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sap s/4hana adoptionThe clock is ticking for an SAP S/4HANA® migration. SAP will end support for traditional SAP systems based on SAP ECC in 2025. If you want to continue to run your business on SAP, that means you will have to migrate to SAP S/4HANA by then or risk serious trouble for your mission-critical software. Here’s the thing, though. Adopting an entirely new software suite can take a while to complete, and there is sure to be a run on qualified people to help you get the job done. Waiting too long could bring you a lot of aggravation. Delaying your SAP S/4HANA adoption could even put you at risk for having no supported ERP when SAP pulls the plug on ECC in 2025.

SAP S/4HANA – A Brief Overview

SAP S/4HANA is SAP’s latest generation of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software for large enterprises. It succeeds SAP R/3 and SAP ECC. As its name suggests, S/4HANA is built and optimized for SAP HANA’s in-memory database. It offers all of the standard SAP ERP functions, with compatibility for the SAP Fiori UX. These include workflows like procure-to-pay, order-to-cash, request-to-service and so forth. Unlike earlier versions of SAP software, S/4HANA will only run on the SAP HANA database. It is considered SAP’s biggest product update in more than 20 years.

Are You Willing to Take A Chance With ECC’s End of Support?

The new functionality of S/4HANA, coupled with the fast-approaching end of support for its predecessor, drives pronounced interest in adopting the new toolset. As the SAPinsider report, “SAP S/4HANA State of the Market 2019” says, opportunities for improving business operations and end of support are “driving an acceleration of customer activity when it comes to the evaluation and implementation of this next-generation release.”

Acceleration may not be quite the right word to describe what’s going on, however. Of the 400 representative enterprises surveyed in 2019, only 7% are actively using S/4HANA. Another 12% are currently implementing. Thus, less than one fifth of companies have either done, or are doing, a migration now. Allowing for 4% that have no plans solidified, nearly 80% of companies surveyed are either early in the process or have not even begun. 11% are at the pilot stage, while 41% are currently evaluating S/4HANA. A full 25% have no plans right now but are considering migrating in 12-24 months.

For those choosing to delay the move, there are many consequences of ignoring end-of-life timelines to consider when you still plan to use the software, including:

  • Software Vulnerabilities – A firewall and anti-virus aren’t enough to protect against unpatchable vulnerabilities. Hackers are quick to exploit these, and certainly have plenty of time to figure out how with 2025 5+ years away.
  • Incompatibility – New applications are optimized for the most recent database, so using “legacy” software means you can’t upgrade to the latest and greatest features and functionality.
  • Compliance Issues – Entrusting your critical information to a decade-old database or an unsecure application is downright risky. Aside from security lapses, it could result in hefty fines, company shutdowns or (in extreme situations) jail time.
  • Skyrocketing Operating Costs – The costs of maintaining and fixing any legacy software can be steep. Especially if you don’t already have a dedicated Basis team or partner to rely on.
  • Poor Reliability and Performance – With S/4HANA hailed as the future of SAP, it follows that all the strategic investments from SAP will be directed accordingly. This leaves ECC functionality to degrade further every day. Consider this: That downtime alone could be more costly than an overdue upgrade.

The bottom line? The potential risks typically outweigh the rewards – even if your budget is ridiculously tight. Eventually, running legacy SAP software will prohibit organizations from being a truly digital company.

Consequences for the 80% Who Have Yet to Migrate

What will the next few years look like for the 80% of companies that have not yet migrated to S/4HANA? The crowded push for migration is likely to create a lot of demand for talented people who know how to do the work. This creates a potential issue. Implementing SAP S/4HANA is not like typical SAP ECC upgrades. It requires a deep understanding of the business and technical impacts of the solution as well as modern skill sets and business strategies.

In other words, not just any old SAP consultant or staffer can do it. There is widespread concern in the industry that there are simply not enough qualified SAP S/4HANA adoption resources available. There will be a talent shortage. This may affect the quality and speed, if not the entire viability of migration projects.

Lay The Groundwork For Your SAP S/4HANA Adoption

Symmetry is tackling the SAP S/4HANA adoption challenge to help you make the move to S/4HANA. We’ve created a free S/4HANA Technical Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) Assessment modeling tool. This provides a detailed analysis of your SAP environment, based on input about your organization, budget and current IT architecture.

The TCO Assessment Report provides deep insight into your SAP landscape health and future needs. The goal is to determine what steps you need to take as you prepare for an S/4HANA adoption, including the total costs of hosting on-premise versus with a partner (private or public), the overall technical architecture, licensing recommendations and potential consolidation opportunities.

The goal is to help keep your migration risks to a minimum while making the most of your investment in SAP.

Avoiding a Risky Delay Of Your S/4HANA Migration

Now is a good time to think about moving forward with a firm plan for your SAP S/4HANA adoption. Delays may push you into an untenable position, where it’s difficult to find the right people or external consultants to get the job done. We can help. We have the technical expertise and experience to make the process as business-friendly as possible. If you’re ready to learn how we can help you figure out your path to S/4HANA, let’s talk.

Kate Barr, Senior Marketing Manager

Kate Barr is the Senior Marketing Manager at Symmetry with 10+ years of experience driving corporate marketing and internal communications across diverse organizations in the technology industry. She is responsible for leading creative, multimedia and communications teams to conceptualize and implement marketing strategies while building and reinforcing Symmetry's brand image.