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3 Lessons to Maximize S/4HANA Migration ROI

5 minutes read
Published on 08-06-2023
Updated on 23-05-2024

As we approach 2027, the date when SAP will de-support the extremely popular SAP ERP Central Component (ECC), customers are evaluating their future with the next generation release: SAP S/4HANA (S/4HANA). 

The transformation to S/4HANA is a large and complex undertaking, and companies need time to build the necessary business cases and run targeted pilot projects. But as the deadline approaches companies should look at this as more than a new IT platform and consider how S/4HANA can act as the engine of their digital transformation. 

Recent surveys by the Americas SAP User Group and the German SAP User Group (DSAG) shows that the first cohort of companies have moved but that many companies are having difficulty retaining staff to enable this significant digital transformation. Gartner research also shows that while one-third of existing ECC customers have already implemented or are in the process of implementing S/4HANA, there is a much larger cohort, which (>67%), have yet to make the move. (Gartner, 2023)

s4hana migration pie chart

Digital transformation is a top driver for moving to S/4HANA for many organizations and they achieve their goals by: 

  • Increasing finance and accounting efficiency with process automation 
  • Improving reporting and forecasting with advanced analytics 
  • Enabling continuous improvement with enhanced processing using machine learning, artificial intelligence and GenAI technologies.

For companies that are already using SAP ECC, moving to S/4HANA will enable them to complete their digital transformation faster and with less upheaval than if they moved to another platform.

Companies, however, are still skeptical about their ability to achieve their digital transformation goals. At recent ASUG and SAPinsider events, Serrala discussed the most relevant trends regarding S/4HANA, evaluating ways to maximize the return on the investment. Below are three important lessons that we uncovered while talking with our experts and customers.

1. S/4HANA Transformation Favors Finance

Based on current surveys, most companies who have been running SAP systems for several years will use a Brownfield approach to migrate to S/4HANA. Whereas companies with very complex, legacy SAP ECC system structures or companies that are new to the SAP environment will use a Greenfield approach to move to S/4HANA.

In either scenario, companies moving to S/4HANA can benefit from using a data management strategy to reduce the amount of information moving into the new system. In finance, this migration provides finance with an opportunity to modernize and jettison their old, obsolete, or overly complex processes.

Companies that are moving to S/4HANA should focus on two things when moving their finance processes:

  1. Move only high-quality data that will fuel their business to the new platform.
  2. Archive any “business complete” information that needs to be retained to support the business, and then ensure users have seamless access to it from S/4HANA after the move is complete.
greenfield s/4hana integration

2. Don't Wait Until After S/4HANA Migration to Improve Processes

We heard from several customers, like Hilti, Jabil, and Zoetis, don’t need to postpone process improvements until after moving to the new platform. Serrala solutions are fully compatible with S/4HANA and incorporate many S/4HANA-ready capabilities (Fiori UI, advanced analytics, etc.) that can significantly improve a company‘s inbound and outbound payment processing.

By implementing process improvements before the HANA transformation, these customers were able to benefit from end-to-end process automation and faster cash flows before, during and after the transition, ensuring they could stay ahead of their competition.

3. Create a Data Retention Plan Before S/4HANA Migration to Save Time and Money

In his recent session, “Removing Roadblocks from Your Move to S/4HANA”, Rob Jackson emphasized the importance of putting a data retention plan in place early on:

“Companies that have been using SAP systems for several years are likely holding on to large volumes of data and documents that do not meet current data retention requirements."

By putting a data retention plan in place early in the migration planning process, companies can identify the information that needs to be kept for legal, fiscal or regulatory reasons. Any business complete information that needs to be retained can and should be archived. Any data that exceeds data retention requirements must be purged.

corestone data archiving solution

It is important that companies take the opportunity presented by the move to S/4HANA to separate the active information (the fuel) from information that needs to be retained to support the business (the ballast). Purging information that is no longer of value to the business, is also an important step, as this data takes up valuable space in the database and puts the company at risk of not complying with data retention and privacy regulations.

With a data retention plan in place, companies can reduce the size of the SAP database by up to 90%, making the transition to S/4HANA faster and easier to complete at a lower cost.

Want to learn more? 

Download our whitepaper "Fast Path to SAP S/4HANA: 3 Approaches for an Optimal Transition" for an introduction to the most important issues for companies to consider when transitioning to SAP S/4HANA.

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Whitepaper: Fast Path to SAP S/4HANA

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The easiest way to move your financial processes to SAP S/4HANA

Explore the fully SAP S/4HANA embedded solutions from Serrala to simplify the transition with future-proof and HANA-ready financial processes.


Brochure: Corestone SAP Data Archiving

Serrala provides data volume management and archiving solutions for all SAP systems, including SAP S/4HANA® systems.

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