What should be considered when migrating to S/4 HANA?

In the coming years, many companies will be faced with the switch to SAP S/4 HANA. This task is often very complex and can bring unexpected problems. If you work with SAP R/3 or SAP ECC, then it makes sense to deal with the issue in good time. Migration often takes many months. For this reason, the migration project should be started in time.

The initial situation: This is why a plan for migration is necessary

Many companies still use SAP ERP 6.0 or SAP R/3 standard software. Some of these software solutions date back to 1993, when SAP released the first version of R/3. SAP now plans to discontinue customer support for these platforms by the end of 2026. SAP S/4 HANA is available as a new solution. This ERP software has already been on the market since 2015 and has so far been run in parallel.

Due to the termination of support, a switch to a new ERP system is required. However, S/4 HANA is fundamentally different from its predecessor SAP ECC. SAP R/3, for example, is based on a traditional client-server model. Characteristic are also numerous additional modules and often stand-alone applications as well as extensions that have been integrated into the system. This is done by building on database solutions originating from Oracle, Microsoft or IBM. S/4, on the other hand, is based on the company’s own in-memory database HANA and relies on a concept of leaner structures. A direct migration of the databases between the systems is therefore not possible. The same applies to many processes designed in ECC or R/3 using on-board tools as well as other solutions.

These challenges and issues await when migrating to SAP S/4 HANA

When migrating from SAP ECC to its successor, you can choose between the greenfield and brownfield approaches. The brownfield approach involves migrating the existing landscape while retaining structures as much as possible. The greenfield approach, on the other hand, relies on a complete rebuild and full switch to S/4 HANA at a fixed point in time.

Both solutions have advantages and disadvantages, each of which needs to be analyzed specifically. Roughly speaking, the greenfield approach can be implemented more quickly, but it requires the structures to be completely rebuilt and integrated into the existing infrastructure. In the brownfield approach, parallel operation of both platforms is sought for a time. This migration process takes place over a longer period of time and proceeds in stages.

In both cases, however, you need solutions to transport the data to the new platform. Even the migration of pure data is therefore a challenge. However, this does not cover the entire problem of platform switching. There are numerous tasks waiting as well as obstacles that want to be considered and solved during a migration process.

One such problem is the evolved structures of SAP ECC. You have probably been using this software for many years. In fact, there are companies that have been using this SAP solution to handle all of their enterprise resource planning for more than 20 years. For this reason, each migration is an individual project with an enormous scope.

In most cases, these evolved structures have led to an individualization of the platform. Many companies have developed or had additional modules and applications developed for SAP ECC over the years. These have been deeply integrated into the system. Thus, the processes deviate from the original procedures. This also changes the records stored in the system’s databases. For this reason alone, there is no standard solution for migrating data to SAP’s new platform.

Another problem, which is linked to the complex and individual structures, is employee turnover. It is likely that there are also frequent changes of employees in your company. With a platform like SAP R/3, which has accompanied you for many years or decades, different employees were responsible for the software. The individual changes, especially if they occurred a long time ago, can therefore no longer be traced. Especially in the 1990s and 2000s, few companies paid attention to precise documentation of such individualized platforms. Software transparency is therefore not given under these circumstances.

The migration is further complicated by the complex business processes. Each company has its own unique mechanisms, which are also reflected in the ERP platform. Your company also has its very own processes. You’ve probably customized the digital operations in your ERP platform to match these operations. A migration to SAP S/4 HANA requires a precise understanding of these processes. This is already a major task for the companies themselves. The switch from SAP ECC to S/4 HANA also requires these business processes to be modified. If external help is used for the migration process, the service providers must develop methods to ensure software transparency and to identify the process flows and display them accordingly in the new SAP environment.

How Sysparency Facilitates the Switch to SAP S/4 HANA

Sysparency specializes in the analysis of software systems. On the basis of such an analysis, an individual modernization strategy can be developed. Here, the Sysparency Algorithm is used, which is able to analyze the functioning of software systems in an automated way. Code analysis makes complex software platforms, such as SAP ECC, transparent. This approach is also known as business discovery. This is a sensible approach during a migration process to S/4 HANA, because it brings transparency to your processes.

The migration to SAP S/4 HANA with Sysparency runs in several phases. These can be divided into four levels. Each individual stage also brings with it a number of other tasks and processes. In this way, modernization strategies and migration processes run in an orderly as well as planned manner.

The first phase is the automated analysis and extraction of business processes. In this way, the software brings transparency to your workflows and processes. For this purpose, Sysparency has developed an algorithm that works automatically. In doing so, the special algorithm is able to log the functioning of a software based on the usage behavior. This approach is unique in the field of business discovery. The advantage of this is that the recorded results are practical and thus readable for specialist departments as well as management. This is one of the great strengths of the solution, because this allows your business departments to lead the rebuilding of the processes in the migration process, based on the documentation. Such a task is feasible even for people without software expertise. The algorithm enables a fast and precise analysis of all business processes. At the same time, this analysis is the cornerstone for the actual migration process. Once all processes have been analyzed and are therefore transparent, it is possible to rebuild them in SAP.

In the next step, Sysparency creates documentation for the software. Such documentation provides software transparency and is also useful in the long term. Structure and format are individually selectable, from online documentation to Word documents. During the migration process, the documentation helps design the process structures in the new platform. The further strategy for modernization and migration is then developed on the basis of the results from the business discovery.

Then the analysis of the existing data and the required interfaces begins. This involves determining which information can be ported to the new environment via which interfaces. In processes as complex as the migration from SAP R/3 to S/4 HANA, there are always scenarios where existing data or processes cannot be transferred in a direct way. These are identified in this phase and individual solutions are found.

Then the specification of the objectives takes place. Here we are already specifying what the new structures will look like. The precise specifications of the requirements are also created in this phase. In this way, all the necessary information required for project planning is available. From there, the implementation of the actual migration begins. With a continuous model of Continuous Integration, the step-by-step migration of individual processes and data to the new SAP environment begins. Here Sysparency proceeds with the strategy “Design – Build – Test – Deploy”. This deployment pipeline is consistently completed across all modules and components until the migration is complete and the new structures are functioning as desired.

The advantages of migration with the Sysparency Algorithm

Software analysis with the Sysparency Algorithm has other advantages at the same time, which you will benefit from during the migration process. This is how the Sysparency Algorithm uncovers potential security gaps in your processes. This gives you the opportunity to address such issues together as the migration progresses. This directly increases the security level of your processes. Likewise, the process analysis allows to control the processes for efficiency. Especially in unclear structures that have grown over many years and on which numerous people have worked, unnecessarily complex and thus inefficient processes take root. This is especially true for the specialist applications. Here, Sysparency’s process analysis uncovers inefficient processes and provides software transparency. Only through documentation and precise process analysis do such points become visible at all.

In this way, the Sysparency Algorithm helps you increase efficiency and security at the same time. Thus, through a modernization strategy with Sysparency, you not only achieve a smooth transition to the new structures of SAP S/4 HANA, but also increase the efficiency of your software solution. Business Discovery also helps you and your business departments make future decisions regarding SAP development.

Other advantages include the fact that a WIKI for the software is created directly. This is achieved through the process of business discovery. All your digital business processes become visible in their individual components via the analysis. This is followed by documentation in a WIKI for software. Many companies lack such documentation to provide software transparency, which brings its own problems. Particularly in the further development of the future platform, it is important that you can rely on reliable information about the process flows. This information provides a WIKI for software. In this way, you close knowledge gaps that open up when employees leave your company. For new employees who are responsible for the SAP platform, the WIKI for Software provides a source of documentation. This ensures that individual changes remain traceable and that all processes are transparent in the future.


The platform change from SAP ECC to S/4 HANA is a complex major project. The migration process often drags on for many months, sometimes even more than a year. With the Sysparency Algorithm you shorten the system change significantly. The high degree of automation reduces the cost and effort of migration to the new environment. If you are using SAP R/3 or mySAP ERP and migration is pending, contact Sysparency. Get expert information about the advantages of the Sysparency Algorithm and learn how the migration could work for you.

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