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Author's profile photo Marco Valencia

Transitioning from an SAP ERP – S/4HANA On-Premise Practitioner to an SAP S/4HANA Cloud, Public Edition Practitioner – A Guide for Skill Conversion.

In this blog, I embark on an exciting journey that I personally experienced — the transition from being an SAP ERP – SAP S/4HANA on-premise practitioner to an SAP S/4HANA Cloud public edition practitioner. This transition is not a simple one. It demands change, adaptation, and the embracing of new technology and mindset within a traditionally well-established system of record.

As a seasoned SAP ERP – SAP S/4HANA on-premise practitioner, you might encounter a new project, system implementation, customer, acquisition, etc. Therefore, you may find yourself on the brink of a new beginning: the SAP S/4HANA Cloud, public edition.

This blog serves as a guide, outlining recommendations and strategies that you can adopt to transition smoothly and quickly. It leverages your business expertise from an on-premise environment to the public cloud.

I hope to inspire and guide those of you who find yourselves at a similar crossroad, demonstrating that with a little guidance, openness, and willingness to learn, the transition to the public cloud can be a smooth one.

In the SAP ecosystem, it’s crucial to understand that SAP S/4HANA Cloud public edition, SAP ERP and SAP S/4HANA on-premise offerings, while all SAP products, have vastly different functionalities and serve disparate business purposes. The public cloud is a product designed to drive standardization across business processes. It simplifies the implementation by providing a ready-to-use, standardized, yet adaptable platform for executing business operations. Conversely, SAP ERP and SAP S/4HANA on-premise products offer a higher degree of flexibility with tailor-made solutions. They allow businesses to customize their system to suit unique business needs and specific operational requirements. While both are powerful in their own right, the choice of the public cloud ultimately depends on your willingness to standardize your business’s processes and your desire to relinquish control over your system operations to SAP, so you can focus on your main value-added activities.

Now that the distinction of the products is clearly established, let’s proceed to the recommendation guide:

a) Fully Embrace the Cloud Mindset – In the modern digital landscape of SAP S/4HANA Cloud, public edition, embracing a full cloud mindset is crucial for effective business transformation. This approach involves not just utilizing cloud technologies, but also adopting the philosophies and strategies that come with them, such as fit-to-standard and agile deployment as detailed in SAP Activate, use of SAP Best Practices, and the application of modern cloud-like integration technologies. These are enabled by the SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP) and cloud APIs included in the SAP Business Accelerator Hub. It’s also recommended to drive business differentiation using cloud configuration capabilities and cloud extensibility, and encourage continuous business innovation, among other things.

If you have any doubts or reservations, your transition to the cloud will likely stall. Such doubts can hinder the complete immersion and commitment required to leverage the full potential of SAP S/4HANA Cloud, public edition. Therefore, it’s essential to fully understand and believe in the transformative power of the cloud. This conviction will facilitate a smooth and successful migration, optimizing your business operations for the future.


SAP Activate for SAP S/4HANA Cloud, public edition

b) No need for the traditional Business Blueprinting – Just scoping of SAP standard best practices: In our approach towards implementing SAP S/4HANA Cloud, public edition, we do not engage in rigorous blueprinting using a fit gap analysis. Instead, we focus on the scoping of SAP standard best practices and follow a fit-to-standard approach. This method included in SAP Activate allows us to leverage the industry expertise that has been built into SAP’s solutions for many years, ensuring that our processes are efficient, effective, and up-to-date with the latest standards.


SAP Digital Discovery Assessment – use to scope SAP S/4HANA Cloud, public edition

c) Best Practices (Pre-Configuration) are not Just a Turnkey for Initial Implementation: SAP Best practices are not simply a one-time, turn-key approach for initial implementation. Rather, they are an integral component of the overall solution. These best practices are dynamic and continue to evolve along with the public cloud solution, adapting and improving as the system receives innovation updates. As the system evolves, the content associated with these practices is also updated.


SAP Best Practices included in SAP Signavio Process Navigator

d) The traditional Implementation Guide, often referred to as “IMG” or by its transaction code “SPRO,” is not used to configure the system. Instead, you will encounter the new SAP Central Business Configuration. This is the primary structure used to manage and modify system settings, according to the specific requirements of business operations.


SAP Central Business Configuration

e) Embrace the inevitable change; no core modifications are possible. Dismiss any past practices and welcome a new era of innovation with SAP cloud extensibility. This is the new way to differentiate business practices and excel in the contemporary system.

f) Before diving into differentiation using extensibility, it is crucial to first review standard processes in detail. These foundational mechanisms often hold robust solutions via configuration that have been improved over time, and thus, understanding them can provide valuable insights. Extensibility should be considered as a secondary step, designed to further enhance, and differentiate these standard processes to better suit specific needs.

g) Even though you’re a seasoned project manager with a wealth of experience, it’s important to acknowledge the need to continually adapt and learn. Specifically, it’s time to get acquainted with SAP Activate for SAP S/4HANA Cloud, public edition, a methodology designed to make your implementation to the cloud more effective and efficient. It follows the cloud mindset, fit-to-standard process, and agile implementation cycles. See free learning: Project Manage an SAP S/4HANA Cloud, Public Edition Implementation.


SAP Free Learning for SAP S/4HANA Cloud, public edition

h) SAP Cloud ALM is being utilized similarly to how Solution Manager was used in on-premise environments. It offers a comprehensive platform for implementing and operating SAP S/4HANA Cloud, public edition. This shift towards SAP Cloud ALM enables us to leverage the advantages of cloud computing while maintaining the robust application management we enjoyed with Solution Manager.



i) SAP Fiori represents the future of the SAP User Experience, poised to supersede WebGUI. Therefore, always prioritize the use of SAP Fiori apps over WebGUI apps whenever possible to stay ahead of the curve. Let your transaction codes (T-Codes) become relics of the past and fully embrace the innovative capabilities of SAP Fiori for a more efficient and user-friendly experience.

j) Embrace the power of modern SAP User Experience techniques, such as My Home, Space and Pages, Collaboration, Digital Assistants, Mobile Start, and more. These tools are designed to enhance productivity and streamline your operations. Don’t settle for the status quo; instead, continuously seek out the latest advancements. These new developments are created with the purpose of boosting productivity, and their utilization can significantly improve your work efficiency.


My Home

k) The strategies used to tackle business challenges in on-premise environments may not necessarily translate effectively to SAP S/4HANA Cloud, public cloud edition. It’s vital to recognize that these are two distinct products with different objectives and unique boundary conditions (In public cloud you can’t create modifications). Therefore, it’s crucial to be aware of these differences when devising and implementing solutions to ensure the successful operation of your business in SAP S/4HANA Cloud, public edition.

l) Don’t confine yourself solely to traditional methods such as Material Requirements Planning (MRP). Embrace process innovation and explore the latest advancements that SAP S/4HANA Cloud, public edition offers, such as Predictive MRP, Demand Driven Replenishment, and more. These new approaches leverage the power of predictive analytics and in the future more artificial intelligence cases to optimize your processes, potentially offering superior efficiency and accuracy. Don’t be conservative; try the new SAP best practices.


Predictive MRP – SAP Best Practices

m) As an ABAP developer, it’s essential to enhance your skills by learning and exploring SAP S/4HANA Cloud, ABAP environment. Mastery of this powerful tool will not only broaden your coding capabilities but also provide you with a better understanding of cloud developer extensibility. This knowledge will empower you to differentiate applications more efficiently and effectively.


Eclipse-based ABAP development tools (ADT)

n) In the SAP S/4HANA Cloud, public edition system, it’s time to abandon the traditional notion of needing direct access to the backend or transaction codes such as SE16, SE38, or SE80, etc. Instead, you can meet your needs using alternative tools like the Customer Data Browser app and the View Browser app for all Core Data Services (CDS) views. You can also use Eclipse-based ABAP Development Tools (ADT) which provide a wide range of capabilities to cover these needs and more.


Customer Data Browser App

o) While the traditional RICEFS model has been a common tool for conducting fit-gap analysis, our approach has evolved. We now lean towards the “fit to standard” method, which optimally aligns with our objectives. That said, we are not averse to addressing business challenges. When necessary, we embrace differentiation using cloud extensibility instead.

p) SAP Notes, while still existing, have a different function in SAP S/4HANA Cloud, public edition, compared to on-premise versions. They are no longer necessary for implementing code fixes on programs. Instead, they primarily serve as informational tools, providing guidance on configuration, key user extensibility, and settings. The governance and maintenance of the system are now under the responsibility of SAP, which runs a robust and proactive maintenance program to manage and implement fixes.

q) It is imperative to stay abreast of ongoing changes in scope and emerging innovations to enhance system productivity and business outcomes. Our constant endeavor is to improve upon what we already have, and staying updated with these shifts is crucial in our pursuit of excellence.


SAP Release Assessment and Scope Dependency

r) Use automation to accelerate regression cycles for implementation and upgrades: Apply automation to expedite regression testing in place of manual testing. This approach will afford you the speed necessary to concentrate on evaluating business processes and fostering new innovation.

s) Two innovation cycles (upgrades) per year form an integral part of the solution to evolving challenges in a rapidly changing world. It is essential to embrace the upgrades rather than resisting them, acknowledging the fact that they are unstoppable and cannot be postponed. Understanding and adapting to these cycles paves the way for progress and growth. Plan for them in advance and take advantage of them by examining all new innovations being delivered.

As you can observe, these suggestions are just a starting point. I highly recommend expanding your knowledge by reading the following blogs as they will offer you additional perspectives.

Successful SAP S/4HANA Cloud, public edition, implementations and ongoing operations

Drive competitive advantage through differentiation in SAP S/4HANA Cloud, public edition – my experiences choosing the proper cloud extensibility technique to achieve business outcomes

Now, these concepts can also be applied to SAP S/4HANA Cloud, private edition, if you are also interested on this solution, I recommend you to read the following blog – Recommendations for greenfield implementations of RISE with SAP S/4HANA Cloud, private edition following a cloud mindset.

SAP has also provided free learning resources so you can expand your knowledge in SAP S/4HANA Cloud, public edition. Feel free to check out these learning maps:

Master SAP S/4HANA Cloud, public edition

Finance in SAP S/4HANA Cloud, public edition


Master SAP S/4HANA Cloud, public edition

Your insights and opinions are valuable, so please don’t hesitate to contribute by adding comments to this basic recommendation guide.

More Information on SAP S/4HANA Cloud, Public Edition:

  • SAP S/4HANA Cloud, public edition, release info here
  • Latest SAP S/4HANA Cloud, public edition, release blog posts here and previous release highlights here
  • Product videos on our SAP S/4HANA Cloud, public Edition and SAP S/4HANA YouTube playlist
  • SAP S/4HANA PSCC Digital Enablement Wheel here
  • Early Release Webinar Series here
  • Inside SAP S/4HANA Podcast here
  • openSAP Microlearnings for SAP S/4HANA here
  • Best practices for SAP S/4HANA Cloud, public edition, here
  • SAP S/4HANA Cloud, public edition, Community: here
  • Feature Scope Description here
  • What’s New here
  • Help Portal Product Page here

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      Author's profile photo Brad Saxon
      Brad Saxon

      Great blog post Marco. One suggestion I have is to consider including some information on the automated testing available in the SAP Public Cloud. For practitioners who are typically asked to manually perform testing with a defined set of test scripts, the functionality for regression and upgrade testing available in Public Cloud would be a game changer.

      Author's profile photo Marco Valencia
      Marco Valencia
      Blog Post Author

      Thank you for the feedback, good point. I added it to the list.

      Author's profile photo Javier del Peso
      Javier del Peso

      Marco Valencia

      A great, comprehensive, and awesome article. Same as you mentioned and having transition as well from being an SAP ERP – SAP S/4HANA on-premise to an SAP S/4HANA Cloud public edition consultant, this is my recommendation list:

      • As said, learn! Learning Hub, SAP Help, Open SAP, Microlearning, Workshops, Communities… There’s learning content everywhere. Be curious.
      • Get Certified. This is a must and guarantees you have done the learning job. Every 6 moths with a new release, there’s a minor refresh to keep you up to date.
      • Practice, use the Scope Items, use S/4Hana Cloud, public edition. This will prove some things are not as you assumed they might be in on-premise.
      • You are not alone! Leverage in other S/4Hana Cloud, public edition experts, find a buddy.
      • Be patient, this is not an overnight journey, but S/4Hana Cloud, public edition is a game changer in multiple aspects, so enjoy the transition.


      Javier del Peso

      Author's profile photo Marco Valencia
      Marco Valencia
      Blog Post Author

      Excellent recommendations Javier! I appreciate your insights!

      Author's profile photo Qi Liu
      Qi Liu

      Thanks Marco for the impressive blog. We do have a customer transiting from ECC to SAP S/4HANA Cloud, Public Edition successfully within 3 months following a strong Cloud Mindset.

      Author's profile photo Marco Valencia
      Marco Valencia
      Blog Post Author

      Thank you Qi!