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Planning Your Move from SAP ECC to S/4HANA: Benefits, Challenges & Pricing Software Impacts 

Bob Kuchler< Bob Kuchler November 3, 2023

With the impending end of life for SAP ECC, organizations are now facing the pressure to transition to S/4HANA by December 2027. But what exactly does this migration entail, and why should you be thinking about it now? Bob Kuchler, Senior Director of Data Integration at Vendavo, shares insights into the benefits, challenges, and the importance of considering Vendavo deployments in your ERP transition.  

A seismic business shift is on the horizon for SAP Users. In December of 2027, users relying on ERP Central Component (ECC) will have to migrate and upgrade systems. The clock is ticking toward their December 2027 deadline for companies to make the move from ECC to S/4HANA.  

If you’re still running the SAP ECC platform, it’s time to consider ramping up your S/4 Hana transition soon, or risk facing significant operational and competitive challenges in the near future – that could ultimately impact your bottom line. 

There are many intricate decisions involved in orchestrating a successful migration. At Vendavo, we’ve guided global enterprises through transitions, all while helping them harness the full potential of our cloud-based pricing, CPQ, and rebate management solutions. Our team recognizes the multifaceted challenges around business operations, cost, and complexity. Below, I’ve answered some of the questions I’ve been hearing most frequently. 

Why do SAP customers need to make the move from ECC to S/4HANA? 

SAP ECC has been the backbone of enterprise operations for over two decades, but as the end of its life cycle looms in 2027, businesses are taking the move to S/4HANA more seriously. Although S/4HANA has been available for a while, the urgency stems from the need to adapt to newer and more efficient systems, with cloud options and better performance becoming increasingly attractive. 

It’s worth stating that if you’re running dual SAP ERP environments, you should consider consolidating into a single, unified S4/Hana instance. This will not only simplify operations but also streamline the transition process and load on your teams.   

What are the benefits of moving to S/4HANA? 

Despite the anticipated challenges in cost, complexity, and operations, transitioning to S/4HANA brings a range of benefits including: 

  • Improved performance 
  • Intuitive user interface 
  • Quicker deployment of changes 
  • Modernized architecture 
  • Easier integration 
  • Cloud-based flexibility 
  • Real-time data access 

What are the challenges of moving to S/4HANA? 

It’s understandable that a significant number of SAP customers have yet to make the jump to S/4HANA. Any large migration of an enterprise system can feel burdensome and overwhelming. I won’t sugar coat it, migrations can be a significant undertaking, spanning months to sometimes even years. Here are some of the most common challenges: 

  • Ensuring accurate data migration and quality  
  • Adapting to new S/4HANA processes and integrating them into workflows 
  • Managing the migration timeline and resource allocation 
  • Establishing a clear plan and architecture 
  • Updating or redeveloping custom ECC code 
  • Ensuring seamless integration with existing systems 
  • Providing comprehensive user training 
  • Minimizing downtime and disruptions 
  • Collaborating with key stakeholders across IT, business, product, etc. 

This transition is a pivotal time to reevaluate your processes and ensure they align with the new system. It may take a high level of effort, but it will pay off in the long run to give it the attention it needs today. 

Do Vendavo solutions integrate with S/4HANA? 

Yes. Vendavo solutions fully integrate with S/4HANA, just as it does with SAP ECC. When you undergo the SAP migration, there is no version change or upgrade needed from Vendavo. 

Why is it important for customers to think about their Vendavo deployments while planning for the migration – instead of as an afterthought? 

For 25 years, Vendavo has been helping our customers optimize their pricing strategies and drive profitability. Ignoring these critical business functions during an ERP migration can create a gap in pricing and data coordination. Any changes in business processes, integration methods, or data management can lead to issues in pricing strategies, affecting profitability. 

If your pricing migration is an afterthought, it can disrupt business operations. Without seamless coordination between Vendavo and the new ERP, you’ll risk losing your ability to price accurately. Ensuring that pricing data remains connected and coordinated is vital for business success during the migration. 

It’s worth mentioning that Vendavo’s pricing solutions can also help mitigate the costs of the S/4HANA transition by helping you improve your pricing strategy, drive profitability, and minimize expenses. 

How should Vendavo customers make their move from ECC to S4/HANA? 

Carefully. The move from SAP ECC to S/4HANA is not just an upgrade; it’s a strategic shift that requires careful planning and consideration of various factors, including Vendavo deployments.  

There are a few potential impacts you’ll want to focus on as you shift to S/4HANA. This transition can include changes to your business processes and structures or your integration methods.  

Business Processes, Structures, and Elements
During the migration to S/4HANA, you have the opportunity to revisit and potentially update your business processes, structures, and elements. This includes reevaluating your Vendavo functionality, data structures, and elements to align them with the new SAP landscape. In S/4HANA, there may be new ways to organize your data that were not as easily achievable in SAP ECC. This is an opportunity to optimize your business processes and data management. 

Integration Methods
S/4HANA and the newer SAP Integration Suite offer additional integration methods that were not available in SAP ECC or Process Orchestration (PO). Your IT team may have new preferred or required integration methods that can enhance your systems’ performance and capabilities. Understanding and leveraging these new integration methods can streamline your operations. 

When preparing for your S/4HANA transition, Vendavo offers flexible transition options that depend on your unique needs around business structures and integration methods: 

  • If you aren’t making any business or integration changes, you’ll want our Testing Only Engagement Option.  
  • If you are keeping your existing business processes but are making integration changes, you’ll want our Configuration and Testing Engagement Option.  
  • If you are re-evaluating your business and pricing processes, however, Vendavo’s Consultants and Solution Architects can help guide you through the optimal changes. 
  • Testing Only: Vendavo’s QA resources validate changes to ensure zero impact on your Vendavo system. 
  • Configuration and Testing: Collaborate with your IT team to define all needed integration and functional changes. Vendavo’s technical experts will configure and QA changes.  
  • Functionality, Design, Configuration, and Testing: Engage early with Vendavo Solution Architects and Functional Consultants. Together with your S/4HANA team, optimize Vendavo changes, configure them, and conduct comprehensive testing. 

To ensure a successful transition, you must understand the benefits, challenges, and potential impacts on your operations to make the best go-forward plan and more simple migration. As the end of life for ECC approaches, now is the time to take these steps towards a more efficient and modern ERP system.