Technology advancements in SAP has brought up SAP HANA to the world of IT to empower the acceleration of business processes with business intelligence and advance analytics resulting in simplification of IT environment.
SAP HANA is an on-cloud, im-memory database used in SAP ERP applications, that uses Random Access Memory (RAM) and allows to manage, analyze, and deliver Real-time information. It has a surfeit of capabilities such as multi-model processing, database management and administration, application development, and data virtualization.
SAP S/4HANA, which runs only on SAP HANA database, is an on-cloud real-time, next generation ERP suite, an agile, simpler, and efficient than its predecessor. Businesses with more customer orientation, and strive to compete with rivals, are adapting SAP HANA and SAP S/4 HANA. As per the records, more than 33,000 global customers have been currently using SAP HANA, and approximately 16,000 customers have migrated to SAP S/4HANA.
As the legacy systems are becoming outdated, businesses are revising their technology vision towards implementing and/ or migrating to SAP S/4HANA predominantly. Though migrating to SAP S/4 HANA is time consuming and dense, businesses think it as a critical push to be more efficient, thereby become more competitive with a customer-oriented approach.
Types of implementation strategies:
It is evident from the technology perspective that three types of SAP S/4 HANA implementation strategies are widely employed by the industries across the globe i.e., Greenfield, Brownfield, and Hybrid. Choosing the right strategy depends on the organization’s goal and vision.
Greenfield: Organizations, who intent to completely revamp its existing SAP processes and environment with a glut of convoluted workflows and heavily bespoke code, consider ‘greenfield’ as an apt to approach. This will reengineer the complete business process and attenuate the complexities. Greenfield implementation, which can be carried both on-premises or in the cloud allowing users to predefine migration objects, results in low total-cost-of-ownership (TCO) and time-to-value. In this process, all the existing data will be migrated to new SAP S/4 HANA environment. Though a time-consuming process, greenfield approach homogenizes best practices and mitigates intense challenges in current systems and design enterprise structures.
In addition to the cost and complexity, greenfield approach requires more change management.
Brownfield: Unlike Greenfield, ‘Brownfield is close to an upgrade to existing SAP ERP. In this approach, required workflows, systems, and data will be migrated to SAP S/4 HANA. This approach will not disrupt the current business processes even while migrating to the newer version. While migration, user can revaluate and edit the existing processes and migrate the workable ones. Brownfield approach, which is a low-cost and agile implementation strategy, suits best for customers intending to continue using their current solutions and rapidly convert from SAP ECC 6 (or another version of SAP) to SAP S/4HANA.
On the other hand, this approach may create technical debt, and may not solve complex and hidden data and process issues.
Hybrid: Hybrid implementation is a most widely used model which is a combination of both Greenfield and Brownfield approaches. Hybrid, which is suitable for large organizations with complex systems and large volume of data, helps organizations to mitigate the dense issues associated while migrating to SAP S/4 HANA. In this approach, selective data and systems can be migrated to new SAP S/4 HANA and rest runs as it is on current systems
The disadvantage with hybrid approach, which condense the facets of greenfield and brownfield approaches, is that it requires a third-party solution or tool to work on.
A survey conducted by PANAYA revealed that 31% of organizations were interested in Brownfield approach, a gradual implantation methodology that secures existing investments; and just 14% were interested towards Greenfield, as it is complex and costlier.
Challenges & Benefits
Migrating to SAP S/4 HANA is an up-hill task as it is intricate, pricier and risky. Key challenges include:
- Operational adjustments and adoption of new processes
- High custom code required – legacy customizations may not be compatible with new environment i.e. SAP S/4 HANA
However, on the other hand, key benefits with SAP S/4 HANA migration include, but not limited to:
- Faster and more agile
- Lowers the data migration time
- Simple and standardized
- High ROI
- Real-time processing
SAP S/4 HANA is faster, agile, and efficient next generation business suite which helps businesses accelerate towards digital journey. Built-up with AI capabilities, SAP S/4 HANA provides real-time analytics and helps organizations take immediate decisions and make stronger strategies to compete with the world. Migrating to SAP S/4 HANA, though complex, is required deliberately to emphasis on customer-oriented approach. Organizations must choose the specific model based on their technology scope and requirement i.e. Greenfield, Brownfield or Hybrid.
ACI Infotech, with its strong roots in SAP S/4 HANA migration and implementation, helps you to migrate from SAP ECC to SAP S/4 HANA with most dynamic, yet balance approach with real-time analytics and custom features. We study the current systems and specifications and recommend the suitable approach for SAP S/4 HANA migration/ implementation. Our SAP expertise combines a tech-agnostic approach with dedicated CoE's to deliver SAP-centric solutions.