Migration to S/4HANA: Where and how to start

August 23, 2019 | Igor Bordak | Head of SAP Global Delivery Center of IBA Group

By 2040, SAP will no longer support their ERP, therefore the users will have to move to the S/4HANA platform. And although every SAP customer knows about the upcoming migration, many still don’t even know where to start t and how to prepare for it.

Igor Bordak, head of the SAP Global Delivery Center of IBA Group, speaks on how to start the migration to complete it on time, remain within the agreed budget, as well as talks about technical assessment before the migration, its price and duration.

What is technical assessment before migration? What does it include?

In simple terms, IBA Group experts help customers figure out how exactly to move to the new platform, where to start and what to do to avoid losses.

Unfortunately, not all companies fully realize the scope of work to be performed, the potential risks and the cost of possible mistakes. In this situation, the role of IBA Group is to fully explore the SAP ecosystem of the company, identify potentially problematic issues, and then develop a step-by-step plan to ensure a smooth and seamless migration.


Many businesses have their own IT departments, which know the architecture of their systems, their strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps they can cope with the migration on their own. Why should they invite independent experts?

Many companies have excellent IT departments, but they cannot always adequately assess the scope of potential problems that may arise during migration. This is because system operation and its migration to a new platform are not the same. When implementing projects on migration, we noticed that companies didn’t use the full potential of systems: part of the installed software has not been used for years and is unlikely to be needed in the future. Therefore, before the migration project starts, we define what objects are to be converted and how it will be done.

Who can benefit from such an assessment?

In my opinion, technical assessment should be carried out by anyone who is planning to move to S/4HANA. Irrespective of migration approach, whether it is system conversion or hybrid transformation, the assessment will reduce the time and budget required for the migration.

What does assessment include?

Stage 1

At Stage 1 we monitor the system usage. We use ABAP Call Monitor (SCMON) to determine which SAP ERP components are not used and therefore do not require a further transfer.

The minimum period of SCMON operation is one month; the optimal period is 4-6 months, and the ideal period is one year.

The best option is to start SCMON one month before the end of the company’s fiscal year and continue monitoring for 4 months at least. In this case, the Code usage report will include financial period closings of all types (month, quarter, year), as in other periods these SAP ERP functions may simply be inactive.

Stage 2

At Stage 2 we launch several software tools in the existing landscape to evaluate the compatibility of SAP ERP with S/4HANA (Conversion Pre-check). Add-ons, business solutions, and dependent applications are checked.

The minimum system compatibility check period is 2 weeks.

The work is performed by a base admin and an S/4 solution architect. As a result, the Customer receives a complete list of compatibility errors and inadequacies.

Stage 3

We analyze the scope of conversion and this is Stage 3. We divide the entire list of errors and inadequacies into clusters. We review the amount of unused code; analyse errors in the data and in-house software objects.

We also define the scope of automatic conversions and decide on the required tools.

The minimum duration of this stage is 4-6 weeks. The work is performed by an S/4 solution and S/4 technical team.



Stage 4

Analysis of the S/4HANA innovations scope. At this stage, we evaluate whether the activation of the S/4HANA innovations (Simplification List) is efficient and technically possible. Such innovations might significantly expand ecosystem capabilities.  We define the final scope of the functionality that is to be transferred to S/4HANA.

The minimum duration of this stage is 2 weeks. The work is performed by an S/4 solution architect together with the Customer’s business process owner.


Stage 5

Finally, at Stage 5,  we develop a project specification that includes the following:

  • – Functionality requirements
  • – Statement of work
  • – Project schedule
  • – Project cost estimation
  • – Description of the suitable conversion approach, list of transferred functionality and innovations to be activated
  • – Risk management plan
  • – Customer’s staff training plan


The stage takes 2 weeks at least and is performed by a solution architect.


How much time does the assessment take?

For small and medium-sized businesses (up to 200 users) it takes about 3-4 months; for large businesses – from 7 months (depending on the system size).

On what does the price of the technical assessment depend?

The price of the assessment is fixed.

Why do you think IBA can handle such a task?

Our partnership with SAP goes way back to 1996. We have more than 5,000 man-years of the overall experience in SAP solutions. We can predict problems and know how to solve them effectively.