There’s a reason S/4 HANA is at the center of SAP’s offering – it’s a powerful next-generation tool available today. It has the ability to transform your business into a high-performance machine. But there are still a number of questions surrounding the implementation. Is it right for my business? Can my organization wait to implement? What skills will I need in the new S/4 HANA world? Keep these four points in mind as you consider your transition to HANA.
1) Plan and coordinate your transition to S/4 HANA with your company’s needs.
Make sure your transition to HANA makes sense for your organization. Many companies in today's IT world would not recognize value from moving to real-time reporting. But at some point between now and the year 2025, HANA will be the only option to run a supported version of SAP.
For this reason, it's smart for companies to ask how much value they'll receive from S/4 HANA. If the answer is 'immense value starting today', then the move makes sense. If the need for real-time reporting and analytics can be delayed, customers may find that they save money as the price of S/4 HANA decreases over time and the bleeding edge is tamed enough to become the SAP standard.
Either way you go, it makes sense to coordinate your S/4 HANA migration with an IT event. For example, if you are doing a massive hardware upgrade to support your current installation of SAP, you may consider saving money on the upgrade and going with the cloud-based solution instead.
2) View the migration as an opportunity to review your data.
There’s no way to sugar-coat this: Data Migration projects can be difficult. But moving the right data into S/4 HANA and leaving non-essential data behind can result in a bottom line savings for a number of reasons.
First, storing data comes at a cost. The less data you have to ‘carry’, the less you’ll have to pay. Consider this before moving your ‘legacy’ data. Will the data actually be useful in the future – or am I am I carrying forward the status quo? Moving to HANA is an opportunity to cleanse and purge data that’s no longer needed in your new installation.
Second, there’s a data management tax associated with inaccurate data. For this reason, it makes sense to investigate Data Management tools like Winshuttle Studio to help with the migration. It takes 20% of the time to write data migration scripts with Winshuttle vs. writing the scripts via LSMW – and it doesn’t require an ABAP genius to do it. Functional resources can build the scripts – which can then be used in the day-to-day running of the business after implementation.
3) Consider your regression testing strategy.
Maybe the largest unknown customers face is answering “what will be different in HANA?” Unfortunately, there’s not a single cookie-cutter answer that addresses this concern for all customers. Especially due to the heavily-customized nature of some SAP systems, this is a potential pitfall.
To mitigate the risk we recommend two courses of action: (1) identify your customization with TriCore’s code crawler and (2) regression test your mainstream scenarios heavily.
We’ve developed a tool that helps customers when it’s time for an upgrade or patch application – a code-crawling tool that worms through your system to identify areas that need to be given special care in a conversion. This identifies the areas of your system that are at risk prior to the implementation so you have an idea of what needs to change before it changes.
Of course regression testing is important when moving to HANA – but with complex systems and thousands of configuration and ABAP settings, how can you be sure to test everything? This is another opportunity to leverage Winshuttle. With Winshuttle Studio, you can write regression test scripts, linked together, that represent your business processes. For example, an Order-to-Cash template includes a script to create a sales order, create the delivery, pick, pack, and PGI goods, and then invoice the customer. With this set of linked scripts, hundreds and thousands of scenarios can be set up and executed to test all of your main scenarios. By leveraging Winshuttle, you’ll save time, reduce the risk that something goes wrong in your conversion to HANA, and bank the scripts as regression testing tools for future upgrades.
4) Looking forward, how will your resource pool change?
For all of its changes, S/4 HANA is still SAP. So there will still be a need for functional support, ABAP gurus, and Project Management skills. But as S/4 HANA rolls out and become more common, we’ll also have the ability to leverage HANA Cloud Platform Extensions to further our business needs.
HANA Cloud Platform (HCP) Extensions will play an important role in future development because they allow for the Platform as a Service (PaaS) marketplace. The PaaS concept will allow third-party vendors to create generic apps that meet the needs of customers without massive customization. Instead of SAP delivering a function module that can be used to create a custom enhancement, third-party vendors will deliver the entire enhancement. A company equipped with web-development capabilities will probably have the required skills to develop or extend interfaces on SAP and make the most of the PaaS marketplace.