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Author's profile photo Wieland Schreiner

Planning Your Journey to SAP S/4HANA

Digital technologies are fundamentally redefining the way we work, live, and play. With self-driving cars, 3D printing, and personalized healthcare and products, we are already seeing the first results of the digital age, and the transformation has only just begun. This spurs innovation and, with it, exponential growth. Success in the digital economy depends entirely on how companies can digitally transform themselves to meet the challenges of this hyper-connected future. Instead of marginal improvements to existing business models and IT landscapes, companies are looking to create new digital experiences that completely re-imagine the way organizations relate to their customers, suppliers, workforce, and assets.


To fully take advantage of the digital transformation, companies need to have a digital core. No matter how well designed a race car is, and no matter how good the driver, it needs a powerful engine and a light chassis. That’s what the digital core is all about. It connects, drives, and supports digital business.

With SAP S/4HANA, SAP has introduced a new product and the next-generation SAP Business Suite.

SAP S/4HANA On-Premise Edition

This product represents a shift in focus from transactional backbone to a new digital core that enables the transformation of business processes. As the central nervous system for the digital corporation, the new digital core lets users take action and make decisions based on real-time data. It provides the technology for real-time processes, prediction, and simulation, and offers a state-of-the-art user experience, agility, and reduced TCO. SAP S/4HANA is an end-to-end solution that covers all mission-critical business processes across 25 industries. Based on the in-memory SAP HANA platform, SAP S/4HANA can store and process huge amounts of data simultaneously, whilst also significantly reducing an organization’s data footprint. Driving digitized business processes based on a single source of truth, SAP S/4HANA allows companies to focus on the end consumer.

For some organizations, the move to SAP S/4HANA will be their first point of contact with in-memory technology and thus an entirely new architecture. This new architecture comes with new opportunities and capabilities, enabling SAP to deliver the innovation that its customers demand. During the transition to a new architecture, the two elements of investment protection and short-term investment have to be balanced. Preparing a system for the future requires a set number of changes for the long-term. To manage this duality, SAP follows the guiding principle of applying changes that not only drive simplification, but also lay the foundations for SAP S/4HANA as the digital core. Where change management is required, to the greatest possible extent, SAP has applied a compatibility concept to give customers both the time for and control over the conversion. The following will provide a detailed description of how SAP envisions the conversion to SAP S/4HANA.

To better support customers on their way to SAP S/4HANA, SAP provides resources to identify and handle changes during the transition from SAP Business Suite to SAP S/4HANA.

To enable our customers to plan their journey to SAP S/4HANA in detail, we have created the “Simplification List for SAP S/4HANA, on-premise edition 1511.” This list provides detailed functional-level descriptions of the required changes to individual transactions and solution capabilities in SAP S/4HANA. It supports customers who are transitioning from SAP ERP 6.x or SAP Simple Finance, on-premise edition, to SAP S/4HANA, on-premise 1511 edition and includes guidance on the activities customers need to complete before, during, and after the conversion to SAP S/4HANA.

Based on the experience gained from current projects, we expect that a typical customer system will be affected by on average 30 to 40 of the currently around 300 Simplification Items. Technical pre-checks, which assess the usage and configuration of a customer’s existing SAP Business Suite system, identify the relevant Simplification Items. Customers can run these pre-checks on their existing SAP Business Suite systems during the planning phase prior to the actual conversion to SAP S/4HANA. SAP plans to further improve the process of identifying Simplification Items by providing additional pre-checks and even more advanced tools that will reduce the list per system to a specific subset for that particular system.

With the Simplification List approach, a customer can identify the relevant items early in the planning phase of the transition to SAP S/4HANA and can make the necessary preparations before the system conversion. Many of these preparatory steps can be carried out independently of the transition to SAP S/4HANA in the existing SAP Business Suite system. This includes, for example, the migration from Sales & Distribution Foreign Trade to SAP Global Trade Services (SAP GTS). Another, more technical example would be the adaptation of custom code to use the official MATNR domain for materials instead of customer-specific domains in preparation for the material number field length extension in SAP S/4HANA.

The Simplification List is complemented by the Custom Code Migration Worklist, a worklist of custom code entities that do not comply with the new data structure and scope of SAP S/4HANA. One example of this would be custom code that relies on the Beverage solution that is not available in SAP S/4HANA. The Custom Code Migration Worklist supports the customer in adapting custom code for use with SAP S/4HANA, where required.

The Simplification List, therefore, serves three purposes:

  • Planning the actual system conversion from a traditional ERP solution to SAP S/4HANA
  • Reducing efforts during the actual conversion by enabling individual Simplification Items to be dealt with in advance for those customers intending to migrate in a future project (if, for example, they are currently tied up in other projects)
  • Implementing SAP S/4HANA-compliant strategic capabilities when rolling out new capabilities to avoid rework on SAP S/4HANA (relevant to, for example, customers who still need to finish major rollouts prior to converting to SAP S/4HANA)

The items on the Simplification List follow four major patterns:

Implementing the “Principle of One”

Over the years, existing solutions and technologies in the SAP Business Suite have been repeatedly improved and replaced by newly developed successor solutions and technologies. In some areas, this has led to situations whereby multiple solutions and technologies co-exist that cover the same – or very similar – functionality.

Based on the process innovation that results from the advanced digitization we see today, SAP will rework existing capabilities. SAP S/4HANA, therefore, follows the principle of one by focusing only on the most recent and advanced of the multiple redundant solutions or technologies. This simplification leads to reduced complexity in operating systems. This also holds true in cases where solutions for the SAP Business Suite are not available for SAP S/4HANA, but a (for example, Fiori-based) solution is newly developed in SAP S/4HANA, due to SAP S/4HANA being a new, separate product and not a successor of the SAP Business Suite.

Examples of this include:

  • SAP Global Trade Services (SAP GTS) is the new SAP S/4HANA solution. Sales & Distribution Foreign Trade is not available for SAP S/4HANA.

Customers are supported by:

  • Descriptions in the Simplification List of solutions and functionality that are not available in SAP S/4HANA
  • Pre-checks that identify whether a customer is using solutions and functionalities that are not available in SAP S/4HANA
  • Custom Code Migration Worklist content to identify technical artifacts of no longer available solutions and functionalities in the custom code
  • Tools and guidelines for a successful migration from an old solution or technology to its successor

Non-Strategic Functionality in Compatibility Scope

To reduce complexity by eliminating redundant solutions and technologies, the previously described “principle of one” should still be applied. That is why SAP has introduced the concept of the compatibility scope, whereby a specific existing solution, while not the recommended target solution, is still available in SAP S/4HANA on an interim basis, with the aim of making the transition to SAP S/4HANA easier. Even after transitioning to SAP S/4HANA, customers have sufficient time to move from an old solution to the new, recommended solution.

Examples of this include:

  • Warehouse Management
  • Logistics Information System

Customers are supported by:

  • Descriptions in the Simplification List of solutions and functionalities that are not available in SAP S/4HANA

Removal of obsolete / Long-Tail Functionality

Not every functionality that has been developed over the years for and in the SAP Business Suite has seen equal levels of usage. Special, non-mainstream solutions that were still moderately used a decade ago might not have been used at all in recent years.

To further reduce complexity, functionalities with no or barely any usage in the SAP Business Suite may not be available in SAP S/4HANA.

Examples of this include:

  • Removal of the IS-Beverage elements of the SAP Business Suite in 2004

Customers are supported by:

  • Descriptions in the Simplification List of solutions and functionalities that are not available in the respective SAP S/4HANA solution
  • Pre-checks to identify if a customer is using one of the above mentioned solutions and functionalities
  • Custom Code Migration Worklist content for identifying technical artifacts that belong to this area

Change of Existing Functionality

To get the most out of the capabilities of SAP HANA and be able to provide new, innovative business processes in SAP S/4HANA, some existing functionalities, technologies, and data models were changed.

Examples of such changes include:

  • Material number field length extension
  • Data model changes in SD, MM, and FIN

Customers are supported by:

  • Descriptions of the changes in the Simplification List
  • Pre-checks to establish whether a customer is currently using the changed solutions or technologies
  • Custom Code Migration Worklist content to identify the above mentioned affected functionalities
  • Tools and guidelines on handling the necessary adaptations related to these changes, for example, reports for automatically migrating data to the new data model during the system conversion

Related Information



SAP Help

Conversion Guide for SAP S/4HANA


Simplification List for SAP S/4HANA


Custom Code Migration Worklist (SAP Help)


General SAP S/4HANA information sources

SAP SCN – SAP S/4HANA Community Network


SAP SCN – SAP S/4HANA Cookbook


SAP SCN – The System Conversion to SAP S/4HANA, on-premise edition 1511 – Technical procedure and semantic adaption tasks


SAP SCN – SAP S/4HANA Custom Code Migration Worklist


ABAP custom code adaption for SAP HANA – The efficient way


Customer Stories & Use Cases

Airbus DS Optronics Develops Eagle Vision into Financial and Control Processes


MEMEBOX: Increasing Revenue 100% with SAP S/4HANA


Convergent Supports its 200% Growth with S/4HANA


Convergent Story




General Datatech: Gains a Competitive Advantage with SAP S/4HANA


Real Time Inventory with SAP S/4HANA


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      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      This is an amazing post which can help clients to plan there S4/HANA journey.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Very much informative to start with and understand S4/HANA.

      Author's profile photo Sattaiah Gundu
      Sattaiah Gundu


      Author's profile photo Ravi Medam
      Ravi Medam

      Its really  very much informative.

      Author's profile photo Ravi Medam
      Ravi Medam

      Its really  very much informative.


      Author's profile photo K JESU BALAN