In the SAP ecosystem, SAP S/4HANA is everywhere you look. It’s fueling real-time analytics, changing how we think about batch processing, and blurring the distinction between online transaction processing (OLTP) and online analytical processing (OLAP) databases. SAP HANA is a relational database management system (RDBMS), an app server, and a development platform all in one. Its flexibility and speed are impressive, but many SAP customers have yet to form a clear path to adoption.
There are several considerations that can help distinguish the path to SAP S/4HANA for business stakeholders and technologists. For example, is your business ready for the transformational approach to SAP ERP that comes with SAP S/4HANA, or does a more technical migration to SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA first make more sense? Being prepared for the business implications of either path is critical to successfully deploying SAP HANA within your organization.
A Stepping Stone to SAP S/4HANA
For many, a migration to SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA is viewed as a stepping stone to SAP S/4HANA. SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA is essentially SAP ERP Central Component (SAP ECC), but it allows organizations to take advantage of new SAP HANA-specific business functions in enhancement packages (EHP) 7 and 8.
There are technical prerequisites for SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA, but companies that are already on Unicode and at least on EHP7 can approach the move to SAP HANA similarly to a heterogeneous migration. Organizations that need to get to EHP7, Unicode, or both before migrating to SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA can use the data migration option (DMO) functionality in Software Update Manager to combine processes. It is important to note that optimization at the business process and code levels is critical. Not acknowledging these areas as part of the migration can reduce performance in your new environment.
Migrating Directly to SAP S/4HANA
Consider an SAP S/4HANA conversion if you’re ready to adopt a modern approach to what an ERP system can be and how its life cycle should be maintained. SAP S/4HANA is a dramatic departure from SAP ECC in many ways. It’s a system combining transactional and analytical capabilities, a platform designed to fully embrace SAP HANA’s speed and columnar application tables, and a move to a new world of user experience (UX).
SAP S/4HANA 1610 feature package stacks are being designed to take application-specific advantage of some of the newer functionality in SAP HANA 2.0. The conversion process is well defined, but it requires research and appropriation of SAP S/4HANA simplifications, custom code migration and remediation, and modifications to business processes. Depending on your project roadmap and tolerance for go-live downtime, the DMO of Software Update Manager — which can perform the SAP S/4HANA conversion and back-end migration as a single process — is a good option.
Be Prepared for Migration
In either scenario, SAP customers should consider the technical skills and total cost of ownership (TCO) factors involved in the design and maintenance of SAP HANA environments. A best-in-class managed services partner with Basis and SAP HANA cloud expertise can take on the daunting technical elements and challenges of migration projects, and ensure your landscape runs optimally once it’s operational. To learn how Symmetry can customize your ideal path to SAP S/4HANA, visit www.symmetrycorp.com.