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Currently state of the art in using EHS classic is SAP ERP Enhancement Package 8. Future state of the art will be version as delivered with SAP S/4 HANA.

SAP is working on a redesign of the "classic" EHS solutions. Therefore: make sure that you understand how SAP will change the used solution portfolio.

You should start your transformation (at least the preparation for transformation) to S/4 HANA now; e.g. you should check:1

  • Is the "On premise solution" a good option?

  • Or should I use now a "cloud" solution (either private or public)

This document should talk about historic challenges and the future challenges as well. As SAP is still on track: any year you should check the current status of SAP regarding S/4 HANA.

Challenges in the past

If you check e.g. document SAP EHS Management for Beginners you will find some "historic" information how EHS has grown. For those who participated in this grow: they can really talk about "nice stories" how easy it was sometimes to jump from EHS version x to y (and later from SAP ERP version x to y). If you ask the IS managers in many companies they will give feedback as:

You would like install new Support Package ? You would like to install a new "Enhancement Package" they will aks (in most cases):

Why ? What is the "Business Case"?

And then you explain and then you do the job. But based on release change you will realize that sometimes this "simple"change was not easy as expected; you have had the need to do "afterwork" which was not planned. In some cases in good situation you realized the "issue" before Go Live to productive environment; sometimes 1 h after GoLive (TROUBLE....... ). So you have learned in lot in "updating/upgrading" EHS from one verions to the next (hopefully you have learned it; don't forget your "lessons learned).

Later story growed because of complexity. Then there was the need to start from e.g. EHS 2.7 to SAP Enterprise Version 4.7 (either in subversion 1.1 or 2.0). Once again: you have done your very best... but in many cases you have identified challenges in many areas.

And depending on the fact at which point on time you "switched" to UNICODE in your system once again trouble was seen (sometimes). And as next step we have had SAP ERP 2004, then SAP ERP 2005...

Now things are changed once again. With SAP ERP 6.0 now we have a "Business Function" "on board" which we can use (if needed). So this was more or less a real major upgrade. And then the next challenges come up. With Enhancement Package 3 we have seen for the frist time some Business Function in EHS area. Now we have Enhancement Package 8 and the numbers of Business Function increased once again (but no new function in EHS).

Then in parallel SAP started new approach and delivered SAP EHSM (officially called: Component Extension for SAP EHS Management). A big new step for SAP (and the customers).

Reason is simply: if you check now the current version of EHSM then you need to decide: should I start with "new stuff" or should I use "old stuff". For those who are in the situation that you have not used old functionality: start with EHSM ! For those who use the old ones: think about to migrate ! and prepare your self.

Reason: be prepared for S/4 HANA


If you check discussion

this seems to be clear:

from time to time SAP will deliver a new S/4 HANA version (currently one per year). Per version some of the old EHS functionality will be modernized and can be used then in full "HANA mode" (sorry for this new term). Roughly end of 2020 we can expect that most of the EHS classic is modernized and available completely in S/4 HANA. In the meantime you can use SAP EHS in "compatibility mode" if needed (and you are still using S/4 HANA).

The "Compatibility Mode" is explained in one "OSS Note".

On top: with S/4 HANA terms are changing. So EHS is not EHS any more (I skip the details here)

So the challenges are here more or less the same as coming from may be SAP Enterprise 4.7 and switching to SAP ERP 2005; because of less of experience: we can not judge today how "easy" the transformation will be; but we can assume that per version challenges might be there (and as in the past: each variant of change might have its own challenges)

So be prepared, and prepare your self to get ideas about S/4 HANA installations (topic of e.g. hardware, software components to be used etc.).

As with old SAP version we have seen initiatives as "mySAP ERP" which "modernized" the GUIs..

With S/4 HANA once again new approach will be used: SAP FIORI. Here as well you should check: are you prepared ?

What will come next?

In most case

  • handling changes in regulations (and per year we have many)

  • SAP landscape optimization projects

  • and other potential projects of many kind and changes as well of many kind to be implemented by whatever reason

At least before 2025 you should check (if needed): am I ready to move to S/4 HANA?

Keep in mind: in future the software used for e.g. generating a Safety Data Sheet is internally ocmpletely different to the state of the art of today.

Therefore you should check SAP communications to be ready if the challenge will come: the migration to S/4 HANA