Conclusions on the transformation to S/4 from an SAP expert

June 20, 2022 Blog

The move to an S/4 environment is becoming more and more mandatory and necessary. According to SAP itself, there are about 10,000 S/4 systems in production today. Knowing this, we can draw a number of lessons and conclusions on the transformation to S/4.

ERP and IT expert Johannes Szalachy has taken a look at these deductions and conclusions to explain some aspects that companies tend to underestimate. In this ZTalent blog post we discuss them.

Current situation regarding S/4

As we mentioned in the previous ZTalent blog post, the company Resulting IT says that around 40,000 companies must migrate to S/4 HANA. Moreover, this transformation needs to take place before 2025.

Although the number of companies with unfinished business is a little dizzying, the fact is that many others have already completed the process. This has made it possible to draw conclusions about the migration process, even if the starting points and objectives of the migrations are not always the same. The following are Szalachy’s most important lessons learned.

Aspect 1: Data management

The SAP expert comments that there are some aspects of transformation that companies underestimate. One of the conclusions on the transformation to S/4 related to this is data management. “It’s not only very extensive and complex, but also involves a lot of costs in the project and in the subsequent operation,” explains Szalachy. Its complexity makes the identification of data to be kept in the central system and data to be outsourced an indispensable task.

At the same time, data archiving has to be taken care of. Johannes Szalachy explains that the European General Data Protection Regulation is part of the integrated data management. “SAP’s data simplification has far-reaching effects on the data structure and internal developments.

Aspect 2: System architecture

Another key issue for most customers is the new system architecture. The focus is on the hardware, i.e. HANA. “The anticipation of an unplanned hybrid system architecture due to cloud solutions shoehorned in by business departments,” says Szalachy, “often comes too late”.

Ensuring and verifying the necessary integration is a fundamental part of the hybrid approach, which is itself a prerequisite for a successful cloud implementation. “But SAP has not yet fully integrated some cloud acquisitions,” explains the SAP expert.

Aspect 3: Change management

Finally, change management is also an important factor in the transformation to S/4. “In my opinion,” says Szalachy, “some areas of HR are misjudged and therefore some effects are underestimated. Training, succession planning and knowledge transfer are among them. “For example, poorly trained users under- or misuse software and therefore take longer or make mistakes, which costs a lot of time and money” explains Szalachy.

The massive shortage of IT and SAP specialists is a priority problem for many companies. As a result of the uncertainty caused by massive changes in the transformation project, special attention must be paid to the affected human resources. “Any change of personnel has long-lasting effects and is costly“. Knowledge transfer from external consultants to internal staff must also be ensured. Dependency on consultants after the end of the project is a risk and is associated with financial disadvantages.


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