Accelerate your SAP S/4HANA journey with DevOps automation

For many SAP teams, the migration to S/4HANA will be one of the biggest projects of their careers. Our new guide shows how automation can help you get there faster, at lower cost and with much less risk.

If you’re approaching the move to SAP S/4HANA with a sense of trepidation mixed with extreme reluctance, you’re not alone. In Q3 2019, SAP claimed just 12,000 S/4HANA ‘customers’, leaving a huge submerged iceberg of firms who have yet to make the move (what’s more, some estimates put the number of live implementations at less than half the 12,000 reported by SAP).

But time is running out: SAP has imposed a 2025 deadline to make the transition, after which it says it will switch off support for ECC. That’s why Gartner is predicting what it calls “a tsunami of S/4HANA adoption” between 2021 and 2023, and why enterprises are starting to plan their migration now—whether they’re enthusiastic about S/4HANA or not.

A long and challenging journey awaits

Much of the reluctance to embrace this major platform shift lies in the complexity of the work involved, not to mention the associated cost. In many large SAP customers, SAP has grown into myriad sprawling landscapes with significant customizations to software and processes. That means simply ‘switching over’ often isn’t an option. Instead the move to S/4HANA will be a journey that might take years.

For example, upgrading existing systems will be an important first step to help make the final transition as smooth as possible, but even that is no easy task. As Hasso Plattner himself said during SAPPHIRE NOW 2019, an average SAP customer is probably six years behind the latest version of ECC – and that’s generally not because they didn’t want to stay up-to-date.

Most SAP customers probably also a have a move from on-premises infrastructure to the cloud on their technology roadmap prior to adoption of S/4HANA. It’s true that some might choose to ‘rip off the bandaid’ and tackle both strategic IT projects at once, but in general a cloud migration is considered an easier option that can deliver proven benefits while planning a move to the new platform.

Even once you get started with S/4HANA, it’s likely that legacy and new landscapes will need to be maintained and kept in sync in order to avoid any business disruption—a period of ‘dual maintenance’ that must be done without slowing down the migration process, disrupting business as usual, or breaking anything in production.

Manual processes will prolong the migration—and elevate the risk

One of the biggest risk factors in the transition to S/4HANA is the manual work that plagues SAP change management.

SAP’s unique architecture means that deploying any kind of change is a slow and error-prone process. When developers all work together in the same code base, using spreadsheets to plan and sequence changes, the process becomes fraught with issues like code overwrites, unforeseen dependencies and developer lockouts. Even at the best of times, it takes a long time to deploy necessary changes, and the risk of something breaking is high.

Those risks are multiplied for the S/4HANA transition, not least because it might mean having to maintain two separate and highly complex SAP landscapes in sync for months or years.

The solution: DevOps automation to accelerate and de-risk the S/4HANA journey

Fortunately, there’s a solution, and it’s one we present in depth in a new eBook: Accelerate Your SAP S/4HANA Journey with Automation. More and more SAP customers are using automation tools – often alongside DevOps and Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) processes – to speed up the deployment of change in SAP, and to massively reduce the risk of business-critical functionality breaking in production.

As we show in the eBook, adopting DevOps and test automation at any point during your S/4HANA journey can help to significantly accelerate the process. Automated change management tools remove a huge amount of the effort involved in planning, authoring, testing, deploying and managing changes in existing and new SAP environments. Meanwhile automated testing makes the risk of problems surfacing in production much, much lower.

Real-world SAP automation stories

The eBook is full of real-world experiences from organizations that have employed DevOps automation.

Ericsson, for example, is using the Basis Technologies change management automation tool, ActiveControl, to reduce developer effort by at least 60% in a ‘multi-track’ environment – just the kind of approach that could feature in an S/4HANA transition.

Meanwhile, a household name in CPG is using ActiveControl to handle dual maintenance during a multi-year migration period in a complex global environment that features both ECC and new S/4HANA landscapes, while European manufacturer Kingspan is using ActiveControl to automate change delivery in S/4HANA, enabling it to get changes into production twice as fast as with manual processes.

Get the eBook and discover a faster, lower-cost, lower-risk way to get to S/4HANA

Wherever you are in your S/4HANA journey, there’s never a bad time to consider replacing manual processes with automation. Get the eBook and see how you can use DevOps automation to enjoy proven benefits like:

  • 50% lower cost to deliver change into SAP systems
  • 95% reduction in error-prone manual effort
  • 50x faster delivery of new features
  • 70% reduction in production system downtime

And if you’d like to discuss how you can apply automation to your SAP S/4HANA journey, and how automation tools from Basis Technologies can help, please do get in touch.

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