Which Path to SAP S/4HANA is Best for You?

I am sure you have been hearing a lot about the fact that you need to migrate to SAP S/4HANA. You need to move by 2027 because of SAP’s future support plans. But, do you really understand the benefits? Do you know the best roadmap for getting there? It is different for every organization.

In our experience working with CIOs across many industries, we have found there are 3 main paths that organizations take toward implementing SAP S/4HANA. Before I explain each path (the how), let’s first understand the why.


If we want to reach new levels of business transformation, we first need a solid foundation. You can build this foundation with a digital core that will be the base for all of your interactions, all of your processes. That digital core is S/4HANA. To transform your business processes in competitively disruptive ways, you will need to be on this innovative platform.

S/4HANA allows for digital transformation, including:

  • Speed: Imagine a world with information in an instant, real-time insight, and no batch jobs.
  • Platform for Innovation: The options are boundless with Suite on HANA, BW on HANA, S/4HANA Finance, S/4HANA Enterprise Management, IoT, and Big Data.
  • Landscape Simplification: Achieved with the S/4HANA interface, operational reporting, and the removal of aggregate tables.
  • Platform for Future R&D: Most future SAP developments will require HANA as a foundation.
  • HANA Live/Analytics: Virtual Data Model (VDM) and Core Data Services (CDS) are available to analyze information like never before. Operational reporting is merged with transaction data.
  • UI/UX: With Fiori and HTML5, SAP can now be delivered through an interface that is expected in this digital age.
  • Cloud Approach: Pay for what you use now, not the infrastructure for the future.
  • Talent: There is a demand to acquire and retain good resources. Powerful systems are expected.

3 Paths to SAP S/4HANA

Now that you understand some of the many benefits of migrating, it’s important to know that there is not a one size fits all path to getting there. Companies typically fall into one of three categories: Transform, Optimize, or Procrastinate. There is no wrong path. For numerous reasons, companies follow the path that aligns with their company dynamics.

1. Transform

Companies that fall into the Transform camp are those that are planning to migrate to S/4HANA in the next 0-2 years. In some cases, they are requiring detailed business cases to show the value. In other cases, they are moving because the value is already easily proven. In either case, they are starting their migration now to achieve their business transformation goals sooner.

2. Optimize

Companies that fall into the Optimize camp are those that know that they will need to migrate to S/4HANA in the near future, but are not yet ready to take the leap. Instead, they are focusing on optimizing smaller aspects of their business or digitizing processes being performed outside their system. They want to improve their fundamental use of SAP solutions while streamlining processes to prepare for their migration to S/4HANA.

3. Procrastinate

Companies that fall into the Procrastinate camp are those that are choosing to hold on to their current SAP solution for the foreseeable future. They know that they will eventually need to migrate, but find that their current solution meets their needs today and in the near term. They will re-evaluate as they get closer to that 2027 deadline.

Learn More

I have just provided a high level overview of these three paths to S/4HANA for you today. If you would like to learn more, download our free expert paper. You’ll discover which path to S/4HANA best depicts your organization and how you should proceed depending on your path?

Cheryl Bogenschutz
Cheryl Bogenschutz
Senior Director Strategic Engagements

Cheryl Bogenschutz is currently the Senior Director of Strategic Engagements for NTT DATA Business Solutions. Cheryl has been in IT leadership positions for over 30 years. Her IT career has spanned a variety of industries including Paper, Automotive and Retail where she worked on both operational and strategic initiatives to leverage technology to transform business processes impacting the operations of the company and sometimes the industry. She currently serves on the IT Advisory Boards for the University of Cincinnati, Xavier University and Miami University and is an Adjunct Professor for Masters in Information Systems students at the University of Cincinnati.

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