There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to the SAP Business Suite on HANA vs. S/4HANA migration dilemma. There are tradeoffs involved, and the right SAP HANA migration path for one company will be a poor choice for another. Businesses need to work with expert technical and functional partners to consider their needs, investments, company culture and other factors to plan and execute the most strategic migration for them.
SAP HANA Migration: Suite vs. S/4HANA
HANA is the database backend that runs SAP’s business suite software. Before HANA, SAP didn’t own and develop their own database platform — customers would have to choose a database like Oracle or Microsoft SQL Server, to run SAP applications. With the introduction of HANA, SAP set out to move clients to a single-vendor environment. The goal is to rewrite SAP ECC from the ground up in a way that’s optimized for HANA.
SAP’s latest ERP application version is called SAP S/4HANA, and it’s where every SAP HANA migration leads, but there are multiple paths. Customers can start with SAP Suite on HANA (original ECC running on HANA) and then move to S/4HANA later. This makes the initial SAP HANA migration simpler, but requires a second phase to move to S/4HANA later on. Alternately, customers can move straight to SAP S/4HANA, increasing the complexity of the first phase, but forgoing the need to take on a second phase.
SAP HANA Migration Phases
Both SAP HANA migration paths start the same: by ensuring that you meet the technical pre-requisites and migrating your application to the HANA database. Part of this process involves evaluating your system’s Unicode status, application version, and current Operating System and Database platform versions.
If you’re undergoing an SAP S/4HANA migration, you’ll also have to undergo a system conversion. You’ll need to evaluate custom code for compatability, and may need to make significant changes to your business processes to harness S/4HANA’s simplified data model. The complexity and the order of tasks can vary, based on the company’s SAP HANA migration path, landscape, needs and the use of tools like SAP DMO.
Choosing Your SAP HANA Migration Path
You’ll need to consider a variety of factors to choose the most effective SAP HANA migration path. Your company may want to harness the added S/4HANA modules for finance, logistics, HR and other industries, which provide additional industry-specific functionality.
You also need to think about budget and existing investments — it may make sense to put off S/4HANA to get more use out of a current license, for example. Your company’s culture and appetite for change are also crucial considerations. If it’s very hard to sell a project to your board, you may be better off with an SAP HANA migration straight to S/4HANA rather than a multi-phase migration process.
Symmetry Can Help Choose the Right SAP HANA Migration
Symmetry offers unparalleled experience in SAP upgrades, implementations and migrations. As one of the first companies supporting HANA in production scenarios, we have a deep understanding of the factors that go into planning an optimal SAP HANA migration path. We’ll help you weigh investments, culture and other factors, and come up with a plan that supports both your short-term and long-term goals.
We also offer SAP hosting, and comprehensive managed services in Basis, SAP and cyber security and GRC. This allows us to cut costs and disruption associated with transitioning to SAP HANA by starting with a thorough knowledge of your HANA landscape from day one. Should you wish to keep operations in-house, we can help by training your team, and offering support when workers are sick or on vacation, or when they depart the organization.
Contact us to learn how we can help you take the right SAP HANA migration path.