Business transformation to the intelligent enterprise with SAP S/4HANA system conversion

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On incentives and motivation, Daniel Pink said: “The problem with making an extrinsic reward the only destination that matters is that some people will choose the quickest route there, even if it means taking the low road.”

Having worked on scores of assessments and projects around SAP S/4HANA , in this post I want to elucidate how business transformation to the intelligent enterprise is possible with a SAP S/4HANA system conversion. System conversion is one of the two options (greenfield or new implementation is the other) that SAP customers take to modernize their ERP systems to SAP S/4HANA.

Why did I write a specific post on system conversion you might ask? To debunk three popular misconceptions and myths about system conversion:

  • System conversion is only a technical upgrade
  • Post system conversion, all the liabilities of existing system move to the target system
  • To transform your business and adopt intelligent technologies, re-implementation is the only option.

System conversion is not a technical upgrade where you choose to skip the new features available in the new version and opt for an as-is to as-is upgrade. There is no such option available with system conversion to SAP S/4HANA in the context of your implementation. However, with the right strategy and implementation methodology, it is possible to have a cleaner and leaner target system with a digital core.

It is also possible to transform your business while doing a system conversion from SAP ECC to SAP S/4HANA. Strategy and implementation methodology are key in system conversions, failing which business users will not extract all the value conceivable. Customers think that system conversion is the fastest way to adopt SAP S/4HANA, but the duration of projects is largely determined by customer complexity (degree of change), tools, and methodology.

System conversion isn’t only about adapting the functional and technical aspects of your existing system according to the relevant simplification list and technical re-architecture of the target SAP S/4HANA system. SAP S/4HANA implementation requires significant organizational change management and choosing one approach over other requires careful evaluation of the customer’s context and system in scope.

Our comprehensive approach for system conversion begins with investigating your current systems to assess complexity, usage, and functional and technical assets. Then, we leverage the information available and work with enterprise architects to review strategies around data, development platforms, and developments. Discussions with architects result in the definition of a worklist for the prepare phase and will provide guidance to a system conversion project and create a roadmap for the future adoption of new intelligent technologies and additional features, including new business models.

With our approach, it is possible to do away with the downsides and enable an early adoption of intelligent technologies. Identification of side-by-side extension platform to keep the core lean and clean is the beginning of a transformation journey leading to intelligent enterprise. It is important to validate these strategies with proof-of-concept implementations. Applying archiving strategies for data and custom developments in the prepare phase is helpful in having fewer errors and challenges during system conversion.

Starting a greenfield ERP implementation is not always a choice for customers and in that context, it is imperative that a comprehensive system conversion approach be used to gain maximum benefit of conversion to SAP S/4HANA and derive better business value. Intelligent enterprise is a journey driven by data and fueled by the imagination. System conversion, done right, provides a quick jumpstart to digital transformation and your journey to building an intelligent enterprise.

With over 30,000+ customers waiting to cross the bridge over to SAP S/4HANA before 2025, it is important to perfect the system conversion approach. To leverage our experience and expertise, please feel free to reach out to me and I’ll be happy to collaborate with you in your journey to intelligent enterprise.

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