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Preparing for a data migration from SAP ECC to S/4HANA

While SAP ECC will be supported until 2027, companies should now start preparing themselves for a smooth migration from SAP ECC to S/4 HANA.

But how can companies do this and what are the benefits of SAP ECC migration to S/4 HANA?

SAP is a world leader in software for the management of business processes. The company’s software facilitates information flows and data processing across organisations.

Now, S/4 HANA takes enterprise planning software, or ERP, to the next level by harnessing the power of in-memory computing to process vast amounts of data.

There are multiple benefits of S/4 HANA, including speed, multi-tenant SaaS architecture, and integration with cloud-enabled technologies. SAP S/4 HANA can also support advanced technologies, including artificial intelligence and machine learning.

But, just as there are multiple benefits, organisations must overcome several challenges to migrate from SAP ECC to S/4 HANA.

Moore Insight SAP explores some key questions surrounding SAP data migration from ECC to S/4 HANA.


What are the implementation paths for SAP ECC to S/4 HANA conversion?

There are multiple implementation paths for migration from SAP ECC to S/4 HANA. These include Greenfield implementation, Brownfield implementation, and Hybrid implementation.

  • Greenfield implementation

Greenfield implementation to S/4 HANA involves a full re-engineering of a company’s SAP processes and workflows. Key to note with Greenfield implementation is that any SAP ECC customisation will be completely lost. Greenfield implementation means completely re-engineering an organisations SAP ERP. While this may seem daunting, Greenfield implementation offers organisations the opportunity to overhaul their use of SAP and reduce complexities, creating business efficiencies in the future. The downside is that Greenfield implementation of is a significant undertaking, which will take resources and time.

  • Brownfield implementation

Brownfield implementation of SAP ECC migration to S/4HANA provides a ‘softer’ approach than a Greenfield implementation, allowing organisations to rapidly migrate to S/4 HANA while keeping existing customisations. Essentially, Brownfield implementation enables organisation to re-evaluate and edit their existing processes and migrate over to S/4 HANA the ones that are working. A significant advantage of Brownfield implementation is that it is a shorter process than Greenfield implementation and minimises disruption to the organisation.

  • Hybrid Implementation

A Hybrid Implementation offers a selective approach when carrying out SAP data migration from ECC to S/4HANA and is the most widely used. Hybrid implementation enables organisations to cherry-pick the best parts of Brownfield and Greenfield implementations, tailoring it to meet their individual needs. This can help businesses mitigate many of the risks of , while also enabling them to overhaul their use of SAP, while keeping parts of their current system that work. However, a downside of Hybrid implementation is that a third-party is required. 

Pre-work – preparation prior to SAP ECC migration to S/4 HANA

Smooth database migration requires in-depth preparation; you’ll need to consider both the technical and process-orientated parts to determine S/4 HANA migration readiness. Most importantly, you will need to consider how the SAP data migration from ECC to S/4 HANA fits into your organisation’s digital transformation roadmap.
SAP ECC migration to S/4 HANA is complicated because S/4 HANA uses new data models and architecture, which means that some custom code will no longer be compatible. And, while the 2027 deadline may seem a way off, the time needed to assess an organisation’s existing systems and then migrate over to S/4 HANA means that the deadline is perilously close. So, how can organisations prepare for SAP ECC to S/4 HANA conversion? 

  • Initial discovery work

Carrying out initial discovery work can help organisations understand their pathway to S/4 HANA migration. This should include an analysis of existing business process implementations and comparison to S/4 HANA, identifying necessary integration scenarios, and carrying out pre-checks in the source system, including custom code, third-party and industry-specific enhancements, and functions used. 

  • Review existing enterprise structure

As part of an organisation’s preparation before SAP ECC migration to S/4 HANA, review the existing enterprise structure. As part of this process, you will need to determine which elements of your organisation’s existing enterprise structure maps to the available S/4 HANA modules and deployment options. You’ll then need to decide which ones to leave behind. 

  • Assessment of existing systems

A thorough assessment of existing systems must be undertaken to identify the right path to SAP S/4 HANA implementation. This involves reviewing all the required technical and business changes in an organisation’s existing SAP ECC system and identifying whether the new environment supports the current processes.

  • Understanding the key functionality that S/4 HANA can bring

As part of the pre-work for data migration from SAP ECC to S/4 HANA, organisations must fully understand the key functionality that S/4 HANA brings and how this can be used to make improvements in an organisation’s ERP.  The more aware an organisation is of S/4 HANA, the more added value it will generate.
S/4 HANA can optimise efficiencies in every department when implemented correctly and generate added value to an organisation. Key functionalities of S/4 HANA include real-time data insights and faster access, enhanced automation capabilities helping organisations to streamline processes, a more efficient database reducing an organisation’s data footprint, and an all-in-one customisable business solution. Additionally, the powerful and centralised ERP system offers cost savings as S/4 HANA requires less hardware and maintenance work.

  • Support with selecting the right implementation path

Choose the right implementation path; Greenfield implementation, Brownfield implementation, or Hybrid Implementation. Each implementation comes with its own unique benefits and challenges.
Taking time to understand each of these paths and which path is best will enable organisations to plan for a smooth data migration from SAP ECC to S/4 HANA. The earlier you start pre-planning, the better your organisation will be prepared. Remember, organisations need to complete their migration from SAC ECC6 to SAP S/4 HANA by 2027.

How can Moore Insight SAP help with migration from SAP ECC to S/4 HANA?

Moore Insight SAP offers high-quality support and industry-leading expertise for migration from SAP ECC to S/4 HANA. We pride ourselves on our structured methodologies and approach that puts our clients first.

Contact us to learn how we can help with any aspect of your organisation’s Enterprise Resource Planning and digital transformation journey.