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All You Wanted to Know about SAP S/4 HANA Migration

“Do not get bogged down by the complexity of SAP S/4 HANA Migration.Work with the right partner to ensure best practices of migration are followed and you migrate seamlessly & successfully without losing your peace of mind!” writes Prashant Pimpalekar, Sr. Vice President (SAP Practice), Sify Technologies Ltd.

Having understood the rich prowess of SAP S/4 HANA (& the roadmap of SAP), for SAP customers it is no longer a question of whether to migrate but rather when and how to migrate to SAP S/4HANA! 

This article dwells on the ‘how’ part which is of more interest to CIOs/IT Heads. 

First things first –

Prerequisites for SAP S/4 HANA –

  • Your SAP system should be on Unicode for single step migration. 
  • Your SAP System should be minimum ECC 6.0 for single step migration + upgrade method
  • Dual-stack systems are not supported by SAP S/4HANA. Only ABAP is supported (& not JAVA).

The next task is deciding on the Migration Approach. Following are the three possible scenarios: 

  • New Implementation – Plainly speaking, here customer wants to discard the current SAP ECC ERP 6.0 system entirely & start afresh a greenfield implementation in SAP S/4 HANA in the new box.  This approach is best suited when there are lot of issues with the current SAP system implementation & it doesn’t make sense to carry on this legacy to S/4 HANA. It only brings in the initial data uploads from SAP ECC ERP6.0 system but nothing relation to process design (read – customization / configuration)
  • System Conversion – This is the commonly adopted approach by SAP customers wherein a complete conversion happens of the existing SAP ECC system into S/4 HANA. Efforts needed are certainly lesser here compared to first approach (New Implementation)
  • Landscape Transformation – This is a case mostly with large SAP Implementations wherein Merger/Acquisition (or selling off some division/BU) would have happened & so the customer wants to move only a selective portion (like, say all BUs related to one particular line of business or particular geography) or wants to merge multiple instances (based on some parameter) into one box. It needs SAP’s SLT tools & in terms of complexity, this approach is the most complex one. 

Once we know that we’ve the prerequisites (for S/4 HANA) & finalized the migration approach (say, System Conversion), the next step for S/4 HANA migration is to follow below methodology–

  1. Prepare phase –
    • Business Scenario Recommendations (BSR) for SAP S/4 HANA The report shows your lines of business, business scenario, relevance for you & the number of relevant transactions. It shows the transactions which generated the recommendations.  It also shows the Value Proposition (in terms of Process Innovation, Business Drivers & Contribution of SAP HANA & Fiori. It lists all the transactions (getting used in SAP ECC ERP 6.0) & the custom objects – Top 25 custom code transactions by response time.  Overall, you get a detail analysis of how your current system would be impacted and what to expect in S/4 HANA.
    • SAP Innovation & Optimization Pathfinder
      1. The report gives a rich analysis in terms of –
        • Innovation recommendations
        • Business improvement opportunities 
        • How to optimize IT & accelerate Innovation
    • It provides recommendations about simplified business processes with SAP S4 HANA. Under ‘Simplified User Experience’, it gives an overview of relevant SAP Fiori Apps for your organization.  It also provides Top-3 KPIs of your organization and how you are performing vis-à-vis industry peers (by comparing with industry benchmarks)

2. Explore phase – 

  • Readiness Check – It is the first step in S/4 HANA conversion. The report output shows the required solution adjustments (simplification items) for a system conversion to SAP S4 HANA, required custom code adjustment, required SAP HANA hardware size, data volume reduction potential, recommended Fiori Apps, required adjustment for BW extractors, Add-on compatibility etc. 
  • Maintenance Planner – Maintenance Planner needs to be run in SAP’s Solution Manager.  It generates the stack file (stack.xml) online from SAP Market place. This is needed to download the S/4 HANA software.

3. Realize/ Deploy phase –

Besides installation of S/4 HANA software & database migration, it involves implementation of relevant OSS Notes, run pre-check programs provided by OSS Notes& perform corrections based on the results. (Please note – there are overall 300+ steps to be executed, in the right sequence during Realization phase but which is not feasible to share them here)

4. Run phase

  • Production cutover
  • Hypercare
  • Handover to Support organization

Migration dilemma:On-Premise OR Cloud?

While we explained above the ‘how’ part of S/4 HANA migration, the other equally important question is, should we do this migration On-Premise Or Cloud? 

If you don’t want to block your precious capital by incurring CAPEX (Capital Expenditure for buying the hardware & related stuff), it is advisable to move to Cloud – which is OPEX (Operating expenses – pay to the Cloud provider as per usage). More importantly, it also provides you the comfort of Managed Services Support (support in compute/storage/network/OS support/DB support/security/backup and even SAP AMS) with agreed SLAs.

While Microsoft (Azure) & Amazon (AWS) came up with Cloud proposition since last 2-3 years in India, Sify, one of the pioneer ICT organizations in India, has been ahead of the curve. Sify has been helping customers in moving their ERP workloads (SAP as well as non-SAP) to Cloud (named ‘Cloud Infinit’) since 2011. 300+ customers are hosted on Sify’s Cloud Infinit which is encompassing 48 datacenters spread over 6 states in India. All of its datacenters are engineered to first-class Secure Data Centre standard & are AICPA, SOC & SSAE-16 certified.  Its Hosting/Cloud/HANA/SAP AMS services are also certified by SAP.

Conclusion – Do not get bogged down by the complexity of SAP S/4 HANA Migration.Work with the right partner to ensure best practices of migration are followed and you migrate seamlessly & successfully without losing your peace of mind! 

Authored By: Prashant Pimpalekar, Sr. Vice President (SAP Practice), Sify Technologies Ltd

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