As the end of support for SAP ECC looms, the option of migrating to SAP…
SAP S/4HANA version 1909 GA was just announced, but 1809 is ready for you, if you’re ready. You can adopt it regardless of what you’re currently doing with SAP ERP. If you’re running ECC, you can move to S/4HANA 1809. If you’re running S/4HANA 1709, you can also make the move to 1809. It’s not a migration, however. As SAP makes clear, moving to 1809 is a “conversion.” This article offers a high-level conversion guide for SAP S/4HANA 1809 and is based on SAP’s exhaustive document on the process as well as other sources.
What is SAP S/4HANA 1809?
SAP S/4HANA is new ERP from SAP. It runs on the SAP HANA in-memory database platform. SAP S/4HANA 1809 is the fourth major iteration of the software. It comes with a number of new features and improvements over S/4HANA 1709, the previous version. These include Finance with Goods and Invoice Receipt Reconciliation, Accruals Management, procurement enhancements and Manufacturing and Demand-Driven Replenishment. The Sales module now offers natural language capabilities with the SAP CoPilot feature.
Stay On-Prem or Move to the Cloud?
A conversion guide for SAP S/4HANA 1809 begins with a basic decision: where are you going to run it? You have a choice between running it on-premises, SAP’s HANA Enterprise Cloud (HEC), in a private cloud of your own, a private cloud hosted by a third party or in the public cloud, e.g. AWS or Microsoft Azure. The conversion process for each is broadly comparable, though with some subtle differences.
Each option offers its own pros and cons. With the public cloud, for instance, you have a minimum of administrative work to do, but you lose some control. You may also have some performance issues which may or may not make a difference to you, based on your organizational expectations.
SAP ECC to S/4HANA Migration Overview and S/4HANA Conversion Tools
Converting from SAP ECC to S/4HANA 1809 will be a project requiring focus and effort. That said, SAP does provide tooling designed to facilitate the process and reduce errors along the way. The conversion occurs in two basic phases, “Prepare” and “Realize.” Multiple steps involve the use of SAP S/4HANA conversion tools.
The Prepare Phase consists of five steps:
- Planning– get an overall idea of the project steps and preparations that will be necessary for the conversion. This involves using the SAP Readiness Check for SAP S/4HANA.
- System Requirements – become aware of system requirements for 1809 and the impact they will have on your system landscape.
- Maintenance Planner – check your components, add-ons and business functions to make sure they’re compatible with S/4HANA 1809. This step also creates the stack file. The Software Update Manager (SUM), used in a later step, requires this file to function.
- SI Check – checks to identify steps you need to take to be sure your system can technically be converted. It also confirms that your business processes can run directly after the conversion process has been completed. SUM will trigger this step, so it’s mandatory.
- Custom Code Migration – check your custom code against a list of S/4HANA simplifications that have been introduced.
The Realize Phase contains two steps:
- Run SUM – SUM handles database migration as well as data conversion and the software update itself. It also handles the adaptation of custom code in the conversion process.
- Cross-application follow-on activities – There are many of these, some of which are manual, some of which are automatic and some of which are optional. The general cross-application follow on activities include tasks like checking for how authorizations converted as well as the conversion of SAP Fiori UX enablement. Application-specific follow-on activities, another sub-step in the process, refers to checking how functionality has converted in specific applications like supply chain management, Retail, SAP Cash Management and so forth.
S/4HANA Upgrade from 1709 to 1809
The conversion process to upgrade from S/4HANA 1709 to 1809 is analogous to the process required for ECC to 1809. What’s worth noting here is that although the ECC migration is deeper in scope, the 1709-1809 conversion must undergo the same set of steps. There are no shortcuts, even though it’s theoretically a smaller move between versions of an application. You still have to run the full Prepare and Realize Phases.
This is the case because custom coding and application-specific functions must transfer smoothly, among many other reasons. If you’ve spent any time working with SAP systems, you will know that seemingly minor issues matter a great deal in significant upgrades like this. For instance, you must be running a certain minimum support package if you are working with specific release of SAP transport-based correction instruction (TCI). SAP provides dedicated notes for many of these details.
Conversions from ECC or S/4HANA 1709 to 1809 or all the way to 1909 may seem daunting. One way to make the process less burdensome is to take an incremental approach. It’s not necessary to migrate every element of the system all at once. For example, you can retain the class SAP GUI rather than implementing SAP Fiori at the outset. This may save you some time and stress.
You can also work with an experienced consultant. We have helped many companies conduct the conversion to S/4HANA 1809. We’ve been through it enough times to understand the nuances that can affect the conversion experience.
If you want to learn more about our S/4HANA conversion services, let’s talk.