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He Who Waits Must Not Rest

Thorough preparation is everything when it comes to S/4 Hana migrations. Many companies are hesitant to switch to S/4 and Hana, waiting for the perfect moment to migrate - which will never truly come.
Peter Langner, Adventas
June 6, 2019
Cloud Computing
This text has been automatically translated from German to English.

The migration to S/4 Hana is not just a (hopefully) simple switch between two solutions. With S/4 and cloud applications, companies open up new possibilities of flexibly, quickly, and independently leveraging data and resources.

All of this is essential if you want to survive in the digital age. However, the digital fruits can only be reaped if you have also positioned yourself as a digital company. This requires the willingness to accept complexity, unpredictability and incompleteness.

Switching to S/4 or cloud applications is not a one-time event, or the result of a month’s work. It is a process involving a lot of effort from everyone in the company. The good news: this process is a renewal, and it prepares companies for challenging tasks in the future. Why wait, then?

“Cloud First” is SAP CEO Bill McDermott’s catchphrase. Naturally, he wants all of his products to move to the cloud. Many customers that are happy with how their systems work on-prem are suddenly supposed to switch. And that without any guarantee that the systems will work as well in the cloud as they did on-prem.

The announcement of SAP’s restructuring program has made people wary and suspicious. In the past couple of weeks, thousands of experienced specialists had to leave the software company. Bill McDermott promises that a thousand others will replace them to help him realize his cloud vision, to build a new, better SAP realm.

Shareholders are happy that SAP is looking towards the future and preparing for it. Customers, however, are worried that this announcement means that SAP is not yet ready for cloud computing and its consequences.

Bill McDermott’s vision is clear. However, it is just that—a vision without a strict timeframe or a fixed date. That’s why many IT managers have a hard time to define goals for S/4 and cloud migrations, or to set a deadline. SAP itself isn’t really helping, either, with all of the confusion surrounding its HR decisions in the past couple of months.

Especially worrying is that Robert Enslin left the company earlier this year. He’s not only the third SAP top manager to abandon ship, but also the one who was responsible for SAP’s cloud business. Customers can therefore be forgiven for being suspicious of SAP’s vision.

Customers’ fear and hesitation are understandable. The migration is tedious and complex. It challenges a lot of traditional assumptions. Many companies invested a lot in building up their Hana environment, and many employees have perfected their knowledge of on-prem systems – should that all be for nothing?

Many companies are also shocked to discover that the cloud migration effort is unlike any they had known before. Still, waiting and hesitating would be disastrous. Customers, suppliers, and partners already require companies to process massive data volumes in real time.

This means that companies have to question everything what they thought they knew about their ERP landscapes. They then often see that many systems and processes have grown over time.

Their number can be reduced with good planning and a reliable overview. This alone gives the company more flexibility and freedom.

Their number can and should be reduced through thorough planning and reliable overviews. Already, companies will feel more flexible, lean, and agile. Better computing performance, additional cost savings because of less servers, and a consistent user experience also come with the migration – making it worth the effort after all.

Maybe the goal is not even as important as the journey itself. Switching to SAP Cloud Platform is not what makes a company truly agile and intelligent. It’s the process that came before, with all its efforts and costs, that gives companies an opportunity to learn and grow.

Customers are hoping for some guidance on cloud and Hana at Sapphire 2019 in Orlando, Florida. They are hoping that somehow, one of SAP’s announcements will show them the way, will show them a clear path towards Hana and cloud computing. However, costumers hoping for SAP to make hard decisions for them are hoping in vain. What they truly need is courage and a desire to change.

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Peter Langner, Adventas

Peter Langner is the founder of Adventas Consulting and works as an SAP-certified consultant and trainer. He is spokesman for the DSAG working group SAP Global Trade Management (GTM).

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Working on the SAP basis is crucial for successful S/4 conversion. 

This gives the Competence Center strategic importance for existing SAP customers. Regardless of the S/4 Hana operating model, topics such as Automation, Monitoring, Security, Application Lifecycle Management and Data Management the basis for S/4 operations.

For the second time, E3 magazine is organizing a summit for the SAP community in Salzburg to provide comprehensive information on all aspects of S/4 Hana groundwork. All information about the event can be found here:

SAP Competence Center Summit 2024


Event Room, FourSide Hotel Salzburg,
At the exhibition center 2,
A-5020 Salzburg

Event date

June 5 and 6, 2024

Regular ticket:

€ 590 excl. VAT


Event Room, Hotel Hilton Heidelberg,
Kurfürstenanlage 1,
69115 Heidelberg

Event date

28 and 29 February 2024


Regular ticket
EUR 590 excl. VAT
The organizer is the E3 magazine of the publishing house AG. The presentations will be accompanied by an exhibition of selected SAP partners. The ticket price includes the attendance of all lectures of the Steampunk and BTP Summit 2024, the visit of the exhibition area, the participation in the evening event as well as the catering during the official program. The lecture program and the list of exhibitors and sponsors (SAP partners) will be published on this website in due time.