Dos and Donts of Migrating from SAP ECC to SAP S/4HANA

24 June, 2020


Migration is heading to SAP S/4 HANA. The question is no longer if there is a need to move from SAP ECC, but rather when. You should already know that this is not just an upgrade but a suite transformation. There are several options when it comes to getting to the SAP S/4HANA. And the transition scenarios are dependent on several factors. 

These scenarios are reliant on deployment models such as; HEC (IaaS), Cloud (SaaS), or S/4HANA Finance (maturity level). This tells you that your path to digital migration will not be a straight line, but rather a labyrinth. To ensure a smooth transition to SAP S/4HANA, several elements need to be put in place to ensure a successful migration. 

Why? You don't want to be trapped in too many corridors while affecting how your system functions. This factor could be affecting your custom coding too. Likewise, due to the many requirements you are required to have to move over, if not careful, the system many digest several changes at a go, which is not ideal. 

So which are the dos and don'ts of migrating from SAP ECC to SAP S/4HANA while avoiding all the pitfalls?

1. Check the Non-SAP Third Party Systems

This component is one of the most common. Always ensure that all the non-SAP systems are certified by SAP S/4HANAYou don't want to encounter challenges in the middle of migration only to realize it has to do with third-party networks. 

The reason is the compatibility of non-SAP systems is not a given when migrating. So, counter check before beginning on the journey

2. Consider Customers and Vendors Migrate Automatically

Many miss out on this innovative approach by SAP S/4HANA to manage vendors and customer's master data. Therefore, it requires the creation of these entities as business partners. Likewise, the business partner assumes a generic role. 

This object can then be assigned "roles" with precise functions. Consequently, if you have not reviewed your migration process to go with this innovative approach, you will encounter some challenges. 

3. Ignoring your Old ABAP Code

Since custom code analysis occurs during the conversion process, with some work, you are assured that your programs will run smoothly. Although most tables may be obsolete at this stage, it's time to take advantage of the HANA database to improve your programs. Now, do you see how crucial your old ABAP code is? 

4. Use of old transactions and banning Fiori Apps

This aspect is also prevalent in the process of SAP S/4HANA migration. I know you might be too attached to your transactions since you may have been using them for decades. Depending on your module, these could be MIRO, VA01, or F-02.

Instead of sticking to your old ways, check what SAP Fiori offers in terms of process simplification and user experience. It's crucial to convert users to innovative ways of working. And although this may take time, change management is a significant part of your migration and SAP project. 

What about the Approaches to SAP S/4HANA Migration?

When migrating to SAP S/4HANA, you can use either the Greenfield or Brownfield approach. If you are implementing a migration of your S/4HANA from the start, a Greenfield approach is recommended. Alternatively, if you are moving your ECC with all your customizations, the Brownfield approach would be ideal. 

The dos and don’ts of both approaches:

The Greenfield approach can be a significant undertaking and, as a result, present some change management challenges. On the other hand, if you are looking to re-engineer your systems completely, this is the way to go.

The Brownfield approach, however, helps you build on your SAP systems. This aspect means that if you want to avoid disrupting your SAP environment, it’s recommended to adopt this tactic. 

Approaches Summary

If your system is already streamlined and does not need much modification, the Brownfield method is best. Conversely, if your system has lots of technical issues, the Greenfield approach would be the more feasible preference for you. 

Bottom Line

SAP ECC to SAP S/4HANA migration is a process that needs careful planning. There are many technical elements that require a meticulous approach. Always follow the dos and don'ts guidelines to ensure you have a smooth migration


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