5 Questions on S/4HANA Migration — Answers for SAP Business Suite Licensees

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SAP’s extension announcement of ECC 6.0 support from 2025 to 2027 is an apparent acknowledgment that SAP customers do not see value in a prompt migration to S/4HANA. Even prior to the pandemic, nearly 80% of SAP licensees planned to continue to run their current customized, mature SAP systems for five  additional years or more.1

As the 2027 date for the end-of-mainstream support for SAP Business Suite approaches, organizations are rethinking their SAP roadmaps. That process generates many questions as IT leaders struggle to make important enterprise decisions to manage uncertainty while plotting a path for the future.

Addressing the uncertainty and facing those challenges results in five common questions that arise across industries and geographies. The answers serve as a starting point to identify business value, strategy, and cost of SAP ECC to S/4HANA migration.

As licensees think through their SAP future, they should be asking these five questions:

  1. Is there a need for migration to S/4HANA? An SAP S/4HANA migration decision shouldn’t hinge on technology, but on business need. Choose the option that supports innovation, increases ROI, and provides a competitive edge. While this might turn out to be S/4HANA, deferring a migration may be a smarter near-term strategy.
  2. When is the right time for S/4HANA migration? Although pressure is being applied to move now, take a measured approach. Resist the potential to get locked into attractive credits and discounts with possible strings attached. As with any maturing technology, wait until S/4HANA evolves further before migrating mission-critical applications from SAP ECC 6.0. Keep your options open and re-evaluate based on performance, maturity, and ROI when closer to 2027 or even later. If at that time S/4HANA is the best fit solution, you can follow a more proven path. If not, you avoided that risk and are better positioned to adopt new modern software options.
  3. What are the major considerations of migration to S/4HANA? There are three major areas to consider: technology, finances, and product. Technologically, understand the impact of EHP7 development, HANA Database functionality, and the cost of licenses and hardware. Financially, for every $1 million in current support fees, prepare to spend $35 million in implementation costs over seven years.2 From a product perspective, ensure that S/4HANA has the stability, modules, and roadmap to power enterprise product needs.
  4. Will SAP continue investing in ECC 6.0? SAP seems to be currently focusing its product roadmap on the cloud. According to Valoir Research, “Since S/4HANA’s first release in 2015, SAP has devoted the lion’s share of its resources to development and innovation on the HANA platform, and as a result reduced its investments in its core ECC – meaning fewer innovations for existing ECC customers.”3 Customers shouldn’t expect much future innovation for ECC 6.0 or an EHP9 from SAP. Consider how best to sweat this asset as a foundation for your business platform.
  5. Is there SAP ECC 6.0 support beyond 2027? There will be customer-specific maintenance offered beyond 2027; however, annual support fees could increase.

Leveraging independent, expert, third-party support for SAP, customers can cut current annual support fees in half. For example, support for SAP at Rimini Street includes:

  • Experienced support for customizations and access to strategic services
  • Guaranteed support for 15 years from the time clients switch
  • Support for nearly any ERP platform — S/4HANA or other solutions — when clients are ready

Struggling with the answers to these critical questions? Learn more about Rimini Street’s hyper-responsive support for SAP.

1 How SAP Customers Are Responding to the Planned End of ECC6 Mainstream Maintenance Deadline – Rimini Street 2019 survey of 148 professionals in North America
2 See Rimini Street S/4HANA Calculator (Validated by Vinnie Mirchandani, Author: SAP Nation, Leading Industry Analyst Inputs)
3 Assessing an SAP-Rimini Street Strategy: A Valoir Report