April 27, 2021

So, you are excited about transitioning to S/4HANA but want to make sure you get it right. We hear you and are here to help. It is important to approach any business change strategically to ensure efforts and resources are used wisely.  Here are 5 tips to help you create a smooth transition to S/4HANA.

1. Take Your Time to Plan

One of the most important factors in determining the success of an implementation project is time.  You should take time to plan, prepare and to make sure you do it right.  Planning your S/4HANA transition can take anywhere from one to two years.  This is to be expected and should not be intimidating.  Rather, understanding the timeline should give you a chance to relax about the process and accept that there is no benefit to rushing.  Methodically plan and understand every step from start to finish, including the S/4HANA deployment options, configuration, implementation, and adoption.

2. Integrate Your System Infrastructure

Your ERP does not stand alone in your business processes.  Whether you are transitioning from SAP ECC or from another resource management system, transitioning allows you to reconsider the relationship between your systems and create a holistic environment.  For some, that means end to end solutions within the SAP suite.  For others, that means a customized set of solutions from multiple providers based on specific business needs.  Regardless make sure to consider your S/4HANA deployment in conjunction with your other systems.  Understand the benefits and limitations of your options in order to maximize your S/4HANA usage and increase efficiency and productivity within your processes.

3.  Set Up Your Teams

As you go through the research, planning, implementation and adoption stages, there will be various new tasks to complete.  Keep the process running smoothly by clarifying responsibilities and the chain of command in the beginning.  Create teams for each step of the process that encompass the expertise and experience required for a smooth transition.  If these resources are not available internally, many companies will supplement with SAP experts from consulting groups.  These experts understand the SAP products and their best practices.  They also tend to have significant experience with varying scenarios of implementation.  It is more than likely that they can draw from experience should they notice any red flags or potential issues.

4.  Prepare for Some Downtime

The transition to S/4HANA will involve some downtime.  For many businesses in today’s fast-paced economy that is a challenge to overcome.  The benefits of adoption outweigh the temporary setbacks caused by this downtime, so it should not be a deterring factor. Nonetheless, precautionary measures should be taken to minimize the impact to your customers and stakeholders during this process.  You’ll need to identify optimal windows for your downtime and plan your implementation calendar accordingly.  It also means communicating openly with your stakeholders to ensure that they understand the process and the benefits of the transition and are prepared for the scheduled outage.

5.  Encourage Adoption

Even the most flawlessly executed implementation can fail if the personnel involved are not prepared to adopt the new technology.  People do not necessarily like change, which can be challenging when getting your teams to utilize S/4HANA over your existing solutions.  Using a bit psychology to help facilitate adoption could be beneficial here.  Do this by identifying your team members’ pain points and “marketing” the new solution to them.  The earlier on in the process, the better.  Make sure your leadership and management groups set an example by enthusiastically utilizing the solution as well.  Lastly, make sure your personnel feel supported.  Do this by offering appropriate training and resources to help them confidently manage the transition and quickly getting up to speed on S/4HANA.

An ERP implementation is a large undertaking for any commercial enterprise. It requires significant time and resources, so it is important to do everything possible to ensure a successful transition to the new solution. Take the time and effort to strategically plan your S/4HANA transition and you will reap the benefits in no time.


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