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There’s a lot to think about when your company is considering a transition to SAP S/4HANA. No large-scale implementation or migration project is simple, but there are three common scenarios that make moving to SAP/S4HANA possible: New System Installation, System Conversion, or Landscape Transformation.

Scenario 1: New System Installation

In this scenario, an organization would be a new or existing SAP customer implementing a new SAP S/4HANA system beginning with an initial data load. In this case, the SAP S/4HANA system is implemented, and data (master and transactional) are migrated from the legacy system. As companies prepare to embark on this digital journey, the migration and cleansing of this data is the first step. But data migration shouldn’t stop with moment-in-time clean data. Utopia recently published a white paper discussing the role of data governance as the critical step in the transition to SAP S/4HANA and why it is pivotal to ensure that the data driving business decisions is consistent and reliable… and that it stays that way.

Scenario 2: System Conversion

System conversion would be complete conversion of an existing SAP Business Suite system/ SAP ERP system to SAP S/4HANA. This scenario is technically based on Software Update Manager (SUM) but could have a database migration piece if your organization is not yet on SAP HANA as your underlying database. If you’re starting from SAP ERP 6, with a non-HANA database, you can transition to SAP S/4HANA in two steps –moving the data from the current database to HANA database and installing the new code with SAP Software Update Manager. You can also jumpstart the process by using the SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud managed by SAP or your internal teams.

Whereas a new system installation feels more like a clean, fresh start, a system conversion looks simple from afar but can have underlying complications, due to customized legacy environments you’re currently running.  The important thing to remember is that you’re moving to a simplified environment with a lot of possibilities.

Scenario 3: Landscape Transformation

For this third scenario, an organization would consolidate their current regional SAP Business Suite landscape into one global SAP S/4HANA system. For organizations running SAP ERP 6 on SAP HANA, you can apply the new SAP S/4HANA functionality to take advantage of a real-time view and insights into your data and the entire organization. With any system conversion, compatibility checks are done on the customizations that had been done in the previous system to ensure a smooth transition.

 What’s Your Next Step?

The important thing to remember is that there is no “one fits all” approach to the journey to SAP S/4HANA.  Your roadmap to become a digitally-enabled enterprise is unique and should reflect what you want to learn from your valuable data assets.  The systems are only as good as the data living in it, so remember that the road doesn’t start at the transition, the critical first step is ensuring your data is clean, reliable and consistent… and that you have a plan to keep it that way.

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