Fifty Shades of the SAP S/4HANA Transition – Which One to Choose?

s/4hana transition datavard

More and more customers are on their way to S/4HANA. Some are at the very beginning and ask for guidance to identify the right transition path – whether it’s green, blue, brown, or black field approach. Others are starting with a Proof of Concept to validate the right approach, while some are in the middle of the project or even short before Go Live.

One pattern is common, we all talk about <color> approaches. But we don’t mean the same thing when talking about the same color – a green field approach in company A is not identical with a green field approach in company B.

Best practice is to execute an analysis first and then scope the project, before we label it accordingly. Here’s an example of how our workshops with customers usually look like:

First scoping session means answering the following FIVE guiding questions:

  1. Is it a technical or business driven project?

On the move to S/4HANA there are some pre-requisites, like introducing the material ledger for the material valuation, introducing business partner and new asset accounting. This we still count as more technical driven, due to the architectural change. As no real Business process re-engineering takes place, it’s a technical driven project. So, the current customizing will be used and upgraded to S/4HANA by using Lean System Copy as the first step.

  1. Which data scope is required?

Based on our data quality check and due to no active archiving strategy in place, customer followed our recommendation to start with Datavard Housekeeping and run a selective migration of active data only.

  1. What is the deployment option?

A move to S/4HANA starts also the discussion who should own the hardware and operate the system, and should we use the on premise or the public cloud version of SAP, which depends on the required level of flexibility. Customer decided to accept an offer from MS Azure.

  1. Is there a system landscape optimization required?

As customer has only one productive SAP system, so there will be no system landscape optimization needed. Instead, data will be migrated to a new hardware, while old data will be decommissioned.

  1. How should the roll-out strategy look like?

In the one SAP system there are 35 businesses units. A Big Bang would mean a goLive for all 35 business Units at one time. This seemed risky, as process testing, activation of all interfaces, new processes could not be handled by the IT and Business organization. Customer decided to do mini GoLives with just one or maximum 3 Business Units.


The following work packages have been identified to start with:

  • Work packages in Repository, Functional changes
  • Identification of active data
  • Creation of technical data migration concept
  • Blueprint for decommissioning

We would be happy to help you and your company to choose the shade that suits best.

To help you find out which approach is the right for your needs we offer a 30 minute non-binding talk held in a Q&A format – information sharing – no slides, no demo. Just fill our form and we will contact you for the arrangement of your talk. Gerds “Opening Hours” are every second Friday from 1:00-3:00 pm.

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