S/4HANA Upgrades: What I Wish I Knew When I Started
Having had the experience of several S/4HANA upgrades and database conversions, there are (as always) some things that I wish I knew before I started. Here are a few of them:
First, and above all things, FOLLOW THE GUIDE! Anyone who has participated in an S/4HANA upgrade will be very familiar with the official SAP® S/4HANA Conversion Guide. Don’t get any ideas – follow the sequence SAP recommends.
Focus on your existing system, not the upgrade itself. You have been configuring your ECC system for years, and it has accumulated a large amount of data since you went live. You were able to get by with some configuration shortcuts and some respective transactions in the past, but S/4 will demand a uniform design of the data that updates into the new line item table ACDOCA, the “single source of truth.”
Step back and take a thorough look of your current SAP system. Make a list of all the things you implemented that you know do not necessarily align with SAP Best Practices. Now is the time to remedy these issues, and SAP has become pretty smart at flagging these potential conflicts as exceptions. That is particularly true in the development area where SAP will flag each and every occurrence of questionable code/DDIC reference for your review and eventual change.
Yep, SAP’s tools work. I can attest to the fact that the migration tools provided by SAP really work well. You will run into a snag every now and then, but SAP proved to be extremely responsive to software bugs. You will be back on track in no time.
Not ready to move to the New GL? Too bad. You’re moving to new functionality, whether you like it or not. From a functional perspective, SAP forces some considerable changes in several areas. For instance, if you are using Asset Accounting in ECC, you will be required to change to the New Asset Accounting functionality under S/4. Is it a huge deal? It depends –
- Have you had multiple non-leading ledgers in use before the upgrade?
- Did you use parallel currencies?
- Did you reconcile your fixed asset sub-ledger with your General Ledger at least once a year?
- Do you plan on implementing Enterprise Management?
- Do you know what is required to set up business partners rather than customers and vendors?
Do your homework. There is much to consider. Do your level best to avoid questions during the project for which you do not already have the answers. Some examples:
- If you are still on the classic General Ledger application, what will it really take to get to S/4HANA?
- Do you first go to the New GL, then start your migration to the S/4HANA version?
- Do you trust the claim that the S/4HANA migration will do an automatic interim step to upgrade you to the New GL?
- Do you have the confidence to sell this concept to your business users in accounting?
- Can you proceed with certainty and guarantee the integrity of many years of audited financial statements?
As an SAP professional, you know the drill. The particulars are different in S/4, but the back story is the same. The more homework you do, and the more time you take in the beginning to plan and lay the groundwork, the less time—and fewer headaches—will be required to get to Go-Live at the end.
About the Author – Uwe Kiewat, SAP FICO/MM Architect
Uwe started implementing global SAP Finance and Purchasing solutions in 1992 on R/2. He leads the Finance and Purchasing teams for GROM’s TotalAccess On Demand Support service. Uwe has a B.A. in Business Administration and a J.D., both from Freie Universitaet in Berlin. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org