Preparation for the conversion to SAP S/4HANA
How can companies prepare for the changeover to SAP S/4HANA?
Even before the actual changeover to SAP S/4HANA takes place, a number of things can be done to prepare for the changeover - also to avoid unpleasant surprises later on.
1. Development of a roadmap
First and foremost, preparations include the creation of a roadmap. This roadmap shows in which time which steps have to be taken - from the initial situation to the implementation of SAP S/4HANA.
2. Conversion to SAP HANA
The changeover to the SAP HANA database can be carried out in advance - as a separate step even before the actual changeover to SAP S/4HANA.
The switch in advance reduces the complexity of the changeover and enables a "smoother transition". The ERP system is then already running on SAP HANA. The migration to SAP S/4HANA then follows in a second step.
3. Conversion to Unicode
Another important preparatory step is the conversion to Unicode (international standard for character sets, mandatory for SAP S/4HANA).
4. Testing of customer developments and add-ons
In addition, customer developments (so-called Z-developments) and add-ons should be checked for compatibility with SAP S/4HANA and the HANA database (custom code check) at an early stage.
5. Check and improve data quality
Archiving data is also an important issue.
If a company does not yet have a data archive (to which data is automatically swapped out and backed up at regular intervals and thus removed from the system), the sometimes very old data may lead to inconsistencies when switching to SAP S/4HANA.
They can cause the entire process to stagnate - Software Update Manager detects a problem (such as a currency error) and stops the entire process until that problem is resolved.
In addition, data that is not necessary can now be identified and removed. With a high master data quality, errors can also be avoided during checks of master data under SAP S/4HANA.
6. Usage and Procedure Logging
Usage and Procedure Logging (UPL) allows companies to investigate which unused custom developments are present in the system or which database tables are hardly ever accessed.
The goal here as well: To rid the ERP system of "old burdens" in advance and to set it up as lean as possible. After all, the tidier the system, the smoother the migration to SAP S/4HANA later on.
7. Update to EHP 8
The update to EHP 8 (SAP enhancement package 8 for SAP ERP 6.0) must also be carried out in advance of the changeover: SAP Netweaver 7.5 (basic platform for SAP applications) is required to run SAP S/4HANA - and so is EHP 8.
EHP 8 is an enhancement package with which SAP provides innovations for ERP systems. With EHP 8, SAP has created the basis for the changeover to SAP S/4HANA.
8. Upgrade to Solution Manager 7.2
In addition, companies must upgrade to Solution Manager 7.2. Solution Manager is a comprehensive management software with tools, services and content for the implementation and operation of enterprise applications. Solution Manager 7.2 supports SAP HANA and the SAP Cloud.
9. Customer Vendor Integration
Another important part is the conversion to the "central business partner" (Customer Vendor Integration). The business partner replaces the classic customer and vendor. Companies can already convert this in the ERP system.
10. Conversion to the New GL
Also new is the "New General Ledger" ("New GL" as an integral part of the accounting system). The changeover can also be carried out in advance.
11.Change to SAP CCM (formerly SAP CCS)
With the migration to SAP S/4HANA, SAP Bonus replaces the old bonus settlement via "subsequent remuneration". Under SAP S/4HANA, SAP CCS ("Condition Contract Settlement") is the new standard bonus solution.
Companies should therefore convert SAP Bonus to SAP CCS at an early stage. However, the name is changing: SAP CCS will be called "Condition Contract Management" (CCM) in the future. CCM is part of Settlement Management.
12. New Outputmanagement with BRF+
Last but not least, output management - i.e. the system for message control in the company - is also changing under SAP S/4HANA.
With the help of output control, the flow of information in companies can be represented in the form of printed or digital documents. This concerns, for example, the information that needs to be processed from production and quality control to invoicing in companies.
The previous output control system is now being converted to a new control system based on BFR+ (Business Rule Framework plus). BRF+ is a system for storing business rules and, among other things, also regulates output control. Companies should therefore check forms and dependencies in advance of the changeover.