The conversion of the SAP ERP system to the new S/4HANA system presents companies with challenges. We answer the most important questions about SAP S/4HANA and tell you why switching to the new system is worthwhile!
What is SAP S/4HANA anyway?
SAP S/4HANA is an ERP software solution from the manufacturer SAP SE and the successor to the previous core product SAP ECC or SAP R/3. The "S" in the name stands for the "Simple" principle, which the ERP suite exhibits due to the improved user interface and simplified data model. The "4 " stands for the fourth Product generation and the abbreviation HANA (Hhigh performance Analytic Appliance) for the underlying database technology, which enables data processing and analysis that is many times faster with in-memory technology.
SAP S/4HANA is considered the next-generation intelligent ERP platform. The customer-specific requirements for digitization, process automation, data harmonization, the use of artificial intelligence, increasing corporate efficiency and improving quality and flexibility come into focus in order to achieve corporate goals.
Why should you, as a company, start switching to S/4HANA now?
You should now use the time efficiently to To determine your Enterprise Resource Planning landscape and business processes, before the wave of S/4HANA migrations begins and unwanted surprises can no longer be prevented. especially the finance departments are facing a significant change, since the software group SAP Support for older ERP system versions from 2027 will be phased out.
This means that every company that is an SAP customer with an ERP ECC 6.0 system must switch to the new ERP system S/4 HANA. Many ERP systems cannot simply be technically converted to SAP S/4HANA, they have to complex customizing settings have to be made in the software.
Therefore, it is not enough to look at a changeover only from an IT point of view. It is imperative also Finance experts with process and system understanding on the project team gain weight. The group-wide ERP migration is a complex process, as it usually involves system structures that have grown over many years. The transition can take several months to years.
S/4 HANA offers many new possibilities, which is why the switch is worthwhile for companies and a big step towards digitization is. The conversion process can be used as an opportunity to clean up historically outdated IT landscapes, standardize old data and harmonize business processes. Furthermore, the migration reduces the in-house developments and the complexity of applications.
How urgent is the switch to S/4HANA?
SAP itself estimates the time it takes to switch from an old SAP product to SAP S/4HANA about 12 to 18 months. SAP S/4HANA can be integrated into the company in various ways. One of the “shortest ways” to SAP S/4HANA is via SAP Central Finance. With the help of this platform and the "Finance First" approach, companies can combine their heterogeneous system landscape with one centralized SAP S/4HANA finance system link. We would be happy to support you with your SAP Central Finance implementation.
Why should you as a company switch to SAP S/4HANA?
SAP terminates the Maintenance and further development of the predecessor system R/3 in 2027. Therefore, the switch for SAP customers to S/4HANA is unavoidable. S/4HANA offers companies and top management many advantages, such as the processing and analysis of large amounts of data in real time and thus a significant simplification of the data model.
High-performance data management and innovations like that open in-memory platform for predictions are possible through the SAP HANA database, which forms the foundation of S/4HANA. Shorter innovation cycles and shorter system response times due to the reduction in code lines and tables are additional benefits of the new system. By reducing the need for maintenance, companies reduce their costs in the long term.
In general, it can be said that the interface concept with SAP Fiori apps is a new kind of usability generated by the intuitive usability, the role-based work and the availability on different devices such as desktop, smartphone or tablet. Especially for the finance departments, SAP promises further advantages such as Real-time reporting, more accurate cash flow forecasts and more user-friendly applications. With the SAP S/4HANA technology, it is now possible to define a holistic consolidation, record-to-report process and thus to digitize the group reporting and its analysis.
The tool SAP S/4HANA FOR GROUP REPORTING which is offered to customers both as an on-premise and as a cloud consolidation solution fully benefits from the new components of the S/4HANA product world. Consolidate plan and actual data in real-time, both before and after completion.
How to prepare for the switch to S/4HANA?
The first step of preparation is the Creation of a roadmap, which records the initial situation and the desired steps up to the SAP S/4HANA migration.
- Database conversion: The conversion to the SAP HANA database can be carried out before the actual SAP S/4HANA conversion. This simplifies the transition, since the ERP system is then already running on SAP HANA. The next step is the migration to SAP S/4HANA.
- Change to Unicode: The conversion to Unicode is another important step in the preparation, because this international standard for character sets is mandatory for S/4HANA.
- Compatibility Check: In addition, customer developments and add-ons that go beyond the standards should be checked for compatibility with SAP S/4HANA and the HANA database. Very old data can lead to inconsistencies when switching to SAP S/4HANA. It is therefore important to archive them beforehand. In this process, data that is not necessary can be identified and removed. With the Usage and procedure logging you can check which in-house developments are unused in the system or which data is rarely accessed. Here, too, the ERP system is freed from superfluous data in order to facilitate the changeover.
- Make updates: The update to SAP enhancement package 8 for SAP ERP 6.0, EHP 8 for short, must also be carried out before the changeover, since the operation of SAP S/4HANA requires SAO Netweaver 7.5, and therefore also EHP 8. EHP 8 is one of them Extension package with which SAP provides innovations for ERP systems. With EHP 8, SAP has thus created the basis for the conversion to SAP/4HANA. In addition, companies must upgrade to Solution Manager 7.2. This Solution Manager is management software with tools that support the introduction and operation of company applications and thus also SAP HANA and the SAP Cloud.
- Selection of a central business partner: A central business partner replaces the classic customer and vendor. Companies can already change this in the ERP system.
The SAP New General Ladger, the new general ledger, is another innovation that can be carried out before the migration. The conversion also includes a new standard bonus solution with SAP CCM, which will replace the old SAP bonus in the future. Output management, i.e. the system for message control in the company, is also changing. This previous control is now being converted to a new control based on Business Rule Framework plus, BRF+ for short. BRF+ is a system for storing business rules and also regulates message control, among other things. Companies should therefore check forms and dependencies in advance of the changeover.
We help you with the SAP S/4HANA migration with the use of an experienced project manager. We first show the procedure and methodology. We also help with the Pproject planning, documentation, analysis and preparation. We prepare Workshops and interviews, moderate and document them. We then evaluate, document and present the results. Based on these results, we then help you with your decision-making.
If you don't make fundamental decisions early in the strategy phase, it will be very time-consuming and expensive afterwards. We see, for example, the definition of company codes, companies, general ledgers, tax codes, intercompany clearing accounts, currencies and decimal places as possible obstacles.
How is the conversion carried out?
There are three different approaches to switching to SAP S/4HANA: the greenfield approach, the brownfield approach and the landscape transformation. The so-called greenfield approach involves a new implementation of the SAP system. Here the existing ERP system is abandoned and a completely new system is implemented. In the brownfield approach, a system conversion is performed. Here the existing systems are being converted step by step to S/4HANA. With the landscape transformation approach, several existing SAP systems are technically consolidated in a newly built S/4HANA system.
How we support you in the transformation from SAP ECC to S/4HANA
We combine the previous finance strengths with a newly aligned SAP S/4HANA consulting area and thus support our customers in the SAP S/4HANA transformation. We have strengthened our team with very experienced consultants and are expanding successful partnerships. The aim is to implement an integrated system for optimizing the real-time processing of financial data and to reduce or replace in-house developments in the projects.
Our services for you:
- Advice on your SAP S/4HANA strategy - how to switch from SAP ECC to SAP S/4HANA
- Support for conceptual and business issues or for technical implementation and support with in-depth design, customizing and data migration experience in SAP ECC or SAP S/4HANA
- Development of efficient, digital SAP structures in accounting with SAP S/4HANA, Central Finance and connection options for SAP S/4HANA cloud solutions
- Design and implementation as part of SAP S/4HANA projects for accounting and controlling and/or central finance
- Very experienced SAP project management and PMO support
- Sub-project management for SAP finance and/or controlling projects
- Support for SAP Central Finance projects
- Consulting in SAP FI/CO in SAP ECC environment or SAP S/4HANA environment with additional topics in asset accounting, treasury, cash management, financial planning and analysis, accounting and financial closing processes, receivables management, GRC processes and/or SAP controlling topics such as product cost accounting, Income statement, profit center statement
- E2E consulting in the operational finance and controlling processes with integration of financial consolidation, financial planning and forecasting, reporting and analytics in connection with different SAP products (SAP ECC, SAP S/4HANA, SAP SEM-BCS, SAP Group Reporting, SAP Analytics Cloud, SAP BPC, SAP BW, SAP BW/4HANA)
Are you about to switch to S/4HANA and need support or are you interested in the consolidation solutions SAP S/4HANA Group Reporting or BCS/4HANA?
Please contact us!
Further information on S/4HANA and related topics can be found here: