We at interstellar Consulting understand that every software product has a lifecycle and eventually becomes obsolete due to outdated technology, evolving business needs, or changing business trends. That’s why we believe in the importance of upgrading or migrating existing business software by converting its key functionalities to a new technology. For SAP customers who are currently running on different versions of SAP ERP, it will become necessary to migrate to an SAP S/4HANA system by 2027. Proper planning for this big organizational change will reduce risk during the conversion process and pave the way for a smooth transition into the new ERP system.
However, converting to SAP S/4HANA is not an easy task and comes with its own challenges that we can help you overcome. In this article, we will explore the five biggest challenges your organization may face during an S/4HANA conversion along with key strategies to ensure your company is prepared for a smooth S/4HANA conversion
Challenge 1 – Disorganization and Confusion During the Process
During a conversion project, the people responsible for making the plans often fail to fully detail all the tasks to be performed sequentially and incorrectly assess the time and efforts it takes to convert the system. This leads to disorganization and confusion and is not truly a technical issue. It is important that consultants working on the conversion projects have a clear understanding of the source and target system architecture and experience in executing conversion tools, programs like Readiness Assessment, Simplification Item Checks, as well as Cross Application, to ensure clarity on the project plan.
Preparing a comprehensive conversion plan should always be the first step in any SAP S/4HANA conversion project. Readiness assessments and pre-analysis of the source system are critical parts of application configuration. Our team of experts has the appropriate skills set to develop a conversion plan that will be least disruptive to the business. We ensure potential problem areas are identified ahead of time to effectively mitigate the risk.
Challenge 2 – Inadequate Preparation of the Source System
Lack of preparation is evident early on in the conversion process. Your conversion partner may not find the time to prepare the system perfectly as per the simplification and conversion guides, or overlook some steps. This can lead to frustration within your organization if you have to re-do processes and extend the project timeline. The success of a conversion project is dependent on how thoroughly and carefully the source system is prepared, closely aligned with the level of preparation and detailed planning your partner and project manager have done. We provide you with a step-by-step checklist to work through and understand all necessary actions. We follow the SAP Help documents, SAP Simplification Guide, SAP S/4HANA Conversion guides, SUM Help documents to avoid hiccups in the conversion project.
Challenge 3 – Complexity of Data Transfer
A Migration Monitor tool helps migrate Financial Accounting data from a source system to the SAP S/4HANA target system without disrupting or disabling existing business functionality. The process of transferring data from a source system to a target system is a core task for any conversion project. This activity must be completed effectively to ensure data integrity and migration process.
Moving data from SAP ERP (ECC) to S/4HANA is challenging if you don’t properly prepare for conversion. Moving millions of records is complex, and data loss can occur. The missing data often goes unnoticed until a user or application calls for it. Although the data is not truly lost, the business cannot access it in their target system. In addition to extended downtime, lost data may also increase your budget and ultimately result in poor performance. Many companies decide to do a conversation project in-house to save money. However, this is not a good strategy as conversion is a risky activity with major business implications and requires expert attention. If errors are detected during reconciliation, they should be cleaned up before a transfer is attempted.
Challenge 4 – Difficulty Integrating Custom Code with SAP S/4HANA
Migrating any custom code to S/4HANA is one of the more complex tasks in the conversion. During the preparation phase of a conversion project, an intensive study needs to be conducted to identify and assess the use of custom code. This analysis will be a major factor in deciding if the system can be converted or if it should be re-implemented.
If you find custom code that significantly resists modification and adaptation, then the source system must be analyzed. This custom code might be the backbone of information that flows within an organization or the main code that consolidates information. So, failure to adopt this custom code may have a serious business impact. These mission-critical custom-developed functionalities are extremely important to analyze before starting conversation activity. If your existing system has been in use for a long time, chances are that it has accumulated large amounts of programs or other database tables. The complexity and volume of the programs in question may be enough to justify a separate plan of its own, addressing questions on custom code.
Challenge 5 – Inadequate Testing and Validation
Testing must be an ongoing process throughout the conversion project. Up to seventy (70%) percent of a consultant’s time should be spent on testing. It is not advisable to implement new functionality as part of the conversion project. If the goal is simply to retain existing functionality, comparison of outputs is enough to determine the validity of the target S/4HANA system.
New functionality should be implemented only after conversion activity is completed, and the target system is stabilized. Even though functionality has not changed, factors such as a change in the hardware, operating system, or database, may result in inconsistent output for the same functionality. All these important factors need to be addressed in the testing process.
A successful SAP S/4HANA conversion requires thorough planning and execution. At [Your Company Name], we understand the importance of proper planning, preparation, and testing throughout the conversion process. Our team of experts has the necessary skills and experience to guide your organization through the challenges of an S/4HANA conversion. Contact us to facilitate a readiness assessment and provide business scenario recommendations. A successful S/4HANA conversion will introduce new values and functions to your entire business process.