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Making the Move to SAP S/4HANA

"Why wait for S/4HANA?" Q&A Series

September 19, 2018

Panelists: SAP's Carl Dubler, Arne Schmidthals, Daniel Boehm, and Carmel Gilmore Date: September 19th
Sponsor: SAP

By now you know that harnessing the power of SAP S/4HANA, the intelligent ERP, is key for your enterprise. But how do you get started?

The journey to SAP S/4HANA is more urgent and yet more attainable than you may realize. SAP S/4HANA provides the opportunity for IT to lead digital transformation efforts. With SAP S/4HANA, IT can not only improve its own operations, but also deploy technology innovation to bring transformation and productivity gains to the business.

Not sure how to get there? You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers. Read the chat transcript to get answers to questions about making the move to SAP S/4HANA. Or join just to see what other customers are asking. Questions included:

  • Can we migrate to SAP S/4HANA by module? Like FI, then SAP ERP Human Capital Management (SAP ERP HCM), etc.?
  • What are the requirements to do a system conversion from SAP ERP Central Component (SAP ECC) 6.x to SAP S/4HANA?
  • How much will it cost me to move from SAP ECC to SAP S/4HANA?
  • Should I do a greenfield or brownfield deployment?
  • Suppose an organization has legacy SAP and non-SAP applications. What’s the best approach to adopt SAP S/4HANA--brownfield or greenfield?

Matthew Shea: Welcome to today's live chat on moving to SAP S/4HANA.

I am excited to be joined by a panel of product experts from SAP who will answer your questions on system conversion, product roadmap, customer adoption, and more. Please welcome: 

  • Arne Schmidthals: VP SAP S/4HANA RIG Americas
  • Carl Dubler: Sr. Director, SAP S/4HANA Product Marketing
  • Carmel Gilmore: Global VP, Digital Value Advisory
  • Daniel Boehm: Platinum Consultant, SAP

Dan Boehm (SAP): I am happy to answer any questions you have in the areas of Financial Accounting (FI) and Analytics.

Carl Dubler (SAP): Glad to be here, looking forward to the questions!

Carmel Gilmore (SAP): Hi everyone. Thanks for joining the chat. I am Carmel Gilmore and I can help answer any questions you have on building a business case.

Arne Schmidthals (SAP): Good morning, happy to answer your questions on transition paths and conversion topics.

Comment From Ling: Can we migrate to SAP S/4HANA by module? Like FI, then SAP ERP Human Capital Management (SAP ERP HCM), etc.?

Dan Boehm (SAP): There is no way to filter the data by module or company code during a system conversion, which will convert all transactions and master data. If you would like to move to S/4HANA by module then a greenfield implementation might be best for you. But keep in mind that a module-by-module approach would have significant integration challenges, which is why it isn’t generally recommended.

Comment From Regan: What are the requirements to do a system conversion from SAP ERP Central Component (SAP ECC) 6.x to SAP S/4HANA?

Carl Dubler (SAP): You can start with SAP ECC 6, any enhancement pack. Unicode is required. The best way to see exactly what you will need to do for any system conversion is to run the free Readiness Check tool.

Comment From ML: Ballpark figure—how much will it cost me to move from SAP ECC to SAP S/4HANA?

Carmel Gilmore (SAP): Hi ML. It is very difficult to answer without understanding your specific SAP ECC environment today. Typically, it would be about the same order of magnitude of what an upgrade would be in your legacy SAP ECC environment.

Comment From Tom Cumbow: In a company with over 3,000 custom code objects, would it make sense to first move to SAP Business Suite on HANA (SoH) while planning a longer migration to SAP S/4HANA?

Arne Schmidthals (SAP): Custom code analysis is one consideration, but not the most important. The overall effort of two subsequent projects will be much higher; hence, the general recommendation is to convert to SAP S/4HANA without the intermediate step to SoH.

Comment From Mike: Can you run SAP HCM on SAP S/4HANA? If not, what is the timeline for that to be available?

Carl Dubler (SAP): Yes, SAP HCM is supported with a compatibility pack license. However, SAP SuccessFactors is the SAP HCM strategy for the future. Read more here: Product Note: SAP HCM On-Premise Option for SAP S/4HANA.

Comment From Dass: In a system conversion, how long will take to migrate a 1 terabyte (TB)-sized system?

Arne Schmidthals (SAP): A 1 TB database (DB) size is very common and can easily be converted over a weekend. The actual migration time depends on a variety of factors, including the hardware performance and the number of entries in key DB tables.

Comment From Ray: How many customers are running SAP S/4HANA now?

Carl Dubler (SAP): Nearly 9,000 have licenses and there are over 2,100 live. About 4,500 active projects are going on now to deploy. Here's a short video on this.

Comment From Ray: What is a typical migration timeline from SAP ECC 6.0 enhancement package 7 to SAP S/4HANA OnPrem? Six months, one year, two years?

Dan Boehm (SAP): The average system conversion takes 11 months. Some have taken as little as 2 months and some take 12 to 14 months depending on the amount of history being converted and the complexity of the customizations done in SAP ECC.

Comment From Ricardo Romeiro: I have a customer who needs to move to Unicode and enhancement package 8 first and then migrate to SAP S/4HANA. Is the best approach to do this in parallel or it is it better to do it in sequence?

Carl Dubler (SAP): Unicode is required to do a system conversion. So that must be done first. But why enhancement package 8? With Unicode done, you can go directly to SAP S/4HANA from any SAP ECC 6 enhancement package.

Comment From Phil Marchbanks: What are the advantages of going to SAP Business Suite on HANA (SoH) before SAP S/4HANA?

Carmel Gilmore (SAP): From SAP ECC there are multiple deployment options. SAP typically recommends converting directly from SAP ECC to SAP S/4HANA as this is typically has the greatest business value: optimized business process, greater agility, access to innovations, embedded and predictive analytics, etc. A move to SoH is a database swap that brings some advantages and benefits in speed but doesn't have the total benefits and value proposition of a full SAP S/4HANA conversion.

Comment From Gamagoon: Can you can move to SAP S/4HANA from SAP ECC 6 without enhancement package using the Database Migration Option (DMO) tool?

Arne Schmidthals (SAP): Yes, this is supported and recommended. Using Software Update Manager (SUM) with DMO is a one-step conversion from ECC 6 with any enhancement pack, or none at all.

Comment From Jim B.: An mid-size manufacturing customer (visions/brands new to the ERP way of doing business) may be interested in implementing SAP S/4HANA. Can that be accomplished with the SAP S/4HANA Cloud edition on a subscription basis? How is that delivered, via SAP Cloud, or can the client choose Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure or other public cloud platform?

Carl Dubler (SAP): For an organization new to ERP, SAP S/4HANA Cloud might be an ideal choice. Since it is based on standards and best practices, they can learn from SAP's extensive experience. This is a public cloud solution that we license via subscription and we run it in our own data centers. If they want to run on an infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) such as Microsoft Azure, etc., then they use the on-premise code line for that. The deployment there would likely not be as quick for a company new to ERP.

Comment From Guest: Is it a normal practice to use a parallel landscape for an SAP S/4HANA migration from SAP ECC?

Dan Boehm (SAP): The recommended approach is to use a copy of production in a sandbox and then practice the conversion steps two to three times, each time adjusting errors in production and then re-copying to the sandbox. Once the errors are resolved and a runbook is created, then move to a typical parallel landscape as you would have done for prior upgrades. Then proceed to convert your development, QA, and production systems.

Comment From RJ: Suppose an organization has legacy SAP and non-SAP applications. What’s the best approach to adopt SAP S/4HANA--brownfield or greenfield?

Arne Schmidthals (SAP): If one of the legacy SAP systems is current in terms of to-be processes, master data, and organization, it is recommended to convert (“brownfield”) this system to SAP S/4HANA and merge in the other SAP and non-SAP systems. Otherwise a new implementation (“greenfield”) approach might be the better option.

Comment From Guest: What should  the strategy be to move our existing SAP ECC and SAP BW to SAP S/4HANA?  

Arne Schmidthals (SAP): These are two independent decisions. Most customers first convert their SAP ECC system to SAP S/4HANA, fewer decide to start with SAP BW/4HANA.

Comment From Phil Marchbanks: I work in the public sector. When will Funds Management (FM),  Grants Management (GM), and Public Sector Collection and Disbursement (PSCD) be incorporated into SAP S4/HANA?

Dan Boehm (SAP): For industry-specific roadmaps on Public Sector, please look at the roadmap.

Comment From Richard: How can I tell which business processes have been “simplified?”

Carmel Gilmore (SAP): My favorite way to view this is by using the new Innovation Discovery tool since it is a friendly way to browse by business process and industry (log in required). If you’d rather view the entire list of changes (PDF), you can do that but it can get a bit overwhelming.

If you are looking to do a system conversion from an SAP ECC 6.x system, then the Readiness Check tool is a great way to get very specific information on the simplifications that will affect your exact deployment.

Comment From Rodrigo: Currently there are several functionalities missing in SAP S/4HANA Cloud (e.g., Sales and Distribution [SD] copy control open configuration). Do you have a roadmap when all functionalities from SAP S/4HANA OnPrem will be available on SAP S/4HANA Cloud?

Carl Dubler (SAP): There are a few points to know here. First, you can run the on-premise code line in a hosted data center or on an IaaS provider such as Microsoft Azure, AWS, or Google Cloud Platform. Sometimes that will be "cloud enough" for an organization. But you are referring the  SAP S/4HANA Cloud product, which is a public cloud subscription product. Keep in mind that this is designed to run standard business processes based on best practices (like most public cloud products do), so feature parity with on premise is not the immediate goal. Of course, over time the parity will increase. You can see the roadmaps for SAP S/4HANA Cloud here.

Comment From Andrea Fuschetto: How many customers have moved to SAP S/4HANA?

Carl Dubler (SAP): Scroll up a bit in the conversation to see the complete answer to this one. Short answer: more than 2,100.

Comment From Andrea Fuschetto: What is the difference between SAP S/4HANA and SAP S/4HANA Cloud?

Carl Dubler (SAP): They are both coming from the same code line, have consistent data models and user experience. This is a big advantage especially if an organization wants to run cloud at a subsidiary and on premise at headquarters. SAP S/4HANA is run on premise or in a hosted data center or IaaS (Microsoft Azure, AWS, etc.) and is licensed traditionally. SAP S/4HANA Cloud is a public cloud product licensed by subscription and is designed to run standardized business processes. The way you determine which one is for you is to consider the scope, customization, and control your organization needs.

Comment From Kim: Is there a location where I can see all of the differences between SAP ECC and SAP S/4HANA?

Dan Boehm (SAP): The Simplification List and Solution Explorer are the best tools to use.

Comment From Guest: In the current existing landscape you have both SAP ECC and BW. If I migrate SAP ECC to SAP S/4HANA, do we still need to go for SAP BW/4HANA? Or does SAP S/4HANA solve all reporting problems?

Carl Dubler (SAP): BW is not dead! Many customers running SAP S/4HANA still depend on it, especially if they have apps that require it or if they bring in data from outside ERP. It is safe to say that the analytics in SAP S/HANA are much better since we use one data model for transactions and analytics. But in this context, we are talking more about operational analytics for making rapid business decisions.

Comment From Gamagoon: Is there some scenario where you recommend a new installation of SAP S/4HANA where we then migrate our data to it from the old system?

Arne Schmidthals (SAP): There are some cases where a new install is recommended, or even required:

-          You seek to fundamentally redesign your business org structure and master data.

-          Your custom code is outdated and needs to be reworked.

-          You are running a very old system (prior to ERP 6.0).

-          You want to move to move to SAP S/4HANA Cloud.

Comment From Mauricio: I’ve seen a implementation project stuck with the 1610 version. They are close to going live. What would be the impact to change to the 1709 version if they are going to use standard modules SD, materials management (MM), and FI?

Arne Schmidthals (SAP): Unless the problem is known to be resolved with 1709 (or 1809—which is planned to be released later this month), the additional effort to upgrade and retest closely before go-live is likely not justified.

Comment From Sunil G: Are there still gaps in functionalities supported between on-premise versus the cloud version? Is there a simple link to find those differences?

Carmel Gilmore (SAP): Sunil ̅,take a look at the SAP Transformation Navigator tool. It will help you to zoom in quickly on the SAP S/4HANA enhancements that are relevant to your specific business.

Please also note that there are two deployment options for cloud ERP: SAP S/4HANA Cloud and SAP S/4HANA Cloud, single tenant edition. The single tenant edition has the same scope as the on-premise edition but is managed as a SaaS cloud product.

Comment From Andrea Fuschetto: We are implementing SAP Integrated Business Planning for sales and operations (SAP IBP S&OP) right now. We have written programs in SAP ECC to extract all our master data to be sent to SAP IBP via Cloud Platform Integration (CPI). Will we have to do all new programs for this data once we move to SAP S/4HANA?

Carl Dubler (SAP): This is a good question for the SAP IBP community. I would think that at a minimum the SAP HANA views that replicate the SAP ECC schema would be useful here—which is why those views are there.

Comment From REV: Since we don't have SAP Legacy System Migration Workbench (SAP LSMW), what is the best way to transport house bank master data to other clients after configuration?

Dan Boehm (SAP): SAP LSMW can still be used even though it is not the most current tool. The SAP S/4HANA Migration Cockpit is now recommended to be used in SAP S/4HANA. For bank account master data, it can be set up in SAP Fiori or via the GUI (new transaction code FI12_HBANK ).

Comment From REV: Is transferring the database to SAP S/4HANA without Software Update Manager (SUM) a good strategy? If no, what is the better strategy?

Carl Dubler (SAP): If you are going to do a system conversion, then you must use SUM. If you don't want to use SUM, then the other option is to do a new implementation of SAP S/4HANA (also called “greenfield”) and then migrate the data with S/4HANA Migration Cockpit. With a new implementation, however, you don't keep your existing SAP ECC config, customizations, etc.

Comment From Rodrigo: What is the solution for Equipment & Tools Management (ETM) in SAP S/4HANA Cloud? I heard SAP is still working on a mix solution with an Asset Intelligence Network (AIN) tool.

Carl Dubler (SAP): I'm not sure when this is in the roadmap for SAP S/4HANA Cloud. If you'd like to contact me directly, perhaps I can find the answer for you ( Unlike the on-premise product (which can also run in some clouds like SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud [HEC] and IaaS), the SAP S/4HANA Cloud product is focused on specific business processes, so total parity with on premise isn't the main goal.

Comment From Gamagoon: After the migration to SAP S/4HANA, what happens with the z-programs? Are they are transformed too?

Arne Schmidthals (SAP): Z-programs will automatically come over with the conversion. There is a custom code check tool available to determine if any adjustments to these programs are required.

Carmel Gilmore (SAP): Thanks everyone for your participation.

Carl Dubler (SAP): If we didn't get to your question, feel free to contact me directly and I'll try to track down an answer (

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