Rethinking the SAP ECC to S/4HANA Migration Mandate

Scott Hays
Sr. Portfolio Marketing Director
Rimini Street
4 min read

Contrary to what SAP may want you to think, S/4HANA migration isn’t mandatory for your enterprise. In fact, independent support can extend your current ERP investment beyond SAP’s projected end of mainstream maintenance for ECC in 2027. I sat down with three of our SAP ERP experts to discuss the options businesses have. Let’s dive in and see what our experts have to say.

ROI-based roadmap for your SAP roadmap

In this video, I visited with Abhik Paul, vice president of professional services roadmaps at Rimini Street, who asserts that pressure to migrate to S/4HANA is unnecessary. Case in point: Even though SAP is sunsetting mainstream maintenance for ECC in 2027, Gartner has reported that at the end of Q223, some 67% of ECC business clients have yet to make the switch to S/4HANA.


If you’re developing an ROI analysis of moving to S/4HANA, there are nine elements to consider:

  • S/4HANA hosting options. Exhaust all options for hosting your ERP system, including on-premises, public cloud, and private cloud.
  • Migration strategy. Consider whether you are looking for a brownfield approach (simply a technical upgrade) or a greenfield approach (where there is a functional transformation from scratch).
  • Customization carryforward strategy. Determine if you are currently using all your current ERP customizations and whether you must carry them from ECC to S/4HANA.
  • Opportunity object list. This is getting into the nitty gritty, but take the time to list all processes from your old system that you are looking to either enhance, migrate, utilize new functionality from S/4HANA, or even renovate.
  • Innovative solutions. Rather than choosing to just upgrade to S/4HANA, enterprises should look at optimizing their current ECC system or even adopting a composable ERP strategy.
  • Time-based approach. To better understand the timeline of mainstream maintenance cessation, organizations should work backward from the 2027 date or the 2030 date when SAP will end ECC support for those on the extended support plan.
  • Benefit-driven business case. Prepare the business case for your decision, whether it is to remain on ECC or migrate to S/4HANA based on cost-benefit analysis, ROI, and payback. This can be done over a seven- or 10-year horizon, depending on what’s comfortable for the company.
  • ROI-driven decision matrix. If there is a positive ROI for the move, go ahead and make the decision! But if the ROI is negative, look to alternatives.
  • Migration strategy for the ecology of SAP solution suite. Consider the entire solution suite—everything from Solution Manager, GRC, and Enterprise portal.

Although preparing an ROI-based roadmap can be challenging, there’s good news: Rimini Street is a vendor-neutral partner that can help you determine the benefits of staying on ECC or moving to S/4HANA. If you decide to stick with ECC, know that you can receive industry-leading, independent support for your ERP system for up to 15 years from the time of the contract.

Three options to explore prior to moving to SAP RISE

In another video, I sat down with Luiz Mariotto, group vice president and principal product manager at Rimini Street, to discuss SAP RISE, which is a bundled offering of S/4HANA software, hosting infrastructure, managed services, and cloud products.


Offering these solutions under one vendor may seem optimal today, but it could cause issues down the line. What happens if you find another vendor that provides more robust and cheaper hardware? What if there is a better software option that addresses a specific business or department need? The integrated SAP RISE solution runs counter to a composable ERP strategy, which can provide cost savings and agility in the long run.

Mariotto cautions SAP ECC customers to consider one thing before they answer the RISE adoption question: Should they migrate to S/4HANA? If so, why? Enterprises running ECC cannot take advantage of the RISE solution. For those companies looking to extend the life of their ECC platform with independent support, RISE is not an option. With this in mind, let’s look at three alternatives an organization should explore prior to adopting SAP RISE.

  1. Continue running ECC or S/4HANA and innovate at the edges. Rather than adopting RISE, organizations can maximize the value of their current ERP systems. To address any deficiencies, the enterprise can innovate by folding in cloud platforms, low-code tools, and other applications to reap the benefits of a composable ERP strategy.
  2. Move IT workloads to the cloud. Rather than hosting their ERP in a traditional, on-premises environment, organizations can lift-and-shift their system to take advantage of the hyperscale nature of the cloud. This provides not only scalability and flexibility for the application but also access to modern cloud platform technologies like artificial intelligence, robotic process automation, and big data analytics. Again, with this option, the enterprise can continue running its current ERP system with the license they have already purchased.
  3. Have an S/4HANA subscription agreement but retain control of hardware/managed services. This option is for organizations that have already shifted their ERP systems away from a single, one-time license payment and are making monthly subscription payments for an ongoing S/4HANA licensing structure. In this case, the organization may choose to retain control over where to host the software along with who will support the ERP system. This can empower enterprises to retain control of their IT roadmap and options for the future.

Three smart ways to innovate, not migrate

In the third video, I interviewed Eric Helmer, senior vice president and chief technology officer at Rimini Street, as we took a closer look at the tenets and benefits of a vendor-agnostic composable ERP strategy.


We discussed three ways in which SAP customers pursue innovation without migration, including:

  1. Delineate current technology and future projects as either systems of record, differentiation, or innovation
  2. Calculate the ROI of core ERP re-platforming (hint: it might be negative)
  3. Self-fund innovation by massively reducing the cost of support and maintenance for existing systems and redirect those funds to innovation.

You control the migration clock

Whether you choose to continue using your current ECC stack or migrate to the S/4HANA platform, your organization can benefit from independent support from Rimini Street. We are committed to providing support for ECC for 15 years from the time of the contract. Ready to learn more? Discover Rimini Street Services and Support for SAP.