How to move to SAP S/4 HANA in a smart way?

Nowadays the professional discourse revolves around “How to move to SAP S/4 HANA in a smart way?”, no longer about “Should we move?” and “When to move?”. The last two questions were absolutely justified a few years ago when SAP S/4 HANA was at its starting point and entire areas, processes or functions were missing. But these are no longer valid questions and certainly not with the current releases in 2022.

How to identify a smart way moving to SAP S/4 HANA? Which building blocks should be dealt with?

1️⃣ Which approach should be chosen: Greenfield, Brownfield, or SNP Group’s Bluefield™ approach?

2️⃣ How does the timeline look like?

3️⃣ What kind of and how many internal and external resources do we need?

4️⃣ How do we engage and enable our internal resources?

5️⃣ Which services do we source from which partner?

6️⃣ How do we ensure that all parties and people work collaboratively together?

7️⃣ What are the benefits that can be leveraged?

8️⃣ How does the benefits-cost case look like?

This post will focus on the different approaches, additional posts will focus on the other topics.

Which approach to choose when moving to SAP S/4 HANA?

Many of our articles compare transformation to building a new home. However, the choice is more akin to being overall very happy with your existing home, but it needs some upgrades, or you are considering building a new one to be custom-made for you.

When moving from SAP ERP to S/4 HANA there are three possibilities at hand:

1️⃣ Taking the greenfield approach in which effectively a new system is set up. The new system is designed, customized, and developed and data are migrated in from the pre-existing system(s). In this case, you have a whole new house to move into and set up as you see fit.

2️⃣ Or taking the brownfield approach which primarily consists of migration. The system is emptied of data, technically upgraded and the data are migrated in again. In this scenario, you move out of your home completely for a little bit, including all of your belongs, while renovation takes place, and then move back in with a similar arrangement. Even in cases where a brownfield approach is chosen, there are some topics where no migration path is available. This means for specific processes or new functionalities (e.g., business partner), a greenfield approach is needed.

3️⃣ Or taking the SNP bluefield™ approach combines elements of the green- and brownfield approaches. It is supported by SNP’s CrystalBridge®.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the different approaches?

If you favor high security clearly a brown or Bluefield approach is the right choice as you don’t need a fallback solution. Your tried-and-true processes and functionalities are kept as they were. The changes can be performed worst case with workarounds for a reasonable timeframe. In the case of greenfield, there is no real fallback solution. It would mean rolling back to SAP ERP and then starting again as you need to move to S4 HANA. This is risky, potentially lengthens your time frame and has higher associated costs.

If you favor a high degree of standardization, clearly greenfield is the answer. By contrast, industry-specific processes may be covered with a lower degree of standardization in SNP bluefield™.

If you favor lower effort (regarding budget, resources, and timeline) brownfield is the answer; here again in the middle you will find SNP bluefield™ with somewhat higher effort than brownfield.

As you see SNP bluefield™ combines the best of both worlds, providing high security, medium standardization, and medium effort.

Do you face the same challenges? Find the best approach moving to SAP S/4 HANA with NORDA Advisory. Explore how we can help you:

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