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Transparency is crucial for SAP S/4HANA migration

Migrations can often be compared to flying blind without instruments. A 360 degree scan makes the status quo transparent and reduces the risk and costs

01. July 2022Marcus Flohr

Holistic view of the SAP system landscape

More and more companies are migrating their current SAP infrastructure to SAP S/4HANA as SAP suspends support for legacy systems. However, in the course of migration projects companies are often flying blind instead of flying high. The result: costs significantly exceed estimates, the project duration is considerably extended, and there is more downtime during which the productive SAP system is not available. The counter measure: a 360 degree scan of the existing SAP infrastructure before migration lowers costs and risks for the move to target systems.

Migration is an opportunity for digitalization

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Skepticism appears to be overcome. After a difficult starting phase, the latest studies show that 95 percent of SAP users are on the way to migrating their current SAP system to SAP S/4HANA. Even if, according to the German SAP user group (DSAG), three quarters of SAP customers are currently still using older SAP systems. One statement, however, is surprisingly positive: by far the majority of companies now see the migration as more than just a compulsory exercise driven by SAP's reluctance to support legacy systems and desire to modernize. The migration-ready SAP users see the switch to SAP S/4HANA more as an opportunity to modernize their application landscape and technical infrastructure. They are convinced that the migration to SAP S/4HANA represents an important foundation for the accelerated digitization of their companies – making them more flexible, faster, and more competitive.

SAP S/4HANA migration – flying blind

What remains is the migration of the systems and the data migration itself. It continues to give SAP users headaches, which are frequently stoked by horrific reports of failed SAP S/4HANA migrations. The reasons for failed migrations are various: an unsuitable strategy, target systems undefined, Brownfield or Greenfield approaches not sufficiently considered, unknown data. Or else a company attempted to manage the migration with their own on-board resources, in spite of a lack of migration expertise and the necessary capacities. So what is the common theme among failed, overpriced, or out-of-control migrations? Lack of transparency! It could be said that when some companies start their migration they are flying blind. There was neither a precise analysis of the existing SAP systems and data, nor a precise vision. This works against the actual aim of the migration: there is now only one business data platform which can be used to accelerate innovation, predict business outcomes more accurately, and open the door to new business opportunities.

Transforming project migration into a low-risk flight with proper visibility

Despite the end of the old SAP system world edging ever closer, SAP customers should not get into a panic. An important finding from the thousands of successful transformation projects by T-Systems: take time for a detailed analysis and, before the actual migration, make a 360 degree scan of the existing SAP system world and the data. Only if you are acquainted with all of your business processes, the state of the data, the infrastructures and applications, as well as the license models in detail will you know how to approach the migration, whether there are particular hurdles to be overcome, and which target systems are most suitable. An important side effect: The 360 degree analysis is the opportunity to gain a clear and detailed view of the status quo, and to begin after the migration with a clean data structure and SAP landscape, i.e. with SAP S/4HANA-ready processes and systems. This opens eyes and, despite the detailed analysis, ultimately saves time, lowers the project risk as well as the downtime, and costs less money.

More information: tools make the status quo transparent

For the 360 degree view of an SAP landscape, T-Systems uses several intelligent software tools. This tool-supported SAP landscape analysis makes things transparent which surprises SAP customers, sometimes even horrifies them. Among other things it shows systems, modules, components, configurations, interfaces, and system structures which are little if at all used. The analysis compares the organization with the supported processes. It determines the size of the respective data volumes and the extent of the data usage. It identifies inactive users, as well as users with multiple or expired licenses. In a nutshell: This kind of 360 degree analysis thoroughly clears out the cellar and the attic and prepares the apartment for a more streamlined move into the new home.

Switching off unused systems without risk

The figures from the SAP S/4HANA migration projects previously supported by T-Systems are testament to the success of this transparent route with the T-Systems Data Migration Factory for SAP Landscapes: project costs 32 percent lower on average, 72 percent less downtime. This can also be attributed to the fact that unused systems can be switched off without risk. Anyone wanting to switch over to the cloud from their previous on-prem operation can use the tools to simulate how big the corresponding cloud system needs to be. Only once the cleaning process has been concluded and a company finally has a holistic view of the SAP landscape, can decisions be taken which in some migrations are erroneously made at the start: Which is the right cloud provider? Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud? And which transformation approach is the right one? Greenfield, Brownfield or BLUEFIELD™?

About the author
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Marcus Flohr

Program and portfolio manager SAP S/4HANA migrations, T-Systems International GmbH

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