The Playbook for Moving to SAP S/4HANA

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Key Takeaways

⇨ Savvy SAP users will use the move to SAP S/4HANA as a chance to review and refine their processes.

⇨ Employees in SAP organizations should be their own advocates, requesting the opportunity to make their voices heard.

⇨ SAP practitioners should rely on the knowledge of their professional peers and networking groups to get firsthand accounts of the migration process.

SAP S/4HANA promises to change the way that SAP users work. Users can access its enhanced capabilities and industry best-practices to boost innovation and deliver reduced time-to-value and agility to their organizations.

The 2027 end of maintenance deadline for moving to SAP S/4HANA is rapidly approaching, yet recent SAPinsider research reveals that just 55% of SAP organizations have either moved or are in the process of moving. These organizations may lack the time, skills, or resources to make the move just yet. Others may struggle to determine which deployment method works best for them – deciding between on-premise, public cloud, private cloud, or a hybrid deployment. These organizations must invest the time and finances needed to deploy SAP S/4HANA in the way that benefits them the most.

Preparing for Digital Transformation Success

The essential first step in any SAP S/4HANA deployment is to develop a playbook for the digital transformation. The experts at Serrala offered several key points that business leaders should consider when mapping out their move to SAP S/4HANA:

  • What are our goals? – All too often, organizations begin SAP S/4HANA migrations without a single defined goal beyond beating the end of maintenance deadline. Business leaders should work with a trusted and experienced partner to lay out specific milestones throughout the project and set specific targets such as ROI, down-time, and other capabilities they would like to have once the new ERP is up and running.
  • Who are the stakeholders? – Throughout the digital transformation process, it is vital to have a complete list of the relevant stakeholders. This goes beyond just the IT department, though they are crucial. Companies should have representatives advocating for the needs and concerns of each department. These advocates should be in regular contact with one another, as well as peers and colleagues with similar needs. Users should be proactive in this process, ensuring that they are up-to-date on the process from the beginning, not just waiting for IT to tell them what to do.
  • What do we need to know about SAP S/4HANA? – Before launching a transformation project, companies should understand which version and package of SAP S/4HANA they will implement and get familiar with all of its functionalities. Some functionality may only be available with paid add-on packages that are not included in the standard S/4HANA core. All users should take the time to learn about the new functionalities they will have access to and how these will change their business processes. Organizations should have training sessions to help all users maximize the value of SAP S/4HANA. SAP is using the S/4HANA rollout as a chance to deploy new concepts like “clean core.” This is also an ideal time to learn about the importance of keeping a clean core.

Keeping or Cutting Customization

Once the roadmap is in place, companies should be aware that they will have various other considerations, obstacles, and opportunities that arise during the digital transformation process. One of the key considerations business leaders must make is how to deal with customizations.

Businesses will have developed their own customizations over the years in SAP ECC. Leaders in each department should work with IT to take stock of all non-standard functionality and determine if they should be migrated, cut, or modified for use within SAP S/4HANA. It is likely that the new ERP will make some of these capabilities obsolete. However, even if a functionality is not available in SAP S/4HANA, there is a good chance an SAP partner can fill that gap.

Users can search the SAP Store for an SAP Spotlight Partner who can provide a solution to fit their specific needs. The select few organizations that become SAP Spotlight Partners are specially equipped to add onto or extend SAP solutions. SAP reserves Spotlight status for organizations “providing strong performance and customer support.” Their solutions are validated by SAP to ensure integration and ROI.

The move to SAP S/4HANA provides an ideal opportunity for SAP users to improve their existing processes by infusing Artificial Intelligence and/or automation. Many companies have automated existing processes to save time, reduce errors, and free up workers to add value to their organizations.

What this means for SAPinsiders

  • Digital migration is more than “another IT project.” Savvy SAP users will use the move as a chance to review and refine their processes. Digital migration should rely on a holistic approach to making the company more agile and intelligent.
  • Educate yourself and take initiative. Employees in SAP organizations should be their own advocates, requesting the opportunity to make their voices heard. Being proactive in the migration process allows SAP users to shape their workflows the wat that they want, making their jobs much more efficient.
  • Connect with peers and partners. You may know the adage “If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together.” This fits perfectly with the move to SAP S/4HANA. SAP practitioners should rely on the knowledge of their professional peers and networking groups to get firsthand accounts of the migration process. They should also work with experienced SAP Spotlight Partners like Serrala. These partners have vetted solutions to improve workflows, as well as experience with pointing SAP organizations in the right direction throughout the journey to SAP S/4HANA.

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