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Planning an SAP S/4HANA Cloud Migration

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  • Internal vs External Resourcing

    For the thousands of organizations looking to transition their digital environment to the SAP S/4HANA cloud, resourcing and project planning is a prime concern. That’s especially pressing for many, considering the upcoming 2027 sunset date on SAP ECC.  

    Choosing staffing solutions and resourcing for that migration is one of the most crucial parts of the planning phase. And, for many organizations, it comes down to what do you have in house, what can you outsource, and what should be a mix of both?  

    Business Resourcing for S/4HANA Transitions  

    For most organizations, assessing resourcing needs for a project normally means assessing the project itself. For an S/4HANA transition, that means scoping the project in full. You’ll need a full scope of existing SAP instances, customizations, dependencies, etc.  

    It also means understanding processes and how they will map to S/4HANA and what needs to change. From there, you can look at people factors like change management, training, implementation, etc. That will give you an idea of the actual scope of work, leaving more room for understanding what you need in terms of budget, timelines, and people. Most importantly, this stage is about answering what skills you actually need to complete a transition, what the scope of work is, and what the actual work will end up looking like.  

    At Cognitus, we use an assessment to collect that initial data, assessing the full scope of existing SAP systems – which we then map to the transformation.  

    Assessing Internal Resources  

    The availability of business resources should always be a major part of staffing budgets. Most organizations want to keep as much as possible internal, usually with the intent of saving money. That often isn’t feasible. If your people haven’t worked with S/4HANA before, they can’t make the transition. However, you can allocate as many internal resources as possible and supplement them with external experts and change management leads.  

    • What relevant skills do you have inside the organization? Do you have standardized role titles and skill/competency inventory across the organization? Or should that be a first step before allocating internal resources?  
    • What roles do you want/need to be internal? E.g., at Cognitus, we advise that business process owners stay internal – they have to understand the company and how it works – but these same people often won’t have the S/4HANA skills to manage a transition.  
    • What does your succession strategy look like? Do you have people in place in case key roles leave during the transition?  

    How to Structure External Work 

    Hiring an S/4HANA consultant or expert enables you to outsource work to people who have done that work before, freeing the organization of the need to bring in new people for temporary work.  

    • Which roles are more beneficial to source externally? E.g., transformation/change lead? Technical implementation, etc. Part of where we add value is by leveraging a global team, with global competencies, to help companies quickly scale up their transitions, with automated support for technical support. That allows you to get full support, with a minimum of added costs.  
    • Mixing external technological and strategy resources with internal business resources can be a good solution for many – you get some of the best of both worlds with internal business experience paired with significant prior S/4HANA change experience.  

    Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. At Cognitus, we offer staffing and resourcing advice based on internal and external factors like stakeholders, ownership, and short/long-term goals. These could dramatically change the best options for your organizations’ resourcing issues. Your approach has to match your business. 

    “One of the things we do is we offer an Assessment and Pilot of S/4HANA with Gallop Discovery. That pairs a project scoping assessment with a 3-month trial of S/4HANA, fully supported by our team and expertise. We use this to show how to convert, while migrating a subset of ECC data and processes, so your teams can see a working transition of the system. That hands-on approach gives you a better way to assess what the transition will actually mean for you, to give your teams a hands-on introduction to reduce adoption resistance, and to make upcoming risks clear. That, with the roadmap, migration plan, and cost plan, give you real data to base planning and resourcing on, so you can make the best decisions for your migration” – Mike Biggs  

    If you’d like to have a one-on-one discussion about staffing and resourcing your S/4HANA project, contact us to schedule a call. Or, download our brochure to learn more about our Gallop Discovery, our SAP assessment and 3-month pilot of S/4HANA, designed to build you a custom resourcing, cost, and migration plan based on your environment and data.  

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