Skip to Content
Technical Articles

SAP S/4HANA 1909 System Conversion Steps & Details – How to be prepared

This document aims to guide our customers in preparing the landscape when they are planning to carry out a conversion to SAP S/4HANA. Some activities can be started early in the current environment and will be very effective in making the conversion more efficient.

There are some activities you may not be aware and can make the difference on time decision when you run a conversion.

This Blog will cover:

  • Possible Pre-Projects
  • How to start and run conversion activities
  • Important tools supporting your transition to SAP S/4HANA
  • Key Success Factors
  • Key General Recommendations

 

Possible Pre-Projects

Customer / Vendor Integration

CVI Implementation: is a prerequisite for converting an SAP ERP system to an SAP S/4HANA system.

For each phase there are many required activities:

Start as early as possible to avoid being critical path, finish CVI mass synchronization before S/4 Conversion

Action:

Settlement Management

Completely new, replacing SD and MM rebate processing: SAP S/4HANA settlement management uses Central Contract Administration as the single point of entry for contract data and contract related conditions for:

  • Full support of business volume related scenarios
  • Calendar based settlement
  • Accrual conditions can be defined independent from settlement conditions
  • Intuitive data entry of settlement information with full transparency of involved documents

 Action:

  • Check SAP Note 2481672 – Condition Contract Management – Useful Documents
  • Configure condition contract conditions: Define pricing conditions relevant for settlement calculation.
  • Configure condition contract maintenance: Define and configure parameters for condition contract types.
  • Configure condition contract settlement process: Define and configure parameters for condition contract settlement process.
  • Localization: Verify if settlement management solution fulfills the local requirements in your specific countries and reach out to the SAP localization team in case you have questions.
  • Test and train the final users that will be affected.

MRP Areas

MRP Planning EnvironmentIn S/4HANA, the MRP logic was simplified. MRP area is active by default and cannot be deactivated.

SAP S/4HANA MRP only plans on plant and MRP area level, and planning on storage location level is no longer supported in SAP S/4HANA.

Based on the MRP pre-checks some activities work items have to be realized in the Material Requirements Planning.

Here you will see the most important activities related to MRP areas in the preparation for a system conversion to S/4HANA

Action:

  • Planning files conversion: Go to transaction OM0F or SE38 program RMDBVM00 and run the conversion of planning files.
  • Activate MRP areas in Customizing for MRP :(transaction OM01) With this activation, the field ‘MRP area’ is also offered for selection in the transactions of the material requirements planning and production planning.
  • Run report MRP_AREA_STORAGE_LOC_MIGRATION: Implement SAP note 2216528 and based on the results create the missing MRP Areas.
  • Check of MRP types for MRP-Planning & custom code
  • Test and Train the final users that will be affected

Data Management

Archiving and housekeeping: Archiving is the basis for data management

Benefits:

  • Resolves memory space and performance problems caused by large volumes of transaction data
  • Ensures that data growth remains moderate so that the database remains manageable in the long term
  • Ensures that companies can meet the legal requirements for data storage in a cost-efficient manner
  • Because archived data has only been removed from the database and not from the application component itself, the data is always available.
  • Manage end-of-life of data/system using SAP Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) (optional)

Do housekeeping, data that is included in tables with mainly technical content need a strategy to delete outdated and unnecessary data:

  • Communication
  • Logging, tracing
  • Administration
  • Analysis
  • Metadata
  • Staging
  • Auditing

Action:

  • Identify the tables that are critical for archiving and start the archiving activities
  • Check the Data Management Guide available in the Data Volume Management area. SAP Note 2243625 provides SAP Enterprise Support offerings in the context of data volume management.
  • Review technical tables and start housekeeping activities follow-up with SAP Note 2388483
  • Check Data on Readiness Check
  • Check SAP Note 1872170

Add-ons

Preparation and Management: Add-Ons are used to extend SAP Business Suite functionality. In general Add-Ons are available with an individual strategy and
gap to the release date of every SAP S/4HANA version.

There is different classification on add-ons:

  • Technical classification: ERP Add-On, NetWeaver Add-On, CRM Addon, SRM Add-On, etc.
  • Organizational classification: Globalization Add-On, Industry Add-On, etc.
  • Vendor Classification: SAP Add-On, 3rd party Add-On

Add-ons can be deployed using two scenarios:

  • Side-by-side usage
  • Co-deployment

Action:

  • If you plan to use the add-on on S/4HANA in a co-deployment scenario check SAP Note 2834099, to see if the add-on is compatible with your target S/4HANA Release
  • If an add-on is no longer required, please check with the vendor if a package for uninstalling the add-on is available.
  • If no information is available, please contact the vendor directly to confirm that the respective add-on is released for SAP S/4HANA for your target release. Ask your partner to join Early Adopter Program with ICC if you are interested in the usage of the add-on in a future release
  • There may be licensing implications regarding the upgrade of an add-on to a compatible SAP S/4HANA version of the add-on. Please check with SAP and the respective vendors of the 3rd party add-ons for potential license implications when converting to SAP S/4HANA
  • Check SAP Note 2011192 about uninstalling ABAP add-ons
  • Check compatible Add-ons on SAP Note 2214409

Business Functions

Validate status for S/4HANA target release: SAP S/4HANA business functions can have the following status:

  • ALWAYS_ON
  • CUSTOMER_SWITCHABLE
  • ALWAYS_OFF

Business function switched on in the start release system (ERP) but defined as ALWAYS_OFF in SAP S/4HANA, will include functionality not available with this release at the current point in time.

Strategies of the business function can change between S/4HANA feature package releases and S/4HANA releases

The following SAP Notes provide a list of business functions:

Action:

  • Validate that the current switch on business functions in your productive system are compatible with S/4HANA see SAP notes 2240359 and 2240360
  • If the there is a business function in the ALWAYS_OFF classification and no longer used in the system there is no general way to deactivate it, even if the Business Functions has been classified as reversible
  • In exception to the above statement, there are a few selected Business Functions which are classified as ALWAYS_OFF and where the responsible application development explicitly supports deactivation even in a productive environment via a special procedure. See the list of exception included in the text of SAP Note 2240359 and plan to execute this special procedure in a pre-project before the conversion

In case a deactivation is necessary, you will lose the specific functionality and data behind those Business Functions.

See the individual SAP Notes for a detailed description of the boundary conditions and possible side effects of the deactivation per business function.

Version Interoperability

Validate Version interoperability between SAP S/4HANA and SAP NetWeaver Systems: Software updates or release upgrades should be possible for individual systems in a landscape without the need of updating or upgrading other connected systems simultaneously or delayed.

All existing cross-scenarios with those connected systems – using the same existing functionality – should work after the update or upgrade of the individual system if they fulfill the interoperability requirements

Action:

  • Validate the version interoperability in your system landscape with the system you want to transition to S/4HANA. Check SAP Note 2251604
  • Check potential dependencies for older releases of SAP products, please use the Upgrade Dependency Analyzer (UDA).
  • Plan the necessary pre-project to keep the system interoperability in your current system landscape

Although the check does not have any business impact, if one or more systems need to be upgraded then it would require further analysis on the business impacts according to the system that needs to be maintained. You can run SAP Transformation Navigator to check impacts on landscape

Custom Code Related Activities

Check current custom code: In general, the following custom code adjustment areas need to be considered in a system conversion to SAP S/4HANA:

  • Custom code adjustments for software updates like SPDD, SPAU.
  • Custom code adjustments related to Unicode conversion if the system is not yet on Unicode
  • Custom code adjustments related to the migration to the SAP HANA database, if the system is not already on SAP HANA
  • Custom code adjustments related to the simplifications in SAP S/4HANA, functionality not available and data model changes.  

Action:

  • Start with a custom code evaluation, track the usage to the available custom code in production. ABAP Call Monitor (SCMON) or Usage Procedure Log (UPL) in your production system to find out, which custom ABAP objects are really used within your running business processes. Or use the new transaction SUSG to aggregate usage data recorded by SCMON. See SAP Note 2643357 for supported SAP_BASIS releases, the installation instructions of SUSG and the SAP Note 2701371 for using the SUSG. You should collect usage data for a longer period of time (at least one year) to get really reliable results for not productively used code.
  • If the system is not yet Unicode adapt code to Unicode.
  • Check custom code for SAP HANA compatibility
  • Check custom code against Simplification database, if possible, start addressing S/4HANA compatibility. Setup ATC to do these checks
  • More information available in Custom Code Adaptation Process document

The SCMON or UPL has no impact on the performance of your production system

Some business impact might be expected according to the additional adaptations if not tested correctly

SAP Fiori Adoption

SAP Fiori is the way business users consume SAP S/4HANA innovations: some aspects of it must be considered

  • SAP Fiori UX is new UI experience target architecture for SAP S/4HANA
  • SAP Fiori and SAP GUI are both supported (for exceptions see Simplification List)
  • Relevance and readiness analysis recommend Fiori Apps based on T-codes
  • Stepwise implementation of SAP Fiori Apps possible
  • SAP Fiori Frontend Server (FES) provides Fiori & central UI components and Maintenance planner considers FES software
  • FES deployment can be embedded or separate, depends on other backends (type & release)

 Action:

  • Start building up a User Experience (UX) strategy identify:
    • What will bring essential business value to meet sponsor & stakeholder expectations?
    • Which users/processes are most ready for innovation?
    • How will you deploy innovations?
      • Which devices?
      • Access via Internet?
      • Native Mobile Apps?
    • Identify holistic business roles inside your enterprise. Not necessarily related to the current ABAP security roles, but the activities done inside the business process defined inside the system.
    • Review SAP Fiori Lighthouse Scenarios to aid discussions with business stakeholders to highlight some of the innovations included in SAP S/4HANA
    • Get Fiori app recommendations in Fiori apps library or Readiness Check
    • Release information note for product version SAP Fiori for SAP S/4HANA 1909 can be found on SAP Note 2805572

SAP S/4HANA Compatibility Scope

Long-term roadmap of SAP S/4HANA: Through the Compatibility Packages, SAP provides a limited use right to SAP S/4HANA on-premise customers to run certain classic SAP ERP solutions on their SAP S/4HANA installation. Condition is that these customers have licensed the applicable solutions as set forth in their License Agreements. This use right expires on Dec 31, 2025 and is available to installed-base as well as net-new customers.

Customers have enough time to transition safely from SAP ERP to SAP S/4HANA, but it is imperative to be proactive and plan transition to adopt SAP S/4HANA and other strategic solutions (SAP IBP, SAP DMC, and so on) in good time.

Action:

  • If an alternative capability exists for the relevant compatibility scope when you start the project, we recommend that customers adopt the alternative as soon as they move to SAP S/4HANA.
  • An alternative capability is currently only planned for parts of the relevant compatibility scope. In this case it will be adopted as part of an upgrade after the alternative has been provided.
  • Check SAP Note 2269324

Those are some pre-projects you can start in advance on your actual ERP and take advantage to run the conversion. If you are already prepared you can start with the topic about How to start conversion activities.

 

How to start and run conversion activities

If you consider that your environment is already prepared to start the conversion there are some activities that you must take care, here is a list in sequence of importance.

Use SAP Readiness Check to help you plan and evaluate your project activities.

There are some conditions that may avoid you to run a conversion and you must check it in advance to make sure your production environment can be converted, because of this, please follow these activities in order:

Start with maintenance Planner: there you can validate some important tasks that will give you readiness about:

  • If your actual product version is ready for the conversion
  • If you have to take action on your Add-ons
  • Some Business Functions take can avoid you to do a conversion

Run the Maintenance planner check where you will have a form with the results of this items, with the conversion status semaphore, if you receive a red flag means that your conversion may not be performed, the document generated will show the problems identified.

Run SUM Pre-requisite check: Additionally you can execute the SUM Pre-requisite check, after the package download on Maintenance Planner, you can run this check in order to validate:

  • Source OS version
  • Source database version
  • SPAM patch level

This check will be executed at first time you start the tool to perform a conversion and make necessary checks to validate the readiness of OS, Database and SPAM.

Create ERP SandBox using Production Data: This activity is important in order to make sure your production environment can be converted, development, quality and production system may have different components and product version, by some parallel projects that can be under validation in development and quality system and are not yet on production, because of this, we must be sure that at end of project the production environment can be converted.

When you run this copy and perform the conversion, do not expect good results on conversion if you do not have hardware like production, evaluation of downtime expectation can only be made on similar or equal conditions.

During and after this execution document every action on a Run Book, this guide will help you to reproduce all steps and solve similar problems when you run again the conversion on your development environment.

Remember that after conversion, some logged data related to conversion preparation will not exist anymore.

SandBox conversion: On this step will run the most important steps for the readiness of your conversion, first check if you considered any of possible Pre-Projects we mentioned previously:

  • Data Management
  • Add-ons
  • Business Functions
  • Version Interoperability
  • Custom Code Related Activities
  • SAP Fiori Adoption
  • SAP S/4HANA Compatibility Scope
  • Customer Vendor Integration – CVI Conversion
  • Settlement Management
  • MRP Areas

At this phase it’s very important to run the Simplification Item Check tool, it should be run by the customers manually in advance and will be run by SUM when starting the conversion. The tool checks if serious issues exists in the system which could cause the system conversion/upgrade to fail

More information can be found at:

You must solve all pending items in red and yellow, instead of this when SUM Tool starts and find some inconsistencies your conversion process will stop, and no further action will be possible unless you solve it.

When running a conversion, remember you are converting the entire system and all existing clients on system, so, run the Simplification Item Check Tool in all clients and solve all inconsistencies, if other clients are not necessary you can delete them, including client 066. Remember, lower data, lower downtime.

The SUM Tool will under Business Downtime performs the Data Migration, Software Update and Data Conversion as part of Technical Downtime, some functional steps are necessary to be completed before finishing the Business Downtime and release environment for end users like:

  • Application Preparation Post Processing
  • Custom Code Adaption
  • Delta Process / Functionality
  • Delta Development – Fiori / Report / Enhancement.
  • Testing

At this point on SandBox is very important to practice and capture learning of System Conversion steps involved to:

  • Estimate time taken for the different steps involved in System Conversion
  • Effort Estimate matrix for resources like Basis, Functional and Development
  • Detail project planning of System conversion of customer landscape
  • Customer should be aware that when approaching the ERP Development system conversion, ERP Development system will not be available for fixes to be carried in current ERP Production system (Customer Code Freeze)
  • Project to categorize data inconsistency tasks and conduct cleanup in productive landscape
  • And finally, to complete conversion with Post Steps

Make sure all steps are completed, make necessary adjustments before starting it on Development, if necessary, run a second SandBox conversion copy from production to practice the recent lessons and activities captured from this execution, validate your Run Book.

Starting your Development System Conversion: Depending of your Project duration, some time may have passed since your conversion on Sandbox, you have to start this activity by running the Maintenance Planner for your development system and may download a newer version of SUM Tool, if this is the case, plan to use the same version during the maintenance of it for Development, Quality and Production environments. As a best practice stack file for all the system in landscape should be created on the same day as there are solution updates happening very frequently in the maintenance planner, make sure the system update was freeze during this period.

So you will start again with the steps you performed and learned on SandBox, Pre-Check, Custom Code Check and Analysis and Application Preparation among others already mentioned here, make sure you released transport requests from ERP Development system and no red and yellow items exists on Simplification items Check Toll before starting SUM Tool Downtime.

Development Conversion: Again, as executed on SandBox, this step will be performed by SUM Tool to do Data Migration, Software Update and Data Conversion as part of Technical Downtime and all mentioned functional steps that are necessary to be completed conversion:

  • Application Preparation Post Processing
  • Custom Code Adaption
  • Delta Process / Functionality
  • Delta Development – Fiori / Report / Enhancement
  • Testing

It’s very important to say that some conversion activities related to Finance and Material Ledger are performed only after technical downtime, still under Business Downtime and the efforts depends of amount of Customer data, this validation measure is very important in terms of downtime availability

At end of this schedule the standard Jobs and release the transport requests that might be created during this step.

Starting your Quality System Conversion: as first step for this activity it’s very important to have good data quality, this means you need data very similar to production environment.

we strongly recommend you to carry out a Refresh of Production data into the Quality System, them, import Pre-Check Transport Requests in ERP Quality environment, run the Simplification Items Check Tool again in all existing clients and solve inconsistencies.

Apply the lessons learned and activities registered on your Run Book

Customers should be aware that when approaching the ERP Quality system conversion, ERP Development and ERP Quality system will not be available for fixes to be carried in current ERP Production system, this is why we recommend Customer Code Freeze, or to have a separate track to support your ERP Production system during this phase.

Quality Conversion: Customer reached the SUM Toll, remembering that here will be performed Data Migration, Software Update and Data Conversion, remember to:

  • Import FIN preparation transports and FIN data migration
  • Do post processing and application follow-up tasks for system conversion
  • Import Transport Requests in S/4HANA Quality environment
  • Run Application Post Processing
  • Do Custom Code Adaption
  • Delta Process / Functionality
  • Delta Development – Fiori / Report/ Enhancement and Testing
  • Release Transport requests

Starting your Production System Conversion: Import Pre-Check Transport Requests in ERP Production environment, run Simplification Item Check Tool again for all clients, and resolve any existing inconsistencies prior starting the conversion, them, import the requests and follow your Run Book / Cutover Plan activities.

At this point you must be very familiar with all previous activities and steps mentioned before, reproduce every task, check it, remove any existing inconsistencies and customer will be ready to start the Business Downtime for the production environment where Data Migration, Software Update, Data Conversion will happens, again:

Import FIN preparation transports and FIN data migration

  • Do post processing and application follow-up tasks for system conversion
  • Import Transport Requests in S4HANA Production environment
  • Run Application Post Processing
  • Do Custom Code Adaption
  • Delta Process / Functionality
  • Delta Development – Fiori / Report/ Enhancement and Testing
  • Release Transport requests

Any Miss-match found between configuration and development objects between S4HANA Development System and S4HANA Quality system should be redone in S4HANA Development system and transport requests should be generated for same all the way into S4HANA Quality and Production system

Testing in S4HANA solution with/without Fiori need to be done extensively by Customer Users in different systems

Do not forget to continue schedule standard Jobs, now you can do the final user validation and release end users for production usage of your recently converted SAP S/4HANA

This is not the last step, here starts your Landscape Governance, do not forget to keep your system updated.

 

Important tools supporting your transition to SAP S/4HANA

For each phase of the project: SAP provides tools that will support your transition

Planning phase

SAP Transformation navigator: is a complimentary, free self-service tool which guides you through your digital transformation by generating a product road map of recommended SAP solutions tailored to your business, this is SAP Official recommendation for your landscape

Roadmap Viewer: is a cloud extension of SAP Solution Manager and part of the SAP Activate innovation adoption framework. It provides access to general or solution-specific implementation roadmaps (for example, for transitioning to SAP S/4HANA or implementing SAP S/4HANA Cloud

SAP S/4HANA Readiness Check: is a tool designed to assist Customers with planning and preparation activities necessary to convert an SAP ECC system to SAP S/4HANA. Customers can execute to verify different aspects of an existing SAP ERP system.

Simplification Item Catalog:  is a tool listing all incompatible or disruptive changes that occur in SAP S/4HANA when switching from SAP ERP or a previous SAP S/4HANA version, which could cause incompatibility problems on system.

Preparation Phase

Maintenance Planner: is the successor of Maintenance Optimizer of SAP Solution Manager, Maintenance Planner is the central tool to plan updates, upgrades, or new installations in your system landscape.

Simplification Item Checks: The Simplification Item Check performs the relevancy and consistency checks based on the content in the Simplification Item Catalog, also integrated with SAP Readiness Check triggers the Simplification Item Check together with other checks and present the results in one unique dashboard

ABAP Test Cockpit:  is a new ABAP source code analysis and code quality toolset which allows you to run static code checks and unit tests for your ABAP programs. This means you can reuse your custom Code Inspector checks and variants in the ABAP Test Cockpit.

Realization Phase

SUM: Software Update Manager is the tool responsible for the entire conversion steps, from system validation and creation of your shadow instance to perform Data Migration, Software Update and Data Conversion.

Migration Monitor: Helping customers to cross check the system readiness before up time.

 

Key Success Factors

  • Understanding of the Simplification Items for target release is necessary, check if you planned enough time for workshops, training (Change Management) and include in project plan.
  • Conversion to SAP S/4HANA requires applications functional staff and consultants with broad knowledge of Financials, Controlling and Asset Accounting
  • Ensure availability of key business people to work with application consultants on resolving functional issues, make them available during downtime of SUM.
  • Consistency checks for master data is more restrictive in SAP S/4HANA, especially important: Customer/Vendor/Employee, Financials/Controlling and Material master, prior to running the system conversion this data shall be thoroughly analyzed and cleaned.
  • Custom Code retiral and back to standard approach with standard functionality should be considered
  • Delete unused code prior to conversion.
  • Plan 2 to 3 test conversions on a SandBox isolated system (refresh / new copy of the system might be necessary) before setting up development system
  • Maintain a detailed ‘Run Book’ with as much as possible details, all the steps performed, the sequence, the errors and the resolution and the time required for each activity. Following these steps exactly for each test conversion requires discipline.
  • Project planning to be finalized based on the experience gained from the first conversion Production copy
  • Special attention to Testing and Performance optimization after conversions.

 

Key General Recommendations

  • Check if consistent archiving can be done to reduce data volume to be converted
  • Data Volume Management using Data aging, archiving techniques should part of ALM strategy after go-live.
  • Check the compatibility of the 3rd party products as soon as possible and allocate time for more extensive testing
  • Both SAP Fiori and Embedded Analytics should be considered to leverage the full potential of SAP S/4HANA
  • Embedded Analytics can replace some of the operational reporting from BW or other DWH.
  • Plan a dedicated SAP Fiori Expert Role as part of the project team to work with business, functional and basis
  • Plan enough time for testing of roles and changes in authorizations
  • Consider setting up a pre-project to resolve data inconsistencies in Finance. They should be resolved before project starts in order to avoid any delays
  • Identify all the activities which can be done at any time and execute them before or during the preparation phase
  • Plan Dress Rehearsal, test conversion of productive system under real-time conditions
  • BW Extractors à Simplification Item 2500202 – S4TWL – BW Extractors in SAP S/4HANA
  • Consider migrating from SAPscript forms to Adobe Document Services
  • NW version of the systems connected to S/4HANA have to be >=731, e.g. BW, PI, etc.

Also check this Blog: SAP S/4HANA 1909 Post Conversion Tips and Suggestions

Hope you enjoyed this blog.

Thanks and Best Regards,
SAP S/4HANA RIG

18 Comments
You must be Logged on to comment or reply to a post.