SAP plans to retire the SAP ECC systems by the end of 2027 in favor of S/4HANA. Given the present rate of growth in the number of businesses switching to S/4HANA, it is safe to predict that no new extensions will be issued. For many, this is a substantial adjustment, and the transition phase can be difficult. But it is possible to make this process hassle-free and the implementation a success by planning and following the steps carefully. This blog will help you understand how to convert your SAP ERP to S/4HANA, whether you’re deploying it from scratch or bringing data from ECC, by giving step-by-step guidance. So, let us jump in.
Taking a Quick Trip Down the SAP ECC Lane:
Going on a SAP S/4HANA journey may appear risky, making one wonder – why take chances by venturing into the unknown? However, that really is not the case. SAP ECC has been the backbone of many, but the time has come to upgrade. SAP redesigned their ECC solution from the bottom up to the launch SAP S/4HANA, a next-generation ERP system that includes real-time data analytics, a streamlined data schema, and a user interface that is easy to use.
Converting from SAP ECC to SAP S/4HANA is a complex process that includes numerous phases. To make things easier, we have covered the entire path from SAP ECC to SAP S/4HANA. Keep reading.
How Do SAP ECC and SAP S/4HANA Vary From One Another?
|Point of Difference||SAP ECC||SAP S/4HANA|
|Smart Technologies||-||It comprises all the innovative technologies, i.e AI, ML, advanced analytics, and digital assistants with voice recognition.|
|Data Model Type||Complex. And redundant tables leading to blocking and maintenance issues.||Simple & effortless, as it combines smart technologies like analytics, transactions, maintenance, reduced reconciliation, and blocking.|
|Database||Operates over a disk||Leverages SAPs in-memory cloud architecture.|
|UI||SAP GUI (Legacy Graphical User Interface)||SAP Fiori – Easily customizable modern and intuitive UI.|
|Deployment Modes||On-premise||Multiple approach choices like on-premise, cloud, or hybrid setup.|
|Road Map||Road Map||Effective till 2040|
SAP ECC to S/4HANA Conversion: A Guide
I. Getting Started: Pre-requisite Phase
There are various conditions that must be met before beginning a SAP ECC to S/4HANA conversion. Technically, SAP provides a strong transition tool (called SUM) that can migrate your old databases (DB2/MSSQL/Other Providers) database to the SAP HANA database and upgrade your legacy ECC application to the newer S/4HANA code base. However, this one-jump technique is only effective if ALL of the following conditions are met:
- SAP Version: At least SAP ERP ECC 6.0 and not something older
- Single/Dual stack: The ECC stack is ABAP only and not dual ABAP/JAVA stack
- Unicode System: Database and SAP kernel are already Unicode enabled
- Pre-Checks and Pre-Requisites: Before moving to S/4HANA, you need to take care of pre-checks and pre-requisites. This includes locating obsolete and new Tcodes, as well as MM-related tables and other necessary inspections.
- CVI Implementation: Converting a legacy SAP ERP system to a SAP S/4HANA system requires CVI installation. Customer/vendor data must be archived, business operations must be activated, custom enhancements must be integrated, and check reports and CVI adjustments must be implemented.
- SAP S/4HANA Readiness Check: This tool is intended to help customers plan and prepare for the conversion of a SAP ECC system to SAP S/4HANA. It can be used to test many parts of an existing SAP ERP system.
- Simplification Item Catalog: This tool lists all incompatible or disruptive SAP S/4HANA updates. You can use it to identify prospective system changes and plan accordingly.
After you've met these requirements, you can begin the conversion process. Several steps are involved in the conversion process, including an assessment of the current SAP ECC landscape, a preparatory phase, a technical conversion phase, and S/4HANA transformation. You may assure a successful conversion and take advantage of SAP S/4HANA's new features and functions by following the steps provided in this tutorial and taking care of the prerequisites.
II. Assessment of Current SAP ECC Landscape
Before beginning the conversion process, a detailed review of the current SAP ECC landscape and business processes is essential. This assessment will help in identifying any gaps and areas for improvement. The following are the key activities that you need to complete during the assessment phase:
- Identify the Scope of the Project: Identify the systems, modules, and functionalities that will be converted to SAP S/4HANA.
- Conduct a System Analysis: Analyze your present SAP ECC system to determine whether custom code, data volume, and business processes must be updated for SAP S/4HANA.
- Identify the Gaps: Identify and plan for the gaps between your present SAP ECC system and SAP S/4HANA.
- Prepare a Roadmap: Create a roadmap for the conversion process, including a timetable, milestones, and deliverables.
- Review the SAP S/4HANA Licensing Model: The SAP S/4HANA Licensing Model and Conversions document and the SAP S/4HANA On-premise Licensing Overview document, both should be reviewed thoroughly. Then, choose the licensing model that best meets the needs of your organization. Both the traditional named user license and the new digital access license are feasible licensing options.
III. Preparation Phase
The preparation phase involves enabling the current SAP ECC system to carry out the conversion to SAP S/4HANA. The following are the key activities that you need to complete during the preparation phase:
- Remove or Archive Data: Before migrating to S/4HANA, it should be clear that there is a business case to reduce the amount of excess data in your environment, due to the underlying HANA architecture using much more expensive hardware to store all data in memory and persisting data to more expensive storage.
- Project Planning for Brownfield Migration: Design the project for the brownfield migration approach, which entails transferring the existing SAP ECC system to SAP S/4HANA.
- Maintenance Planner: The successor of SAP Solution Manager's Maintenance Optimizer, Maintenance Planner is the key tool for planning updates, upgrades, and new installations in your system landscape.
- Simplification Item Checks: It performs relevancy and consistency checks based on the content in the Simplification Item Catalog. It is also integrated with SAP Readiness Check, which triggers the Simplification Item Check alongside other checks and displays the results in a single dashboard.
- ABAP Test Cockpit: It is a new ABAP source code analysis and code quality toolset that lets you execute static code checks and unit tests on your ABAP systems. This means that your custom Code Inspector checks and variants can be reused in the ABAP Test Cockpit.
- Custom Code Migration App: This tool assists with analysis in SAP Fiori, the tool is based on remote ABAP Test Cockpit infrastructure and should be used for custom code analysis for SAP S/4HANA in the context of SAP S/4HANA conversion, it uses predefined filters, aggregation and filtering of findings, focus on used custom code, drill down on ATC results, and navigation to affected custom code.
IV. Technical Conversion Phase
The technical conversion phase involves a technical upgrading of systems, as well as the migration of data of your SAP ECC system to S/4HANA. During the technical conversion phase, you must execute the following major activities:
- Upgrade Your SAP ECC System: Use the Software Update Manager (SUM) to upgrade your SAP ECC system to the most recent version.
- Adapt Custom Code: Modify your custom code to ensure compatibility with SAP S/4HANA. You can use the Custom Code Adaptation tool to determine which custom code has to be modified.
- Optimize Data Volume: Ensure that the data volume is compliant with SAP S/4HANA. Furthermore, the Data Volume Management tool can be used to determine which data should be archived or removed.
- Functional Testing: Check that the transferred system is working properly. There are three types of testing processes: functional, role-based, and execution plan.
- Data Migration: In this activity, the project team migrates the SAP data from the old ECC system to the new S/4HANA system.
- Configuration and Setup: In this, the project team configures and sets up the new S/4HANA system to ensure that it meets the functional and technical requirements of the project.
V. And Finally, S/4HANA Transformation:
And finally, here you are at the final technical set of tasks that will carry out the actual conversion from old to new. The S/4HANA transformation phase involves post-migration activities such as data cleansing and optimization. The following are the key activities that you need to complete during the S/4HANA transformation phase:
- Data Cleansing and Optimization: Cleanse and optimize data to ensure that it is compatible with SAP S/4HANA.
- Leveraging S/4HANA Capabilities for Business Transformation: Leverage new features and functionalities of SAP S/4HANA to transform your business processes.
- S/4HANA Managed Services and SAP Managed Services: To guarantee that your system is working well and to address any issues that may develop, use SAP Managed Services or S/4HANA Managed Services.
Now that the SAP ECC conversion process is completed, a question arises; whether to remain on the same data center or migrate to the cloud.
Making the Move to Cloud:
Many firms are considering, shifting to the cloud and businesses have two alternatives for moving to the cloud following the SAP ECC to S/4HANA conversion:
- Convert and then migrate: In this approach, the businesses convert their SAP ECC system to SAP S/4HANA before migrating to the cloud. This is known as the "lift and shift" strategy, in which the existing system is transferred to the cloud with minimal system changes.
- Migrate and then convert: In this approach, the company migrates its SAP ECC system to the cloud first, followed by a conversion to SAP S/4HANA. Also known as the "greenfield" strategy, here the business starts with a new SAP S/4HANA system and migrates data from the old system to the new.
Both approaches have their own pros and cons, and the choice completely depends on the specific goals and requirements of the organization.
Numerous businesses are also utilizing SAP Hosting services to make the move to cloud, as it offers advantages such as security, adaptability, enhanced performance, and predictable costs. Businesses can select the best SAP Hosting Services for their requirements from a variety of deployment methods and managed services. A trusted and experienced SAP hosting services partner is all you need if you wish to move your existing SAP systems to Cloud, without causing any disruptions to your business.
Go on SAP ECC to S/4HANA Conversion and Cloud Journey with Cloud4C
The transition from SAP ECC to SAP S/4HANA is more than just a technical update; it is a strategic shift that can reshape your organization's destiny. As businesses embark on this journey, one thing to keep in mind is that the process needs meticulous planning and execution. Each stage of the process, from initial assessment and planning through technical conversion and post-migration optimization, is critical. However, the process does not end there. After the conversion, businesses may also consider moving to the cloud. Offering a holistic set of services is Cloud4C.
Cloud4C is a trusted and certified SAP partner that offers a range of services to help businesses with their SAP ECC to S/4HANA conversions and move to the cloud. Cloud4C's competence in SAP services is unmatched, with over 6000 SIDs of diverse customers from all business verticals, 550+ migration and managed services projects, 475+ SAP installs, 2000+ TB managed HANA, and 1000+ SAP production. We understand the business objectives of our clients and provide enterprise-specific solutions to become a future-ready intelligent enterprises.
To assist organizations in hastening their transition to SAP S/4HANA, our Switch2Cloud services provide seamless migration and management. The procedures required to complete the transformation, are provided by our SAP S/4HANA Transformation Factory service. While providing a safe and dependable infrastructure for hosting SAP systems, is taken care of by our SAP Hosting Services. All of this while guaranteeing minimum disruption to business processes, reducing the risk of data loss or corruption, and taking advantage of the benefits of cloud.
We recommend considering Cloud4C's SAP Managed Services for a successful and hassle-free conversion process. Contact us to learn more.