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Author's profile photo Amin Hoque

Move to SAP S/4HANA with Selective Data Transition

Last updated: December 21 2022


In this blog, I describe how existing SAP customers can move from their existing SAP ERP solution to SAP S/4HANA using the “Selective Data Transition” approach.  This is one of three possible approaches:

  • System Conversion
  • New Implementation
  • Selective Data Transition

If you are new to the topic, read my other blog first on moving to SAP S/4HANA.  This provides some background and detail on the other two approaches.

Selective Data Transition is an alternative to the New Implementation approach (also called greenfield) or System Conversion approach (also called brownfield).  It is relevant for customers moving from an existing SAP ERP solution to SAP S/4HANA on-premise or SAP S/4HANA cloud, private edition. For details on S/4HANA deployment options, see my blog:  

As its name implies, this approach involves transferring data from one or more existing ERP solutions to a new S/4HANA solution. The transfer is done by SAP or partners that provide specialized tools and services.  The data selectively transferred can include:

  • ABAP repository of objects and developments
  • Configuration (customizing) data
  • Master data
  • Transaction data (open items and a time-slice of historical closed items e.g. 2 years)

There are two common approaches to create a target system with Selective Data Transition: Shell Conversion and Mix and Match.  In Shell Conversion, a shell copy of a production system is made without master and transaction data and this is converted to SAP S/4HANA.  In Mix and Match, a new S/4HANA install is created and then elements of the existing configuration and ABAP repository are transported or manually transferred. Both scenarios require data migration to follow including master data, balances and open items.

Selective Data Transition allows you to selectively re-use parts of your existing ERP solution while re-designing others parts.  Typically this is done by application area.  For example you may re-use the ERP logistics solution but re-design the finance solution. Or you may re-design procurement and asset management whilst re-using the existing sales and finance processes.

As shown in the diagram above, Shell Conversion is used when most of the solution and processes are being re-used.  Mix and Match is used when a majority of the solution is being re-designed. A comparison of the approaches is shown below.

The data is moved using SAP Data Management and Landscape Transformation (DMLT) software and related services. SAP DMLT used to be referred to as SAP System Landscape Optimization (SLO). For over 15 years, SAP DMLT have provided well established solutions and services for organizational changes, acquisitions, divestitures, or harmonization of SAP landscapes. The software provides highly automated processes that move large amounts of data between SAP instances quickly. The SAP DMLT services team deliver projects globally.

Similar software and services are provided by third party vendors for S/4HANA on-premise. More detail on these later.

Selective Data Transition should be considered when organizations need to:

  • Go live in phases (e.g. by country or business unit).
  • Reduce re-implementation effort by re-using some application areas e.g. logistics while re-designing others e.g. finance.
  • Reduce risk of a big bang go live.
  • Split or merge existing SAP ERP instances. (For example, you may choose to carve-out application areas or companies  and implement them on a separate instance or in the cloud).
  • Leave behind large amounts of old data e.g. to reduce the duration of conversions and cutovers. (This is an alternative to doing a large data archiving project followed by a system conversion).

The split and consolidation of ERP instances is a large topic in its own right and is not covered in detail here. Instead, I focus on how Selective Data Transition can be used to phase go-lives.  This may be required in ERP solutions with large data volumes or with many users in multiple countries.

As stated earlier, the starting point is to create a parallel SAP S/4HANA sandbox or development system.  A new clean install of SAP S/4HANA can be used (Mix and Match approach).  Alternatively, use SAP DMLT to create a “shell” copy of an existing ERP system (Shell Conversion). The shell contains the ABAP repository and configuration data without master data or transaction data.  A system conversion is done to turn this into an S/4HANA instance. The conversion process is simpler and faster without the master and transaction data and certain S/4HANA Simplification Items can be more easily implemented without business data.

For selective data migration of master and transaction data, SAP DMLT tools are used.  If no historical transactions are required and only open transaction items are needed, the SAP S/4HANA Migration Cockpit (direct transfer scenario) may be simpler. SAP DMLT allows a time slice of historical transaction data to be migrated.

An example project scenario using Shell Conversion is described below.  This assumes a two stage project. The first stage is a technical transition followed by a second stage to implement business transformation innovations.  The first technical transition stage is outlined below:


  • Engage SAP DMLT or a partner to advise on the approach. This may lead to preparation work in the existing ERP system.
  • Analyze DMLT source system functionality e.g. using Business Process Improvement within Solution Manager.
  • Analyze existing landscape using SAP Readiness Check and Process Discovery for SAP S/4HANA (used to be called the Business Scenario Recommendations or BSR).
  • Execute S/4HANA preparation activities in the existing ERP solution.  This might include archiving data to reduce the data footprint although data reduction can be achieved when data is transferred to S/4HANA with DMLT tools.  You may remove unwanted unused custom code and configuration. You may also perform Customer Vendor Integration (CVI) to make business partner the lead object.


  • Create a new S/4HANA sandbox system. Create a shell copy using a recent copy of a production ERP instance
  • Perform an S/4HANA system conversion of the shell system.
  • Make configuration changes required to execute light Fit-to-Standard workshops.
  • Analyze custom code and make decisions about what to adapt during the Realize phase.
  • Conduct Fit-to-Standard analysis and design focusing on mandatory S/4HANA Simplification Items.


  • Set up data migration tools and environment.
  • Create a new S/4HANA development system using a shell copy of the sandbox system.
  • Set up a production support track for on-going maintenance of the live solution.
  • Make configuration changes required for SAP S/4HANA Simplification Items.
  • Adapt ABAP code for SAP S/4HANA
  • Implement any changes required for integration and analytics solutions.
  • Execute multiple data migration test cycles using SAP DMLT in the sandbox.
  • Set up a quality assurance system and production system with a copy of the S/4HANA development shell without master and transaction data.
  • Test selective migration of master and transaction data in the Quality Assurance system. A time-slice of transaction data is used e.g. move 2 years of historic transactions leaving 8 years behind.
  • Set up SAP Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) and a retention warehouse to move old data onto a low-cost infrastructure.
  • Run integration and User Acceptance tests.


  • Rehearse the cutover.
  • Migrate master data and, if required, historical transaction data into the Production system.
  • Cutover to the production. Migrate transaction item data and master data that has changed since the last migration cycle.

Once the technical transition stage is complete, a second project stage can be kicked off to implement business transformation innovations e.g. to adopt SAP Fiori apps.  The first stage is led by a technical team and the second stage is led by the business.

This approach may be flexed.  For example:

  • First go-live could include business transformation scope in addition to the technical conversion.
  • S/4HANA preparation activities in the prepare phase could be done in the sandbox rather than the existing ERP solution.
  • In the Explore phase, you might jump straight to a development system instead of using a Sandbox.  (The Sandbox is still required later to do the test cycles of data migration).
  • During the technical transition, configuration and ABAP code adaption could be done in the sandbox system and then moved to a development system. This can reduce the duration of the production support track.
  • Multiple sequential go-lives could occur with master and transaction data migrated as required e.g. by country and company code.
  • Selectively transfer business and master data from multiple source ERP systems. A pre-requisite for working with multiple source systems, is that the ABAP repository and configuration of the source systems are compatible. Harmonization work is required in the Prepare phase.
  • Only use the S/4HANA Migration Cockpit for data migration (excluding historic transactions). This provides a more application focused approach when compared to the technical migration involved in DMLT services. Less harmonization work may be required.
  • The old production system may be de-commissioned to a dormant status to access historic data and archived data.

For more information about using SAP Data Management and Landscape Transformation (DMLT) services including FAQs see this page:

There is Knowledge Based Article (KBA) which is regularly updated with latest information:

Or see or read the solution brief and the SAPPI Success Story. You can contact the global SAP DMLT team by email They provides services for Selective Data Transition, New Implementation and System Conversion that can also be delivered remotely.

There are five organizations that provide software, tools and services for selective data transition:

  • SAP (DMLT)
  • CBS
  • Natuvion
  • SNP

The partners are alternatives to using SAP DMLT services for SAP S/4HANA on-premise projects.  These organizations are part of a global expert community. SAP has not certified any of the partners toolsets and SAP support agreements do not cover fixes for inconsistencies that could occur using their tools. You can get more details of their offerings at these links:

I hope you found this blog informative.

Amin Hoque
Enterprise Architect at SAP Services UK


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      Author's profile photo Adil Zafar
      Adil Zafar

      Hi Amin

      Great blog and very timely as well.

      I've been discussing this very topic with SAP since July last year as I see huge potential in helping customer move to S/4HANA Cloud Extended Edition (STE) with Select Data Transition.

      I would like your opinion on what the approach would be when moving Customization, Customizing Repository, Cross-Client Customization, Standard Repository, Add-ons, Modifications etc.

      I know SAP DBS in Germany have carried out such an endevour but I would like to understand the framework under which such a Transition is undertaken, other than adhering to the 5 Golden rules.

      Many thanks

      Adil Zafar


      Author's profile photo Amin Hoque
      Amin Hoque
      Blog Post Author

      Hello Adil

      Selective data transition for SAP S/4HANA Cloud Extended Edition is a special case.  You might try contacting for more information.

      Kind regards

      Amin Hoque.

      Author's profile photo Atanu Mukherjee
      Atanu Mukherjee

      Hi Amin,

      Nice blog and very useful info.I have 2 queries. viz.:

      Seems like selective data transition is the new term for "landscape transformation" used earlier. If a customer choose selective data transition option with phased roll out let's say by company code or say by an application area like FI/CO only, then I would presume dual maintenance would be required with the new system and the old production system. How different is this with "Central Finance" & SLT replication server option which was being offered earlier?

      Is there any SAP documentation available regarding the settings of dual maintenance, trouble shooting etc. while choosing selective data transition?

      Best Regards,


      Author's profile photo Sujoy Mukherjee
      Sujoy Mukherjee

      Would like to hear more on SAP Data Management and Landscape Transformation for scenarios that includes acquisitions, divestitures, or harmonization of SAP landscapes using company codes as base to disseminate the data and hence attaining historical data separation for business usage in consistent manner.

      Amin Hoque  Kindly help with your thoughts on DMLT more

      Author's profile photo Amin Hoque
      Amin Hoque
      Blog Post Author

      Hello Sujoy

      For SAP DMLT, see this page

      Kind regards

      Amin Hoque.

      Author's profile photo Amin Hoque
      Amin Hoque
      Blog Post Author

      Hello Atanu

      Yes, "Selective Data Transition" used to be called "Landscape Transformation".  Dual maintenance is required through a production support track for on-going maintenance.  The considerations are similar to those for doing a system conversion.  For more information see the SAP Activate Roadmap here:,001999B7BD851ED68BCCC1977FE5E2CE,001999B7BD851ED68BCCC3E4F2C6C2CE,001999B7BD851ED68BCCD49DCA7E82CE,t3,t1,t4/node/001999B7BD851ED68D9579E331D4E2CE:t1,t3,t4

      Depending on the changes, retrofit activities may require special attention, because transports between classic SAP ERP and SAP S/4HANA may cause inconsistencies (see SAP Note 2192251)

      Central Finance remains an option for customers that want to get the benefits of S/4HANA Finance without converting their whole solution. It is targeted at customers with multiple ERP instance that want to consolidate financial results.


      Kind regards

      Amin Hoque

      Author's profile photo Shekharappa DH
      Shekharappa DH

      Nice Blog and Very useful.

      Author's profile photo Hansraj singh
      Hansraj singh

      Nice and Useful Post.

      Author's profile photo Thyge Friis
      Thyge Friis

      Hi Amin,

      Interesting perspective with the selective data transition which then allows a 'phased go-live'. This should reduce business risk by allowing some functional areas to remain (for some time) on the mature SAP ECC platform.

      Where (or from whom) is it possible to find more information e.g.

      • An actual customer case
      • Drawing of the technical integration "when mid-air" from old SAP ECC to new S/4 HANA
      • Cost components, or considerations/drivers

      Best regards

      Author's profile photo Amin Hoque
      Amin Hoque
      Blog Post Author

      Hello Thyge

      There is a customer case in SAP News here:

      There is some more information in the SAP Activate roadmap.  For example:,001999B7BD851ED68BCCC3E4F2C6C2CE,001999B7BD851ED68BCCD49DCA7E82CE,t3,t1,t4/node/001999B7BD851ED68D95DB65992222CE:t4,t1,t3

      Also see the SAP pages for DMLT: and 

      Traditional landscape transformation is covered here including some success stories:

      Contact the SAP DMLT team at or contact the partners.

      Kind regards

      Amin Hoque.



      Author's profile photo Marcus Scott
      Marcus Scott

      SNP challenges traditional approaches to S/4HANA transformation projects. Up to now, companies have mainly relied on the two traditional approaches Greenfield (new implementation) and Brownfield (conversion of existing systems). With the BLUEFIELD™ (“Selective Data Transition”) approach, SNP has developed a migration path that combines the strengths of Greenfield and Brownfield. Example: Australian retailer COLES from ECC to S4 in 5 months. 

      Author's profile photo Umamaheshwar Muramshetty
      Umamaheshwar Muramshetty

      HI Amin Hoque,


      Very nice blog which explains more details. One basic question - Can you provide more details on general client copy (SCCL) and difference on using shell creation via selective data approach model.

      Does the client copy method and selective data approach leads to same target (shell creation).?




      Author's profile photo Amin Hoque
      Amin Hoque
      Blog Post Author


      I am not sure on this detail.  You would need to contact SAP DMLT team.

      Kind regards

      Amin Hoque.

      Author's profile photo Adil Zafar
      Adil Zafar

      Hi Umamaheshwar

      Its my understanding that Empty Shell creation required specific tooling / methodology to carry that out.

      You are effectively stripping out the Application Data and leaving the rest of the Customization, Configuration un-touched.

      IBM are working with both SAP and SNP on many projects to use the SDT approach or what we call IBM Rapid Move.

      Many thanks


      Author's profile photo John Conte
      John Conte

      Hi Amin,

      this is a very good post and does a great job at explaining the use cases and context.

      I've been doing SAP 'SLO' work (divestitures/mergers) and SAP in general since R/2 and have worked with and for companies that do this kind of work, as well as their tools.

      Thank you for the post and keep up the good work!

      Author's profile photo Garrick Keatts
      Garrick Keatts

      Very nice piece. Well written and understandable.

      For clients leveraging the select data transfer approach, what percentage do you see using "shell" vs "mix and match" at this point? How do you see that percentage changing at all going forward?

      Author's profile photo Amin Hoque
      Amin Hoque
      Blog Post Author

      Hello Garrick

      I have contacted the SAP DMLT team.

      Currently New Implementation (greenfield) and System Conversion (brownfield) projects are evenly split.  The number of Selective Data Transition (SDT) projects are growing all the time but are  smaller in number (<10%).

      The current split in SDT projects is: 70% Shell Conversion and 30% Mix and Match. We expect the share of Shell Conversion projects to increase.

      We also expect a reduction in the share of New Implementation (greenfield) projects.

      Kind regards

      Amin Hoque.


      Author's profile photo Nilesh Kumar
      Nilesh Kumar

      Hello Amin,

      Thanks for such a informative blog, we are considering selective transformation for one of customer where they have multple core SAP ERP systems at different versions based on different geographies, is it possible to use Mix and Amtch approach here when we know that we can't base the S/4 Hana instance on just one ERP and we must bring not only data but configuration and customization from multiple ERP systems. Do you have an example where this has been achived and what are the considerations we must keep in mind and what are the challeges we should be aware with this approach.




      Author's profile photo Amin Hoque
      Amin Hoque
      Blog Post Author

      Hello Nilesh

      I think mix and match would be possible but the consolidation of configuration would be a manual design process aligned to new S/4HANA scope.  You would start with a fresh clean S/4HANA system. It may be possible to download individual configuration activities with many records and upload them.  Mapped master data can be brought across e.g. using the S/4HANA Data Migration Cockpit.  This approach would really only work if the business is happy to only bring across "open item" transactions and leave historical transactions in the source systems.

      Best to approach the SAP DMLT team for more advice.

      Here is a story of merging ERP systems:

      See this solution brief on restructure scenarios


      Kind regards

      Amin Hoque

      Author's profile photo Naveen Karumanchi
      Naveen Karumanchi

      Thanks for the blog.

      Do we have similar approach for BW/4 HANA


      Author's profile photo Amin Hoque
      Amin Hoque
      Blog Post Author

      Hello Naveen

      Apparently there is something for BW/4HANA.   If you need more detail please email



      Author's profile photo Ashish Srivastava
      Ashish Srivastava

      Thanks a lot for sharing this blog, it is very informative.

      Author's profile photo Shaswat C
      Shaswat C

      Very information blog !


      Do you have information on how custom code can be migrated selectively ? I have seen SAP documentation mention that we can use Retrofit functionality to do this but have you any customer use case for this. As we migrate only selective data eg. countries we will need to re-use the custom programs too

      Author's profile photo jason zhang
      jason zhang


      Author's profile photo Raphael Gallwey
      Raphael Gallwey

      Very good blog.


      One question : I did not see anywhere in the activities the documentation of the to be processes.

      Quite challenging, as in a Greenfield we strat for the BP's, and in a Brown, we stick to the current processes (with the S4 changes).

      Author's profile photo Amin Hoque
      Amin Hoque
      Blog Post Author

      Hello Raphael

      To-be processes are documented in the Explore phase.  During "Conduct Fit-to-Standard analysis and design"

      Kind regards

      Amin Hoque

      Author's profile photo Anders Kortbæk
      Anders Kortbæk

      Hi Amin,

      Thanks for a nice blog.

      I have a question related to the transferred data to the new S/4 system. Will e.g. the master data have same unique ID in the new system as in the old? E.g. Material Number and Customer Number.

      How about the transaction data that is transferred? E.g. Sales Document. Will that keep the same unique ID?

      I’m concerned about the Enterprise Data Warehouse (E.g. SAP BW), that is loading data from the old and the new system. I guess if the transferred data does not have the same ID then, there is a risk for duplicate data.

      Thanks, Anders

      Author's profile photo Amin Hoque
      Amin Hoque
      Blog Post Author

      Hello Anders

      Some numbers can be kept e.g. external number ranges for master data and some are re-numbered e.g. internal number ranges for transactions. 

      SAP DMLT can use the same document/object number as ECC ones when transferring them to S/4HANA at table level regardless of internal/external IDs. There could be exceptional cases e.g. if we consolidate two ECC to S/4HANA then we would need to renumber the data from second ECC to S/4HANA in case of number conflicts like numbers which have been used by first ECC system.

      There are two options for BW.  1) Convert in BW e.g. rename and renumber in BW or 2) reload BW.

      Kind regards

      Amin Hoque.

      Author's profile photo Slavisa Lecic
      Slavisa Lecic

      Hi Amin,

      Thanks for great BLOG


      Is S/4HANA system conversion of ECC system prerequisite for Mix and Match approach or just for the Shelf conversion?


      Author's profile photo Amin Hoque
      Amin Hoque
      Blog Post Author

      Hello Slavisa

      A system conversion is required for in "Shell Conversion" and not "Mix and Match".

      Kind regards

      Amin Hoque.

      Author's profile photo Slavisa Lecic
      Slavisa Lecic

      Thanks. So for Mix and match we copy data directly from ECC environment to the new greenfield S/4HANA system?

      Author's profile photo Lorenz Praefcke
      Lorenz Praefcke

      For "Mix and Match" you can migrate data selectively either into an empty shell copy with your (current) config, the empty shell copy will be upgraded to SAP S/4HANA and then the data will be migrated into that new S/4HANA Box.Advantage is, that you do not have to implement anything from scratch again as greenfield.

      Or, you can migrate data from ECC to your new SAP S/4HANA system that has been setup as a greenfield system with new / different config. Here you may migrate master data as well as transactional data into the new system and make them run under the new processes. This applies to both open and historic transactional data - or in other words: the date will look like as if you would have entered them into your new S/4HANA systems. More complex project approach but a huge benefit for many companies.

      Author's profile photo Amin Hoque
      Amin Hoque
      Blog Post Author


      The SAP DMLT tools are used to selectively transfer the master and transaction data.

      Kind regards

      Amin Hoque.

      Author's profile photo Narasimha Devisetty
      Narasimha Devisetty


      Thanks for the super useful blog detailing implementation options for SAP customers moving to S/4 HANA.

      I am particularly interested in 'selective data transition' software product reviews and expert opinion with comparison of features in these products (CBS, Datavard, Natuvion and SNP). Are you aware of any published material or working document that I can get my hands?



      Author's profile photo Lorenz Praefcke
      Lorenz Praefcke

      Hi Narasimha,

      you can find additional information here.

      BR Lorenz

      Author's profile photo Ashish Vikas
      Ashish Vikas

      A scenario, where client have landscapes consisting of One S/4 2020 + One ERP Ehpx.

      SAP Note 2747566 says SAP S/4HANA Migration Cockpit is designed for an intial load of data during a New Implementation of SAP S/4HANA.

      Can S/4HANA Migration Cockpit be still used to do one time data migration [No historical but only open transaction items] of ERP Ehpx to exisiting S/42020 ?

      Author's profile photo Vijayananda Putcha
      Vijayananda Putcha

      Dear Amin,


      Dear Amin,

      Thanks for the blog, it's very informative.

      I'm working on a migration project from ECC to S/4HANA and we are using the SNP tool for SDT (2 years of time slice history).

      I'm looking for data validation and reconciliation strategy or approach.

      please help me if you know any way to achieve way to validate the data. This is now a showstopper for me due to the data model and simplifications in S/4HANA.

      Thanks & Regards,


      Author's profile photo Amin Hoque
      Amin Hoque
      Blog Post Author

      Hello Vijay

      Perhaps SNP or your consulting partner can help you with the reconciliation strategy?  This is consulting question and I do not have the relevant experience to help you.   I checked the SAP Activate methodology and could not find any advice on reconciliation.

      I found this blog:

      Kind regards

      Amin Hoque

      Author's profile photo Tine Gjøse Vermedal
      Tine Gjøse Vermedal

      Hi Amin,

      Thanks for a great and informative blog.
      I have some questions regarding the situation after the selected data transfer.
      If we choose to only migrate for example 1 years of historical Purchasing document data and archive the rest before the selected data transfer; how will we be able to access the older documents in reports in S/4 Hana?
      Can Embedded analytic reports read archived data?
      Will the user be able to view a 2 year old PO in any transactions or Fiori apps from S/4 Hana if it was archived in ECC?
      What about Machine learning? Will it only use new data for the 'learning' in S/4 Hana or can it also read archived data?

      We have around 25 years of transaction data in ECC and have just started the S/4 Hana migration discussions,  so any advices or pro/cons for taking over historical data is highly appreciated .

      Best regards,

      Author's profile photo Amin Hoque
      Amin Hoque
      Blog Post Author


      You really need to talk to an Analytics and  Data Volume Management expert.  This is a topic with many options. For example, one option is to put your old ECC system in "stasis" providing read only access to see old transactions. Or you could move data to an SAP or third party archiving solution.  Or you could rely on historical or aggregated data in a BW system.  Old ECC archived data cannot be accessed in S/4HANA because of the changes in the data model.

      Kind regards

      Amin Hoque

      Author's profile photo Anil Bhimuni
      Anil Bhimuni

      Hi Amin,

      I would like to know more on the Mix and Match approach with the steps/tools that can support the process. In an empty shell approach the config comes along with the ECC empty shell which then gets migrated. Without creating an empty shell how can we move configuration is something I am mainly looking for steps.



      Author's profile photo Amin Hoque
      Amin Hoque
      Blog Post Author

      Hello Anil

      SAP does not provide any special tools or services to selectively move configuration from one system to another.  You can download some settings in the IMG or use BC Sets where there are many config settings.

      I am not sure if partners provide tools in this area.

      Kind regards

      Amin Hoque.



      Author's profile photo Daniela Turcanu
      Daniela Turcanu

      Hello Amin,

      Can be DMLT  - Selective data transition approach - use for carve out in S4?

      Thank you in advance,


      Author's profile photo Amin Hoque
      Amin Hoque
      Blog Post Author

      Hello DanielaT

      Refer to this SAP DMLT page on carve out services for S/4HANA.

      Kind Regards

      Amin Hoque