No doubt you’re aware of SAP’s announcement about moving its applications solely to SAP S/4HANA by 2025. One of our recent blog posts discussed how to assess whether your business needs to make a change—and hopefully by now you’ve seen the benefits of moving to SAP S/4HANA.
It’s a smart decision. With SAP S/4HANA, you get exciting new capabilities, from the ability to implement real-time data analysis and machine learning to getting better results from SAP ERP workloads to enjoying a more user-friendly interface with SAP Fiori. Now is the time to commit to your decision, which means developing a strategy and figuring out the timing for your move.
This blog doesn’t have enough space to detail an SAP migration step by step—it’s obviously not a trivial undertaking—but there’s already a wealth of helpful resources out there to rely on. We simply want to lay out a big picture here of things to consider when getting started.
Develop a Solid Migration Strategy
Your SAP migration strategy will depend greatly on understanding your current business and IT environment, as well as knowing the value of migration to your business. Industry analyst KPMG states:
A migration to S/4HANA is … mainly a business-driven project that has many technological components. Therefore, while determining the strategy, the business and IT both at C-level and operational, have to be involved at every step.
Assemble Your A-Team
The right technical and strategic consultants can have an enormous impact on your migration strategy. If you don’t have SAP expertise in-house, get certified SAP migration consultants or systems integrators on board. Look to organizations such as Accenture, CapGemini, Infosys, TCS or Wipro for knowledgeable guidance.
Your go-to people need deep expertise and understanding of the HANA platform, operating system options, hosting environment and migration methodology—not to mention a high level of familiarity with the way you do business. They need to be well-informed and have solid strategies for keeping costs down and minimizing disruption.
Understand Your Options
Once you have an expert team assembled, the action can begin. Your technical experts will analyze your current SAP landscape and identify potential obstacles, such as custom code or modules that might need to be transferred. Your existing SAP systems might need to be upgraded to more recent versions in preparation for migration.
On-Premises or In the Cloud?
One of the big decisions you’ll make is whether to run SAP S/4HANA on premises or in the cloud. There are benefits to both: some organizations prefer the maximum control and reduced risk of on-premises deployment, while others choose the cloud for easy scalability, increased flexibility and faster time to value. Once you make your choice, you’ll have a variety of options when it comes to SAP-certified hardware, cloud instances, and storage solutions.
Sizing Up Your Landscape
Right-sizing your SAP HANA landscape is a critical task for your technical team. Oversizing could lead to wasted capacity and bloated hardware and undersizing can create delays that boost operational performance costs.
Prepare the Migration and Give it a Test-Run
Your business team can play an important role in helping your technical team decide which data to move and when. Maybe you have older data that you can move to SAP HANA before your more critical data. Or perhaps you’ll decide that some of your data can go into archival storage and doesn’t need to be migrated to SAP HANA at all. You have a lot of options—entire posts have been written about this topic.
You should then test the new landscape using an anonymized copy of your live SAP data to see if everything goes as planned. This step is valuable because it will give you an idea of how long the migration will take and it helps you identify any possible issues so you can resolve them before they affect the actual migration.
Delaying your move to SAP S/4HANA could put you in a tight spot later on, but you shouldn’t rush it either. Plan and prepare first. Identify slower business cycles where downtime wouldn’t be as disruptive.
Ready to get started? Moving to SAP S/4HANA isn’t a minor move, but with the right preparation it can be a smooth one. With the right team and an understanding of the right options for your business, you could be on the path today.
 KPMG, Should We Migrate to S/4HANA?, March 2017.