S/4HANA Transformation (2) – The right project methodology

Cengiz Varol

Jan Hendrik Henke

Introduction

The transition from SAP ECC to SAP S/4HANA presents a significant challenge that requires a tailored project methodology to meet the unique demands of the transition.

At RBOmnishore, we draw on our extensive expertise in SAP consulting and practical experience to execute transformation projects – and to help us with this, we have developed a special project methodology. While this method might not seem groundbreaking at first glance, real-world S/4 transition projects have demonstrated time and time again the importance of taking specific nuances and details into account to ensure a successful transformation.

Our project methodology is suitable for both Greenfield and Brownfield implementations. However, when it comes to Brownfield migration in S/4 projects, there are specific challenges and peculiarities that can arise, which require a specialised approach.

In the following, I’ll go into depth about these specific details.

Comprehensive approach - Project Methodology

Phase 1: Pre-project

  • Aim: Gaining a detailed understanding of the current system as well as the implemented processes, functions, and applications. This is important for informing project planning.
  • Focus: Analysing existing documentation and conducting in-depth workshops, particularly regarding analysing financial data, to create a strong basis for project planning.

Phase 2: Preparation

  • Aim:
    • Refining the preliminary project plan, including identifying activities, milestones, and necessary resources.
    • Adjusting the plan based on the pre-analysis results.
    • Starting preparatory activities in the system.
  • Focus:
    • Structuring project organisation and planning.
    • Cleaning up critical data, especially financial data, and preparing for Simplification Items.
    • Preparing (but not yet transforming) custom code. Defining and preparing the system landscape.

Phase 3: Implementation (explore and design) – optional

  • Aim:
    • Identifying and evaluating opportunities for optimisation and prioritising possible implementation routes.
    • Creating a roadmap (i.e. what should be considered in the migration project, both in the early stage and at a later point).
  • Focus:
    • Conducting workshops looking at potential for optimisation as well as process discovery workshops.
    • Developing an implementation plan.

Phase 4: Implementation (sprints)

  • Aim:
    • Starting the custom code transition as well as customising.
    • Implementing and testing new functions initially in a sandbox system.
    • Completing a test migration in the sandbox environment.
  • Focus:
    • Adapting or developing custom code to ensure its compatibility with S/4HANA’s new functions.
    • Necessary customising, e.g. according to the Simplification List or OSS notes.

Phase 5: Testing, cutover, training

  • Aim:
    • Conducting migration cycles, including data transfer and system configuration, starting in the development environment and continuing in the Q system.
    • Comprehensive testing to ensure all processes function properly. Training key users (ideally starting in the sandbox and development environment).

 

  • Focus:
    • Carrying out the migration in the development environment (transferring from the sandbox) according to a detailed plan. Once this is successful, it can be implemented in the Q environment, and integrative testing can be conducted.
    • Aim is to minimise downtime for development and test systems.
    • Starting cutover activities and executing in the P-system up until the go-live.

Phase 6: Go-live & hypercare

  • Aim:
    • Completing final cutover activities and officially starting the go-live with user approval (S/4HANA operational).
    • Providing post-go-live support and troubleshooting.
    • Planning for further potential for optimisation potentials (linked to Phase 3).

 

  • Focus:
    • Supporting and assisting IT and key users during the hypercare phase.
    • Preparing a final report and handing over to application management support.

Conclusion

In conclusion, RBOmnishore’s phased model for transitioning from SAP ECC to SAP S/4HANA offers a structured approach that addresses all critical aspects of the migration. From initial analysis and preparation through detailed planning and implementation to go-live and subsequent support, our model covers all necessary steps. This ensures a smooth transition while identifying and implementing optimisation measures. By integrating both technical and business requirements and focusing on continuous improvement, our approach guarantees efficient and effective project execution.

 

Our experience shows that many companies initially focus on a “technical” migration, doing only what is necessary to switch to S/4HANA. As they gain more experience and understand the innovations S/4HANA offers, they typically transition to new processes and functions. Nevertheless, S/4HANA as a digital core should not be viewed in isolation. End-to-end processes are often modelled across multiple applications and solutions (SAP and non-SAP), requiring coordination beyond the boundaries of the application. Additionally, it’s important to consider whether switching entirely or partially to cloud solutions in the future is appropriate, and whether moving certain developments to SAP BTP is the way forward for your company.

Interested?

Interested in learning more about S/4HANA Transformation? Get in touch with us to find out more.

 

S/4HANA Transformation (3) – Details and tips

In our third part of our series of articles on S/4 transformation, we go into more detail and provide tips and tricks from past successfully implemented S/4HANA transformation projects. components that have a significant impact on sourcing outcomes in the SAP OMSA system.

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