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Author's profile photo Jens Oliver Dirnberger

Intelligent Custom Code Management

Intelligent Custom Code Management from a challenge to an opportunity


Custom code management is a topic that most SAP customers bring up when driving business transformation with SAP S/4HANA. Staying close to standard functions and keeping the core of their digital landscape clean is still a priority. However, they still view custom code as an opportunity to unlock the full potential of the Intelligent ERP and meet their unique business needs.

While they seem contradictory, these goals can be accomplished without escalating the total cost of ownership. How? By considering every option of holistic custom code management.

Figure: Structure of Intelligent Custom Code Management from SAP


Introducing our approach to intelligent custom code management

To help our customers attain the dual benefits of standard and custom code, the Customer Success organization offers an approach to intelligent custom code management.

The methodology optimizes the value of SAP S/4HANA by:

  • Preparing the business for change enabled by the Intelligent ERP
  • Increasing the simplicity and quality of business-critical processes
  • Lowering total cost of ownership
  • Taking advantage of edge technologies to maximize the strategic value of the IT landscape
  • Identifying and redesigning existing code to meet evolving business and process expectations
  • Laying the foundation for extensibility and governance of technologies, processes, and data

The intelligent custom code management methodology combines a detailed analysis of current custom code with a series of joint assessment workshops with the customer. We start with a kickoff workshop to get a common understanding of the current business system, process landscape, and architecture, if available. Based on results generated by the SAP Readiness Check tool for SAP S/4HANA, an additional custom-code health check is conducted to validate innovation openness in terms of software transparency, usage, extensibility, and code impact and quality.

The approach evaluates the historical transport of custom code to identify the critical drivers of development needs and prioritize them based on complexity – covering four primary considerations:

  1. Remediating obsolete custom code

 Did you know that, on average, more than 50% of a company’s custom code is left unused, even though it is part of a footprint containing more than 12,000 objects?

This astounding finding revealed by research from SAP (CQC) Solution Transition Assessment and Custom Code services, signals a significant opportunity for decreasing the presence of custom objects, which, in turn, lowers the total cost of ownership. Plus, business transformation with SAP S/4HANA can be optimized when retired objects do not need to be mitigated and the IT landscape is clean and efficient.

  1. Quick fixes

Quick-fix capabilities, available in ABAP development tools in Eclipse, offers a semi-automated approach to adapting custom code from an existing business system when moving from a legacy ERP to SAP S/4HANA. The capabilities enable businesses to access high-quality information from SAP S/4HANA and optimize the real-time value of derived insights.

If the deployment of SAP S/4HANA is executed with a greenfield strategy, our customers can also take advantage of quick fixes by using the ABAP test cockpit. The tool, based on updated development guidelines, measures quality assurance regularly and helps ensure new custom code conforms with SAP S/4HANA.

  1. Replatforming to SAP Cloud Platform

Our customers can decouple their custom extensions from the lifecycle, availability, and load of their back-end system. By deploying an application alongside SAP S/4HANA, the release cycle is independent of scheduled back-end updates.

The objective of this approach is focused on keeping SAP S/4HANA clean, extending it, and delivering software changes without causing a disruptive event. Leveraging SAP Cloud Platform helps ensure the implementation of custom software is maintained sustainably and with a lower total cost of ownership.

  1. Rethinking the business with co-innovation and optimization

The use of standard SAP functionality is recommended for transformation initiatives with SAP S/4HANA, whenever possible. However, innovative companies often face the need for individual extensions beyond the currently existing capabilities of SAP S/4HANA to cover business-critical process requirements. This also to differentiate from competitors, also to addressing industry-specific requirements.

Following this mindset, our customers can realize the potential value of process reengineering, rethinking, rebuilding based on new intelligent technologies to streamline and automate processes. We support these scenarios by identifying complex custom code and proposing a re-design to best comply to your latest business- and business process requirements and keep the total cost of ownership of custom code at a minimum.

Through co-innovation, we are also helping our customers improve their processes, lower costs, and deliver an IT landscape that can scale to their needs as they change – even with the presence of custom code.

Paving the way to an intelligent future of transformation

Our intelligent custom code management approach gives transparency to categorize custom code objects in the described options above. This level of guidance empowers our customers to handle custom code objects in a fashion that simplifies the landscape and optimizes performance. But most importantly, they gain a road map for custom code transformation, so that can create their intelligent future of business transformation with SAP S/4HANA.

The intelligent custom code management service is available in services such as SAP Value Assurance, SAP MaxAttention, SAP ActiveAttention, and more. Please reach out to your SAP account executive or contact us for additional information.

This blog post has been drafted together with my colleague Jürgen Mahler Head of Custom Code Management, SAP



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      Author's profile photo Declan Sweeney
      Declan Sweeney

      Really nice post Jens, I really like the depiction of "Intelligent Custom Code Management" as a funnel approach!


      Looking forward to future posts!

      Author's profile photo Kishore babu Kamarthapu
      Kishore babu Kamarthapu

      Hi Jens,


      How can we bifergate custom code based on busness application area like TAX/ Treasury.