S/4HANA migration: Greenfield and brownfield best practices

Wednesday, January 24th, 2024

Proceed team

Undoubtedly, a migration to S/4HANA demands meticulous planning, extensive resources, and substantial investment. Amidst the myriad of considerations that businesses need to address, the significance of effective data management is often overlooked or underestimated. 

Whether embarking on a fresh start with a greenfield migration or upgrading an existing system through a brownfield migration, implementing key data management strategies can greatly contribute to a smoother, more cost-effective, and expeditious migration process. 

This blog article aims to delve into the best practices associated with each approach, emphasising their potential impact. Furthermore, we will showcase real-life customer success stories that will serve as valuable guides throughout your S/4HANA migration journey, instilling you with the confidence needed for a successful transition. 

Brownfield migration to S/4HANA 

In a brownfield migration, a business’s objective is to seamlessly upgrade the SAP system to the S/4HANA environment. Within this process, the business needs to address the presence of operational data that may no longer be necessary.  

Consider the scenario where 5-6 years’ worth of data or more exists. Does every piece of that data need to be transferred to the S/4HANA environment? The answer is a definite no. Instead, the business can opt to archive this surplus data, retaining only the current business-critical information within the system. This strategic approach significantly reduces the data volume during the transition to S/4HANA. 

The best part is that the archived data remains accessible for reporting and viewing purposes within the new S/4HANA system. By adopting this methodology, businesses can achieve substantial cost savings, providing a considerable advantage throughout the migration process. 

Additional advantages of reducing your data footprint prior to the migration: 

  • Better overall performance in the new S/4HANA system. 
  • Minimised storage costs and reduces the expenses associated with managing excess data. 
  • Simplified migration process, enabling a quicker transition to the new S/4HANA system. 
  • Easier to manage, maintain, and analyse critical business information. 
  • Enables better scalability and adaptability for future growth and changes. 
  • And minimised risk of data loss or corruption during the migration process 

Customer success with Croda International

Collaborating with SAP, Proceed Group successfully assisted Croda International in reducing their Oracle database size by over 80% to facilitate a migration to Business Suite on HANA. This comprehensive project involved employing SAP ILM for archiving and decommissioning the legacy Content Server with SAP IQ. Discover how we achieved a remarkable 2.9TB reduction in their database size. 

Croda International

Greenfield migration to S/4HANA

In a greenfield journey, the process involves starting afresh with a new implementation. Only specific elements of the operational data are carried over to the new environment. From a reporting perspective, it’s important to note that transactional data is not transferred. However, businesses still bear a legal obligation to report on this data for a considerable period. Consequently, it’s not feasible to simply switch off the old system. However, it is equally undesirable to have the old system persistently running alongside the new, shiny S/4HANA system. 

To address this, the most effective approach is to decommission the non-essential data and transition to more modern storage solutions. Access to this data can be maintained through custom reporting, ensuring compliance and providing a seamless experience with the new system.  

This proactive strategy allows businesses to embrace the full potential of S/4HANA while effectively managing legacy data in a streamlined manner. 

Additional advantages of decommissioning legacy systems: 

  • Cost savings from reduced maintenance, licensing, and infrastructure expenses 
  • Improved efficiency by centralising essential data in a single repository 
  • Enhanced security by eliminating outdated technology 
  • and simplified data management through advanced features and analytics capabilities

Customer Success with Dutch Rail

Dutch Rail faced the challenge of high maintenance costs associated with their legacy systems. To tackle this issue, we collaborated on developing a strategy aimed at reducing costs, while also implementing best-practice data management procedures. Employing a phased approach, we successfully decommissioned their legacy systems, resulting in a 50% reduction in maintenance costs and a more streamlined data management process. 

Getting Started with data management

To help you optimise your data footprint for a successful S/4HANA migration, we offer a free data assessment. This assessment will help you understand your current data landscape and develop a tailored rightsizing strategy. Book an assessment today to get started on your S/4HANA migration journey. 

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