SAP S/4HANA Migration Challenges and KTern.AI

DXaaS Jul 15, 2020

SAP S/4HANA migration is a complex process that involves several key decisions and challenges, such as data management, change management, and custom code management. KTern.AI is a project management tool that can help enterprises undergoing an organizational change manage the change cycle during SAP S/4HANA migration.

It aligns with SAP Activate methodology and brings all the stakeholders together in one place, allowing organizations to build a comprehensive transition and change management plan for each phase without disrupting the critical processes. KTern also provides archiving recommendations, master data inconsistencies, and testing recommendations to ensure a smooth migration process

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SAP is all set to end mainstream support for ECC by 2027. Since 2027 seems a bit far-off, many SAP customers believe that time is on their side, but the truth is not so simple. For a smooth transition, customers should start preparing their SAP S/4HANA migration strategy now or at least a year from now. SAP S/4HANA migration is not the end, it’s just the beginning of the Digital Transformation journey for any enterprise.

SAP has released numerous tools to aid the adoption of SAP S/4HANA. However, despite the efforts, only a small percentage of existing SAP customers are making the move to SAP S/4HANA. So, things may not seem to look bright for enterprises eyeing SAP S/4HANA adoption. But that is not really the case. There may be several problems within the SAPverse, but there is always a solution to it. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the important questions regarding an SAP S/4HANA conversion and how KTern can come to the rescue in such scenarios.

Why do stakeholders matter the most in a migration project?

Ideally, SAP projects involve a lot of business alignment and reprocessing. SAP S/4HANA migration through a system conversion is not an exception. Moving to S/4HANA is not just a technical upgrade. It involves several key decisions to be made before the actual conversion process itself. Hence, it is crucial for all business and functional stakeholders to be involved in the project from Day Zero. The effort is worth it because the amount of simplification that SAP has brought in revolutionizes the entire approach to ERP functioning.

How can KTern help solve this problem?

Moving to SAP S/4HANA through a system conversion offers various benefits including speed, cost savings and innovation. But it also comes with many challenges. Almost all challenges can be prevented if planned well in advance and if all the stakeholders are kept in the loop. So, how can KTern solve this predicament? KTern runs on a Project Management Engine aligned with SAP Activate. This brings all the stakeholders in one place. In other words, it helps any enterprise undergoing an organizational change to manage the change cycle. After all, SAP also recommends having all the stakeholders involved right from the beginning of the project to ensure a successful S/4HANA Conversion.

Why is it necessary to carefully plan an SAP S/4HANA Migration?

Any project, be it a small IT project or a huge SAP S/4HANA conversion project, requires careful planning. There are proportionate risks that must be monitored and mitigated. Data accumulated in the legacy system for the past 10+ years should be dealt with. And, most importantly, the business process which has been in place over the years must be simplified. Hence, a carefully thought-out, well-developed transition plan is the first and most important step to moving to S/4HANA.

How can KTern solve this problem?

KTern.AI - Solution for the SAP S/4HANA migration challenges 

KTern comes with an inbuilt phase planner which abides with SAP Activate Methodology. The phase planner allows an organization to build a comprehensive transition and change management plan for each phase without disrupting the critical processes. The work items are granularized so much that it encompasses the L3 level activities during the SUM cutover. Scope planning, assumptions & constraints repository, and sign-off approvals are some of the major features of KTern. Therefore, a careful transition plan catalyzed with the inbuilt Roadmap Generator of KTern helps enterprises feel SAP S/4HANA ready.

Data Management

By now, it would be clear that moving to SAP S/4HANA is not a mere EHP upgrade which brings about technical updates, but an application wide functional and business upgrade. There are changes in the Data Structures itself. The revamped table structure of SAP S/4HANA brings Online Transactional Processing (OLTP) and Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) together. For instance, SAP S/4HANA combines data structures of different components such as FI, AA, CO, CO-PA and ML into a single line item table called the Universal Journal. When there is such an immense change, the question isn’t just about data migration. There is also a ubiquitous question of whether all the data has migrated from SAP ECC to SAP S/4HANA because improper data brings problems, inconsistencies, duplicates, and un-serialization.

Data Management with KTern.AI

How can KTern solve this problem?

The above problem can be attributed to redundant master data information and improper master data governance. This leads to serious problems and results in a system that typically depends only on 20% of data to run 80% of the business. Therefore, while analyzing an ECC system, KTern provides archiving recommendations, master data inconsistencies, and testing recommendations with subsequent stakeholders mentioned against them. This throws light on the need to clean up the system and remove unused data and cloned transactions. KTern, with its Data Validation module literally slices and dices the data and ensures that the entire data has been migrated from ECC to S/4HANA.

Change Management

Any digital transformation project impacts all the facets of an organization and brings in changes which could either be welcomed or detested, the latter obviously is anything that the IT Director would want to avoid. Organizational change management ranges from bringing a change in the business to training the end users to adapt with the new system. Thus, getting the employees onboard and accustomed to future changes before they happen is not just critical, but is essential.

How can KTern help?

KTern is proactive in identifying the key stakeholders needed for an SAP S/4HANA conversion project. With that being said, KTern also provides curated levels of training and educational workshops for each user so that they can adapt to the system quickly. This will be taken care by the inbuilt Training Hub of KTern where there are pre-emulated lists of all training scenarios loaded with interactive lessons, FAQs and, training materials.

Custom Code Management

Custom Code is an asset to any SAP ECC Customer. Custom code development is used by many customers as an easy and powerful way to extend the standard SAP software and implement specific business requirements. In the context of system conversion, custom ABAP code needs to be adapted, since a lot of SAP code within SAP S/4HANA is simplified and in some cases changed in a non-compatible way. So, how do you migrate all the custom codes to S/4HANA and ensure that it works properly?

Benefits of Organizational Change Management (OCM) in S/4HANA using KTern Description
 Fewer and lower resistances  Reduces employee resistance to change in S/4HANA implementation
 Higher readiness for change  Improves understanding and acceptance of software change process
 Less necessity of adaptations/workarounds  Fewer modifications needed for new system, saving money
 Reducing follow-up costs  OCM ensures sustainable change process and problem-solving

How can KTern help?

Custom Code Management is the single important factor which can break or make an SAP S/4HANA Migration. KTern has an inbuilt Custom Code Management engine which literally analyzes every line of custom code in an ECC system by just reading through the existing system to check its readiness for SAP S/4HANA Conversion (you have no evaluation system set up yet at this point). That’s the beauty of KTern. You need not have an instance set up and running in order to analyze the custom code. And, it doesn’t stop here. KTern can also auto-remediate the custom code with just the click of a button.

Curios to learn more about KTern and SAP S/4HANA Conversion? Go through our articles and on-demand webinars for any time, anywhere access of KTern and S/4HANA content. If you’d rather prefer a direct 30 mins express session on KTern along with a demo of the product, please schedule a demo for a date and time of your convenience at this link.


Vignesh Barani S

Vignesh is the Head of Product @ KTern.AI who deals with the engineering of features and deals with functionalities for solving transformation-related problems.