Many organizations are currently researching and considering a migration to S/4HANA. What are valid reasons to perhaps wait a while, and what are reasons to switch now? In this article, we will discuss different scenarios and highlight the benefits of initiating a timely migration.

The migration to S/4HANA is usually not just a technical upgrade; it encompasses a complete transformation of the organization. There are also several reasons for certain organizations to wait (a while) before initiating the transformation. For example, when many people at the organization do not understand the need for a migration. Or if the idea of a digital transformation is seen as purely an IT matter, without a valid business case being made.

IT and business need to stand behind the transformation

A good understanding of the organization is a must. By gaining a good picture of all processes across all systems, you as an organization can take the first step towards success. Only with objective knowledge of the status quo can you start to define IT requirements for a system transformation, build a convincing business case for migration, and create a clear roadmap that can support both IT and the business.

Another reason to wait with the migration is a lack of sufficient internal knowledge or external help. If you want to transform your organization, it is important to acquire expertise in good time and work with parties who act as System Integrator and Business Integrator. We can fulfill both roles, thanks to our Powered Enterprise SAP approach and based on more than 20 years of experience implementing SAP ERP transformation projects.

The deadline is approaching

Since SAP ECC will be supported until the end of 2027, and in some cases until 2030, the need to decide is gradually becoming more urgent for some organizations. The latter option gives organizations more time, but they will have to pay more for maintenance. And then there is the simple question of supply and demand. There are roughly tens of thousands of SAP ECC customers worldwide, so multiple go-lives will have to take place every day to avoid huge backlogs. It may seem like 2027 and 2030 are far away, but it is less than eight years away which is quite short.

This deadline, however, should not be a reason to suddenly start a migration. Large investments, such as an S/4HANA project, should not be based on the fear of an approaching deadline. At the same time, if organizations are already considering switching to S/4HANA, it is a good idea to plan and implement this transition as soon as possible.  

Choosing an approach

When migrating from ECC to S/4HANA, SAP organizations must decide on their approach very early on. Should they say goodbye to their systems and replace them (greenfield)? Do they need to transfer the configuration of their old system to the new system (brownfield)? Or should they opt for a hybrid migration approach?

The greenfield implementation seems to be the preferred approach for many SAP customers. However, brownfield and hybrid migrations are expected to increase in popularity in the coming years. This is because organizations that are still watching and waiting will ultimately migrate from SAP ECC to S/4HANA.

At first glance, it seems natural that organizations want to retain their existing investments and latest processes with a brownfield migration. It seems to be the easiest and least disruptive approach. However, a completely new S/4HANA implementation offers an organization the opportunity to clean up existing systems and processes in one go. The end state is a more standardized, connected and modern system that greatly boosts efficiency and flexibility within an organization.

Flexible and future-proof with S/4HANA

Many organizations are facing an important choice. Do we migrate to SAP S/4HANA, and if so, when? From a technical perspective, the end of support for SAP ECC has been postponed to 2027 (and under certain conditions until 2030), but this deadline should not be the main reason for migrating. From a business perspective, there are also opportunities for transformation. And if you do transform, how do you make sure that you, as a company, get the most out of your SAP investments?

In the “Flexible and future-proof with S/4HANA" whitepaper, we discuss this, among other topics, and explain our vision on business transformation during an ERP migration.