How to deliver a successful SAP ECC to SAP S/4HANA migration

Insight by COSOL /

One tip can be found in a article titled Big majority of SAP users beset by data problems in migrating to S/4HANA.

A recent UK & Ireland SAP User Group (UKISUG) survey found that two-thirds of SAP customers say that data issues are impeding migrations from SAP ECC to SAP S/4HANA.

As Chairman of UKISUG Paul Cooper said, “Many organisations see moving to SAP S/4HANA or their wider digital transformation as an opportunity to automate more of their business processes. Yet, as our survey shows, data management challenges are slowing progress.”

He went on to explain, “Data quality is also a very important consideration, as organisations will fail to realise maximum value from implementing S/4HANA if their existing data hasn’t been cleansed first.”

While each SAP S/4HANA migration project will be unique, with varying complexities, we counsel that there is one common success factor: the state of the data will determine the timeline, cost, and ultimately the success of any major data migration project.

COSOL has more than two decades experience running data quality and migration projects for asset-intensive organisations. We have specific expertise in navigating the safe transition between SAP ECC and SAP S/4HANA, and our best advice is to start early preparations for your migration now by readying your data.

It's complicated

The migration from SAP ECC to SAP S/4HANA involves upgrading Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems while simultaneously adopting a new database, so there’s more to it than simple conversions and transfers. It will be a complex data migration project – probably as complex as moving from one ERP system to another.

Data migration describes the process of selection, preparation, extraction, transformation, and permanent migration of selected data that is of the right quality to the right place at the right time and subsequent decommissioning of legacy data stores.

As with all effective data migration programs, a successful SAP ECC to SAP S/4HANA data migration will require the participation of all the parties involved in the project, both functional as well as systems, for the following reasons:

  • Level of knowledge and need for communication between the project team and those responsible for maintaining the current systems.
  • Quality of the data coming from the old applications and their need for remediation.
  • Volumes of information to be managed.Process of test and simulation including their scheduling.
  • Synchronisation of data load, configured parameters and improvements (extensions) performed.
  • Organisational aspects and of processes related with the cutover.

One way to smooth the transition and simplify the process is to avoid the most common data migration project pitfall: understand your data landscapes and resolve your data quality issues as soon as possible and at the source.

Data Quality Assessment

A Data Quality Assessment (DQA) is like a report card for your data. It’s a professional, independent evaluation to determine the capacity of data in your organisation to serve its intended purpose. The DQA aims to identify incorrect, low quality, duplicate or redundant data, and advise what corrective action your business should take to ensure your data is fit for purpose.

One of our recent DQAs for a global mining organisation, for example, resulted in an 84-page report covering the core business functions across Finance, Supply Chain, Enterprise Asset Management, and Sales Distribution. With the DQA benchmark in place, our client had everything they needed to make an informed decision about what to do next.​

Here’s what they had to say:

“COSOL’s assessment gave us a clear understanding of the data within our legacy SAP ECC6 system – and provided new insight into the level of effort required to cleanse and migrate our data to comply with global operating standards, and potential conversion to S/4HANA.”

Consequences of poor data migration

Still not convinced it’s time to get started preparing your enterprise data for a SAP S/4HANA migration? Consider the consequences of a poor data migration:

Additional workload: Correcting data issues post implementation results in a significant increase of effort and complexity due to the issues such as data relationships, configuration and linked transactional data.

End user confidence: Poor quality data typically generates unwanted frustration from end users at Go-Live. This will ultimately undermine credibility and reduce confidence in the new SAP S/4HANA system.

Extra cost: Often, a large volume of historical data is migrated due to concerns over access to legacy data leading to unnecessary data storage costs.

Extends project timelines: Poor or inadequate data cleansing results in the additional effort through the data migration phase, drawing key business personnel away from business process and solution design work.

The end of support and maintenance of SAP ECC will happen in 2027. Acting early to prepare your data for migration to SAP S/4HANA could be the pathway to your project's success.

For more advice on data quality, data migration and SAP ECC to SAP S/4HANA migration, talk to a COSOL specialist.