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SAP S/4HANA – What are the alternatives to migrate?

Last updated : June 22, 2023
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SAP S/4HANA – What are the alternatives to migrate?
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In the first part of this series: SAP S/4HANA – To migrate or not to migrate? When and how? We showed the current situation of migrations, and we commented that the first thing a client must do is to clearly define their motivations: those to migrate to S/4HANA and those to make an assessment.

In this second part, we specify which are the migration alternatives or strategies, with the objective of showing that it is not possible to evaluate all of them, but that one or two should be defined as the most appropriate, according to the situation of the SAP ERP solutions, for a more detailed review.

S/4HANA Migration Alternatives

There are basically four migration alternatives, which are shown in the following figure, highlighted in color:

  1. Brownfield, corresponds to the conversion of the complete system, including configuration and complete data. It is the most complex alternative, but it is also the one that preserves most of the current configuration and historical data.
  2. Shell Conversion, is an alternative like the previous one, but which excludes all data, and requires an initial data load, like an implementation from scratch.
  3. Greenfield, is a re-implementation, in the SAP S/4HANA system, of existing business processes in SAP ERP, or new business processes, or enhanced processes, digital transformation, etc.
  4. Bluefield, is an intermediate path between the previous ones. In this case, the entire system is converted, but only part of the data is selectively migrated, which requires special SAP or third-party tools.

To define the most appropriate strategy, the current situation of the system and the client’s objectives must be considered. For example, questions such as:

  • What is the size of the database, is the current size a problem?
  • Is it necessary to keep all the data in the new system, or is it possible to maintain a historical system?
  • What is the quality of the data, are there inconsistencies, how much reconciliation work is required before migrating?
  • Do we want to improve business processes or just migrate everything as is? Is our goal digital transformation?
  • Do we want to leverage the project for other purposes, such as consolidating systems, eliminating custom code (“Z”), merging companies, etc.? What does it mean in terms of effort and cost?

Some of the answers require a lot of analysis. The important thing is to identify which ones we need to answer and what is required to answer them. With that, we will be able to focus the assessment and its analysis, minimizing costs.

In later installments we will see more details about the different analyses, and the questions they help us to answer.

For more information on this and our other services we invite you to contact us.

Feedback/discussion with the author Glen Canessa, Novis Presales Director.