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Move to SAP S/4HANA with Selective Data Transition

Last updated: March 3 2021

 

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.  https://blogs.sap.com/2019/10/30/how-to-move-to-sap-s4hana/

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: https://blogs.sap.com/2019/08/22/sap-s4hana-cloud-and-on-premise-deployment-options/#  

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 called 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:

Prepare

  • 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 SAP Business Scenario Recommendations (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.

Explore

  • 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 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.

Realize

  • 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.

Deploy

  • 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:

https://support.sap.com/en/offerings-programs/support-services/data-management-landscape-transformation/selective-data-transition-engagement.html

There is Knowledge Based Article (KBA) which is regularly updated with latest information: https://launchpad.support.sap.com/#/notes/3018442

Or see https://www.sap.com/services/implementation/data-mgmt-landscape-transformation.html or read the solution brief and the SAPPI Success Story. You can contact the global SAP DMLT team by email mailto:sap_dmlt_gce@sap.com. 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
  • Datavard

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:

https://www.cbs-consulting.com/en/cbs-ET-S4HANA

https://www.natuvion.com/en/products/transformation/sap-s-4hana-selective-data-transition-engagement

https://www.snpgroup.com/en/bluefield-for-s/4hana?hsCtaTracking=986b0103-8668-48a2-9eed-7e90371a2528%7C5ed9eb8d-cac4-4e1b-aab1-a0d6652d3427

https://www.datavard.com/en/transformation/sap-s4-hana/

I hope you found this blog informative.

Amin Hoque
Enterprise Architect at SAP Services UK

 

34 Comments
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  • 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

     

    • Hello Adil

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

      Kind regards

      Amin Hoque.

  • 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,

    Atanu

  • 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
    Thyge

  • Hello Thyge

    There is a customer case in SAP News here: https://news.sap.com/2019/10/viessmann-erp-sap-s4hana-transformation/

    There is some more information in the SAP Activate roadmap.  For example: https://go.support.sap.com/roadmapviewer/#/group/AAE80671-5087-430B-9AA7-8FBE881CF548/roadmap/S4HANATRANSONPRE:001999B7BD851ED68BCCC1977FE5E2CE,001999B7BD851ED68BCCC3E4F2C6C2CE,001999B7BD851ED68BCCD49DCA7E82CE,t3,t1,t4/node/001999B7BD851ED68D95DB65992222CE:t4,t1,t3

    Also see the SAP pages for DMLT: https://www.sap.com/uk/services/implementation/data-mgmt-landscape-transformation.html and https://support.sap.com/dmlt 

    Traditional landscape transformation is covered here including some success stories: https://support.sap.com/en/alm/solution-manager/integrated-tools/landscape-transformation.html

    Contact the SAP DMLT team at sap_dmlt_gce@sap.com or contact the partners.

    Kind regards

    Amin Hoque.

     

     

  • 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. 

  • 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).?

     

    Regards,

    Team

    • 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

      Adil

  • 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!

  • 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?

    • 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.

       

  • 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

  • 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).

    • Hello Raphael

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

      Kind regards

      Amin Hoque

  • 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

    • 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.

  • 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?

    Regards,
    Slavisa

    • Hello Slavisa

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

      Kind regards

      Amin Hoque.

    • 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.

    • Hello

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

      Kind regards

      Amin Hoque.

  • Amin,

    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?

     

    Regards