You’ll hear “greenfield” and “brownfield” used in common conversation about transitioning from ECC 6.0 ERP to S/4HANA. These two words — and too few words — cause more confusion than clarity.
To be clear, there are three scenarios for moving to SAP S/4HANA:
- New Implementation
- System Conversion
- Selective Data Transition
The first two receive wide attention, but the last is thought provoking.
After sorting out the the business case — the WHY — of moving from ECC 6.0 to S/4HANA, it’s time to think about HOW. You’ve probably read a lot about two options: “New Implementation” versus “System Conversion.” That’s all I ever read about! But those two are one option short of a whole story.
Selective Data Transition — the third option — is a strategy with options that fits in the middle and warrants your attention.
For one thing, you need to be aware of all the options on the table. But there’s much to like here because Selective Data Transition properly focuses your S/4HANA transition conversation on … data. No matter which path you eventually choose for transition, you’ll profit from that focus.
SAP Data Management & Landscape Transformation (DMLT) is a collection of service offerings aligned with selective data transition, new implementation, and system conversion.
I’m not selling services here; I’m saying that the ideas discussed in Selective Data Transition are rich content that you might richly profit from considering. There’s value to be had whether you engage services, incorporate concepts into your specific transition plan, or simply focus on master data as the foundation of Digital Transformation.
This option is a conventional implementation of SAP S/4HANA from scratch.
An astonishing number of euphemisms beyond “greenfield” are employed to avoid using the words “New Implementation.” But here it is in broad strokes:
- Create a new SAP S/4HANA system.
- Manually configure Business Processes.
- Time-saving reference: One or more Model Company systems.
- Time-saving reference: SAP Best Practice content.
- Execute data migration for initial data load from legacy systems.
This option is typically favored when:
- Implementing fundamental business process re-design.
- Significant data cleansing required.
- Significant data transformation or data construction required.
- Historical data not required (only master data and open items).
This option is a technical conversion of an existing on-premise ECC 6.0 (SAP Business Suite) system into an on-premise SAP S/4HANA system.
SAP S/4HANA ERP is not the successor of SAP Business Suite, so we we use the term “system conversion” rather than “upgrade” for this scenario.
This option is typically favored when:
- Full business process reuse, adjusted for S/4HANA simplification.
- Very limited data cleansing required.
- Limited data transformation or data construction required.
- Phased go-live is not required.
Selective Data Transition
All S/4HANA transition options have to consider Business Process implementation (configuration) and data (both master data and transactional data). But a conversation about Selective Data Transition immediately sharpens the focus on data.
This is an approach with options, not just one fixed scenario.
We’re talking about a strategy that fits neatly between New Implementation and System Conversion, with a range of options that you choose from to suit your particular circumstances.
There are two common approaches to create a target system with Selective Data Transition: Shell Conversion and Mix and Match.
In Shell Conversion, a shell copy of a production system is made without master and transaction data and this is converted to SAP S/4HANA. In Mix and Match, a new S/4HANA install is created and then elements of the existing configuration and ABAP repository are transported or manually transferred.
Both scenarios require data migration to follow including master data, balances and open items.Blog: Move to SAP S/4HANA with Selective Data Transition
It’s an interesting strategy, making accessible some of the benefits of New Implementation and relieving some of the constraints of System Conversion.
A copy of a production system is made without master and transactional data. If the source system was less than the last release of ECC 6.0. or not Unicode, then an upgrade is performed. Lastly, a system conversion takes place, with the result being an S/4HANA system with ECC 6.0 business processes configured, development objects in place, and no data.
Depending on your objectives, this might make a good start. The next steps are to make adjustments for S/4HANA and any new business processes.
The S/4HANA shell is typically used as S/4HANA development system and the source to build your S/4HANA target production system (via system copy).
This path also affords an opportunity to address data quality before migration data to the target system.
Mix and Match
If the scope of new business processes in S/4HANA or enhancement in ECC 6.0 makes renders the legacy system a less-than-attractive starting point, then the Mix and Match option skips Shell Conversion step in favor of beginning with a clean S/4HANA system.
This might appear to be “New Implementation” path, and it is, but with important accelerators.
A combination of reference systems can speed business process configuration. These include the legacy ECC 6.0 system, SAP Model Company systems, and Best Practice content. The point is, experience and reference system propel business process configuration.
Data migration scope can be determined by business object, with or without selective historical data.
SAP Data Management & Landscape Transformation (DMLT) content and processes have been developed to migrate master data and time-sliced historical data.
Moreover, all conventional data migration approaches remain available for use where appropriate.
- SAP Data Services
- SAP S/4HANA Migration Cockpit
- Legacy System Migration Workbench (LSMW)
- Extended Computer Aided Test Tool (eCATT)
- Custom Development Object / Program
Compare and Contrast
Comparing option for System Conversion with Selective Data Transition.
|Item||System Conversion||Selective Data Transition|
|Intention for ERP Template Reusability||As much as possible.||More than ~70%|
|Intention for new processes||No||Yes|
|Data Migration: Master Data & Open Items Only||No||Yes|
|Data Migration: Historical Data||Yes, full||Yes, full & selective history|
|Custom programs & relating ABAP objects||Yes, full||Yes, full|
|Deployment On-Premise / PAAS||Yes||Yes|
|System Conversion Prerequisites: Unicode Conversion, Archiving||One Go-Live not possible and conversion has to be a 2 Step process with current downtime and data reduction requirements||One Go-Live possible (due to separate system)|
|Risk Mitigation: Planned time for executing Fall-Back Plan during cut-over||Medium-Long (system restore in standard scenario to be planned)||Short (no system restore needed)|
|Optimization of Downtime during cut-over||Available with NZDT||Up to 2 Days based on Data Size|
|Solution Maturity / Customer Examples||Many examples exists for standard SUM, NZDT||SLO process for Shell Creation & Data loads are proven methods. Using this approach for S/4 is new.|
How to choose?
Plot the answers to 5 key questions.
A: Business Process Transformation?
What is the grade of required Business Process re-engineering in the future target system?
B: How Much Data?
How much data is required to move to the future target system?
- All data, including history.
- Selective historical data / organizational slice / time slice.
- Master Data and Open Items
C: How Many Systems?
What’s the Source-Target system ratio? How many ERP, Legacy, and non-SAP systems and how many To-Be S/4HANA systems?
- Source and Target are the same system.
- One Source and one Target system.
- N:M System Split or Consolidation.
D: Deployment Options
How will your future systems be deployed?
- On Premise (includes hyperscaler)
- Two-Tier (On-premise + SAP Cloud / hyperscaler)
- SAP Cloud
E: Roll Out Options
How will your future systems be rolled out?
- Big Bang (1 go live)
- Phased by Business Unit / Org Unit
- Phased by LoB / Application
- SAP Data Management & Landscape Transformation (DMLT)
Selective Data Transformation
- Blog: Move to SAP S/4HANA with Selective Data Transition
Excellent content from Amin Hoque.