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Migration to SAP S/4 Hana Can Be Successful

At the end of the mainstream maintenance of SAP Business Suite 7 in 2027, there is no way around the S/4 conversion. Trovarit recommends switching to S/4 with the right partner.
E3 Magazine
January 18, 2024
This text has been automatically translated from German to English.

In management circles, the topic of ERP projects does not always have a positive connotation. Studies show that ERP implementation projects usually cost more than planned, take longer and do not achieve the expected results in the end. The same applies to major release changes. The motto is therefore often: Never change a running system, especially in medium-sized manufacturing companies. However, when the mainstream maintenance of SAP Business Suite 7 (ECC) expires in 2027 as announced, there will be no way for SAP customers to avoid migrating to S/4 Hana.

In 2015, SAP announced the product launch of S/4, the successor to Business Suite 7, a solution that enables existing customers to drive digital transformation, initially on-prem and later in the cloud. The "S" in the name stands for "Simple" and the "4" for the fourth product generation. According to SAP, more than 30 customers were live with S/4 just eight months after the official product launch and more than 417 active projects were communicated.

Although SAP launched a series of campaigns in the following years to promote a timely migration to S/4, those responsible in many user companies did not initially decide to make the switch, or rather saw it in the distant future. We can only speculate about the reasons for these decisions. The cost-benefit aspect certainly played a significant role in the considerations. ERP implementation projects usually cost more than planned, take longer and do not achieve the expected results in the end. The strategy of initially deciding against a migration in the first hour is also perfectly understandable for objective reasons. Another relevant aspect in deciding against an early S/4 migration was certainly the lack of availability of implementation consultants with the relevant practical experience. The established system houses and implementation partners only had a few S/4 projects of their own at the time.

What is the current market situation today, almost eight years after SAP's product announcement? Existing SAP customers who have not yet started the transformation project (around 60 percent) have various technical and conceptual options for migration. With regard to the migration approach, a distinction is made between brownfield, greenfield and a middle way, known as selective migration.

The brownfield approach pursues the concept of a gradual conversion and conversion of the existing system towards S/4. The implemented solution remains almost unchanged, but receives a kind of upgrade. Individual customizations are largely retained and existing data is essentially reused. SAP provides solutions such as the Software Update Manager (SUM) or the Database Migration Option (DMO) to provide technical support for the migration.

In the style of "building something on a greenfield site" without taking into account existing or evolved boundary conditions, the greenfield approach corresponds to a fundamentally new implementation of the S/4 solution. The greenfield approach is similar to switching from another ERP product to S/4 Hana. In both cases, a completely new instance of S/4 is set up by analyzing and redesigning current business processes in order to map them as closely as possible to the standard within the new software. The existing master data from the existing SAP or non-SAP solutions is gradually migrated to the new system by means of appropriate adjustments and conversions.

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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.