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SAP ECC to SAP S4HANA – Data migration from ECC to S/4HANA

If you consider yourself an SAP insider and enthusiast, you may already be aware that SAP recently announced an extension of its support for SAP ECC. Under the new agreement, support will be provided until the year 2027. Additionally, customers have the option to purchase extended maintenance at a two percent premium until 2030. 

However, it is important to emphasize that this extension should not be misunderstood as an opportunity to be complacent. Digital technologies, which enable modern work culture, will continue to play a vital role in the future. So it’s crucial for businesses to adopt and integrate the intelligent enterprise model today in order to ensure their success in the market. 

Current users of SAP ECC (ERP Central Component) should begin preparing for S/4 HANA, which is considered the future of SAP. 

SAP ECC – An Introduction 

SAP ECC, also known as ERP Central Component, is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) software solution developed by SAP SE, a leading provider of business software solutions.  

ECC stands for “Enterprise Core Components,” which refers to the integrated modules and functionalities that form the foundation of the SAP ERP system. 

SAP ECC offers various modules to support different business processes, including finance and controlling, sales and distribution, materials management, production planning, human capital management, and more.  

It provides organisations with a centralised system to manage and streamline their core business operations, such as financial management, procurement, inventory management, and customer relationship management. 

SAP ECC has been widely used by companies across various industries to enhance operational efficiency, improve decision-making processes, and integrate different functions within an organisation.  

However, SAP has introduced a newer generation of its ERP system called S/4HANA, which is considered the successor to SAP ECC and offers enhanced capabilities and features, including real-time analytics, simplified data models, and improved user experience. 

SAP S/4HANA – What is It, Really? 

SAP S/4HANA is the next-generation enterprise resource planning (ERP) software suite developed by SAP SE. It is designed to run on the SAP HANA in-memory database platform, which enables real-time data processing and analytics. S/4HANA stands for “SAP Business Suite 4 SAP HANA.” 

Compared to its predecessor, SAP ECC, S/4HANA offers several significant enhancements and advantages. Here are some key features: 

  • Simplified Data Model: S/4HANA provides a simplified data structure that eliminates traditional database indexes and aggregates. This simplification allows for faster data processing, real-time analytics, and improved performance. 
  • Real-time Analytics: With the power of the SAP HANA platform, S/4HANA enables real-time reporting, analysis, and decision-making. Users can access real-time insights into their business operations, allowing faster and informed decision-making. 
  • Enhanced User Experience: S/4HANA offers a modern and intuitive user interface, known as SAP Fiori. It provides a consistent and user-friendly experience across different devices, improving usability and productivity. 
  • Integrated Business Processes: S/4HANA integrates various business functions and processes, enabling end-to-end visibility and seamless data flow. It promotes better collaboration and efficiency across different departments within an organisation. 
  • Cloud-Ready: S/4HANA is designed to support cloud deployment models, allowing organisations to leverage the benefits of cloud computing, such as scalability, flexibility, and reduced infrastructure costs. 

SAP S/4HANA represents a significant shift in the ERP landscape, offering organisations the opportunity to transform their business operations with real-time insights, simplified processes, and a more engaging user experience. 

Migrating from SAP ECC to S/4HANA 

In this section, we will discuss three ways to migrate to SAP S/4HANA from SAP ECC. 

We will try our best to answer your questions and queries. 

1: Greenfield Approach 

Migrating from SAP ECC to S/4HANA with a greenfield approach involves implementing a fresh installation of SAP S/4HANA and re-implementing business processes from scratch.  

This approach is typically chosen when organisations want to take advantage of the new features and capabilities offered by S/4HANA and have the opportunity to redesign and optimise their business processes. 

Here are the key steps involved in migrating from SAP ECC to S/4HANA using a greenfield approach: 

  • Project Planning: Start by forming a project team and defining the project scope, objectives, and timeline. Identify key stakeholders and establish clear communication channels. 
  • System Landscape Design: Design the new system landscape for S/4HANA, including hardware requirements, network setup, and infrastructure considerations. Determine whether to deploy on-premises or in the cloud. 
  • Business Process Analysis: Analyse existing business processes in ECC and identify areas for improvement and optimization. Consider the new capabilities and functionalities offered by S/4HANA and evaluate how they can benefit your business. 
  • System Installation and Configuration: Install the SAP S/4HANA system in the new landscape and perform the necessary configuration and setup. This includes setting up organisational units, master data, and system parameters. 
  • Data Migration: Define a data migration strategy to transfer relevant data from ECC to S/4HANA. Assess data quality, cleanse and transform the data, and execute the migration using SAP’s recommended tools and methodologies. 
  • Customization and Development: Evaluate the customizations and enhancements made in ECC and determine whether they are still required in S/4HANA. Adopt standard S/4HANA functionalities to reduce complexity and simplify the landscape. 
  • Business Process Re-implementation: Redesign and re-implement business processes based on the best practices and preconfigured content provided by SAP S/4HANA. Customise processes to meet specific business requirements. 
  • Integration Setup: Configure integrations with other systems, such as CRM, SCM, and third-party applications, ensuring seamless data exchange and process flow across the landscape. 
  • Testing and Quality Assurance: Conduct comprehensive testing, including unit testing, integration testing, and user acceptance testing. Validate the system against business requirements, and resolve any issues or gaps identified during testing. 
  • Training and Change Management: Train end-users on the new S/4HANA system and its functionalities. Develop a change management plan to ensure smooth adoption of the new system, addressing resistance and providing support during the transition. 
  • Go-Live and Post-Go-Live Support: Execute the system cutover, where you switch from ECC to S/4HANA. Provide post-go-live support to address any issues, stabilise the system, and optimise performance. 

2: Selective Data Transition 

A selective data transition procedure is a compromise between the greenfield and brownfield approaches. It allows you to migrate a portion of data from your previous system while starting some segments anew. 

This approach offers the flexibility to define new configuration settings and improve specific business processes. It also enables you to retain historical data and convert it to fit the desired S/4HANA configuration. 

Here are the benefits of this approach for your business or transformation project: 

  • Minimise Business Disruptions: By selectively moving data to SAP S/4HANA, you can avoid major disruptions. This approach allows for a single go-live, enabling you to migrate a significant amount of data at once. 
  • Retain Relevant Historical Data: You can migrate only the relevant historical data while maintaining a consistent document flow or process chain. Outdated data, such as obsolete company codes, can be left behind. 
  • Flexibility and Efficiency: Define the desired speed and efficiency for your project and seamlessly combine different data segments. This approach aims for near-zero downtime, enabling the entire procedure to be completed within a few hours. 

However, it’s important to have a well-defined plan before proceeding with the selective data transition procedure. While it is relatively straightforward, proper understanding and planning are necessary. Start planning today to ensure a successful migration process. 

3: Brownfield Method 

Here are the key steps involved in migrating from SAP ECC to S/4HANA using a brownfield approach: 

  • Readiness Assessment: Begin by conducting a readiness assessment to determine the compatibility of your ECC system with the S/4HANA conversion process. Evaluate hardware and software requirements, check system compatibility, and identify potential issues or custom code conflicts. 
  • System Preparation: Prepare your ECC system for the conversion process by performing necessary system updates, implementing required SAP Notes, and resolving any issues identified during the readiness assessment. It’s crucial to ensure that your ECC system meets the prerequisites for the S/4HANA conversion. 
  • Simplification and Business Function Analysis: Analyse the existing customizations, enhancements, and business functions in your ECC system to identify potential simplification opportunities. SAP provides tools like the Simplification Item Check and Business Function Prediction to assess the impact of S/4HANA on your system. 
  • Custom Code Adaptation: Review and adapt custom code, modifications, and enhancements to ensure compatibility with S/4HANA. Identify and address any code conflicts or deprecated functionalities. SAP provides tools like the Custom Code Migration Workbench (CMW) to analyse and adapt custom code. 
  • Data Migration: Plan and execute the migration of your data from ECC to S/4HANA. SAP provides various data migration tools and methodologies, such as the SAP Advanced Data Migration tool, to facilitate a smooth transition of your data. 
  • System Conversion: Perform the actual system conversion from ECC to S/4HANA. This involves executing the necessary conversion processes, including the technical conversion, data migration, and adjustment of customizations. Follow the conversion guides and perform thorough testing to ensure a successful conversion. 
  • Post-Conversion Steps: Once the system conversion is complete, perform post-conversion activities such as testing, adjusting configurations, and validating the converted system. Conduct comprehensive testing to ensure that the system functions as expected and meets your business requirements. 
  • Optimization and Innovation: Leverage the new features and functionalities offered by S/4HANA to optimise and innovate your business processes. Explore SAP Fiori applications, embedded analytics, and other innovations to enhance productivity and user experience. 

It’s important to note that a brownfield approach allows for a smoother transition from ECC to S/4HANA, as it retains the existing system landscape and investments.  

However, it’s crucial to thoroughly plan and prepare for the conversion process and engage with SAP experts, like cbs, or implementation partners to ensure a successful migration. 

Conclusion 

Each of these migration techniques or methods we have shared here is viable and can be used on more than one instance. However we will ask you to use the option that suits you and your project’s requirements the most.  

Talk to your team members to get a better understanding of it. 

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