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Briefly, what is SAP ECC?

SAP ECCECC is SAP’s previous generation of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. It’s a modular system, with components that span a range of business processes like HR, finance, logistics, CRM and so forth. It links them into a single system that can be customized to meet your specific business requirements. ECC also runs on your choice of databases, e.g. Oracle, IBM DB2 and Microsoft SQL Server, amongst others. Freedom of choice and the ability to customize the application can be both good and bad, especially when change is needed – and simplification and standardization are desired.

SAP ECC VS. S/4HANA – S/4HANA is the next generation business suite from SAP and will be taking the place of ECC as its flagship ERP product. However, for current end users of SAP ECC, S/4HANA is not a standard upgrade. The S/4HANA suite is a completely new and different product by SAP that takes advantage of SAP HANA, the powerful in-memory computing database, and innovative new user interface paradigms utilizing FIORI.

What will happen to SAP ECC?

SAP announced in 2014 that it would end mainstream support for ECC in 2025. Specifically, this means that SAP will no longer issue updates and security patches or provide support resources for the product. It will still be possible to run ECC. Extended support will be available after the end of 2025, but it will involve an additional cost.

Some SAP partners are preparing service offerings to provide some kind of support for ECC after 2025, but it’s unclear if these programs will truly replace what SAP now does for the product. According to some industry discussion groups, SAP has indicated it might extend support for ECC6 beyond 2025. This sort of thing has happened before. There’s an outcry from customers, so the vendor extends the support. The end reality is still the same, though. Support will definitely end for ECC at some point in the future. It will not live forever.

What will ECC end of life mean to you?

Making the move to SAP HANA or S/4HANA requires revamping infrastructure and installing HANA as a database. It means using Linux, the only operating system that runs HANA. This can be a challenging proposition for organizations that do not possess the required skills and experience. There will also be the need to consider conducting proof of concepts, re-evaluating design processes, reviewing business rules, testing and training plans, and so forth. You’ll also have to decide whether you want to host the system on-premises or in a third party hosted cloud.

The migration to S/4HANA

While migrating from SAP ECC to S/4HANA may present some challenges, it’s a worthwhile and necessary undertaking. Your first step will likely be to move your existing ECC deployment onto the HANA database, this is known as Suite on HANA (SoH). This will provide substantial performance benefits over ECC on a traditional database technology. HANA is fast. It keeps all data in memory, eliminating major performance constraints as it uses an innovative, column-based structure that combines OLAP and OLTP into a single database.

Then, it will be time to do the S/4HANA implementation. When you work with us, we typically upgrade your SAP systems, clean your data and perform other needed changes to your landscape so you can be well-prepared for your move to S/4HANA. When you get to S/4HANA, you can expand the limits of what SAP does for your business. Benefits include improved performance, real time visibility and expanded business applications. S/4HANA applications can provide your organization simplified business processes and industry-specific functionality, tailored to your company’s needs.

SAP HANA and S/4HANA offer a host of improvements over ECC. Your business will benefit. Now is the time to start thinking seriously about what you will do before 2025 rolls around. It’s probably wise to start the process sooner rather than later, though. There will surely be excessive demand for upgrade and transformation services as the deadline draws near.

Curtis Gaska - Solution Architect

Curtis Gaska is a solution architect on Symmetry's expert SA team, delivering complete SAP® technical solutions from upgrades to complex landscape implementations. Curtis pairs his sound SAP technical expertise with sales skills to knowledgably advise clients, and prospective clients of Symmetry’s services and product offerings throughout each stage of the sales cycle.

Curtis has a unique ability to deliver technical knowledge to create customs solutions per the client requirements, by not only taking the technical specifications into consideration but also the business drivers particular to that organization in turn creating an optimal SAP environment. This skilled approached includes scoping, planning, and execution of various projects including Migrations/Upgrades/Installs, Hosting and ongoing Managed Services. He also stays abreast of the latest technologies such as road mapping solutions for client’s to leverage SAP HANA® in their current environment to then be hosted in Symmetry’s state-of- the -art Datacenter.