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Author's profile photo Jocelyn Dart

Upgrading SAP S/4HANA On-Premise or Cloud, Private Edition – How, Why, and Best Practices guide now available!

Have you already made the move to SAP S/4HANA and are now wondering where to next to keep up with the latest SAP S/4HANA innovations?

If you are currently on SAP S/4HANA and have read Let’s Talk SAP S/4HANA AnyPremise Upgrade, you will already know that there are many reasons to upgrade.  There’s some official resources available already, and perhaps now you are looking for more lessons learned guidance from other customers to help you through. Then this is the guide for you!

The latest version of the guide has now been released as of January 2023 with:

From the authors: We especially thank all of the contributors who sent us feedback on previous versions of the guide – we hope you enjoy the changes!

Latest Updates

January 2023: NEW VERSION of the guide has been released – the current version is January 2023 and has been updated for upgrades up to and including SAP S/4HANA 2022.

November 2022: Updated the title from AnyPremise to On-Premise or Cloud, Private Edition.

Also there are some tools and some advice for those upgrading or patching up for SAP Fiori for SAP S/4HANA that are worth knowing:

Please note also the latest announcements (September 2022) on the changes to a 2 year major releases + 3 feature pack stacks from SAP S/4HANA 2023 as in the official SAP Release Strategy

November 2021: For SAP Fiori catalog and group changes SAP Fiori for SAP S/4HANA – How to fix Changed and Outdated Catalogs

October 2021: With SAP S/4HANA 2021 released, if you are looking to upgrade to  SAP S/4HANA  2021, you  can find the main technical resources for upgrading in blog post SAP Fiori for SAP S/4HANA – Foundational SAP Notes for SAP S/4HANA 2021

Added a link  to blog post SAP Readiness Check for SAP S/4HANA upgrades  With SAP Readiness Check for SAP S/4HANA upgrade, SAP provides a self-service tool to check the readiness of your existing SAP S/4HANA system in preparation for an upgrade to a selected target SAP S/4HANA release (including the selected feature package stack or support package stack) and to give you an indication of the required efforts. It helps to identify mandatory preparations and possible pre-projects for your system well before the upgrade project starts and enables you to understand respective implications. This early insight means that you can scope and plan your upgrade project with a higher degree of accuracy

June 2021: June 2021 version is now released! The guide has been updated with:

  • The latest information on upgrading to SAP S/4HANA 2020
  • Even more lessons learned from customer experiences
  • A fast track guide to help you move through the document
  • A revised content format
  • Links to the latest enablement resources including openSAP microlearning “how to” videos

August 2020: August 2020 version released! The guide has been updated with some early feedback.  With end of 2020 coming up fast we wanted to capture first feedback quickly.  So you will find:

  • More guidance on SAP Fiori, SAP Activate, Downtime Optimization, and services from SAP
  • A few more known issues and FAQs
  • Latest Learning Journeys and openSAP microlearnings – quick how-to guides to help you make the most of the available tools

Why consider upgrade now?

  • Maybe you have been on SAP S/4HANA 1909 for a while and just want to take advantage of the latest innovations in SAP S/4HANA 2022
  • Maybe you are on SAP S/4HANA 1809 and the end of maintenance date of 31st December 2023 is coming up fast.
  • Maybe you have read about The Future of Compatibility Scope Packages in SAP S/4HANA and are starting to consider what you need to do avoid end of usage rights by 31st December 2025
  • And perhaps after listening to a few SAP TechEd 2022 Replays you are all fired up for planning your upgrade to SAP S/4HANA 2022, SAP Fiori 3, lots more innovations and taking the next step towards your Intelligent Enterprise.

Or maybe you just want to drive more value out of your current SAP S/4HANA solution via Continuous Improvement Projects.

The good news is there is now a comprehensive guide especially for you:

Upgrading SAP S/4HANA – How, Why, and Best Practices


Title page of the Upgrading SAP S/4HANA guide highlighting the January 2023 version and the link to Download the Document

This downloadable guide is based on the latest information available and many lessons learned from SAP customers – just like you – who have already successfully upgraded their SAP S/4HANA release.

The information has been gathered and collated worldwide by myself and other colleagues from SAP S/4HANA RIG, SAP Enterprise Support, SAP S/4HANA Customer Care Program, SAP MCC (Mission Control Center), SAP CoE (Centre of Excellence), and SAP Customer Success.

The good news is that so far most customers complete their upgrade in as little as 3-6 months, based on statistics from the SAP S/4HANA Customer Care Program.  Those timeframes are readily achievable providing you do your due diligence beforehand.

So this guide covers a range of advice to assist you Before, During, and After your upgrade including:

  • Understanding key drivers for upgrading your SAP S/4HANA solution
  • Deciding on your target SAP S/4HANA release and Feature Package Stack
  • Key tipping points for deciding on Functional Upgrade vs. Technical Upgrade
  • Preparing for your project
  • Example project plans
  • Evaluating the delta between your current and target SAP S/4HANA release
  • Considerations in estimating effort to upgrade
  • Where to find the technical upgrade guide for your target SAP S/4HANA release
  • Managing and automating regression testing
  • Known issues
  • and last but not least FAQ

You will find listed all the latest and best tools to help you on your journey.

You can even find advice on potentially tricky questions such as what to do about your SAP Fiori architecture if:

  • You did not set up your SAP Fiori in your initial implementation of SAP S/4HANA
  • You are already using SAP Fiori and considering whether to save on costs and simplify your architecture via transition from standalone to embedded mode with your upgrade

But wait there’s more! 

SAP S/4HANA has progressed in leaps and bounds over the last 5 years. You have already seen out-of-the-box innovations come to SAP S/4HANA such as embedded analytics, chatbots, machine learning, SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation, and SAP Fiori Situation Handling.  

You have already seen brand new (never provided in SAP Business Suite) processes such as Predictive MRP, Group Reporting, and Central Procurement.

You have seen more and more industry solutions covered, more languages supported, more add-ons embedded.

You have seen flexible business model innovation made achievable, where running multiple industry solutions side-by-side has moved from impossible (with SAP Business Suite) to easy (with SAP S/4HANA).


The evolution of SAP S/4HANA from release 1511 to 2022

And there’s still lots more to come on the SAP S/4HANA journey.



Overview of Release Strategy for SAP S/4HANA Cloud, private edition and on-premise

So once you have upgraded your solution – and perhaps even before your next upgrade – you will want to drive more value out of your current SAP S/4HANA release.

So we have a whole chapter to get you started on running Continuous Improvement Projects – whether you want to introduce the latest and greatest innovation scenarios, or just want to do some UX Adoption planning to introduce SAP Fiori to a new group of business users.

You might even want to take advantage of RISEwiithSAP to extend SAP S/4HANA with end-to-end processes and intelligent use cases with SAP BTP such as: SAP Mobile Start; SAP Build Workzone, advanced edition; Intelligent Situation Automation using side-by-side AI capabilities; and many more.

What are our best tips for getting started for your upgrade?

Request your free SAP Innovation and Optimization Pathfinder Report to get you started on your business case for upgrade or continuous improvement.

You have so much content delivered to you with SAP S/4HANA, and your upgrade is a great start on your journey of bringing new business value to your colleagues.


Overview of the UX content delivered with SAP S/4HANA including more than 2.8K apps and hundreds of intelligent use cases

So look to make a habit of upgrade and continuous improvement – that’s how you can keeping taking advantage of the latest and greatest in the SAP S/4HANA roadmap. And don’t forget to capture your own lessons learned!

Signed up already for SAP Enterprise Support?

You can access additional learning content in the SAP Enterprise Support Value Map and watch out for some coming sessions in the SAP Enterprise Support Academy (Learning Hub – Enterprise Support Edition).  Find out more in blog post Is it time for an SAP S/4HANA Upgrade? And is it really necessary?

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      Author's profile photo Varkey George
      Varkey George

      We are willing to migrate to SAP S/4 HANA but SAP has not yet released the Industry Specific Solutions for Media which forces us to remain on SAP on HANA. What is surprising is SAP do not have a road map for Media Vertical. Approximately 232 Customers world wide is left high & dry with no migration option.

      It is high time SAP takes care of their existing Customers across all Industry verticals while promoting the S/4 HANA version.


      Author's profile photo Jocelyn Dart
      Jocelyn Dart
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Varkey,

      Sorry to hear of your frustrations. It's true that the careful journey to include different IS-solutions has taken some time.

      A small part of IS-Media is already covered and a side-car approach for IS-Media with SAP S/4HANA is also currently possible as explained in the most recent SAP Note 2677010 - SAP Media in ERP / ECC 6.X and SAP S/4HANA

      By the way the SAP Roadmaps information for SAP S/4HANA has just been updated for June and can be found in the new Roadmaps Explorer tool - I see 209 innovations related to SAP S/4HANA + Media planned out from now to 2022 so perhaps at least some of your needs may be covered by then.

      With regards to this particular guide blog post, I also wanted to make sure you were clear that this guide is about upgrading between SAP S/4HANA releases, and so it is not relevant to your current situation.

      To move from ECC to SAP S/4HANA is termed system conversion, and you can find more information on that on the site for the SAP S/4HANA movement.

      I hope that helps somewhat

      Author's profile photo Rajeev Gollapudi
      Rajeev Gollapudi


      Its a great blog and we see many customers going for S/4 upgrades now. I just want to add that SAP Solution Manager accelerates the upgrade process further with the following capabilities

      Of course the traditional process management and change management capabilities can also be leverage if the customer is undergoing a bigger functional upgrade process with additional requirements and scenarios being implemented as part of the upgrade.



      Author's profile photo Racherla Vyomakesh Bharadwaj
      Racherla Vyomakesh Bharadwaj

      Thank you Rajeev .Useful info


      Vyomakesh Bharadwaj Racherla

      Author's profile photo Racherla Vyomakesh Bharadwaj
      Racherla Vyomakesh Bharadwaj

      Hi Jocelyn,

      Very nice blog. Just wondering will it be the same approach for cloud STE & MTE for testing approach. Thank you


      Vyomakesh Bharadwaj Racherla

      Author's profile photo Jocelyn Dart
      Jocelyn Dart
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Vyomakesh, We are only discussing SAP S/4HANA on-premise, SAP S/4HANA Single Tenant Edition and SAP S/4HANA Private Cloud Edition here.

      i.e. SAP S/4HANA on-premise software on on-premise or on Cloud infrastructure.

      Author's profile photo Samir Desai
      Samir Desai

      SAP Innovation and optimization Pathfinder link is not working any more.

      Author's profile photo Jocelyn Dart
      Jocelyn Dart
      Blog Post Author

      Thanks for noticing Samir - the pathfinder report is has now moved to Spotlight and can be accessed here

      Author's profile photo SEBASTIEN LAURENT


      Very helpful !!

      Do you know the feedback of the quantity of custom code changes, Have you faced a lot of regression ?

      Kind regards,


      Author's profile photo Jocelyn Dart
      Jocelyn Dart
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Sebastien,

      Generally speaking it's usually much less than customers think - for starters most database reads are automatically covered, so it is mostly database writes and mandatory ABAP changes that need to be corrected.  The Eclipse ADT brings a  lot of Quick Fix options that speed it up.

      General experiences even at large customers with many programs are 2-3 developers focussed on this for 2-3 weeks.

      One watchpoint is to think about the move from working directly on a GUI for Windows operating system to only via a web environment. In particular, anywhere you have an upload/download program, if you want to run that in the web you need to rework from OLE automation to GUI Frontend Services.

      You'll find some more advice in this blog post: SAP Fiori for SAP S/4HANA – Transitioning custom-built programs from GUI to Fiori


      Author's profile photo Thomas Csapo
      Thomas Csapo

      Hi Sebastien,

      it very much depends on the quantity of custom code / complexity of the extensions. Most customers are done with the code adaptations within 2 to 3 weeks with 2 developers, some even within a week.

      Due to compatibility being ensured, it's also a possibility to focus on the most important fixes before go-live and fix remaining code subsequently after go-live. It will still have to be done to improve performance, etc., but wouldn't hinder a go-live before when not done at 100%. Again, it depends on the type of custom extensions and complexity.

      Thanks and best regards,

      Author's profile photo SEBASTIEN LAURENT

      Hello, Thanks for reply.

      Is it possible not to do the "required" custom code BEFORE the non-regression tests ?

      What happens in this case ?

      Kind regards



      Author's profile photo Jocelyn Dart
      Jocelyn Dart
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Sebastien, I'm not quite sure if I have understood your question?

      Where changes are required in custom code, usually the related program won't work until they are fixed. So there would be no point testing until the code was fixed.

      Of course it might depend  what processes your custom code impacts. You may be able to test processes that do not depend on that code.

      Author's profile photo Hiroshi Iguchi
      Hiroshi Iguchi


      What happens to user-developed custom Fiori if I upgrade my old S/4HANA to the new S/4HANA?

      Can I continue to use the custom-developed Fiori as it is?

      If a refurbishment is needed, what tool can I use to investigate the refurbishment?


      Author's profile photo Jocelyn Dart
      Jocelyn Dart
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Hiroshi

      Generally speaking custom Fiori apps evolve nicely ... mostly with few changes in our experience provided the best practice recommendations from SAP were followed.  You may have some changes if the app is very old, e.g. written on SAPUI5 1.38 or lower (i.e. SAP S/4HANA 1511). Anything written on S/4HANA 1609 or higher is already at Fiori 2.0 design level so tends to evolve.

      Please take a look at the references in section 2.7.10 Required adaptations to custom SAP Fiori Apps. You should as due diligence check the upgrading advice in the SAPUI5 SDK for your source and target releases.

      Regression testing is always recommended of course to make sure.

      As a bonus, custom apps based on Fiori elements floorplans automatically pick up improvements from the floorplan.


      Author's profile photo Hiroya Kita
      Hiroya Kita

      By upgrade of S/4HANA instance, will there be any impact to the standard Fiori application that has been used?

      Author's profile photo Jocelyn Dart
      Jocelyn Dart
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Hiroya,

      Thanks for the questions! This is why the new Upgrade Impact Analysis tool has been introduced to help you work through these for the list of apps you are currently using and your source and target SAP S/4HANA release.

      In summary, there are a number of possible impacts:

      • New apps are available in the target release - you can choose to include them in your roles
      • Some apps are still available in the target release - you may notice some improvements in floorplans or small changes in features
      • Some apps are superseded -  You should move to the successor app as quickly as possible, as any further improvements will focus on the successor. You should consider that this app is likely to be deprecated in a future release.
      • Some apps may be deprecated - This is early warning that the app will be made obsolete in a future release. You should move to the successor app as quickly as possible, as any further improvements will focus on the successor.
      • Some apps may be obsolete - i.e. removed from the system. In this case you MUST move to the recommended successor



      Author's profile photo Louis Nicolas Arson
      Louis Nicolas Arson

      Hi Jocelyn,

      In our SAP S/4HANA implement approach, we decided in 2019 to use SAP standard catalogs to provide Tiles to business user; without using any group : User have to setup his own Launchpad.

      We have discovered on the last upgrade (2020 fps01) that every Tiles that have been changed by SAP in Fiori Catalogs "SAP*" are not running anymore.

      User see the "Tile can not load" error on their UI Fiori Launchpad.


      Tile can not load, due to change on SAP Catalogs

      => He can not even identify which are the missing apps "xxx" if does not remember well before upgrading.

      Do you have any idea to avoid this ? We did not have found any clever solution to anticipate this impact for every users and clever solution to fix it.