Establishing a Digital Core with SAP S/4HANA
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Greenfield vs. Brownfield Migration Approach.

Let’s take a look at the basics, and put SAP S/4HANA in perspective. When it comes to S/4HANA adoption, most industry tech leaders looking to modernize legacy systems ask the question, “How do I start my journey?” To truly understanding S/4HANA, one would want to take a look at all the options that best fit their business case.

Greenfield (reimplementation) Approach

Adopting S/4HANA through a Greenfield (or SAP reimplementation) approach is one option which does not require to carry forward old legacy customizations and structures that have become obsolete and irrelevant.

A Greenfield approach can take advantage of SAP’s S/4HANA optimized best practices, accelerated implementation by leveraging the SAP 'Model Company' solution framework along with SAP S/4HANA accelerators, based on SAP’s Agile inspired 'SAP Activate Methodology'. S/4HANA Model Company best practices are available for industries and various line of business. This approach ultimately simplifies the journey while providing a pre-configured template or baseline to start off with.

Even SAP customers who may already be running ECC may decide to take this approach which in essence is a reimplementation, avoiding the need for remediation and migration.

Brownfield Approach

Then there is the Brownfield, or migration approach where you really look at what you have right now in ECC, identify the technical changes that need to be made for which there are a number of tools, and discover in the Prepare and Explore phase through an S/4HANA assessment where we get all the necessary data insights from a technical perspective.

Furthermore, identification of the tailored business case for S/4HANA, business process optimization and business value opportunities in your environment and for your business model are important aspects in an adoption of S/4HANA. Through the S/4HANA assessment it will be known exactly which business functions are active based on scanning of the system providing input to the business case.

It is also important to gain insight into the organizational change management impact, so to prepare for the entire journey and plan for your IT organization's path to proficiency to get the most out of the HANA Platform.

You will then know what to expect, where the high business value opportunities are and big ticket items are going to be; where you are going to spend the most time remediating custom code, reconfiguring solutions for compatibility with S/4HANA and making changes with your technical setup, and eventually learn how you can progress from your currently ECC setup through a Brownfield migration approach to S/4HANA.

Embracing Change

The key to the success of a digital transformation program hinges on its strategy. As companies adopt modernized technologies such as IoT, Big data, cloud, and mobility, securing the data and managing risks become pertinent. Companies that are on a digital transformation journey must make cyber-security a top priority. It is essential to maintain confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data in all these contexts-on premises, in the cloud, and in hybrid environments.

S/4HANA Landscape Transformation

The third option for S/4HANA adoption would be through what is called a ‘Landscape Transformation’ which could lead to a application landscape simplification where you bring a multitude of systems back to one on S/4HANA or alternatively setup a solution such as S/4HANA Central Finance to enable a shared financial services model. In such a scenario, your existing systems (SAP or non-SAP ERP) would remain in place and there would be a replication of the financial transactions into an S/4HANA system environment.

So how do you decide which approach is best?

It is not uncommon to be on SAP for 10 to 15 years and have seen changes in business models. Companies may have divested or inherited a template from a parent company that they are now independent from, or may have implemented software without best practices, and may feel stuck in a certain area of the business or through too many customizations.

One of the most important part of your S/4HANA journey is the assessment to determine the best approach for S/4HANA adoption, a reimplementation, even if you are running SAP already, or a Brownfield migration approach.

Preparation and early discovery is key; making sure you have the right partner to help navigate through each S/4HANA roadmap to ensure adoption.

A good entry point to showcase the S/4HANA capabilities and provide you with tailored insight comes through an S/4HANA assessment during the Prepare and Explore phase, leveraging the necessary tools (S/4HANA Readiness) and approaches (Model Company S/4HANA best practices).

About Birlasoft

Birlasoft is a recognized S/4HANA leader by IDC, Gartner and ISG Provider Lens for SAP Services covering net new implementations and HANA migrations, with over 100 projects completed and counting. Our global team of over 450 S/4HANA experts span across the Manufacturing, Automotive, and Energy and Utilities industries.

Learn more about Birlasoft’s S/4HANA Toolkit , accelerators and unique IP for Faster S/4HANA Adoption.

Hans Dossche
Hans Dossche
Director, HANA COE, Birlasoft
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