S/4HANA migration: Postponing is not an option

SNP Experts
| 5 min read

During the global pandemic, companies tend to postpone major transformation projects such as the migration to S/4HANA. Alas, with SAP's real-time ERP suite, they could react better to exceptional situations and subsequently emerge from the crisis in a stronger position.


Digital transformation has gained momentum during the global pandemic. Even in the early course of the crisis, it became apparent that digitally well-positioned companies have a significant advantage, as they can react more agilely and flexibly to changing conditions. S/4HANA plays a key role in the digital transformation of SAP user companies. The new software generation creates a central data source instead of data silos and integrates previously separate, often manually controlled business processes into one system. Despite the associated opportunities for improved performance and competitiveness, decision-makers tend to postpone S/4HANA migration projects due to the current economic situation. Experts consider this approach risky and cite several arguments in favor of an early changeover:


Migration to S/4HANA: Overcoming Digital Deficits, Staying Competitive

On their journey into the digital age, user companies can hardly ignore SAP S/4HANA: The platform is proving to be a strategic basis for the further digitization, standardization and globalization of the company's own business processes - especially for globally operating corporations. From finance to market management to human resources, all divisions of the company can be controlled centrally. Decision-makers are well advised to leverage the full potential associated with this in a timely manner in order to keep pace with digital progress. 


Adapting technology to optimized business processes

The pandemic has presented many companies with the challenge of quickly adapting processes and workflows to new requirements. These future-oriented changes must subsequently be implemented in the technological heart, the ERP system. In doing so, it proves to be of little use to adapt existing, often outdated IT solutions - such enhancements can even be counterproductive. Companies should take the opportunity to create a new technological foundation with the S/4HANA implementation. After all, the latter makes it possible to adapt processes holistically or selectively.


Combining the implementation of S/4HANA with a data migration to the cloud

In view of the pandemic-related restrictions, the use of powerful cloud applications has also come further into focus. Companies that are still about to move their data to the cloud can combine this step with the implementation of S/4HANA. From an expert's point of view, it makes sense to combine several projects into one. This avoids additional efforts in the form of time and costs, and companies also ensure a holistic approach to their further digital transformation. 

As an alternative to the cloud operating model, S/4HANA can also be operated as a classic software solution on the company's own servers (on-premises).


Using free capacities of employees

There is no question that the strategic and operational planning and implementation of an S/4HANA project takes a lot of time. Phases in which the employees involved are less occupied overall due to the crisis should therefore be used for extensive preparatory work. It also proves profitable to build up digital knowledge for ideal S/4HANA use in everyday work. In this way, companies are one step ahead of their competitors and secure their own future viability for the time after the crisis.


S/4HANA transformation: Counting on the right partner

The technical S/4HANA transition goes far beyond the day-to-day business of IT teams, which is why companies should consider working with an experienced partner. Requirements for the IT service provider should be set high. Migration methods sometimes differ significantly in terms of time, costs and resources. In addition to in-depth project experience, the suitable partner should have automated transformation software with which the migration can be planned, simulated and controlled until a successful go-live. The software should be able to eliminate sources of error right from the start and keep business downtime to a minimum. It must also create a high level of transparency and make changes predictable. Interactive simulations provide a deeper understanding of complex ERP landscapes and show the effects of planned changes in systems in real time, allowing the transformation project to be planned in detail, accurate cost estimates to be made and defined project goals to be met.

To ensure collaboration with a suitable partner and avoid having to resort to a stopgap solution, decision-makers would do well to tackle the project in good time. They should not wait for a large number of companies to become dependent on service providers at the same time.


Remote data migration – location-independent changeover possible

But how can a large S/4HANA migration project be successfully brought to the finish line in view of applicable restrictions and increased remote working? With the right service provider who implements the rollout in an automated and software-based way, a remote-only migration will not be a problem, as digital processes were already in place prior to the pandemic. However, such performance is not the rule, which is why the possibility of remote data migration should definitely be clarified in advance.


Conclusion: Regarding S/4HANA as a strategic investment

The requirements in terms of digitization are increasing: It is important for companies to prepare their own systems and processes for new technological challenges. With S/4HANA, SAP user companies are creating the basis for successfully shaping the digital transformation. The changeover should therefore be seen as a strategic investment that pays off in terms of business success and should therefore be pursued consistently even during the crisis.  


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