Top 10 Questions to Ask Before Migrating to SAP S/4HANA

If you use SAP’s ERP software and you are not yet using SAP S/4HANA, you will have maintenance support for core applications of SAP Business Suite 7 software until the end of 2027, followed by optional extended maintenance until the end of 2030, to make to the switch.

Top 10 Questions to Ask Before Migrating to SAP S/4HANA
Top 10 Questions to Ask Before Migrating to SAP S/4HANA

“Although SAP extended the deadline for its support for SAP Business Suite 7, SAP customers should not become apathetic,” says Ekrem Hatip, senior solutions architect at Syntax.

Failing to make this move can put your enterprise at risk, as you will be running an ERP that SAP no longer supports. Although the deadline is still some years away, it’s not too early to start your transition.

  • Assess your current situation
  • Acknowledge future challenges
  • Develop a road map

Content Summary

Preparing for Change
Question 1: What is our current SAP landscape? (Also, are you using SAP industry-specific solutions?)
Question 2: What source ERP versions does S/4HANA support?
Question 3: Do we need to update our Solution Tools Plug-Ins?
Question 4: Will our third-party add-ons impact the migration?
Question 5: How can we tell if our systems are ready to migrate?
Question 6: How has SAP changed Business Partner?
Question 7: Have we cleansed our data?
Question 8: What is the best time of the year to migrate to S/4HANA?
Question 9: How do users interact with our SAP ERP system?
Question 10: Do we need ABAP developers on staff and a dedicated security team for SAP S/4HANA?

Preparing for Change

If you use SAP’s ERP software and you are not yet using SAP S/4HANA, you will have maintenance support for core applications of SAP Business Suite 7 software until the end of 2027, followed by optional extended maintenance until the end of 2030, to make to the switch.

“Although SAP extended the deadline for its support for SAP Business Suite 7, SAP customers should not become apathetic,” says Ekrem Hatip, senior solutions architect at Syntax.

Failing to make this move can put your enterprise at risk, as you will be running an ERP that SAP no longer supports. Although the deadline is still some years away, it’s not too early to start your transition.

Moving to S/4HANA can be a complicated process that impacts the hundreds – or even thousands – of applications that your SAP systems touch.

An early start will allow you to create a roadmap and ensure that your migration goes smoothly with minimal downtime. Making the move now also gives you plenty of time to train your employees on new systems and processes before their current ERP runs out of support.

But if you’re thinking about making the move, you likely have a few questions. Here are the top 10 questions that CIOs ask us about migrating to S/4HANA, along with tips on how to drive the most value from your SAP investment:

Question 1: What is our current SAP landscape? (Also, are you using SAP industry-specific solutions?)

The first step in a migration is to assess your current SAP environment and decide which pieces you want to migrate. Ask how each system will drive business value in S/4HANA and if it’s worth your efforts to convert it. Although you may find value in some legacy systems, leaving them behind can help you leverage new business models and gain efficiencies.

Here are some questions to ask when you review your current systems and processes:

  • Which S/4HANA functions meet our business and IT needs?
  • Which systems will we migrate?
  • Which systems will we replace or retire?
  • How will migrating to S/4HANA impact our current SAP environment?
  • Do we need to adjust our SAP transport system during the conversion process?
  • How many systems do we require for the conversion?
  • Do we have enough capacity to create system copies that we’ll need for our testing phase?
  • What is our timeline for the migration?

SAP industry-specific solutions

SAP offers several industry-specific solutions. However, S/4HANA doesn’t support all of them (yet). Before you migrate, find out if your solution(s) will run on S/4HANA. If not, you may need to run S/4HANA in restricted mode. Since you have time until SAP’s cut-off deadline, you can also temporarily leave a solution in your previous version and migrate others to S/4HANA.

Question 2: What source ERP versions does S/4HANA support?

Here is a list of the supported source versions for a one-step migration to S/4HANA:

  • SAP Enterprise Resource Planning 6.0, EHP 0-8
  • SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA
  • SAP Simple Finance Add-On 1.0 for SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA
  • SAP Simple Finance, on-premise edition 1503
  • SAP S/4HANA Finance 1605

SAP requires that these systems, along with their corresponding support packs, are compliant before you migrate them to S/4HANA.

If you haven’t maintained your software, you’ll need to ensure that your patches are up to date and that you’ve tested everything with key users. Getting a head start on the deadline gives you the time to achieve compliance.

Question 3: Do we need to update our Solution Tools Plug-Ins?

Your Solution Tools Plug-Ins (ST-PI) deliver many of your SAP tools. Since they play such a vital role, you need to update them before you migrate to S/4HANA. You can update them from within the ST-PI ABAP landscape with minimal impact to your operations.

Plan to update these components at least six months before your migration to ensure accurate results. Then, maintain them on an ongoing basis after your move.

Question 4: Will our third-party add-ons impact the migration?

If you use third-party add-ons, you must review them before the migration to confirm that they’ll run on S/4HANA. Simply check your SAP Solution Manager to see how many add-ons you are using, along with which ones are compatible with S/4HANA.

Add-On Compatibility
Add-On Compatibility

After you review the list, you can decide if you want to upgrade, reinstall, or remove any of your add-ons. If a vital tool isn’t compatible with S/4HANA, you may want to run it on a different system or find out if SAP supports something similar.

You must contact each provider individually to check their compatibility with S/4HANA, as SAP cannot give you information about third-party tools.

Question 5: How can we tell if our systems are ready to migrate?

For Unicode systems, one of the main prerequisites for a S/4HANA conversion is ensuring that your source system also runs on Unicode. There are different ways to convert an SAP system to Unicode, but this conversion is an additional project in itself.

For ABAP systems, there are some scenarios where an ERP system must be dual-stack (e.g., ABAP and Java) to support certain business applications. You must split dual-stack systems before their conversion to S/4HANA. In general, any ERP 6.0 version (on Enhancement Pack 0-8) is a good candidate for conversion to S/4HANA. Just update your Solution Tools plug-ins (ST-PI) in advance and check the compatibility of your third-party add-ons.

Before you migrate to S/4HANA, it’s important to perform a readiness check. SAP recommends this step, as it “checks both your production systems (or copies thereof) and your development systems for SAP S/4HANA conversion compatibility and necessary conversion preparation steps. The results are consolidated in an interactive dashboard for internal or for SAP communication.”

Here are the areas that an SAP S/4HANA Readiness Check evaluates:

  • Functional changes
  • System statistics
  • System requirements
  • Custom code requirements
  • Business process analytics
  • Recommended SAP Fiori apps

You can perform this check via your Solution Manager.

Question 6: How has SAP changed Business Partner?

In SAP S/4HANA, Business Partner provides a single point of entry where you can manage all of your suppliers, partner, and customer data. This feature is one of the main simplifications introduced with S/4HANA.

Since Business Partner touches your finance and HR data, you should start its S/4HANA conversion well in advance. Getting a head start helps you reduce downtime during your migration. It also allows you to speed employee adoption of this new feature.

Question 7: Have we cleansed our data?

Reducing your data volume before moving to S/4HANA will help your migration flow smoothly with minimal downtime. When you delete or archive data in advance, you can also get away with a smaller HANA database.

However, many enterprises fail to cleanse their data before making the move. They usually wait until they have a large database.

But you can’t put this off until the eleventh hour, as it will impact downtime during your conversion. You can archive data if you want to reduce application data volume while keeping information available to users.

Question 8: What is the best time of the year to migrate to S/4HANA?

S/4HANA includes changes that simplify the Finance application. Although these changes will make your enterprise more efficient, they will impact your processes and require time to adjust.

Plan your migration early so that you can learn how S/4HANA will impact your Finance and Accounting modules. Then, schedule your conversion during a time that won’t impact critical finance processes such as month- or year-end closing.

Question 9: How do users interact with our SAP ERP system?

One of the biggest benefits of moving to S/4HANA is an improved user experience via SAP Fiori. For example, S/4HANA makes it easy for users to search for items such as customer reference numbers and names.

While searching, users will automatically see actions that they can perform on each object – saving them time and helping them deliver information faster.

But although SAP Fiori simplifies the user experience, it may take some getting used to. To minimize disruption, you should deploy any needed adjustments to user equipment well before your migration.

You may need to bring SAP Fiori developers into the project, as they can customize applications to meet your business needs.

Question 10: Do we need ABAP developers on staff and a dedicated security team for SAP S/4HANA?

ABAP developers must create custom code to bring your existing systems in compliance with S/4HANA. However, you don’t need to invest in new staff or overburden your in-house IT team to have a smooth transition.

Look for a migration partner who has expertise in ABAP development and can ensure that your systems run properly in S/4HANA.

SAP S/4HANA security

Migrating to S/4HANA will change your security. You must address these changes before you move your workloads to the new platform.

If you don’t have a dedicated cybersecurity team – or your current team is busy with other projects – you can work with a partner to ensure that your data is safe when you make the move. Your partner can also provide you with ongoing security checks.

Source: SYNTAX

Thomas Apel Published by Thomas Apel

, a dynamic and self-motivated information technology architect, with a thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to system and network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. I enjoy the technical writing process and answering readers' comments included.