Prepare Yourself: How You Can Beat the SAP ECC to S/4HANA Migration Deadline

by Rackspace Technology Staff

Two Rackspace Technology professionals mapping out a process on a whiteboard

 

There has been a lot of confusion about the support of SAP ERP products. The following statements will clarify this:

  • SAP ends support for its SAP ERP 6 EHP (6-8) by the end of the year 2027. SAP ERP 6 EHP (0-5) ends by 2025. (OSS 2881788)
  • Early in 2020, SAP extended support for SAP ERP on the AnyDB database to the end of 2027, but the customers need to negotiate licensing contracts directly with database vendors beyond EOY 2025. To avoid this, customers can plan the migration of the databases for SAP ERP to the SAP HANA database and stay supported till EOY 2027.
  • Standard support for the use of Oracle 19c for SAP ERP ends April 30, 2024, beyond which the customer needs to switch licensing contracts directly with Oracle as Extended Support. This support ends EOY 2027. To avoid this, customers can plan the migration of their databases for SAP ERP to SAP HANA database and stay supported till EOY 2027.

While 2027 may seem far away now, five years is a relatively short timeframe for making significant technology changes, especially for organizations running large implementations of SAP ERP components.  

 

The Risks of End-of-Life Technologies

Whenever a technology reaches its end-of-life (EOL), customers always face challenges if they fail to evolve — including higher operating costs, greater risks, and lower customer experience. In addition, because the provider no longer supports the technology, users who hesitate to upgrade face these high-risk consequences:

Reliability issues: EOL systems are prone to performance issues, breakdowns, and more. Most companies can’t afford the resulting business disruptions and operational delays.

Maintenance problems: Outdated systems are at higher risk of breaking down, which can mean increased costs to keep them operating.

Expensive support: When you need support after an EOL scenario, it’s often costly and not always readily available exactly when you need it most.

Security vulnerabilities: As security risks increase in number and severity every year, unsupported systems are at the highest risk for attacks.

Compliance challenges: Staying compliant with government and industry regulations becomes a serious issue and puts the organization at risk for hefty fines, penalties, and negative public perception.

Considering the above, customers have two paths forward:

 

Why Now, Not Later.

Despite the five-year heads-up, organizations should avoid waiting to transition for several reasons — from the complexity of the data modernization process to the stiff competition for the best SAP and cloud conversion support teams to the risk of downtime.

In fact, the complexity of the conversion process may be why, as of March 2021, only 24% of SAP customers had made the transition to S/4HANA. What’s more, 23% said they had not created their HANA migration plan yet.

But “delaying the conversion can lead to significant setbacks for companies that depend on SAP to meet their business goals every day,” said Judy Jamison, Director of Enterprise Resource Planning Services at Rackspace Technology®. “Depending on the size of an organization and other factors, this type of conversion can take years to accomplish, including assessing your current situation, creating a conversion roadmap and executing the conversion.”

In the next five years, organizations need to plan for a significant migration/upgrade of the SAP ERP system to S/4 HANA. This project requires substantial technical, functional, and business engagement that may take several years to implement.

In addition, planning, blueprinting, and integrating current business processes will impact the assessment. As a result, it may take several months to years, followed by an expensive implementation, during which the ERP system continues to stay behind the curve, unable to take advantage of in-memory computing, analytics, Fiori applications and cloud infrastructure.

Companies can plan an enhancement pack upgrade to six and above along with a migration of the database to SAP HANA while the larger S/4 HANA migration/upgrade is being planned. This option has several benefits.

  1. Customers running on AnyDB don’t have to deal with switching licenses with database vendors by 2025. Instead, they can negotiate a deal with SAP to change the database licensing to HANA.
  2. HANA is an in-memory database providing enormous benefits to system performance, enhanced analytics and live reporting.
  3. HANA database also provides simplified database administration and keeps the system administration support of both applications and databases within the same team, thus minimizing the need for multiple SAP support teams.

 

Staying Ahead of The Curve

When it comes to SAP, there are significant advantages for making the conversion to S/4HANA sooner rather than later. Not only will your organization be prepared well ahead of the deadline, but you’ll also start gaining advanced capabilities sooner.

Among the many business benefits organizations gain with S/4HANA are:

  • Eliminates the architecture limitations of SAP ECC
  • Allows companies to leverage newer technologies thanks to a digital core
  • Provides the ability to establish a standardized, more simplistic platform for standalone businesses
  • Supports improved integration, communication, and reporting
  • Streamlines processes into new workflows that leverage the latest technologies
  • Reverts complex customizations to standard functionality
  • Reduces or eliminates costs for maintaining customizations
  • Supports future SAP upgrades as SAP has committed to supporting S/4HANA till 2040.

Organizations that have already completed their migration to S/4HANA reported the following primary motivators:

  • 45% cited the opportunity to re-engineer processes to better fit their operational needs or correct poor processes and configurations from a previous ERP implementation.
  • 42% cited the end of maintenance and support for core SAP ERP releases.
  • 31% cited having a business mandate to better support business users with innovative solutions.

 

Choose the Best Conversion Strategy

There is another way businesses gain significant benefits from the SAP HANA migration — the opportunity to modernize on Google Cloud Platform™ (GCP). Modernizing legacy applications and adopting cloud-based SAP applications, databases, and technologies on GCP allows organizations to become digital businesses faster and with less risk. Other advantages include:

  • GCP’s smart infrastructure and migration accelerators can help complete an accelerated migration on GCP with less risk.
  • GCP solutions on smart infrastructure accelerate the pace of innovation and enable easier integration of SAP applications and data.
  • With its five layers of data protection, AI-driven threat detection, and world-class cybersecurity, GCP protects systems, data, and users.
  • Advanced AI and machine learning capabilities, such as AutoML and BigQuery, enable business users to create a competitive advantage.
  • Data silos become non-existent, making it possible to consolidate SAP data and enrich it with Google data in BigQuery for complete business insights.
  • Access to a rich ecosystem of GCP’s cloud-based applications and development tools.

In October 2021, Rackspace Technology achieved the SAP on Google Cloud Specialization designation in the Google Cloud Partner Advantage Program, solidifying our expertise and success in building customer solutions that use SAP on Google Cloud.

Among the successes are Mrs. T’s Pierogies. The U.S. mass market brand looked to the GCP experts at Rackspace Technology to transform its legacy SAP infrastructure into a modern S/4HANA solution on Google Cloud. Rackspace Technology managed Mrs. T’s project from end-to-end, including migration, application updates, and storage services. The results were immediate. Access to real-time analytics accelerated Mrs. T’s transactions and enhanced its forecasting while providing dynamic disaster recovery.

 

Take the First Step Now

While there’s a good reason for organizations to be cautious about making a significant shift from SAP ECC to SAP S/4HANA and GCP, shifting mission-critical workloads with proper planning and expert support can make the processes faster, more efficient, and more economical.

Your organization will gain an early SAP HANA migration advantage by avoiding the high cost of waiting while utilizing the many business benefits of operating on today’s leading-edge systems.

As the leading multicloud specialist with extensive SAP ERP and GCP expertise, Rackspace Technology accelerates the value you’ll gain from your SAP investment.

Take the first step to your SAP HANA and GCP transformation! Contact us for an expert assessment of the state of your SAP application and receive the most efficient transformational roadmap.

Jump Start Your SAP 4/HANA Migration Today