Transitioning to SAP S/4 HANA: Choosing your migration option


This is a continuation of my series on “sharing my take away” from the SAP S/4 HANA Finance Bootcamp held in Paris, France.

After you have made the decision to move to SAP S/4HANA, and chosen your deployment option, you still have to make the all-important decision about your migration route. That is deciding on the migration option to adopt, to move from your current environment to SAP S/4HANA.
The choice of your migration option depends largely on where you are (that is your current state).
1) You may be having non-SAP legacy systems and now considering a move to SAP S/4HANA
2) You may be having a combination of non-SAP legacy systems and SAP ERP Systems and considering moving to SAP S/4HANA.
3) You may be having only SAP Systems (single or multiple instances) and considering moving to SAP S/4HANA.
Looking at the above situations in combination, different migration scenarios can be deduced.
SAP has grouped the available migration options to three:
1) Option 1: Green field or New Implementation
2) Option 2: System Conversion
3) Option 3: Landscape Transformation


Source: SAP


Greenfield or New Implementation

The new implementation or Greenfield migration scenario obtains when you are currently running on an SAP or non-sap ERP systems but migrating to SAP S/4HANA through a fresh implementation and a fresh data load. Therefore you go into a new implementation independent of your current environment.
Existing SAP Business suit customers, or entirely new customers on non-sap ERP Systems will find this approach suitable. Especially so, if your existing landscape has highly complex customizations and very old systems, you would not want to burden your new environment with what obtains in you current system landscape.

Brownfield or System Conversion

As the name implies, this is a complete conversion of an existing SAP Business Suite system to SAP S/4HANA. Suitable for customers who want to change their current SAP ERP system to SAP S/4HANA. This may perhaps be suitable only if you have chosen the on-premise deployment option to SAP S/4HANA.

Landscape Transformation

By this migration option, you consolidate your current regional SAP systems into one global SAP S/4HANA system. The Landscape Transformation may be used where a customer is having multiple instances of SAP Systems, spread across regions, and wants to consolidate these into one global SAP S/4HANA system.
This option is similar in approach to New/greenfield implementation, as both include migrating to SAP S/4HANA through a fresh implementation and a fresh data load. The difference being that with Greenfield you do the migration without reference to your existing system landscape.

Comparing the Options


Level of Complexity

Greenfield implementation seems less risky compared to the other two options. You are not burden/bug down by the inefficiencies and complications of your current environment. You start on a clean slate with all the flexibility of the new system out there for you to make use of.
However, it will be doing disservice to yourself by assuming that Greenfield migration is devoid of the necessary migration preparations and detail and realistic planning.
System Conversion option is more complex compared to the New Implementation, Due to the fundamental differences in architecture and data model between the source (your current SAP Business suite) and the target (SAP S/4HANA).
Although the Landscape Transformation and the New Implementation options are similar in approach, the Landscape Transformation option is a more complex option because of the scope of the migration. With Landscape you are dealing with consolidation of your sap systems spreading across regions into one global SAP S/4HANA System.

Deployment Option

Greenfield and Landscape Transformation migration options may be used irrespective of your deployment option (cloud or On-premise). The system conversion is currently used only with on-premise deployment option.

Migration Approach

New Implementation and Landscape Transformation are similar in approach, both involves a setup of a new system and a migration of data (initial data load), while a System Conversion is actually converting the existing SAP instance into SAP S/4HANA.

Composition of your Current Platform

You can use the Landscape Transformation and the Greenfield migration options whether you are on SAP or non-sap systems. However, you only use the System Conversion approach if your current platform is SAP.

Level of Disruption to Business

There is minimum level of business disruption and limited system downtime with the system conversion approach, when compare to the other two approaches. Basically, there is no new implementation, since what is involve is the conversion from your current system to SAP S/4HANA.

Possibility of Gradual Transition

With the System Landscape migration option, you have the opportunity for gradual transition to SAP S/4HANA. This can have the effect of reduced risk and effort in your move to your target system. For example, you can carve out certain organization units, based on their importance, and move those first to SAP S/4 HANA.
In this way, you gain experience on each gradual movement, which you can bring to bear in the next and later stages of your migration.

Factors of a successful migration

It must be stressed that irrespective of your adopted option, the factors to a successful migration are the same and must not be overlooked:
1) Have a proper and realistic migration plan in place, including contingency plan in case of any eventuality.
2) Have a competent and dedicated project team.
3) Have a proper change management strategy and execution, especially with the Greenfield and landscape transformation options.
4) Have a proper data management strategy.
5) Have a proper testing strategy in place. It is absolutely necessary to conduct a detailed and thorough testing.


In concluding, despite the fact that your journey to SAP S/4HANA involves multiple options to choose from, I am biased towards the new implementation option. Why not make your journey as risk free as possible with the Greenfield migration option. It is less risky compared to the other options, plus the advantage of transitioning to SAP S/4HANA on a clean slate with the opportunity to maximize the benefits of SAP S/4HANA simplifications.





By the way you can visit the SAP Store directly from here, or through my affiliate link on the left  sidebar of the home page, for the easiest way to buy your SAP Software.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *