Automated tools to support your move to SAP S/4HANA

Paul Smitherman |

SAP offers tools and methods for all stages of your migration to the SAP S/4HANA Intelligent ERP. These solutions are complemented by SOA People's Move to SAP S/4HANA approach to further accelerate this process, helping you to better prepare, implement and succeed in your SAP S/4HANA migration journey.

Here is an in-depth look at the range of automated tools that will support your migration:

First step: preparation

SAP enables the thinking process of your migration from start to finish, by measuring precisely what effort will be required and what gains can be expected. SOA People extends the preparation stage with a tool specifically dedicated to building your business case, Performer.

Performer works by connecting to your ERP, extracting data anonymously and assessing your company's level of performance in relation to its ERP usage. Your organisation’s ERP data will then be compared with a panel of representative companies. This allows us to assess its level of maturity with a view to migrating to SAP S/4HANA, and then to propose appropriate action plans, including recommended improvements. The costs of implementing the project will also be highlighted and evaluated, together with the potential gains expected, whether one-off or recurring.

Technically, the tools offered by SAP offer a similar approach. SAP Process Discovery creates a picture of ERP usage, SAP Transformation Navigator defines the application and functional landscape, depending on the scope and improvements chosen, while SAP Value LifeCycle Manager builds the business case.

However, Performer has several advantages over these other tools such as providing broader coverage of business sectors, measuring more indicators (2,600 compared with 1,380) and enhanced process automation.

Second step: migration

The term ‘conversion factory’ is the latest buzzword in SAP S/4HANA migrations. However, they are extremely beneficial as they offer a technical migration without significant process changes, enabling the switch from SAP ECC to SAP S/4HANA to be made in a short space of time, with a minimum of functional variations. Once the conversion is complete, the processes are then continuously reviewed with the business, according to an agreed set of priorities.

Deploying a conversion factory is the best approach when the technological leap is significant: moving from SAP ECC to SAP S/4HANA or moving from an on-premise environment to a cloud-based solution, such as RISE with SAP. One of the key reasons for this is that you can industrialise all the stages of the migration, with a constant scope, sometimes just with the modification of some key processes.

This method also makes it possible to capitalise on previous investments, by fine-tuning your ERP settings and converting existing ones. In addition, change management can be adjusted by not deploying all the new features of SAP S/4HANA from the outset.

SOA People’s conversion factory approach offers an automated conversion tool capable of automatically performing certain tasks (including finance, fixed asset management, business partners, and so on), as well as the conversion of 93% to 95% of the specific applications. The conversion of these specific applications is carried out using a very efficient self-learning artificial intelligence engine.

Third step: post-migration work

A successful conversion requires the alignment of the right people, methods and tools. However, there are two aspects to consider following the conversion and throughout the ERP lifecycle: continuous improvement and testing.

A solution such as Signavio allows you to analyse the processes used at any given time and compare them to industry best practice. This valuable tool will realign processes with these best practices. Pierre-Edouard Hamon, Pre-sales Director at SOA People recommends that clients carry out this analysis regularly, as part of a strategy of continuous improvement of their processes, and to ensure that their processes remain in an optimal state.

When ERP is deployed in the cloud, it will evolve at the same pace as the changes introduced by SAP. But when it is deployed on premise, you should still take advantage of the regular upgrades in order to fully benefit from SAP innovation.

Whether it's a redesign of existing processes or an upgrade, testing – both functional and non-regression – is essential. Tools such as Tricentis (distributed by SAP) enable the industrialisation of what customers still all too often do by hand. This solution significantly accelerates the testing phase during a conversion or a version upgrade and frees up time to focus on end-user training. It is a tool that also contributes to the adoption of SAP S/4HANA.