How to Prepare Your Organization for SAP S/4HANA

By: Lorraine Howell

As you look to transition to SAP S/4HANA, it is important to understand the differences between S/4HANA and your current ERP system. In a past post, we discussed three free tools provided by SAP that can help you understand the specific differences between your implementation and S/4HANA based on custom code, usage patterns, and other areas. But where do you go from there?

It is important to understand that while there have been significant changes to the technical side, about 80% of the changes in S/4HANA will not affect your operations. Other changes are more strategic, and are designed to make day-to-day processes easier for you, such as using a task-oriented modern user interface, providing exception-based management opportunities via relevant KPI’s, and delivering smart business toold to guide decision making.

Even so, there are ways to manage the disruptions of a transition, especially if you plan for the change in advance. One way to prepare for a conversion to S/4HANA is through a process of slow, managed change through the adoption of target capabilities in the classic SAP Business Suite. This process can be broken down into three high-level steps:

  1. Understand your business processes. To create a plan to effectively manage change and reduce its impact on your operations, you need to have an in-depth understanding of your own business processes. Document processes and differentiate between critical and non-critical processes so that you can see what functions will be impacted and how
  2. Consolidate results of SAP Tools. Combine the results of SAP tools such as the Readiness Check for S/4HANA, the Business Scenarios Recommendation Report (BSR) and the Roadmap Viewer. Or as mentioned in a previous post, SAP’s Transformation Navigator could be leveraged to help you determine your organization’s value aspirations and help you convert that into a financial business case using the quick value assessment tool. You can then then compare the impact areas with your business processes, focusing first on the impacts to critical business processes. Such impacts could include removal of a business-critical function, a shift of a frequently used function to the cloud, or a movement of current external functionalities into the core. Other new functionality can be considered in the areas of  Central Finance, Cash Management, and BPC, which has  been embedded and optimized for S/4HANA.
  3. Identify any roadblocks or impediments. Based on your assessment, you should be able to document any areas that could prevent your organization from moving forward to S/4HANA immediately (major roadblocks), as well as less critical areas that need to be addressed down the line (impediments). Having identified the major roadblocks that stand between your processes on your current ERP system and S/4HANA, you can then begin to address these areas by slowly transitioning functions toward the end targets. It is best to focus first on areas that are both mission-critical and create a core differentiation that helps you differentiate your business.

The change management process also provides you with an opportunity to return to SAP Best Practices. Truth is, many organizations implement their ERP systems in a hurry, or may even have completed their implementation years ago when there were no formal best practices. This transition point from ECC to S/4HANA is the perfect moment to look at SAP’s best practices now and take the opportunity to improve.

Ready to build your business case for S/4HANA? Then please review our webinar series via this link, or contact