Compatible Usage Rights
SAP’s entire S/4 planning can be summed up with the saying two steps forward, one step back. What looked like another release change at the S/4 presentation in New York in 2015 and was presented as an on-prem project later mutated into a hybrid cloud, first cloud and then a cloud-only project. The S/4 conversion is a roadmap full of obstacles, one-way streets, and forks in the road.
In the absence of a clear strategy for the release upgrade from SAP Business Suite 7 to S/4 Hana, the idea of a workaround called Compatibility Scope was born. To run Suite 7 processes in an S/4 environment, SAP customers need compatibility packs.
Surprisingly, Compatibility Scope worked well and was stable, so it was widely used in the SAP community. Now for the big surprise: SAP customers have been informed that the rights to use Compatibility Scope will expire on December 31, 2025, based on a decision by the board of directors. SAP does not currently plan to use programmed dumps or blocks, or to delete code or transactions in the short term. However, SAP strongly recommends that customers review their Compatibility Scope usage well in advance to start their transition in a timely manner and plan accordingly.
Can, must, should and may
Regardless of the version of S/4, customers will no longer be allowed to use Compatibility Scope functionality after 2025. SAP is convinced that customers will honor their existing contractual obligations, writes SAP employee Anja Wilde in her blog.
Of course, there are customers who continue to use certain SAP components that are no longer maintained and are willing to take the risk that they will not receive support from SAP if something goes wrong. "For those customers who are willing to take the risk of not receiving support or maintenance, the question is what does end-of-life mean, because SAP has indicated that end-of-life does not mean that the objects and artifacts covered by the compatibility package will be deleted," asks SAP user Shirley Te.
For Shirley Te, this raises the following questions:
- Does this mean that a flag will suddenly be set in the S/4 version at the end of 2025 so that users will no longer be able to run any of the transactions covered by the compatibility package?
- Does this mean that users can continue to use the compatibility packages, but SAP will be able to audit customers who continue to use the transactions covered by the compatibility packages?
- Will the customer be charged a license or fee for a product that is no longer supported?
- Does this mean that the artifacts may have changed after 2025 and that the transactions using the artifacts from the compatibility packs before 2025 will no longer work?
S/4 beyond cloud computing
The discussion on the topic of compatibility scope and downstream business processes shows that SAP customers are aware of other challenges, despite SAP provoking them with a cloud-only discussion. The near end of compatibility is worrying because it cannot be solved technically. It is an organizational and licensing challenge. Now is the time for the DSAG (German-speaking SAP User Association) to take action and create a foundation for decision-making for the SAP community.