Good migrations, part 1 – SAP S/4HANA adoption


Posted on: September 24, 2019 by Vinay Yelluri

A couple of weeks ago, the SAP and Cloud Services team here at Atos had fun recording a few conversations for our company’s new Digital Insights Radio podcast. We talked about trends we’re seeing, and the challenges our customers are facing as they migrate SAP applications to the cloud. I’d like to use this blog to expand on those conversations.

There’s nothing like a deadline

SAP has put out a deadline of 2025 for customers to move from existing SAP systems to S/4HANA. That’s making companies think about their plans for migration, if they haven’t already started. This migration presents some challenges for customers at the business-process level, at the user-experience level and at the infrastructure level.

First, most enterprises have been using their SAP systems for a long time and have therefore customized them to optimize their processes. With S/4HANA, SAP has completely redesigned the digital core to utilize the full power of HANA. This redesign includes changes to both the data model and the code base; hence it has changed the way the processes are executed from the legacy SAP ECC. That means the core that any of these companies has built over time must be remediated to go to S/4HANA.

The second thing is the user experience is much better now. This is a good thing, but at the same time it does provide an adoption challenge. Customers are looking at how they should train users and exactly how their user experience should work.

Another key challenge is that coming into the HANA world means you’re moving your infrastructure to a whole new area. That raises a question: Do I stay on premises or do I go to the cloud? Then, if I go, how do I make that move?

Where are you coming from?

The best way to get to S/4HANA depends on your existing environment (SAP or non-SAP). Customers who weren’t using SAP previously can pretty much start fresh and go greenfield. If you’re coming from a traditional SAP space, there are several ways to go depending on whether you’re coming from a non-Unicode system or a Unicode system. If you’re in an existing SAP environment, you’ll be performing a brownfield migration, but that means you’re taking some of the baggage you had in the past with you. There is also a smart migration approach, which is a mix of brownfield and greenfield. This approach starts new on processes but brings in your existing data.

There is no one option better over the other. For a company that is currently moving from a legacy SAP environment to S/4HANA, taking the greenfield route may be fine. But for some, a brownfield migration can be relatively more simple from an organizational change-management perspective. With our Ready4S/4 Assessment program, Atos is helping SAP customers get to the right decision of greenfield versus brownfield based on their needs.

A method to the migration madness

As you can see, adoption is a big issue for S/4HANA. To address it, my team takes clients through a full-stack, end-to-end program called ADOPT – Assess, Deploy, Operate, Protect and Transform. The best practices begin by assessing the sizing and what is needed in terms of code remediation and process mining to get to a perfect fit of what needs to go into S/4HANA. Deployment includes platform provisioning, application provisioning, remediation of your code, automation of testing and so on. Next come operating and protecting your environment, and finally, transforming it to reach a clean digital code that makes upgrades easier.

For part 2 of this series, I’ll hand the blog over to Henrik Wagner for his thoughts on the recording session. His podcast covered how you can go beyond just moving systems to the cloud to drive real digital transformation. It will be here soon with all the latest Atos blogs.

SAP TechEd in Las Vegas September 24-27

If you’re at SAP TechEd this week, come say hi! The Atos team is at Google Cloud’s booth, #215.

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About Vinay Yelluri

Chief technology officer, ATOS North America SAP practice
Vinay Yelluri is chief technology officer for Atos’ SAP practice in North America. He has over 15 years of experience in the IT industry with exposure to various technologies both in the open source and enterprise areas. His background includes architecture, product development, consulting and project management in the areas of cloud computing, web applications, big data analytics, client/server and SAP.

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