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Author's profile photo Corrie Birkeness

SAP Data Migration Solutions Available to Make a Smooth Move to SAP S/4HANA

It is time to move forward to the next generation of ERP – SAP S/4HANA.  For organizations planning a new implementation (versus a system conversion), a data migration project will be necessary.  And the scope of that project will depend on several factors, including the number and variety of data sources, the required data transformations and business rules, and the need to improve data quality, as well as the project’s team size and the resulting intensity of collaboration.

Let’s look at some of the SAP data migration technologies that are available to support your migration project to SAP S/4HANA and the common use scenarios for each.


SAP S/4HANA Migration Cockpit

The SAP S/4HANA migration cockpit is a sufficient solution for a migration with low complexity.  The typical scenario would involve data being migrated from a single legacy SAP system to a new SAP S/4HANA environment with minimal data transformation requirements. The solution handles small to large volumes of data and includes pre-defined migration objects (content and mapping) for loading data into SAP S/4HANA.  It also includes a migration object modeler for the creation of custom or to adapt existing migration objects.  However, it offers very little in terms of data transformation capabilities and has no support for data cleansing or de-duplication.

The SAP S/4HANA migration cockpit comes free with SAP S/4HANA on-premise and cloud and should be used as the “last step” tool to load your data into SAP S/4HANA.  Note that this tool is the only way to load data to SAP S/4HANA Cloud, extended and essentials edition.


SAP Data Services with SAP Information Steward

SAP Data Services in conjunction with SAP Information Steward are recommended for migrations that range from a medium to high level of complexity.  These solutions support both SAP and non-SAP data sources and are ideal when you will be migrating multiple legacy systems to SAP S/4HANA and data transformation and data quality improvements are needed.  These solutions complement the SAP S/4HANA migration cockpit by providing the following additional capabilities:

  • Connectivity to a wide range of data sources, systems and data formats in support of data extraction and preparation
  • Data profiling and assessment to identify possible data quality issues prior to migration
  • Sophisticated data transformation and cleaning capabilities, easily implemented with no or little coding
  • Data consolidation and de-deduplication across heterogeneous data sources

In addition, these solutions will continue to provide your organization value post-migration with reusable rules and transformation objects to support data quality monitoring and remediation to ensure ongoing information excellence within your new SAP S/4HANA environment and resolve any data issues that arise.  SAP Information Steward is included in the SAP Data Services Enterprise Edition package, which also includes additional capabilities for data modelling and replication.


SAP Advanced Data Migration by Syniti

SAP Advanced Data Migration by Syniti is the perfect solution for highly complex migrations, involving the data migration of multiple legacy SAP and/or non-SAP systems to SAP S/4HANA and project management of the process is needed to ensure adequate collaboration and tracking across the data migration team and stakeholders.  SAP Advanced Data Migration is also useful when the migration project will potentially span more than one phase or wave as the learning from one phase will significantly help subsequent phases.  This solution complements the data profiling, assessment, extraction and transformation capabilities of SAP Data Services and SAP Information Steward along with the SAP S/4HANA migration cockpit (again, for that “last step” data load into SAP S/4HANA).   The advanced data migration solution is ideal for larger migration projects that require project management support and collaboration across a variety of stakeholders.  There is powerful artificial intelligence functionality that tracks and learns from experience throughout the migration process, preserving knowledge for future use and improving execution and decision-making.  The solution includes:

  • A project management framework that include intelligent automation and prebuilt content with native integration with SAP Data Services
  • A collaboration platform for the data migration effort in support of a variety of roles and stakeholders
  • Support for end-to-end visibility and tracking to control data migration assets across multiple ERP systems, sites, and project phases
  • Reuse of continuously captured knowledge and insights, turning each decision made into a content item that can be curated for future deployment scenarios and ongoing data quality initiatives.

A general recommendation is that if your data migration project is complex enough to require at least five outside consulting resources, then leverage SAP Advanced Data Migration by Syniti for your project.


Additional Resources

Interested in more details about data migration scenarios and solutions?  Join us for an upcoming SAP Webcast:  Choose the right tool for your S/4HANA migration on July 16, 2020.

To learn more, check out these additional resources:

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      Author's profile photo Hans Segers
      Hans Segers

      Good overview.

      In addition to S/4HANA Migration Cockpit.

      This tool offers three approaches to migrate business data to S/4HANA :

      • File-Based approach : Migration Cockpit creates a file, by business object. The data should be entered manually into that file (only to be used for a small record set, for demo purposes or for troubleshooting purposes)
      • Staging-Based approach : Migration Cockpit creates one or more staging tables in a HANA schema. These tables should be loaded with an ETL-tool (SAP Data Services by preference)
      • Direct Connectivity : to migrate a previous SAP ERP system to S/4HANA

      So the combination of the Staging-Based approach of the Migration Cockpit with SAP Data Services is highly recommended.



      Author's profile photo Corrie Birkeness
      Corrie Birkeness
      Blog Post Author

      Thanks for the additional information, Hans.

      Author's profile photo Martin Stenzig
      Martin Stenzig

      Corrie, thanks for the overview.

      How are Data Hub and Data Intelligence fitting into this picture? I thought Data Intelligence is taking over the role for Data Services and Information Steward?

      Author's profile photo Corrie Birkeness
      Corrie Birkeness
      Blog Post Author

      Thank you for your comment, Martin.

      In Q1 2020 SAP Data Hub and SAP Data Intelligence became one solution that can deploy in the cloud and on-premises, you can read more about that announcement here.  Common use cases for SAP Data Intelligence can be found here. While SAP Data Intelligence could be used for data migration, it is typically used for data orchestration and transformation.   SAP Data Intelligence can leverage SAP Data Services, using data pipelines to call SAP Data Service jobs, but it is not taking over the role of SAP Data Services or SAP Information Steward.  SAP Data Services and SAP Information Steward have long been used for data migration use cases with multiple solution extensions also available that particularly target data migrations such as  SAP Advanced Data Migration by Syniti. SAP Data Services and SAP Information Steward can be used stand-alone or leveraged within SAP Data Intelligence.

      Author's profile photo Heinrich Stroetmann
      Heinrich Stroetmann

      Thanks for the article. It covers the various tool options for greenfield approaches.

      I would like to mention, that beside the greenfield option, there is as well the option to perform a complete technical conversion of your system to S/4HANA (brownfield) and the SDT approach, which offers a mix between a pure greenfield and brownfield solution.

      A greenfield approach is the right option, if you need to redesign your system completely. However if you are coming from an ECC system you often only need changes of your processes in specific areas and not for your complete system.

      Because of these changes a pure brownfield conversion (system conversion) is not an option – however a complete redesign of your system may end up into a too expensive and long project.

      Therefore  SAP Selective Data Transition has been developed by SAP DMLT to offer the right balance between a pure system conversion (brownfield approach) and a pure new implementation (greenfield approach).

      This options allows to move the complete historic data especially for those areas, where only fewer changes to the processes are needed, while for those areas, where bigger process changes are necessary the migration approach can be similar to a greenfield approach.

      This is providing much needed options to our customers for their path to SAP S/4HANA.

      Please find the link to this SAP DMLT Solution here:


      This is providing much needed options to our customers for their path to SAP S/4HANA.


      Please find the link to this DMLT Solution here:

      As well the SDT approach offers the possibility of a timeslice approach, which allows to migrate only the last e.g. two year of the transaction data instead of the migration of the complete history of all years of the data in a brownfield approach.

      A success story of such a project can be found here:

      Solution brief:


      Author's profile photo Corrie Birkeness
      Corrie Birkeness
      Blog Post Author

      Thank you, Heinrich, for the additional information and resources!

      Author's profile photo Sascha Löffler
      Sascha Löffler

      I would like to point out that the SDT approach is not an isolated development of SAP. In fact, a globale community of experts came together under SAP's leadership. This community is called SAP S/4HANA® Selective Data Transition Engagement. I am pleased to be part of this community with cbs Corporate Business Solutions Gmbh which is one of the founding members.

      Here you can find more information about the cbs offer "Selective S/4HANA Transition":

      A reference of the world’s Biggest selective S/4HANA Transition:





      Author's profile photo Rex Ahlstrom
      Rex Ahlstrom

      SAP Advanced Data Migration is also recommended for use in SDT scenarios. Synti worked very closely with DMLT leadership to define scenarios that blend between Brownfield and greenfield where the data quality focus of ADM brings additional value.

      You can view the video on this here:

      Author's profile photo Vijayakumar Mukunthan
      Vijayakumar Mukunthan

      Hi Corrie

      May i know the road of SAP Data Services. I really see there is no new development is happening on Data Services. Even in the below road map of Data Services i can see few updates on Data quality or Address cleansing .

      Since i am seeing new development is happening for SDI and SDQ. So SAP Data services is going to dead soon???? or any new tool or merge the functionality to any of the available SAP products????

      Since we are planning for many roll outs with SAP Data Services. I would like to get some insight on this.

      Thanks and Regards


      Author's profile photo Corrie Birkeness
      Corrie Birkeness
      Blog Post Author

      Hello Vijay.

      Thanks for posting your question.  SAP Data Services is actively being maintained and there are no plans to retire that solution.  As you know, SAP Data Services is a very robust and mature ETL / data quality management solution, which as covered in this blog is a great solution for data migration use cases (among other key use cases for data integration / quality as well).  Per the roadmap, you will see much of the planned investment being made in ensuring we stay current in terms of connectivity (the E & the L) as well as a keeping current on certifications and global expansion.

      Please additionally see my response to Martin (in the above comments) as well.

      I hope that helps!


      Author's profile photo Dusan Stojkovic
      Dusan Stojkovic

      Hello Corrie Brague , the article is really very insightful.

      I have one question though - why is not SDI listed here? It should be the standard tool for data migration to HANA, right?
      I am just doing a research on the topic.

      Thank you for the reply !

      Author's profile photo Corrie Birkeness
      Corrie Birkeness
      Blog Post Author

      Yes, for the purposes of data integration it could also be a solution to getting data into HANA, along with the SDQ (smart data quality) capabilities this could be a possible solution for a less complex migration.