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I am S/4HANA evangelist and support customers on their HANA journey. Recently I completed a project for S/4HANA conversion and through this blog series I want to take you through my project life-cycle; How to start, plan and execute; What to keep in mind and watch out for. This is topic #8 of  10 part blog series.

As you are proceeding to further read this blog series, it means you have decided that in-place system conversion is the right option for you and you have executed and resolved the SI Pre-Checks, completed CVI activation, SUM DMO Downtime, custom code remediation and Finance Conversion and are ready to complete activities related to Mandatory Innovation Areas.

Having completed SUM DMO, Finance Migration and Custom Code Remediation, you have taken care of the first 3 important priorities of a system conversion project and the last one is to design the mandatory innovation areas. As in earlier blogs I will not provide the list of Mandatory Innovations here (which one can obviously get from the SI Relevancy Check report; some details on this were included in TOPIC 07 (Finance); this blog too shares good details and do check the OpenSAP course on functional topics of S/4HANA to get a peek into this.) but talk about how you must plan for the same.

Mandatory innovations are categorized as:

  • Initial Delivery: are mandatory to use but the basic functionality is ready to use upon system conversion like Universal Journal, Material Ledger, New Material Planning, Field Length Extension, Pricing Tables, Late Lock etc and effort is only required to enable additional features for those innovations.

  • Requires Design: are mandatory to use but does not work out of the box. They require effort to replicate the design from current ECC functionality to the TO-BE S/4HANA functionality before you can use them like CVI, Credit Management, Settlement Management, Foreign Trade, Revenue Accounting and Recognition etc

Figure 1 - Mandatory Innovations in S/4HANA : 2 Categories

As the first category is auto activated, any dependencies for the same will be either called out in the SI Pre-checks or you will identify any variations during testing. These are developed with base premise that there is minimum impact to business users and your existing setup can be transformed into the simplified design.

The second category is where you will have to spend effort as the complete feature has been redesigned. Though please note that most of these innovations were actually introduced in ECC and as they are on the future roadmap of SAP, any new feature will be added in those innovations only and not in the old functionalities. Based on that, the only decision SAP has taken, is to mandate the use of new functionalities and make the old functionalities obsolete. So technically speaking, this impact is not brought in with S/4HANA (but only mandated); thus to reduce the impact of the S/4HANA project some of these can be picked up as pre-projects too (if there is time before you start your S/4HANA project).

While working on the mandatory innovations, you need to plan how much you want to stick to like for like and how much you want to adopt during conversion project. Based on the decision, it will be decided if this portion of the project will be quick (like first category) or it will snow ball into green spots (implement small functionalities with greenfield approach).

Once decided and design workshops completed for the identified innovations areas (like with any other S/4HANA functionality, design workshops should be based on the show-n-tell demo, fit to standard and gap identification and not otherwise), it is important to know that if your customer has never used that functionality, even the base configuration (pre-delivered content from SAP) will not be available in the config client and you might have to import this from client 000 before you start setting up the new functionalities. For the technical team to be able to remediate the custom code to work with new innovations, ensure that field mapping for source and target fields is prepared. This will not only help you in remediation but also during business conversations, data validations and knowledge transfer and most likely it will save efforts during testing too.

Towards training, it is important to make a list of all innovations aka impact areas of conversion from both the categories as you would need to train business as well as IS team on all aspects of impact/innovation.

In TOPIC 09 we will discuss "Application Specific Follow-on Activities".
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