When and How to Plan for SAP S/4HANA Migration

October 27, 2020  |  Andrew Dvirnyk

Times are changing for SAP users. By 2027, SAP will no longer be providing support for its flagship product, SAP ERP 6.0 and SAP Business Suite 7. That means that you need to have a migration plan in place for your business now.

Starting migration before it is too late, saves you time and money, protects your historic data, and connects you to new features faster. However, while there is a sense of urgency, it is not possible to rush the migration process. In fact, as we noted in our last article, successful SAP S/4HANA migration processes must begin well in advance of the target date for full migration.

Business Cannot Stop During SAP Migration

One of the reasons the migration process has a long lifecycle, and a key reason why migration needs to start sooner rather than later, is that you cannot stop your business in order to address your SAP migration needs. In fact, it is critical to remember – and plan for the fact – that your business must continue to run during the SAP migration process.

All your demands remain the same. You need to manage your books, pay invoices, procure materials and equipment, hire new employees, pay salaries, and sign contracts. No matter the state of your enterprise solutions, delivering on your business obligations is your top priority.

Now, let’s return to that “when to migrate to SAP S/4HANA” question. Since your healthy business never stops, new data are entered into your system daily. So, if you put off migration to the last minute, you are adding seven to ten years’ worth of data to your systems. That means more historic data in an already outmoded system. In fact, when it comes to system modernization, historic data migration to the new version of SAP S/4HANA is one of the key tasks. Therefore, the less data you have in your current system, the faster (and cheaper) your transition project will be.

Also, bear in mind the costs of keeping your equipment up to date and the need to archive your existing, ever increasing amounts of data required to keep your current ERP system performance at an acceptable level. Looked at this way, holding on to your current ERP system is costing you time and money at every turn. Investing in migration just makes sense.

Plan Before You Migrate to SAP S/4HANA

Even though migration now is the best answer in most cases, that does not mean you should jump into the migration process without a clear plan of attack. Having worked with thousands of SAP users, our IBA Group Team knows better than anyone that these systems are as complex as they are essential.

When dealing with something that is as integral to your business operations as your systems are, it is imperative to develop a well thought out plan of action that takes into account your needs, budgets, timelines, and human capital. In many cases it makes the most sense to bring in a team like ours to guide the SAP S/4HANA conversion process. This ensures that you are not losing time, money, or essential functionality along the course of the transformation process.

To get started on the transformation path the right way, we recommend a thorough technical assessment.

Start with Technical Assessment

The technical assessment is the prudent first step in the transition to SAP S/4HANA. It helps you determine the amount of resources and time you need to allocate to the transition. Further, it enables you to develop a detailed plan for your migration by assessing all relevant current and potential risks. And it enables you to access innovative new SAP S/4HANA features faster.

After you have successfully completed a technical assessment, you are able to make an informed decision about when to implement a new ERP. Whether the implementation phase starts now, or five years from now, you will still be ahead of the migration deadline. At the end of the day, technical assessment costs you significantly less than the migration itself. As a result, by including the technical assessment in the overall migration process, you save money and time now and over the next ten years.

How to Complete a Technical Assessment for SAP S/4HANA Migration

The technical assessment depends on the size of your system and takes between two weeks to three months. Keep in mind, the migration itself typically takes three to four months for small and medium enterprises, and up to seven months or more for large enterprises.

In terms of budget and planning, the technical assessment often reveals issues that end up pushing the SAP S/4HANA migration up a few months. Keep in mind, the sooner you complete an accurate technical assessment, the sooner you are able to complete the migration. And the sooner you are able to leverage the advantages of the new platform and its innovations. Looked at this way, the technical assessment makes the migration smoother, and connects you to your system ROI sooner.

Bring in SAP S/4HANA Migration Experts

We are confident in our recommendations about the path to SAP S/4HANA migration because our trusted experts have helped more than three thousand SAP users and counting. We are an SAP Gold Service Partner, recognized officially by SAP for our Expertise in S/4HANA. We work with both our own IBA Group proprietary solutions and SAP’s conversion tools to make migration painless and profitable for you.

Our experience also teaches us that tools alone are not enough to guarantee a seamless conversion to SAP S/4HANA. As a trusted partner, we work directly with you to understand where you are, what your needs are, and where you want your system to take you next.

Migrate from Business Suite 7 to SAP S/4HANA

In our next article, we talk more about how to migrate to SAP S/4HANA from Business Suite 7. We look at the how to of conversion from ERP to SAP S/4HANA, as well as Greenfield Implementation (a good option for those who have not previously used an ERP system). Then we walk you through hybrid migration (including hybrid and selective data transformation). And finally, we examine landscape transformation. Migration to SAP S/4HANA is a complex undertaking. So, we are going step by step to help you understand the why, when, and how, while you still have the time to make the smart choices for your business.

Proper planning and allocation of time and resources create successful migrations that enable your business to do more, and to meet new challenges in a fully prepared state. It is time to start your migration for success now, in 2027, and beyond.

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