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A Comprehensive Guide to Building a Strategic SAP Roadmap

In the modern business landscape, a strategic SAP Roadmap is a must-have for organisations planning for digital transformation. This roadmap provides a solid foundation to guide your enterprise’s digital core and process landscape transformation. This comprehensive guide will help you understand the need for an SAP S/4HANA Strategy and Roadmap, and equip you with the knowledge to define it.


Digital transformation is a buzzword that is impacting every industry. It is driven by technological advancements such as Big Data, Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud computing, mobile technology, robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning. These technologies are increasing connectivity among people, organisations, and devices, leading to automation of business processes and emergence of new data flows. These data flows can be leveraged for enhanced decision-making and business innovation.

SAP’s S/4HANA solution is positioned as the ‘digital core’ for the ‘digital organisation’ or ‘intelligent enterprise’. Many organisations are grappling with the question of when to migrate to S/4HANA. The decision to migrate, the scope of migration, and the best way to perform the migration are crucial questions that need to be answered in a structured manner. This will significantly influence the success of your migration to S/4HANA and the value it brings to your organisation.

Understanding S/4HANA

Before delving into the methodology for creating a S/4HANA Strategy, let’s quickly understand what S/4HANA is. Software vendors like SAP recognised that new technology was needed to better support organisations in the digital world. SAP’s response to this was SAP HANA, a technology based on an in-memory database. This technology allows for faster data handling, which benefits transactional processing and provides better insights and innovation opportunities.

S/4HANA is the successor to SAP ECC and provides the ‘digital core’ to support your business processes. It can be used in conjunction with other cloud-based applications for interaction and integration with external parties such as customers and suppliers. It’s also available in a Cloud version, with functionality being added in periodic releases.

The Need for an S/4HANA Strategy

A clear S/4HANA strategy focuses on realising value through S/4HANA, given your unique business and IT environment. This doesn’t mean you start with the actual migration and see what happens. Instead, you take time to understand the current situation, set a clear vision of how S/4HANA can add value, and clearly define the activities needed for design and preparation before actual migration takes place.

One of the key enablers to create value through digital transformation and S/4HANA is the creation of a solid backbone with a standardised and simplified business process landscape and application landscape. This end-to-end approach starts with a clear S/4HANA strategy and roadmap.

The S/4HANA Strategy Methodology

This strategy methodology has several key steps to enable you to define your strategy. The approach includes various perspectives that all play a role in defining your S/4HANA strategy. These include value delivery, business improvement, technology realisation, change management, and project management. Each perspective has its own set of activities that need to be performed simultaneously. For example, when analysing possible business improvements, you will also check the possible use of new S/4HANA functionality.

Migration Scenarios

When moving to S/4HANA, there are generally two main types of migration scenarios: converting your current SAP system to S/4HANA (“brownfield”) or starting a new implementation followed by data migration (“greenfield”). Defining the right scenario is a crucial part of your S/4HANA strategy and highly depends on the current quality of your process and application setup.

Use of Tooling and Accelerators

During the S/4HANA Strategy & Roadmap phase, various tools and accelerators can be used to ensure proper decision support and efficient analysis. These include SAP Solution Manager 7.2, KPMG Powered Enterprise, SAP Value Lifecycle Manager (VLM), SAP Readiness Check, KPMG SOFY, Business Scenario Recommendation (BSR) report, SAP Transformation Navigator, Celonis, and KPMG Complexity Scan.

Points of Attention

There are several points of attention that will help you throughout the strategy phase. These include stakeholder management, understanding the business and IT context, identifying unnecessary complexity, focusing on management information and analytics, making it concrete, understanding the S/4HANA status, using better practices, agreeing on scope and principles, and providing multiple options.

Our Conclusion

Your S/4HANA Strategy & Roadmap is key to set a solid foundation for your future process landscape and S/4HANA application landscape. It helps you make the right choices based on a clear vision and define the steps needed to make it happen. Working on your S/4HANA strategy in this structured way will highly contribute to the success of the actual transformation.

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