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S/4HANA Move – All You Need to Know About Moving to SAP S/4HANA

More than half of the business organisations that rely upon SAP to operate are in a dilemma, to say the very least. As per a survey conducted in 2019, almost 56% of people have made a plan to move to SAP S/4HANA.

However, when it comes to executing whatever they have envisaged, they get stuck.  

But why? 

Well, according to the same report, most entrepreneurs consider S/4HANA to be a complex and, to some extent, intricate system. Hence, if you want to go for the custom retooling of an infrastructure associated with it, it’ll both increase the expense and timeline for completion. 

Even if we’re talking about the “low-hanging fruits” – the databases or apps – they, too, need or require a lot of attention for proper installation. In some cases, the ‘move’ can also disrupt your business processes and make it difficult for you to meet deadlines. 

So, why, as a business owner, should you look for an SAP S/4HANA move? 

Well, let’s talk about that later. Instead, I think we should first talk about what the coveted S/4HANA system is and how it works. 

SAP S/4HANA – A Brief Introduction 

The latest infrastructure from SAP’s coveted ERP product line, SAP S/4HANA, is based on the elusive HANA database of the tech organisation. It was launched in 2015, and since then, it has been helping thousands of people with their operational activities.  

And you can choose between two different variants if you want to, too, including – 

  • S/4HANA Cloud system  
  • On-premise solution 

But wait, doesn’t this new ERP system look similar to SAP ECC? 

To put it into context, SAP ECC is a classic on-premise ERP infrastructure that was released in 1972. It’s one of SAP’s earliest offerings and still packs a punch in today’s market. And in a way, it is much less complicated than SAP S/4HANA as well. 

So, what is the difference between them? 

Firstly when it comes to operational attributes, SAP S/4HANA is only capable of running on the HANA database. On the contrary, SAP ECC is much more flexible, as it can work with a lot of other platforms, including – Oracle, Db2, and Informix. 

Secondly, if we’re talking about S/4HANA’s capabilities, it looks more future-oriented. Thus with it, it will be easier for you to handle critical operations and tasks with it.  

SAP ECC, albeit easy to use, doesn’t seem to be future-proof. That’s why SAP has decided to scrap it by the end of 2027. As a result, SAP has made the strategic decision to discontinue support for it by the end of 2027. 

SAP S/4HANA – The Virtues and The Vices 

Like any other ERP infrastructure available in the business technology spectrum, S/4HANA can be referred to as having two sides too. Therefore, while it definitely is limited somehow, it also comes with a world full of benefits too. Let’s take a look at both sides of the coin. 

The Scrupulous Side of the “S/4HANA Coin” 

S/4HANA, as a modern and technologically-advanced tool, can be an excellent choice for an organisation that wants to be more dynamic. Here is how it can help you out. 

  • With SAP S/4HANA, you may leverage each and every process-closing app that has already been built within the system. Hence, it’ll be much more convenient for you to monitor, analyse, and access information from different groups. You can also connect with consumers, ask for their feedback, and close your books faster. So in a way, it’ll help you simplify your business process much more efficiently and ensure efficiency. 
  • The user experience of SAP S/4HANA is quite impeccable as well. It is easy to use, highly-intuitive, and can offer a pretty clean UI for you. Thus, with it, you can easily create a new business process and access it with a single action. Furthermore, you’ll also be able to track the progress of a project and input data accordingly. This way, it will be quite convenient for you and your team to collaborate properly.  
  • SAP S/4HANA can also help you avoid using unwanted software and hardware. You can use it anyhow you want by choosing a plan that you require. It’ll make the ERP offer you only those apps that you need the most. As per a report, you’ll be able to save almost 37% of your revenue without any issues at all. Oh, and there won’t be any need to use any middleware. So, you can reduce your software expenses too. 
  • Also, there is an in-memory processing system available in SAP S/4HANA. It comes with an embedded analytics feature that may be used to gather and process important data. So, you can use it to extract a large amount of information from it and use it to make a better decision. These apps can also be accessed through your smartphone. So, you can perform real-time planning, reporting, and execution through it. 
  • SAP S/4HANA supports business agility with a noteworthy amount of flexibility. It, sequentially, can help you deploy almost any kind of planning you want without any limitations. The same attribute will also make it easier for you to add a sales channel or integrate something else. You will also get the option to bring your system within the SAP cloud and use or access all of them on the go. 

The Promiscuous Side of the “S/4HANA Coin” 

As we’ve said, SAP S/4HANA isn’t all flowers and roses, especially from the operational viewpoint. It has its own shortcomings, and sometimes, it becomes difficult to handle them. 

Understanding and acknowledging these shortcomings is the first step in mitigating potential issues that may follow with transition. 

  • Implementing and migrating to SAP S/4HANA can be expensive. The software licences, infrastructure upgrades, data migration, and training expenses can add up significantly. So, small and medium-sized businesses with limited budgets may find it challenging to afford the upfront costs. 
  • SAP S/4HANA is a complex system, and the transition from older SAP versions or other ERP systems can be tricky. The implementation process requires a significant amount of time and effort too. And organisations need to invest in skilled consultants or internal resources with SAP expertise to ensure a smooth transition. 
  • S/4HANA comes with a simplified data model compared to previous SAP versions, which can limit the ability to heavily customise the system. Customisations may be more challenging to implement and maintain, potentially requiring additional development efforts or workarounds. 
  • Integrating SAP S/4HANA with other existing systems, such as customer relationship management (CRM) or supply chain management (SCM) software, may require additional development and configuration work. Compatibility issues or gaps in functionality may also arise when integrating with third-party systems. 
  • SAP S/4HANA has a different user interface and user experience compared to older SAP versions, which can require training for existing SAP users. The learning curve can be steep, and employees may require time to adapt to the new system, potentially affecting productivity during the transition period. 

So, Why Should You Move to SAP S/4HANA, Then? 

We mean, yes – S/4HANA still has a few limitations that it needs to overcome in the future. But if we are talking from an unbiased standpoint, it has the capability of both SMEs and large organisations efficiently. Let us tell you how – 

1: Enhanced Performance 

SAP S/4HANA is built on an in-memory computing platform, which significantly improves data processing speed and performance. It enables real-time analytics, faster transaction processing, and quicker access to business insights. This can lead to faster decision-making, improved operational efficiency, and better customer service. 

2: Simplified Data Model 

SAP S/4HANA introduces a simplified data model compared to its predecessor, SAP ERP. It eliminates redundant tables and aggregates data, resulting in reduced data footprint and improved data management. The simplified data model also enables easier reporting, analytics, and integration with other systems. 

3: Improved User Experience 

S/4HANA provides an eloquent and intuitive UI called SAP Fiori. It offers a personalised and role-based user experience across devices, making it easier for employees to navigate and perform tasks. The Fiori apps also enable mobile access, allowing users to perform their work efficiently on smartphones and tablets. 

4: Advanced Features and Innovations 

SAP S/4HANA introduces new features and innovations that were not available in older SAP systems. These include machine learning, artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, Internet of Things (IoT) integration, and more. Leveraging these technologies can help automate processes, enhance productivity, and drive innovation within your organisation. 

5: Future-proof Investment 

SAP has announced that support for its legacy ERP system, SAP ERP, will end by 2027. Therefore, migrating to SAP S/4HANA ensures that you remain on a supported platform and receive regular updates, security patches, and bug fixes. It positions your organisation for future technologies and advancements in the SAP ecosystem as well. 

How to Move to SAP S/4HANA? 

Moving to SAP S/4HANA involves a comprehensive migration process that requires careful planning and execution. Here are the general steps to move to SAP S/4HANA: 

Step – 1: Assess Your Current Landscape 

Start by analysing your existing SAP system landscape, including the version, modules, and customisations in use. Then, you will need to identify the business functionalities that need to be migrated to SAP S/4HANA. Once that’s done, you can move on to the next. 

Step – 2: Define Your Migration Strategy:  

Based on the assessment, you can begin determining the perfect migration approach for your organisation. There are three main options: 

  1. Greenfield implementation: Starting from scratch with a new SAP S/4HANA system, re-implementing processes and configurations. 2.
  2. Brownfield conversion: Converting your existing SAP system to SAP S/4HANA while preserving your existing configurations and customisations. 3.
  3. Hybrid approach: Combining elements of both greenfield and brownfield approaches and offering benefits from both sides. 

Step – 3: Plan Your Migration Project: 

Develop a detailed migration plan that outlines key activities, timelines, resource requirements, and dependencies. Establish a project team and allocate roles and responsibilities. 

Step – 4: Prepare Your System Landscape:  

Ensure that your current SAP system meets the prerequisites for SAP S/4HANA. This may involve updating to the latest release of SAP ERP and performing any necessary system optimisations or data cleanup. 

Step – 5: Perform a System Conversion or New Implementation 

If you choose a system conversion, follow the SAP S/4HANA migration cockpit (SUM-DMO) methodology. It involves technical steps such as preparing the system, executing the conversion, adjusting custom code, and performing post-conversion activities. 

If you opt for a new implementation, define your target architecture, set up a new SAP S/4HANA system, configure business processes, and migrate data from the legacy system. 

Step – 6: Test and Validate 

Conduct thorough testing to ensure the migrated SAP S/4HANA system meets your functional and technical requirements. Perform unit testing, integration testing, and user acceptance testing to validate the system’s performance and stability. 

Step – 7: Train and Educate Users 

Provide training sessions and workshops to familiarise users with the new SAP S/4HANA system. Ensure they understand the changes in processes and functionalities and how to leverage the new features. 

Step – 8: Data Migration 

Migrate your data from the legacy system to SAP S/4HANA. Cleanse and validate the data, ensuring its accuracy and integrity during the migration process. 

Step – 9: Go Live and Post-Migration Activities 

Once the system is thoroughly tested and the users are trained, schedule the go-live date for the SAP S/4HANA system. Monitor the system closely during the initial days and address any issues that arise. Perform necessary post-migration activities such as monitoring performance, conducting user support, and optimising the system, based on user feedback. 

Step – 10 – Continuous Improvement 

S/4HANA is an intelligent ERP platform, so leverage its advanced features and capabilities to drive continuous improvement within your company. Explore additional functionalities, such as ML, analytics, and automation, to optimise your business processes further. 


At cbs, we understand that migrating to SAP S/4HANA can be a complex and critical process for your organization. With our expertise and experience, we are here to guide you through each step of the journey. Our team will carefully assess your current landscape and help you define the most suitable migration strategy, whether it’s a greenfield implementation, brownfield conversion, or a hybrid approach. We will work closely with you to plan the migration project, prepare your system landscape, and execute the migration process smoothly. Our dedicated professionals will ensure thorough testing, user training, and data migration, so that your transition to SAP S/4HANA is seamless. Once your system is live, we provide continuous support and help you leverage the advanced features of SAP S/4HANA for ongoing improvements in your business processes. To embark on this transformative journey, please contact us today and let cbs be your trusted partner in moving to SAP S/4HANA.  

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