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S/4 Hana migration as a tailor-made suit

An S/4 switchover at the push of a button? Not to be had! The change has too many dimensions. Intelligent, customer-specific solutions are needed that create something new, preserve the tried and true, and renew processes and data without restrictions.
Marco Sanna, cbs
February 7, 2019
One Global Corporation
This text has been automatically translated from German to English.

The current S/4 migration offers in the SAP market are woodcut-like, they use the same uniform colors (green, brown, blue, black). That is too short-sighted.

The reality in companies looks different. Individual solutions are in demand. Customized, but not cumbersome, complex and large - that would be clever. Does that exist? We visited a few CIOs and found very different scenarios.

A globally active automotive supplier from Upper Bavaria is planning to migrate to S/4. The ERP system is up to date, the processes harmonized worldwide. A classic case for an upgrade project in the brownfield.

But: Bringing the whole world to S/4 in one weekend? That's too risky for the CIO. Our solution: The existing system is copied and upgraded as a shell copy without master and transaction data. Incompatible business functions and add-ons are archived in advance with the standard software cbs ET for SAP S/4 Hana.

This forms the basis for a large-scale migration program. Over a period of two years, the data will be migrated to the S/4 system in eight waves per region - according to customer requirements with complete history and a maximum system downtime of four hours.

Minimally invasive beats transactional

Hamburg: The management board of a chemical giant decided to switch to S/4 with a completely new template. Uniform accounting with central chart of accounts and controlling area, paired with ledger solution and document split.

Transfer of master and open transaction data with the SAP Migration Cockpit. Cutover efforts in the business and the closing and opening of processes would have a massive impact on the ongoing business.

The solution: With cbs ET, we migrate actively used master data, transaction data from the last two years, and all open processes. The migration window is 20 hours, directly after which the end users continue to work without restriction.

A plant engineering company from the Mainz area has increased the number of its ERP systems to twelve through massive acquisitions, plus eight non-SAP systems. A new ERP system with best-practice processes has been in place for three years. This now serves as the basis.

We start with the S/4 upgrade and migrate the other SAP systems with different source releases (from 3.0B to ECC6) to S/4, taking with us only the data that the business really needs. We also migrate the non-SAP systems - but transactionally using SAP standard techniques.

S/4 migration without technical restrictions

After our little trip to Germany, we have a picture of what solution industrial companies need. The corporate landscape has so many faces, so there is no silver bullet to S/4. An intelligent approach is advisable, simple templates do not help.

Every company wants to create something new ("greenfield") and preserve something tried and tested ("brownfield"). It's not a question of either/or. Large, international SAP user companies in particular need the individual color mix.

The specific customer problem must be taken into account. Technical requirements must be included and mapped. And as far as the hard transformation is concerned, why shouldn't the customer receive the best possible package? CIOs and SAP managers want to migrate, change, optimize and convert processes, structures and data - without technical restrictions.

They want to carry out the go-live either in a big bang or step by step, depending on the situation. Customers need smart, flexible solutions that enable them to implement the S/4 switchover comprehensively, quickly, securely and cost-effectively. CIOs want the tailored suit, but slim fit, please. In short, the migration approach must be one thing above all: Smart!

Marco Sanna, cbs

Marco Sanna is Senior Manager at cbs Corporate Business Solutions and responsible for reorganizations in the finance environment in the Landscape Transformation area.

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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.