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Preparing for a SAP S/4HANA Transformation

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  • Part 2: Choosing an S/4HANA Approach and Building a Plan 

    With SAP ECC 6.0’s sunset date just a few years away, it’s critical for organizations to start planning their S/4HANA transformations now. That always means taking a structured approach to understand what’s changing, why, and how you intend to make those changes.  

    At Cognitus, we use a business readiness check, business process check, Pilot Test Drive of S/4HANA using your ECC data, and license check to build an implementation plan around your specific business needs.  

    This is part 2 of our series on preparing for an S/4HANA transformation. If you missed part one, click here to read it.  

    Why Make the Transition  

    Here, you want a business case to tell you what you’re trying to achieve. E.g., what capabilities do you need, how do you budget for the transformation, what data indicates a successful transformation? 

    Often, that will be data such as:  

    • Keeping up with industry innovation trends 
    • Adding value drivers  
    • Simplifying or reducing costs  
    • Enabling or building future capabilities 

    This business case should reflect actual business strategy and goals, which you should normally build after using a license analysis and data analysis to understand what you have, what could change, and how to optimize both to reduce costs and improve outcomes.  

    “SAP S/4HANA simplifies the entire product landscape to reduce costs and improve user experience. So, if you’re using ECC, your manager has to log into 5-10 applications just to handle approvals. In the S/4HANA cloud, all of those approvals would integrate into one place – making it that much easier for someone to do their job. Those kinds of business benefits are important to factor into the business case” – Kjell Norstein, Cognitus S/4HANA Delivery Manager in the Nordics.  

    Understanding Your SAP Infrastructure  

    Understanding what you’re moving to S/4HANA enables resourcing, cost analysis, and even project planning. To achieve that understanding, you’ll have to start with an analysis of your existing infrastructure, systems, and solutions. Often, that must be customized to the organization, with in-depth licensing assessments, system assessments, and business process checks.  

    Here, Cognitus can add a significant amount of value with a combination of our SAP expertise and through our technology and our partnerships. E.g., we use best-in-class business tools to assess data, business processes, and custom code to determine not just what has to change to make the move to S/4HANA but also costs, resourcing, and potential cost savings. In combination with the Gallop Discovery Pilot – a 3-month assessment and pilot of S/4HANA using your ECC data – we can deliver the answers you need to make those business decisions, in the form of a roadmap and implementation plan.  

    What are you Taking With You? 

    Choosing between a Greenfield or Brownfield transformation will mean answering a lot of questions about your data, how it works, and what you want to keep. For example:  

    • Can you move to S/4HANA in one step? 
    • Do current business processes support the business strategy for the next 5/10/15 years? 
    • Can you adopt SAP Best Practices?  
    • Can you keep the S/4HANA core clean or will you migrate existing custom applications? 
    • Are you looking for landscape consolidation? 
    • Is this primarily an S/4HANA transformation for business value or for IT value? 

    Greenfield implementations are perfect for businesses wishing to adopt SAP Best Practices, which means reengineering the business processes and using Fit to Standard. It’s also ideal for businesses migrating from non-SAP systems or from highly customized SAP systems where you don’t need to keep the customization. E.g., if S/4HANA already has the capabilities of your custom code.  

    However, Greenfield implementations can require significant work to migrate data objects, especially if volume and complexity are high.  

    Brownfield implementations are much more system conversions. Here, you bring your current business processes into the new platform, retaining custom code and processes. This can greatly reduce the cost and complexity of the migration itself. However, because custom code and processes can be expensive to maintain (you’ll have to check them with every update). Otherwise, the Brownfield implementation shifts the transformation to a purely technical one – with business-side impacts limited to interface updates and capabilities rather than process transformation.  

    Of course, a selective transformation, where you adopt some standard processes and keep some custom code is also possible. These Bluefield transitions vary significantly in complexity but can be a best of both worlds solution if your organization can mostly move to standard processes but still needs some customization.  

    Eventually, your transformation approach will significantly impact the roadmap and the project approach.  

    If you’d like to learn more about how Cognitus helps you answer these questions with real business data, contact us, or download our Gallop Discovery brochure here to learn more.  

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