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I am not a fan of Boiling the Ocean jargon, but when someone tells you not to boil the ocean, one should not attempt the impossible. In the context of SAP S/4HANA transformation, asking you not to attempt the impossible means prioritizing migration to SAP S/4HANA and including all other initiatives as part of your mid to long-term roadmap instead of trying to do everything parallel to the migration program.

Migration to SAP S/4HANA is a complex and critical topic for organizations due to the following decision factors (not an exhaustive list):

  1. Which route to take to SAP S/4HANA

  2. Identifying mandatory process changes

  3. Extent of process transformation and reuse

  4. Developments to reuse or move to standard or develop new

  5. Managing impacts on the integrated systems

  6. Data harmonization

  7. Org structure harmonization

  8. Amount of data to retain in the target system for business continuity or archive

  9. Testing strategy to follow

  10. Change management & training strategy

  11. Deployment strategy to adopt

  12. Fiori adoption

  13. Moving to the cloud with transformation

  14. Clean core and SAP BTP adoption for side-by-side solution developments

  15. Solution replacements driven by obsolescence or functional requirements (a few examples)

    1. WM to EWM

    2. Foreign trade to international trade or GTS

    3. Rebate Management to Settlement Management

  16. Which parallel initiatives to combine with ERP transformation or push further in the roadmap (a few examples)

    1. BW to BW/4HANA Migration

    2. Middleware switch to CPI

    3. Supply chain transformation

    4. the SAP SaaS satellites by business segments like IBP, Ariba, Concur, etc.

    5. Enterprise Automation (Process Automation)

    6. Sustainability

    7. Target Operating Models


You must evaluate activities that will form the core of your migration scope depending on the context of your current implementation and transformation requirements. However, you can undoubtedly define the extent of those activities to keep the program scope in control; for example, you can choose to enable Fiori infrastructure in the target, choose mandatory and few relevant apps as part of a migration project plan and implement rest of them as part of your roadmap. The same approach applies to SAP BTP adoption. You can define future development strategy and consider SAP BTP as the first go-to platform for development; however, as part of the project scope, you cannot move all custom applications to the BTP platform. Building a roadmap for achieving your desired goal around custom development would be best. From the process perspective, you can continue with international trade in the target system if it meets your business requirements and defer GTS implementation further in your roadmap.

Do you want to execute all the initiatives parallel to the transformation program? SAP ERP is a core system for business operations; migration of the same to a new data model, database, and platform has an impact on every other integrated system. It is prudent to keep the migration scope mandatory and necessary transformations in the core business processes and defer other transformational initiatives in the roadmap. All other business tracks need to be ready to support core ERP transformation. If these teams are busy with their transformation programs, this may pose a risk to the success of the ERP migration.

I am not saying attempting other transformation programs with core ERP transformation is impossible. But doing them all together puts massive stress on the business, process owners, IT teams and end-users. We must manage the program risk by keeping the transformation scope in check and working towards making it a grand success. You can choose between big-bang transformation or phased wave-based transformation for all your initiatives and ERP transformation. The wave-based approach is more agile, allowing you to engage business at the right time and build your target operating model block by block. The big-bang shift may lead to a business disruption that may not be acceptable to businesses in today’s speed of working.

Working with our Large Transformation Program Methodology and Renewable Enterprise allows us and our clients to shape and reshape the solutions according to the continuously changing business needs.

If you are planning a transformation roadmap and have experience about what to include as part of the transformation journey and what to move as other initiatives in the roadmap, do share your feedback.
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