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“I want to transition to SAP S/4HANA but I do not know where to start” this is a common comment I have heard from several customers who are planning to kick start their SAP S/4HANA journey. For each customer the motivation for the transition could be different, they could either be driven by planning their SAP roadmap beyond SAP ECC 6.0 or to move towards the intelligent enterprise or to maximize the value of their S/4HANA system. The customers seek support from SAP services for guidance and support for any of the above mentioned scenarios.

SAP Services and Support offers a range of services to assist customers on their transition journey. The SAP Activate Methodology for Transition to SAP S/4HANA consists of a portfolio of business as well as technically oriented services to help customers embark on their transformation journey but also support them along the way.

Figure 1: SAP Activate Methodology

In this blog, we will look at some of the services which help you plan your journey to SAP S/4HANA and the different scenarios associated with the transformation. From an Activate viewpoint the services sit mainly within the Discover and Prepare phases. These services are delivered by experts within the SAP Business Transformation Services and SAP Transformation Hub teams. Let’s take a look at each of these services and what each one of them offer.

Figure 2: Planning the Digital Transformation


Within these phases the services are grouped under Strategic Planning, Application Scoping and Transition Planning. Beyond the prepare phase SAP services offers additional services with respect to the design, build, deployment and running of the solution. The details of the services for the purpose of this blog are described below:

1. Strategic Planning

This is the foundation to any transformation. It is critical to understand the overall business strategy and then translate it into a technical roadmap. More details around why this phase is critical can be found in my previous blog Key Aspects of Business Transformation The service offering under this phase is called Innovation Strategy and Roadmap (ISR)

a. Innovation Strategy and Roadmap (ISR)

This service component helps develop a multi-year strategic road map that addresses your digital transformation needs. Starting from strategy and objectives of business and IT, it delivers a long-term target architecture that is based on current and future needs and comprises relevant functionality of SAP S/4HANA, SaaS applications, and SAP Business Technology Platform features. Proposed enablers and initiatives are prioritized by business value. Strategic topics like sustainability and industry cloud are fully supported.

This service is suitable for customers who want to:

  • plan a transformation program based upon the Intelligent Enterprise.

  • design a future-proof enterprise architecture for applications, data, and platform supporting the strategic objectives of business and IT.

  • define a comprehensive innovation strategy and a road map to implement the target architecture

Below are some of the key steps associated with this service:

Value and Benefits:

  • Final report with business capability map, recommendations for business and IT, target architecture, and implementation road map.

  • Provides best-in-class SAP architecture and expertise. Service is delivered through an efficient and proven methodology.

  • Close collaboration of all relevant customer stakeholders and SAP experts; target architecture and road map will be realistic and aligned.

2. Application Scoping

Once the general innovation strategy and high-level road map has been defined, you will need to become familiar with SAP S/4HANA and as such, the value it brings for your business. Furthermore, the impact on existing business processes needs to be analysed in more details. The set of services under this phase help drive those outcomes.

a. Value & Implementation Strategy (VIS)

This service component supports your decision for the best-fitting transition path to SAP S/4HANA for your company. Following your business priorities we help you define the target landscape and identify key innovations to benefit most from the move to SAP S/4HANA. We evaluate the conversion readiness of your SAP ECC system and create a program plan and a high-level road map for the transition to SAP S/4HANA. Can also be leveraged for preparing an upgrade of SAP S/4HANA.

This service is suitable for customers who want to:

  • understand the business value of SAP S/4HANA and identify key innovations applicable to his specific business

  • understand the transformation options to SAP S/4HANA and associated opportunities and risks

  • get support to create a value case for selected SAP S/4HANA lines of business and industry capabilities

Figure 4: Value and Implementation Strategy Overview

Value and Benefits:

  • Final report with business scenarios in scope and related value to your business, recommendations for the implementation strategy for SAP S/4HANA, ​conversion readiness, recommendations for a target system landscape​, and a high-level transition road map based on the identified capabilities

  • Proposal of next steps, services and activities. Outcome serves as input for service components of the planning the digital transformation service


b. Kick Start for Cloud Solution Implementation

This service component helps customers understand the key topics to consider for a successful implementation journey involving cloud solutions from SAP. It focuses on key knowledge areas and critical skills customers need to consider for their cloud project and is delivered before the project starts.

This service is suitable for customers who want to:

  • understand cloud concepts and project approach and how to successfully deploy cloud solutions from SAP

  • gain insights on system and integration capabilities that support the customer’s business process

  • develop a high-level deployment plan for the specific cloud solution from SAP

Figure 5: Kick Start For Cloud Implementation Sample Outcome

Value and Benefits:

  • Final Report with the initial fit-to-standard assessment results, high-level deployment plan, and initial integration architecture

  • Understanding of cloud principles and definition of a customer-specific project approach

  • Awareness of specific planning elements to be considered for achieving a successful cloud project

  • Should be followed by the assurance for cloud onboarding service (service components cloud planning workshop for onboarding, phase reviews for onboarding) to mitigate project risks and validate quality in key areas

3. Transition Planning

The planning of the transition project helps to properly define the scope and execution plan for the upcoming SAP S/4HANA transition project. The result is a first version of an action plan, which can serve as the basis for a project plan. The project plan will be constantly refined throughout the project (during the Prepare and the Explore phase) as part of the project management work stream. The services under this section bring together a mix of technical experts to deliver the best outcome for the customers.

a. Migration & Upgrade Planning Workshop

This service component supports you planning the conversion to SAP S/4HANA or SAP BW/4HANA or SAP Datasphere BW Bridge as well as the upgrade of an existing SAP S/4HANA or SAP BW/4HANA system and clarifying the functional and technical scope and project management setup of the conversion/upgrade project. The target system can be on premise or on an infrastructure provider of choice (for Datasphere the target system will be in the cloud).

This service is suitable for customers who want to:

  • Start a system conversion or upgrade project (SAP S/4HANA, SAP BW/4HANA or SAP Datasphere BW Bridge) and perform a proper planning and preparation.

  • Use SAP’s expertise in functional and technical scoping of the project and take advantage of the SAP Activate methodology.

  • Plan a move towards SAP’s modern data warehouse that is SAP BW/4HANA or SAP Datasphere, from various starting points such as legacy data warehouses, SAP Business Warehouse (SAP BW) running on legacy databases, old SAP BW on SAP HANA environments or (in case of a move towards Datasphere even) SAP BW/4HANA.

  • Plan an upgrade of SAP BW from one release to another or upgrade and migrate the database to SAP HANA in a single step.

  • Identify the best fitting conversion or upgrade approach to stay within the allowed business downtime window.

  • Clarify the roles and responsibilities within the project to be able to align resources.

Figure 6: Migration and Upgrade Planning Workshop Scope Overview

Value and Benefits:

  • Clarity of the requirements and project scope necessary for a successful conversion or upgrade project.

  • Final report with a system-level transition road map and a customer-tailored high-level milestone plan, also including custom code management and mandatory application and landscape changes. Outcome serves as input for the entire conversion or upgrade project.

  • SAP engagement plan


b. Transition Planning for New Implementation

This service component supports you planning a new implementation of SAP S/4HANA or SAP S/4HANA Cloud, private edition, and clarifying the functional and technical scope and project management setup of the SAP S/4HANA implementation project.

This service is suitable for customers who want to:

  • start a new implementation of SAP S/4HANA or SAP S/4HANA Cloud, private edition, and perform a proper planning and preparation.

  • use SAP expertise in functional and technical scoping of the project and take advantage of the SAP Activate implementation methodology.

Figure 7: Transition Planning for New Implementation Sample Deliverables

Value and Benefits:

  • Final report with high-level business process map, best-practices scope, system architecture with interfaces, quick sizing, data volumes, data migration approach, and UX strategy.

  • Initial scope statement, initial project schedule and resource planning, project governance, and operational standards, response plan, and (updated) service plan.

  • Outcome serves as input for the technical and functional design services of the explore phase.


c. Selective Data Transition Planning Workshop

This service component supports you planning a migration to SAP S/4HANA following a selective data transition scenario. It provides a high-level assessment of technical and functional prerequisites as well as migration requirements to move to the SAP S/4HANA target architecture and identifies the data migration requirements and best fitting data migration tools.

This service is suitable for customers who want to:

  • transition to SAP S/4HANA in a way that goes beyond the standard options of new implementation and system conversion, for example perform a shell conversion and migrate historical data into the new system, or consolidate multiple systems into one SAP S/4HANA system.

  • Identification of recommended solution approach to migrate data to SAP S/4HANA while matching the flexibility requested by the customer for process re-use vs. process re-design, migration scope (selection criteria, transformation needs, data cleansing), rollout, and downtime requirements.

  • use SAP’s expertise in functional and technical scoping of the project and perform a proper planning and preparation.

  • plan an upcoming transition of SAP Transportation Management (SAP TM) or SAP Extended Warehouse Management (SAP EWM) on SAP Business Suite to SAP TM or SAP EWM on SAP S/4HANA.

Figure 8: Selective Data Transition Sample Service Scope

Value and Benefits

  • Final report containing a proposed solution approach, findings and recommendations for the major workstreams, and a high-level project plan.

  • SAP service plan recommendation.

  • Make use of team of experts from SAP to recommend the best fitting solution approach considering your custom-specific requirements.

  • Minimize and anticipate in advance potential topics and risks impacting your transition project.


d. Prototype

SAP Prototyping Service should be used to evaluate capabilities of an innovative solution in a controlled prototype. Prototyping Service allows customer to evaluate capabilities of an innovative solution within a relatively short timeframe in a non-productive environment. The Prototyping Service supports and guides customers by experts to build, operate and execute a prototype. The delivery team utilizes its customer insight and global expertise to help you minimize the risk while maximizing the value of innovation for your businesses. Prototyping supports on premise as well as cloud prototypes.

Figure 9: Prototype Services Overview

Value and Benefits:

  • Guidance on functional and technical aspects for a solution which is being evaluated for the business

  • Business process map, scope statement, finding


In addition to the above services there are a range of technical services that SAP offers from a transitioning viewpoint, more details can be found in this blog How to Kick Start your SAP S/4HANA journey with SAP Services SAP also offers services on a wide range of topics from project management to application design to extensibility and safeguarding. More details regarding these services can be found on SAP Activate Roadmap Viewer. Reach out to your SAP Technical Quality Manager or SAP Account Executive for additional details on these services and how to engage SAP services to help you on your transition journey.

Note: All the images associated with the services are property of SAP.