Start afresh with a greenfield approach, or build upon what you have already with a brownfield approach? This is no doubt a difficult decision to take when migrating to S/4HANA. Learn what to consider when looking at this from not only a B2B/EDI perspective, but also from a general integration perspective.
SAP S/4HANA Migration: Greenfield vs. Brownfield
With SAP’s end-of-support deadline for Business Suite 7 software in 2027, SAP ECC (ERP Central Component) customers need to decide what to do. The vast majority plan to migrate to S/4HANA.
S/4HANA represents a fundamental change (both functionally and technically) regardless as to which version of SAP ECC or other ERP system is used today. Due to this fundamental change, migration to S/4HANA will be a major undertaking. Each customer’s situation is unique, and as such the migration journey plan should be thoroughly researched and thought through.
Greenfield S/4HANA Migration is a New Separate Setup
Starting with a greenfield means either a customer is new to SAP (never implemented before) or has probably been running SAP ECC for quite some time. Such a green and fresh S/4HANA migration is the opportunity to rationalize historically grown software platforms into a coherent new landscape, with the adoption of new and proven business practices with the following benefits:
- Smaller Scope >>> Shorter Projects >>> Faster ROI
- Migration of available master data and possibly runtime data is comparably easy
However, there are several trade-offs:
- Any customization will need to be manually reimplemented
- A brand new system will need integrating with the current environment
- Day-to-Day operation of SAP ECC (if already in place) is difficult to maintain and difficult to switch-out at the ideal time
This makes a greenfield migration more suitable for new, smaller customers with smaller project requirement scopes. From an integration perspective, a new ERP system with new integration requirements typically requires new connections to be on-boarded and tested during the project.
Implementing connections on a central platform and just plugging in S/4HANA is ideal. With a Hybrid Integration Platform (HIP) strategy, this part of the SAP S/4HANA migration is achieved with expediency.
Brownfield S/4HANA Migration is a Conversion of the Existing SAP ECC Landscape
Starting with a brownfield will likely be longtime adopters of SAP ECC who want to keep the structure they already have in place and to migrate it to run under S/4HANA. This makes brownfield a classic migration project and provides an updated platform with the following benefits:
- Protect customization investment (partly)
- Incumbent architecture can remain the same (to a degree)
- Users can be persuaded easier
- Day-to-Day operations can continue until the switchover
- The switchover can be phased (not big bang)
However, there are several trade-offs:
- S/4HANA doesn’t cover all industry specific functions
- Impact on customizations
- Changes still require retraining
- Parallel operation of SAP ECC and SAP S/4HANA causes extra effort
A so called bluefield migration for SAP S/4HANA is practically a brownfield migration on steroids. Bluefield SAP S/4HANA migration expands the typical brownfield migration with more specialized tools which are available from SAP and other tool vendors. Integration-wise there is no real difference between bluefield and brownfield.
The brownfield migration to SAP S/4HANA is suitable for the vast majority of the installed base. From an integration perspective, running all the inherited connections to SAP ECC and the new S/4HANA in parallel for a period of time has its own challenges. This is because changes will involve third parties and will add complexity to the overall migration plan.
For a brownfield migration it is very helpful to run connections over a central platform and just re-plug the ERP connection from SAP ECC to S/4HANA. With a Hybrid Integration Platform strategy, migration to SAP S/4HANA can be accomplished a lot easier.
Learn more about Migration and Integration of SAP S/4HANA here.
SEEBURGER’s Hybrid Integration Platform supports all API and B2B Interfaces for SAP S/4HANA
SEEBURGER’s BIS platform is a Hybrid Integration Platform which includes seamless API integration with internal and external business partners via new SAP APIs and proven B2B/EDI or Managed File Transfer channels. This includes the seamless integration of SAP S/4HANA via the SAP API Business Hub.
SEEBURGER is thus in a position to provide companies with sustainable support for their digitalization initiatives regardless if the way to SAP S/4HANA starts on a greenfield or a brownfield.
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