S/4HANA Conversion Methodologies

When converting from an existing SAP ECC to S/4HANA, businesses need to choose a conversion methodology that is right for them: Greenfield, Brownfield – or Capgemini’s best practice hybrid approach.

Existing SAP ECC customers are faced with a stark choice. When they eventually implement SAP S/4HANA, do they treat their prior investment as a sunken cost and re-implement their business model on S/4HANA (Greenfield), or do they largely ignore the market-leading business capabilities S/4HANA offers and do a technical conversion of their present ECC system (Brownfield)? Or is there a better alternative, Capgemini’s hybrid solution?

Greenfield’s Approach

  • Greenfield, whether on-premise or cloud, provides customers with a golden opportunity to transform their business. This method can take advantage of the speed, innovation, superior user experience and the vast business capabilities of S/4HANA
  • Simplified business partner management
  • Real-time cash flow, financial consolidation and a soft month-end close.

However, the issues are: “Is it not too risky to move my entire SAP landscape? What about the money I have invested to establish my competitive advantage and automate my business processes? Will I not be able to benefit from these solutions any longer?”

Brownfield’s Approach

  • Re-implementing old processes – SAP originally implemented decades ago and subsequently enhanced on a piecemeal basis
  • A technical conversion is based on dated business processes
  • New capabilities unused – the new exciting capabilities offered by S/4HANA remain unused.

Yes, you can subsequently re-engineer, nevertheless this will mean untangling converted solutions and you will incur the loss of converted history due to substantial changes to reporting structures and data.

If neither of these options sound attractive, is there an alternative?

Yes: Capgemini’s Hybrid Solution

Capgemini provides a specialised hybrid solution for the conversion of the ECC system from legacy to new S/4HANA platform. It offers additional functions such as data cleansing, transforming, realignment of customer organisational structures and the ability for the customer to select what data is migrated. This is over and above the capabilities of the standard SAP migration toolset. It follows the same approach as DMO, that is, extract data from legacy, then transform / convert to new organisational structures and then finally build the new S/4HANA system with all or the selected legacy system‘s data intact in a single-step method.

Benefits of the hybrid Capgemini migration approach include:

  • One-step transformation approach with only one downtime, minimising impact on day-to-day business operations
  • Can be applied in many transformation scenarios (e.g. upgrade to EHP8 and subsequent transformation to S/4HANA) and negates or avoids the need for frequent and / or lengthy downtimes and frozen windows for development and / or maintenance. In addition, the effort for integration and mass tests can be considerably reduced. In turn, this results in an overall shorter implementation cycle and a more cost-effective execution of the data transformation and migration stream of the project
  • Allows for conversions to go live throughout the fiscal year rather than having to be restricted to only specific time slots in the customer financial calendar, giving much-needed flexibility in the project. This is particularly relevant when migrating to new GL and in the migration to S/4HANA
  • Reduces the risk of corrupted data in an ongoing business scenario as most of the project activities are performed independent of the productive system except for the final data migration
  • Utilising the user interface of the solution further increases security, transparency and data quality of the data transformation exercise. Migration steps are machine-guided or automated to prevent human error. Information is stored centrally, with role-based, authorized access for project members
  • The software and transformation approach have been certified by leading international auditors, such as PwC and Ernst Young
  • The implementation approach, rules and configuration applied within the hybrid toolset can be re-used indefinitely for further / future rollouts and transformation projects within the company, e.g. in the case of company carve-outs or mergers resulting in reduced costs in follow-up projects
  • The cleansing of legacy data / structures can be implemented in parallel within the framework of the landscape and system transformation
  • SAP ERP structural changes can be accommodated in the migration, for example, in the merger of Config or Master data i.e. GL Accounts, profit centers, cost centers and plants.
  • The introduction of different accounting rules with the implementation of a ‘new’ GL is made possible in a single step (e.g. for IFRS, local GAAP, tax compliance)
  • Harmonisation of customers and vendors to a common business partner master, standardisation of processes and a migration to a single chart of accounts can all be performed in a single step.

Have you started your journey to S/4HANA? Learn more about Acclimation’s hybrid approach:


  • Full history of all transactions and configurations are migrated
  • Guaranteed incompatibility: little or no automation for testing and then trial and error
  • Old GL can be mapped and migrated to the new GL at any stage
  • Manual remapping selected data and processes, and re-configure to S/4HANA
  • Multiple downtimes through DMO conversions


Capgemini Hybrid

  • S/4HANA efficiencies in less time with less disruption and fewer risks
  • Automatic scan of the system landscape to identify objects, customisations, simplifications and actual usage
  • Automatic process scans to predict S/4HANA impacts; then mitigate as needed
  • Quickly create an empty S/4 target system
  • Migrate, upgrade, and enhance features and data in a single step
  • Automatic data integrity validation and process testing



  • An all-new implementation: new system, new processes, new headaches, high costs
  • Create an entirely new S/4 system configuration
  • Only open items and balances are migrated
  • Requires additional or secondary project phase to close out old GL
  • Build new system – run – then mitigate
  • Test and repeat



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