In part 1 of this series, I highlighted the different conceptual approaches to an S/4 transition and talked about some of the things you might need to consider. In this post, I’m going to focus on understanding how long your journey will take and how to avoid a change moratorium / freeze during that period.
Planning the Landscape
Regardless of the approach selected, there will be a prolonged period between the creation of a new S/4 Development Environment (Phase 2 in the diagram below) and the eventual cutover of the business from ECC to S/4 (Phase 5). Between these phases, two landscapes will be in place.
Understanding Dual Maintenance
During the period when two landscapes, on two different platforms, are in place for the same business scope, it is necessary to keep them in synch. This is known as Dual Maintenance, as relevant changes need to be maintained twice. The longer the period from Phase 2 to Phase 5, and the higher the volume of change being managed, the harder it will be to ensure that there are no deviations or differences between the source (ECC) and target (S/4) landscapes when you reach the S/4 cutover. This is particularly important for key configuration or custom solutions (especially in Brownfield and Hybrid scenarios).
Avoiding a Change Moratorium
One of the easiest ways to manage risk during such a long transformation project is to minimize the amount of change which is taking place in this “in-flight” landscape. Options such as a moratorium on changes – typically seen around sensitive periods like year-end (fiscal or calendar) – can significantly reduce the risk. However, most businesses would find an extended change freeze unacceptable or even a risk to the overall success of the company. More typical is a mandate that there should be no freeze or slowdown in activity during the transformation project. As a result, a robust solution to govern and control the high number of changes and involved parties is needed.
Managing on-going projects, activities and changes
The diagram below shows a more detailed example of what the period from Phase 1 to Phase 5 might look like, in which I am assuming a Hybrid migration with a ‘big bang’ cutover. Greenfield and Brownfield will have certain variations (see part 1 of this series for more details). Phasing the migration – a more likely option for Greenfield or Hybrid – will lead to a more complex and lengthier dual maintenance process.
Types of projects to consider
Depending upon when a project starts and finishes in relation to the S/4 landscape build-out will determine how different projects should be handled.
Dual Maintenance complexity as part of an S/4 transformation
Dual maintenance has been around as a challenge for as long as customers needed to upgrade their SAP landscapes (3.0f -> 4.6c -> ECC 6.0). S/4 however, it brings with it additional challenges which need to be taken into account:
Clearly, it is imperative for most businesses these days to continue delivering business priorities despite lengthy IT-led initiatives such as the move to S/4. Regardless of what volume of change you will be managing, it is imperative to avoid the risk of going live on S/4 without some of the change that is required to operate the business, or of being unable to support what is already live.
To help govern and control this dual maintenance challenge with maximum productivity and minimum effort, SAP teams are implementing automation technology to help with each phase of the transition – even after cutover. This eBook expands on the topics above and covers more on the approaches businesses are using to accelerate their S/4 project turnaround.
In the final part of this series, I will cover the handling of custom code and managing a more complex, higher volume S/4 landscape in the future.
Originally published at https://www.basistechnologies.com.