How To Save Costs And Time By Automating SAP S/4HANA Migration

The acceleration of digital transformation is driving companies to speed up the integration of new technologies and improve their business processes. SAP S/4HANA helps companies achieve these objectives and move forward with digital transformation by providing intelligent Enterprise Asset Management.

Many SAP customers are migrating to SAP S/4HANA since SAP’s announcement that they will stop providing maintenance to SAP ECC systems. Automation is, therefore, becoming essential to achieving faster and safer migrations while reducing human error.

What are the Benefits of S/4 HANA?

SAP and S/4HANA are a family of software solutions that are revolutionizing the world of Enterprise Asset Management. Features like real-time insights, machine learning, and predictive analytics contribute to its growing popularity. Manufacturers and companies of all sizes use S/4HANA to track assets, manage performance, and assess risks.

Why should you migrate to S/4HANA now?

The current implementation of SAP ERP, SAP ECC 6.0 will continue to be supported until 2027. As more companies are leveraging intelligent ERP systems, however, companies can consider their legacy ERP system outdated already.

According to SAP, the main technical benefit of S/4HANA resides in the intelligent ERP system that runs in the SAP HANA in-memory database. This technology can transform business processes through a simplified data model and automation. Here are some major benefits of migrating to S4/HANA:

  1. Simplifying IT processes streamlines workflows leveraging SAP HANA technology. The in-memory database not only increases the speed of the process but consistently simplifies the data model. It eliminates redundancies and combines the benefits of an OLTP and an OLAP database.
  2. Tracking and managing assets in real-time: the use of real-time data improves maintenance and troubleshooting, reducing downtime. It also helps comply with safety requirements by tracking incident rates. Time-consuming tasks, like rebate management, are automated in S/4HANA by using the condition contract management and settlement functionality.
  3. Integrating IoT: SAP integrates its IoT solutions into cloud services to facilitate smarter operations. S/4HANA and the SAP Plant Connector or the Cloud Platform facilitate working with operational data and encourage data-driven business processes.
  4. Saving hardware and operational costs by working with Big Data in one system: S/4HANA reduces data footprints by compressing tables and objects, which means your data can be reduced by as much as 2.5 times. It also allows you to work with larger datasets.
  5. Accelerating innovation and reinventing your business: by using the HANA core, S/4HANA combines ERP with CRM, Customer Experience, transportation management, and other applications of the SAP’s digital innovation system. Furthermore, since SAP is evolving into incorporating new technologies such as IoT, big data, and blockchain, new SAP applications will only be compatible with SAP S4/HANA.

Why You Should Automate the Migration to S/4HANA

So, you have decided to make the transition and take advantage of the opportunities S/4HANA provides for your business. However, operations must continue while migrating systems. The SAP Insider Benchmark survey reports that a majority of companies are planning to move to S/4HANA with a remote workforce and are deploying it in the cloud.

Automating the migration enables companies to keep their systems in sync while migrating to a S/4HANA environment. Additionally, automation eliminates manual effort, reducing the possibility of human errors caused by migrating remotely. It saves time and costs by automatically synchronizing and migrating changes. Now that we’ve looked at the benefits of migrating to S/4HANA, let’s look at some tips to make the process as smooth as possible.

Tips to Successfully Automate Your Migration to S/4HANA

Large migration projects can be costly. Automating steps in the migration (e.g., the testing process) can make the migration faster and more reliable. Despite the obvious benefits of automation, many companies hesitate to implement automation for fear of disrupting existing processes. Here are some tips to ensure a successful migration:

  1. Determine Your Migration Approach: Before embarking on your migration journey, first determine the type of migration. For instance, you may need to build a new S/4HANA system, and migrate the business units to it. Or, the best choice might be converting your existing SAP ERP system into a S/4HANA system, which will require downtime.
  2. Do It in Stages: Many companies consider automated projects something they need to tackle all at once. In enterprise environments, this can be difficult to achieve and may take too much time. First, the stratification of enterprise environments needs to be considered, with all layers from infrastructure to applications. Then comes all the additional components of the network to consider, including those already on the cloud. Adopting automation in the entire system at once can be overwhelming and risky. It’s better to do it as a staged approach by systematically automating different layers of the IT stack. This approach to automation allows you to control the migration journey more carefully. SAP customers can start automation with simple tasks and test benefits, then move on to more complex tasks.
  3. Use Automation to Create Collaboration Between Teams: Automation frees up time and allows your staff to focus on creating value for your business. Migrating and adopting automation in different business units can lead to a disconnection between teams. A more successful approach is to integrate automation capabilities across functions. That way, different teams adopt the automation with increased collaboration.

How to Save Costs and Time by Automating SAP S/4 HANA Migration

Organizations don’t have to carry so much uncertainty on their journeys. By following our recommendations, you can accelerate your SAP migrations with greater confidence. Because you can apply these recommendations to any SAP change, you can get started with them now while you are still on SAP ECC and continue benefitting from them as you move to SAP S/4HANA and beyond.

Incorporate change-impact assessments into your current update process. We provide automated solutions that reveal the risks in any custom or SAP-issued update, not just SAP S/4HANA migrations. When integrated with an automated testing platform, our solution can automatically create test plans for an upgrade based on the identified risks. This can amplify your savings of time and resources, compared with manual efforts, while delivering better quality, coverage, and analytics.

The benefit of early change-impact analysis is that it provides a focused list of risks that organizations can then test. Lack of automated testing is a concern. This could be because half of all respondents still plan on using manual testing when they upgrade to SAP S/4HANA. While there always will be a place for manual testing, it is time-consuming, tedious, and expensive. It can cause bottlenecks and isn’t guaranteed to find the defects you’re looking to fix.

SAP customers intend to use test results from their existing SAP system as their baseline for acceptance criteria for migration to minimize time and cost. Considering how different SAP S/4HANA is from SAP ECC, looking backward into your old system is not an accurate or effective way to prepare for the significant changes that can happen to your system after a migration.

How Accrete Helps Your Company with Digital Transformation

Adapting to digital transformation involves more than acquiring and implementing new technologies. Companies seeking to improve their organizational performance may benefit from intelligent ERP systems, such as S/4HANA.

As experts in SAP Services, Accrete provides process and systems integrations advisory for companies looking to enhance their business processes through design and deployment of SAP, S/4HANA, CRM, C/4HANA, Salesforce, and Mobility solutions. In short, we provide industry-specific disruptive and innovative solutions that will help your company jump ahead of the competition.

If you want to know more about our approach, request a consultation. For questions about how Accrete can help with your particular industry needs, contact us to learn more.