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The Perfect Course

SAP ERP projects remain a complex undertaking. The introduction of S/4 is no exception. Ergo, it is crucial to deal intensively with the "how?" of a transformation in addition to the "what?" in a preliminary study.
Markus Fischer, Abat
April 20, 2023
This text has been automatically translated from German to English.

SAP S/4 Hana Conversion as a Transformation Journey

A recent study by ISG confirms once again: S/4 migrations are generally making slow progress. According to the analysts at the market research and consulting firm, there is a great deal of uncertainty among German companies about the best way to proceed. At the same time, the study also explicitly points out the problem of limited available human resources. Initial considerations in companies quickly lose momentum in view of the complexity of the task. Disillusionment and, in some cases, disorientation dominate the scene.

Transformation Journey

As with any demanding task, the same applies here: The more precisely the "transformation journey" is prepared, the faster the intended goal will be achieved. Even a small, unspectacular example illustrates the considerable leverage forces that the interaction of tool and content can develop into transformation know-how. The Abat Transformation Compass only needs simple answers about strategic alignment, starting position, target architecture, process design and SAP standard affinity to provide an initial orientation for getting started. Based on transformation best practices, the free online tool automatically identifies the relevant building blocks that obviously require the most attention in an S/4 Hana project.

The building blocks listed in the compass are part of the preliminary study. This has emerged from the accompanied SAP projects as a planning best practice of a roadmap. Here, companies define the stages of their individual course: from the creation of a roadmap - the "How?" - to process and system analysis - the "What?" - to the evaluation and validation of options - the "In what way?".

Two aspects make the approach special: First, the preliminary study complements the Discover phase of the Activate project management and implementation method recommended by SAP as a kind of preliminary project. To this end, specific tasks from the Prepare and Explore phases are brought forward. And secondly, the work of the migration and transformation tools published by SAP is thoughtfully refined with content. Both are subordinated to the concern of making the content of the project more "tangible", controlling the project complexity and - perhaps most importantly - accelerating the project as a whole.

Example of an activity brought forward: The fit-to-standard analysis checks the fit, i.e., the accuracy of fit of the desired customer processes to the S/4 standard processes shown in the system demo. SAP usually assigns this task to the Explore phase. If the fit-to-standard analysis is handled directly in the context of the strategic (target) process specifications and scoping - the identification of the best-practice processes relevant for the prototype - a process master list can be drawn up in an iterative procedure. 

S/4 Readiness

Example Content: With the S/4 Readiness Check, SAP provides a comprehensive tool environment whose components check the existing SAP process and system landscape for compatibility with the new ERP product. The SAP tool is aimed at system conversion, i.e., one of several conversion scenarios.

The individual enhancements are also checked. The result of the test and analysis run is a list of all functional changes (so-called simplification items), including business functions that are no longer supported and other technically related changes. The Abat Conversion Accelerator as an upstream content-supported methodology can be used as part of a preliminary study. In this process, a possible conversion of the existing customer system is investigated in a brownfield approach.

Transformation-related issues can be quantified very precisely, alternative approaches can be compared, and a well-founded roadmap can be developed to complete the favored conversion on time and on budget, if necessary. Put simply, the SAP transformation tools, which primarily address the "what to do" issue, can be supplemented by the essential aspects of "how" and "by what means" with the transformation know-how woven into the Abat Accelerator.

Such an approach pays off factually, tactically and, last but not least, strategically. In fact, the discovery phase, which is extended to include a preliminary study and refined with content, provides a perfect itinerary for initializing the transformation project on an individual basis. Companies receive precise guidance for their individual course towards SAP S/4 Hana. With the transformation know-how bundled in the Abat methodology, companies find the right tactical answer to implement their S/4 Hana project on budget in the shortest possible time despite limited available personnel resources. Strategically, they stay on course for an application landscape around a clean core that gives them all the freedom they need to integrate or realize innovative business process services - regardless of whether these are available as on-prem or via a cloud.

Markus Fischer, Abat

Markus Fischer is SAP Solutions Architect S/4 Hana and Project Manager at Abat

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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.