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SAP S/4HANA: How to make the switch successfully

In 2025, SAP Business Suite, on the market since 2004, will take a back seat to SAP S/4HANA in terms of its importance to SAP customers. With the SAP S/4HANA Movement Program, SAP offers its customers support for the change to the intelligent ERP in four key dimensions:
Axel Vetter, SAP
December 16, 2019
SAP S/4HANA: How to make the switch successfully
This text has been automatically translated from German to English.

1.) Determine framework conditions and opportunities

The first step toward an intelligent future is to develop an individual ERP strategy. To do this, companies must take a close look at the current state of the IT landscape, objectives and the associated framework conditions. The reports that you can draw from Solution Manager in relation to the system used today serve as an entry point.

  • The Business Scenario Recommendation (BSR) Report0. illustrates which processes can be improved by using SAP S/4HANA.
  • The SAP Transformation Navigator creates transparency about the existing and possible future application landscape.
  • The SAP Readiness Check0 shows where concrete efforts and risks are to be expected during the technical conversion of an SAP system to S/4HANA.
  • The free of charge SAP S/4HANA Adoption Starter Engagement Service then helps as a service to identify and evaluate the options. The initial stocktaking carried out in this way enables the derivation of relevant options. These differ in how extensively the current system landscape can be simplified - furthermore, how extensively business processes are to be rethought and implemented. IT strategic framework conditions, such as an already existing primacy for cloud-based solutions, also concretize the options.

2) Prioritize strategic options

As soon as it has been determined which rough options for the use of SAP S/4HANA are basically possible, it is therefore necessary to compare them with the corporate strategy. Does it make sense to further develop the existing ERP or can the possibilities of S/4HANA only be fully exploited through a partial new implementation? Only then can the phase of identifying options be completed and narrowed down to a set of a few variants. Here, too, the SAP Adoption Starter Engagement Service creates structure and content for the development of the concept.

3) Weigh up technological options

The third step is to plan the relevant implementation options on the technical side in order to compare the identified benefits with an estimate of the effort required. How extensive might the necessary preparatory work be, for example, for archiving or converting business partner data? Are there subsidiaries or subdivisions that could start with SAP S/4 HANA? How critical is the change for the business unit if "back-to-standard" is the motto? Which cloud usage is preferred? Which SAP partner can provide the best support?

Whether, in the end, a system conversion, a complete new implementation, a software as a service or software as a product scenario is the optimal solution depends largely on how the intelligent ERP solution best aligns with the corporate strategy.

4) Successfully mastering the changeover

The SAP S/4HANA Movement Program also provides companies and certified partners with a comprehensive toolbox for implementation. The SAP Model Company supports the goal of close-to-standard implementation: Thanks to the included, ready-to-use customizations, the scope definition of SAP projects can be shortened by up to 90 percent. Another helpful lever is the Migration Cockpit. It simplifies the transfer of legacy data into the new system for greenfield projects.

But system conversion is also made manageable by tools such as the Software Update Manager. Finally, numerous SAP partners have developed standardized conversion offerings - so-called conversion factories - for this purpose. Similar to Rapid Deployment Solutions, these pave the way for midsize companies in particular to switch to SAP S/4HANA.

1007 Axel Vetter (1)[1]
Head of S/4HANA Customer Advisory SAP in Middle & Eastern Europe

More information:

Are you interested in the SAP S/4HANA Movement Program? On the SAP NOWOn March 19-20 in Berlin, you can take part in a guided tour to find out how your company can benefit from the initiative. The best thing to do is to register directly now.

You don't want to wait that long? Learn more about how your company can benefit from the SAP S/4HANA Adoption Starter Engagement Service in an info session right now. Click here to register.

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Axel Vetter, SAP

Head of S/4HANA Customer Advisory SAP in Middle & Eastern Europe

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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.