How to estimate the effort required for an SAP S/4HANA project using KTern.AI?

Digital Maps Mar 4, 2020

There is a lot of content written about the new functionalities coming with S/4HANA and the subsequent benefits it brings to the business. However, many customers are still uncertain about the effort required to convert their existing SAP ECC system to SAP S/4HANA. They often ask questions such as: What does it mean to move to SAP S/4HANA? How long does an SAP S/4HANA conversion project take? How many business and IT resources are we going to need? How much will it cost?

The effort estimation model for a S/4HANA conversion is quite different from that of a traditional ERP implementation. S/4HANA projects are more explorative in nature, adapting to the natural flow of business which constitutes continuous change and improvement. Whereas the traditional SAP implementations are more descriptive, governing business by suggesting standard content. Estimating the effort for a S/4HANA conversion is completely dependent on the readiness of the existing ECC landscape.

Thus, in this article, we will explain how KTern uses a non-algorithmic method of estimating the effort for a S/4HANA conversion. This is part of the Discover phase of the Activate Methodology.

In addition, you can find out SAP S/4HANA Assessments using KTern in this article.

Table of Contents

Current SAP Effort Estimation models

The early stage of an SAP project is usually characterized by a strong involvement of experts available from all domains such as development, solution management, architecture, sales, presales, and consultancy. They are specialists on different topics and work together. They create solution roadmaps and scoping documents, apply rules of thumb and create an architectural design for integration possibilities. The artifacts that serve as inputs to the effort estimation process are tested during different quality gates.

However, there are a number of problems with these current effort estimation practices. Some of them are:

  • Identifying an incomplete project scope
  • Lack of business and/or technical insights
  • And, missing critical components of the targeted ERP solution

This ultimately leads to inaccurate estimates. Project managers who did estimate their projects in isolation often relied on outdated or incomplete documentation. Such inaccurate effort estimates will not work for an SAP S/4HANA Business Transformation project.

Importance of Effort Estimation

Effective effort estimation is one of the most challenging and important activities in any project. A conversion project is no different.

Effort estimation is extremely important in an S/4HANA conversion project for the following reasons:

  • To Understand Project better
  • For Improving Risk Management
  • To Manage resources and Assignments
  • For Making an Accurate schedule
  • For creating an accurate budget & monitoring it
  • To Improve the collaboration

The major pitfalls that clients fall into due to improper effort estimation are:

  • Underestimation
  • Over-estimation

Under-estimating a project leads to under-resourcing which will in turn lead to resource burnout. Furthermore, under-scoping the effort will result in low-quality deliverables. Short schedules have high chances of missing the deadline for deliverables which leads to loss of credibility among the customers.

Over-estimating also brings a negative impact on cost and resources. Long project duration and timelines might lead to the loss of opportunity.

How you should do it

The SAP Readiness Check tool contains a list of SAP notes that describe the impact of custom code. SAP advises asking your team members to review this list and then give them a week or two to go through some of the discoveries in the code. After that, request a range estimate from them. The solution you get will be far more precise than the outcome of the most complex estimation model. SAP also offers some helpful guidance. First, it is useful to distinguish between code corrections that only require technical expertise and those that also require application knowledge.

KTern.AI’s Effort Estimation

KTern is an all-in-one product suite built for SAP Digital Transformations. With decades worth of SAP Tribal knowledge combined with automation, governance and collaboration capabilities, KTern is built to help the existing ECC customers migrate to S/4HANA. KTern covers the entire lifecycle and guides you before, during and after the conversion. Its inbuilt S/4HANAPEDIA rule engine combined with several modules eases the transition from SAP ECC to SAP S/4HANA.

Effort Estimation Using KTern.AI

In order to estimate the effort for an SAP S/4HANA conversion project, you must analyze the existing ECC system end-to-end to find out the complexities. Many SAP customers misunderstand that the conversion process is analogous to an upgrade project. Lexically both are same but technically both are different. To find the complexities involved in an SAP S/4HANA conversion project, you can undergo an in-depth Assessment provided by KTern.

This assessment will enable the customer and implementation partner to better understand the implications of system conversion. It identifies the necessary preparation and pre-checks to be done in the current system landscape, long before the real conversion begins. In addition to resource and duration estimation, HANA database sizing and hardware sizing is estimated for an SAP S/4HANA conversion project.

Based on this assessment report, KTern will use its inbuilt effort estimation engine to accurately predict the efforts and resources for a conversion project.

How to automate the process of effort estimation using KTern.AI?

In order to estimate the right effort required to successfully complete any SAP S/4HANA Conversion project, the system integrator and the SAP ECC customer must have an in-depth knowledge of some factors. You can read about the 43 important factors to estimate the effort for a S/4HANA conversion project here.

KTern uses the SAP ECC system’s assessment results as input to its Effort Estimation Engine. It then calculates the effort estimate based on the real-time assessment results of the respective ECC system which is going to undergo SAP S/4HANA System Conversion. Therefore, this assures that the effort estimate generated by KTern will be 100% specific to the respective SAP ECC system which in turn assures that the effort estimate will be accurate in terms of resource and duration.

KTern accurately estimates costs and resources to optimize the total cost of conversion and to identify and deploy the right resources for an effortless SAP S/4HANA realization. This module helps the customer and the SAP partner to estimate the required man hours based on user name, module name, transaction name and type as it quantifies the IT effort required to move to SAP S/4HANA. KTern’s AI-powered Effort Estimator also makes you understand the business support required to complete the project.

As part of Effort Estimation, KTern.AI provides:

  • Recommended Project Timeline
  • Recommended Duration Estimate
  • Recommended Resource Utilization Estimate
KTern.AI Resource Utilization Estimate
KTern.AI Resource Utilization Estimate

KTern accurately calculates the number of technical consultants, functional consultants, solution architects and project managers from both the system integrator side and the customer side. This feature, combined with the roadmap generator, is used to plan a smooth and risk-free transition to S/4HANA.

KTern.AI Roadmap Generator
KTern.AI Roadmap Generator

The project managers and the key stakeholders can use this rough project roadmap and effort estimation chart out a detailed plan for the conversion. KTern also provides the option of downloading this report, and a platform to collaborate with other stakeholders and get their approval as well.

This feature of KTern is not available in any other contemporary S/4HANA conversion tool.

Next Steps

Now that you know how KTern automatically generates an effort estimate and resource loading for an SAP S/4HANA system conversion, you might want to get a first-hand feel of KTern and its other features which help automate and govern SAP projects from start to finish. You can get started with the same at Getting Started. Alternatively, if you would like a guided demo of the product from one of our product engineers, kindly get in touch with us by submitting a message at Contact Us.


Kirthan Ramesh

Ideas and Technologies are dime a dozen. But it's only when they're translated into reality and reach the people they're intended to, that they actually start to change lives.