SAP S/4HANA migration: 3 important lessons we’ve learned

May 05, 2021
  • finance
  • IT
  • automotive
  • SAP

Faster applications, real-time analysis of transactional data, and an improved user experience.

These are just some of the benefits of SAP S/4HANA technology. As attractive as these benefits may seem, the fear of embarking on a complex migration project still prevents many companies from taking the plunge.  The situation often becomes more complicated when technical system upgrades are planned at the same time. To help you with your project, here are 3 things tips to consider before embarking on your SAP S/4HANA migration project.

Whether your reason for migrating to SAP S/4HANA   is cost reduction, simplification of the IT environment, development of a scalable IT environment, or performance issues - don't let fear of complexity stop you from making the move. This technology is stable, the initial costs are lower, and the benefits are guaranteed. But getting off to a good start doesn't mean it’s all plain sailing. You need to make the transition as smoothly as possible.

1. Make it a business affair

Migrating to SAP S/4HANA is often seen as a technical migration exercise, whereas early business engagement is proven to be a key success factor. Gaining the trust of the business starts with demonstrating the tangible benefits across different business functions. For example, real-time analytics and the Fiori approval application can be strong arguments to convince both users and management of the benefits of SAP S/4HANA. The ability to unlock operational analysis tools via off-the-shelf content on the core modules, with the possibility of extending them to one's own scenarios, is also particularly desirable. As for the ability to have integrated analysis tools via Fiori, it brings together the world of data capture and analysis functions for business users. This makes it easier to access KPIs and enables faster decision-making.

Also focus on the benefits that SAP S/4HANA will bring to employees’ daily work. For example, show them how their top 10 transactions will impact performance. Finally, introduce some of the new features offered by SAP S/4HANA. If you show a warehouse manager how to search for materials - using a Google-like search function - without having to type in the full name of the product, you will certainly get their attention.


At the same time, avoid overselling the benefits of SAP/S4HANA. Set realistic expectations and timelines for the migration.

2. Analyse all options

Before embarking on an SAP S/4HANA migration project, be sure to analyse all options. Will you migrate all systems at once to limit testing effort and disruption to the business? Or would you prefer to take a phased approach, which will reduce risk but force the business to test integrations multiple times? In many cases, cost will be the determining factor. Nevertheless, migrating multiple systems simultaneously is an option worth considering. It allows for better planning and resource allocation. However, ensure that everyone's roles and responsibilities are clearly defined and that decisions about testing and provisioning are made consciously.

3. Run tests

Tests must be carefully prepared, executed and evaluated. In order to achieve this, you need experienced professional users and specialised test management tools. They pave the way for a structured testing process - avoiding isolated tests in a particular flow -, enable automation and provide a better understanding of the results. Migration to S/4HANA itself can be relatively straightforward, but it often coming with technical upgrades. If not properly tested, these can pose additional challenges. To meet the challenges as they arise, rely on experienced implementation partners.

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