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Many companies are in the process of converting their SAP-based ERP systems to the new generation S/4HANA. They often realise how complex the transformation is, because it affects all areas of an organisation.

Companies consider re-evaluating their S/4HANA projects

The effort required for the changeover to S/4HANA was initially underestimated in many cases. Therefore, we are now finding that many companies are increasingly motivated to re-evaluate S/4HANA projects.

We would like to support this with the new white paper "S4/HANA with perspective" (PDF in German). In it, we identify seven relevant pitfalls and provide concrete solutions as well as valuable recommendations for action for the S/4HANA conversion. Because in order to master the complexity of the project, you need the right methods and procedures.

For the white paper, we conducted a survey among 112 companies from 18 industries. We wanted to find out where the companies currently stand in the S/4HANA transformation, what experiences they have had and whether there are recipes for success that can become a model for others - and if so, which ones.

Seven lessons for a course correction

We have derived these seven theses from the results of the survey - in particular from the transformation projects that have already been successfully implemented:

            1. No conversion without transparency

Timing is a critical factor in the S/4HANA transformation. Those who start now with a preliminary project will gain clarity about the planning and thus lay the foundation for a structured project implementation.

            2. Motivation is crucial for planning

A lot of time and resources will be spent on the conversion to S/4HANA. Therefore, the opportunity should not be wasted to standardise and harmonise processes at the same time - ambition pays off.

            3. Think radically in the project approach and accept compromises

The majority of companies prefer a complete new implementation (greenfield) when introducing S/4HANA. Instead of the pure form of this strategy, it is worth thinking about "smart greenfield" - i.e. deciding in which areas which approach makes sense.

            4. Despite agile working, clear transparency of milestones is needed.

Even with an agile approach, it is important to set concrete goals. Otherwise, uncertainty arises in the company and there is a risk that the S/4HANA project will proceed in an unstructured manner.

            5. Identify and adjust added values

In many cases, added values of the S/4HANA conversion are not recognised or realised. Pre-projects are a good way to counteract this at an early stage. Here, experience can be gained on a small scale and additional added values can be identified.

            6. External project management works

For the complex and comprehensive S/4HANA transformation, it is worthwhile to get support from outside. Companies should consider the advantages of an external project management and take into account that staffing by internal experts ties up resources strongly.

            7. Conscious use of resources

Planning and deployment of resources is one of the core challenges of S/4HANA projects. A qualitative lack of resources is often recognised too late. Therefore, solid planning, the right methodology and a clear distribution of roles and tasks are essential.

You can read details on the seven points in our white paper "S/4HANA with perspective". (PDF in German)

The time when SAP should end support for the expiring ERP generation and thus the S/4HANA implementation should have taken place is drawing ever closer. Now is an ideal moment to take a critical look at planned or existing S/4HANA projects and make course corrections if necessary.