects of deploying the new system. With simpler data model, SAP S/4HANA gives significant improvements and process performance. For example, for financial departments, eliminating the need for tedious and error-prone reconciliation between finance and control at the end of a financial period. Communicating such changes with users helps them understand the benefits and positively influence the process.
STEP 3: PREPARE YOUR DATA
SAP S/4HANA is the data platform with a simplified data model that makes data migration easy and quick. SAP provides a full set of data migration tools for new and existing customers that allow to deliver data from their own old systems for faster and smoother start-up.
The advanced analytical tools are one of the main advantages of SAP HANA. They enable the ability to analyze a large amount of database in real time and therefore optimize your business operations.
The essential step before bringing SAP system to HANA is cleansing data. This preparatory activity is commonly missed and brings lots of issues in the future. Data cleaning lowers risk and cost. This will help reduce the amount of data, the cost of HANA licensing, downtime, etc. Do you know so far any other traditional data platforms that work faster and better than SAP HANA and with reduced cost? Then it’s time to try it!
STEP 4: PLANNING FOR DEPLOYMENT
Although the roadmap may vary slightly, depending on whether customers are new to SAP or are migrating from an existing system, the first step is to create a deployment group that includes SAP experts, either by merging with an SAP partner or using internal resources. The first step to successful deployment is to conduct initial workshops on functional planning. Prototypes and test systems can be installed inexpensively in the cloud and priceless in order to get early feedback from end users – another important aspect of getting them on board.
STEP 5: RE-IMAGINE BUSINESS
After the deployment is organized, a detailed roadmap can be developed in which the business will be reintroduced and digital transformation planned.
With the introduction of SAP BIModal IT, the main mission-critical applications can be separated from the peripheral business line applications (LoBs) that can be developed on the SAP Cloud Platform. This allows SAP S/4HANA to act as the digital core of the enterprise, and LoB applications must be developed at their own pace without risking business-critical processes.
To help clients in this and the implementation process, SAP Digital Business Services provides comprehensive and expert advice and support. Customers can use SAP technical and functional technical support services to ensure that they achieve their business goals with maximum efficiency and the least possible disruption.
STEP 6: APPLY HIGH IMPLEMENTATION STANDARDS
Avoid shortcuts at this stage of the project and stick to high standards in your activities. Being methodical and understand all the necessary actions from planning to transition is the key to the successful migration.
Prepare your organization and build a team that is highly experienced at technical migration guideline. You must be ready to find the solution in case if something goes wrong during the technical migration. Nothing must be overlooked.
Make sure your systems are ready for SAP HANA travel. SAP provides the latest fixes and solutions for common issues with each release and support, thus it’s better to be in the latest version despite the fact that your version is supported for migration.
Avoid unnecessary risks especially to ensure smooth and successful technical data migration. Remember: backups are never too many; always do have full backups and archive logs to provide regular restore points.
STEP 7: DO A PROOF OF CONCEPT
To confirm your SAP HANA migration you firstly need to perform a “proof of concept” in the sandbox environment. Implement this by copying your SAP production system to create an SAP Sandpit environment and perform the actual migration in this system.
This is an important step for any process of technical migration, and there is no doubt that the cost of duplicating the environment is worth it. See why:
- This gives you an idea of how long it will take
- This helps to identify possible problems in the sandpit system and reduce the risks of the project
- This simplifies the business for implementing SAP HANA
- This helps to make important decisions in your project and improve overall project performance.
- You will have more time to test and test in a non-critical environment
- This boosts the whole project If you have reached this point, you are ready to begin planning technical migration to the SAP HANA platform.
SAP S/4HANA is the future of SAP. Older versions corporate software will work until 2020 (non-HANA DB) or 2025 (HANA DB). Organizations need to start evaluating options and developing a conversion strategy today.
Successfully implemented SAP HANA generates outstanding results in performance, analytics, data processing and improves profitability of your SAP landscape. As you prepare your organization for a smooth, risk-free migration, you may consider consulting one of our experts to get started.