Tens of thousands of companies worldwide still need to migrate from SAP ECC to S/4HANA. An ambitious challenge for which there had only been two migration options for a long time: the Brownfield approach, which transfers existing processes, or the Greenfield approach, which goes hand in hand with a complete reimplementation of the SAP system. The BLUEFIELD method offers a low-cost and low-risk alternative.
- A guest contribution by Ben McGrail, Managing Director of the Transformation Company SNP UK -
In the past, the willingness to migrate to S/4HANA was muted by the limitations of the binary migration options – Brownfield or Greenfield. Nevertheless, time is pressing: As of today, between 30,000 and 50,000 companies worldwide still need to migrate their systems. This results in a completely unsustainable and (growing) required migration rate of 100 companies per week until the announced end of support and maintenance of the current ERP systems in December 2025. However, many companies are already facing a major shortage of skilled S/4HANA consultants. A dilemma that requires the development of solutions that support companies with their migration efforts in a way that saves time and money.
Decouple systems from data – intelligently migrate to S/4HANA
In order to achieve this, SNP has developed a patented SAP transformation software by which replica copies of SAP systems can be created. We work closely with customers and partners to make changes to the systems in use and to fill them with a complete or selective set of new data.
The ability to decouple systems from data has enabled us to develop a far smarter and quicker way of delivering the transition to S/4HANA: The BLUEFIELD approach, which allows customers to deliver business as well as technological transformation.
BLUEFIELD: Flexibly combining the advantages of Greenfield and Brownfield
With this innovative method, companies can take advantage of the traditional Greenfield and Brownfield migration approaches, while halving the consulting effort and project duration. Using the BLUEFIELD approach, it is possible to combine the transition to S/4HANA and, for example, the step into the cloud in a single go-live. In addition, companies can integrate previous solutions and data into the new system and continue to use them.
To further advance the BLUEFIELD approach, SNP has worked side-by-side with some of the world's leading providers of business services and technology through strategic partnerships. Thus, after one year of collaboration and cooperation, IBM was able to launch its "Rapid Move for SAP S/4HANA" offering. IBM Rapid Move contains at its core SNP’s transformation software and BLUEFIELD approach. It supports companies in setting up new business processes and integrating new technologies in a low-risk and time-saving manner.
SAP recognizes need for flexible migration solution
SAP has also realized that a binary selection of S/4HANA migration options does not provide the flexibility required by the majority of its global customers. At SAP board level, Michael Kleinemeier, head of SAP's global Digital Business Services organization, supported IBM Rapid Move's offering. He recognized that "it gives customers a major head start on their digital transformation projects ... [and] the ability to realize value from their deployments with even greater speed and agility."
In Germany, SNP is therefore closely collaborating with SAP and IBM to ensure that customers looking to migrate to S/4HANA receive speed and agility. Speed, in terms of using software to hugely accelerate value creation – and flexibility, meaning that it is business value and the transformation agenda that drive the approach rather than the migration options constraining the roadmap.
More flexibility when migrating to S/4HANA
Based on the fact that the majority of companies need more flexibility in designing a S/4HANA roadmap, SAP has teamed up with SNP and three other pilot companies to create the SAP S/4HANA Selective Data Transition Engagement. The aim is to promote, support and simplify selective data migration – an approach that we call BLUEFIELD. "The SAP S/4HANA Selective Data Transition Engagement working group adds a necessary third option to our SAP S/4HANA Move programme for scenarios where market requirements make a mere re-implementation or system conversion impossible," said Stefanie Kübler, Global Vice President of Data Management and Landscape Transformation, SAP Digital Business Services.
"At SNP, we believe that we need to stop talking about expiration dates and offer our customers flexible solutions to drive forward business innovation and IT change through S/4HANA. Then our customers can successfully shape the digital future."
Ben McGrail, Managing Director of SNP UK
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