SAP customers have been given a deadline of 2027 to migrate to SAP S/4HANA. While it’s not a must (you have the option of extended support until 2030), companies should seriously consider what advantages a migration brings in terms of future-proofing the business.
I’ve been in the game since 1999, working with SAP solutions in different contexts for a variety of companies, with an emphasis on the engineering side. I’ve also been involved in many SAP migrations. This spring, I’ve maneuvered a huge migration for a Nordic maker of pumps and water management equipment together with my Cognizant colleagues. Let me get back to that later in the text.
By the end of 2027, SAP customers will have to be on S/4HANA. Some might decide for later, depending on the maintenance cost the organizations will pay to stay on their current platform (premium support is available until the end of 2030). Without a doubt, the mandatory migration is a difficult decision for most companies. Concerns about the complex business environment, constraints in budget and/or resources, lack of business cases, etc. make this a headache to many executives.
Focus on the innovations
However, in my opinion, it’s not so much about the migration itself; this is about realizing a company’s digital core to prepare for the future. S/4HANA is a business and technology imperative; it helps companies secure the key foundation for their digital journey.
S/4HANA provides an intelligent ERP system with embedded AI and ML using advanced analytics. It helps you implement new business models and processes quickly that can make real-time decisions. The UI/UX perspective is also important here with fast responses, shorter lead times and an overall more seamless experience.
So, don’t focus on the date, focus on the innovations, because technologies like IoT, AI, RPA, ML are just waiting to be utilized by your business.
Cloud or on-premises?
The migration doesn’t require moving the ERP system to the cloud. However, switching from an on-premises system to the cloud at the same time ensures a modern enterprise architecture.
Many organizations have already overcome the resistance towards the cloud. The move of core business systems has begun and eventually the scalability and flexibility, as well as the cost and move from Capex to Opex, will have an influence on the preferred choice. Each organization should make its own decision – hybrid, on-premises, or in the cloud.
The ongoing migration
Back to the Nordic pump maker again. Why did they decide to migrate to S/4HANA? Because they are doing the “core modernization homework” to be able to connect its entire business and meet future requirements.
Over Easter, I and the rest of the Cognizant team performed the 24/7 migration, the client’s largest IT project ever. How it went? Thanks to thorough planning, extensive testing and hard work from the combined Cognizant/client team, the conversion succeeded within the scope of the 96-hours schedule. A pretty astonishing accomplishment, especially considering that everything happened from home due to the pandemic.
Why did they choose Cognizant as their SAP migration partner? Because Cognizant, with our 12,000+ people strong SAP practice worldwide, including S/4HANA and DW/HANA product experts, has the expertise to help.
With over 450 SAP customers, we have many good business cases in helping organizations move to S/4HANA with our offshore delivery model. We can accelerate your implementation by 20–30% with our prebuilt automation frameworks and lower costs by up to 30%. Our collaborative approach addresses resource constraints, complex business environments and helps you and your team avoid escalating costs, project delays, and stability issues.
Eventually, every SAP customer will move to S/4HANA, and you should move at a pace that fits your organization the best. Just be aware that if you wait too long, the gap between you and your competitors will increase.
Assoc. Director, Projects, Cognizant Denmark