Although SAP announced its end-of-life support for their SAP Enterprise Central Component (ECC) customers by 2025, the reality is that organizations no longer have the luxury to take the wait-and-see approach in today’s data-driven business climate.
Success today greatly depends on the speed and ability to operate with the power of insights. Hence, siloed environments that cause inability of data sharing and consolidation can seriously put businesses at a disadvantage. While businesses move to SAP S/4HANA intelligent ERP suite to take advantage of real-time insights and drive productivity, the fact remains that implementation can be a complex process. It is not just about adding more technology to an existing model. Organizations have to rethink current business models in order to drive specific outcomes.
However, they can make their migration journeys more seamless if they adopt the right approaches and choose the right partners to work with.
Here are the key critical elements that companies should consider in their SAP S/4HANA decision-making process.
The first and most important step is to determine your business priorities and ascertain how SAP S/4HANA fits into your transformation strategy. Before embarking on a full-scale migration, conducting a proof-of-concept can help to answer many pertinent questions.
A simulation of selected key business operations running on SAP S/4HANA can reveal whether the solution can meet business objectives, provide a better user experience, and meet SLAs. The process should be built to mirror actual business operations closely. This is a crucial element that will help to ensure the quality of the migration’s outcomes once it has been completed.
As SAP S/4HANA was built to shine in the cloud, it is important to know which option will be optimal for your business—be it public, private or on-premise deployment. A cloud-based deployment allows you to enjoy OPEX-based expenditure, constantly up-to-date infrastructure, and seamless scalability among other benefits. Your teams will also be freed up to make full use of SAP S/4HANA—instead of having to manage it.
Regardless of the option you choose, you will need to take into account the total cost of ownership and SLAs. Conduct rigorous ROI calculations for a clear view of cost savings. You will also need to determine the type of support that the different types of cloud providers can offer beyond migration. When ascertaining a partner to work with, make sure that the company can scale with your organization and adapt to the evolutions in business environment and technology.
When it comes closer to the actual migration, there are a variety of tools and methodologies that can help ease the process. For example, SAP itself has the S/4HANA Migration Cockpit that helps with data migration and the SAP Activate framework that covers a range of migration scenarios.
But whichever methodology you choose to adopt, your strategy should be governed by eight key principles covered in the Key Considerations for Seamless SAP S/4HANA Migration whitepaper. Together, they form a comprehensive step-by-step process to ensure that you stay in full control of your migration.
The success of the transformation will also depend on what happens post migration. To fully harness SAP S/4HANA’s potential, you need the right IT skills and support structure to run your operations. Hence, it is important to evaluate current skill sets within the organization to determine if it meets the day-to-day needs of supporting the new environment.
Application leaders have to understand the difference between legacy systems and the new SAP S/4HANA system—such as the functional capabilities and database architecture. In addition, there are considerations to be made about your organization’s readiness to provide round-the-clock support and to manage SAP S/4HANA according to ITIL and industry best practices.
CenturyLink, in partnership with SAP, is actively engaging businesses with their digital transformation imperatives. The need to stay competitive is driving enterprises to harness SAP S/4HANA to mine insights, drive business efficiencies, and create better customer experiences.