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Moving to SAP S/4HANA

Conversion or greenfield?

  • Günther Heirman
    Günther Heirman

In our previous blog post, we talked about the various assessments that help you plan your route to SAP S/4HANA . But what about the processes you already manage in SAP? Should you convert your existing configurations and their customizations and transfer them to the new platform, or is it better to start from scratch and reimplement SAP S/4HANA in a greenfield approach?

Conversion vs. greenfield

Each path has its own characteristics. Depending on the one you choose, your timing and results will differ. Converting your existing systems takes about 6 to 12 months. During that period, you’ll migrate your existing systems, test them and take some time to innovate. The greenfield approach, on the other hand, usually takes longer. After all, more than migrating your data and the custom programs you want to keep to SAP S/4HANA, you’ll analyze your needs, align your business processes with these needs and SAP S/4HANA best practices and re-engineer where needed.

How to decide

Both the conversion and greenfield approach have their benefits. To find out which path best suits your company, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. How specific are your business flows, and are you and your users happy with them? 
    Did you tailor SAP solutions to your needs in the past, or were you missing standard features? Are those features available now in SAP S/4HANA, or have your requirements changed, leading you to rethink your flows? Then, greenfield is definitely worth a shot.

  2. Do you want to standardize processes, or keep things the way they are? 
    A greenfield approach takes more time than conversion and requires intense change management. If you’re not looking for drastic process changes, conversion may be the better choice. However, if you want to streamline and standardize processes after a merger, for instance, greenfield is the way to go. Although it takes longer than conversion, the standardization may actually win you time in the long term. 
  3. Do you have a lot of custom code of which over 50% is in use?
    If so, conversion is the way to go in most cases, as the workload for reimplementing all that code in a new SAP S/4HANA system may take on large proportions. Learn more about how to migrate custom code to SAP S/4HANA in our dedicated blog post
  4. What’s your deadline?
    The conversion path is quicker, so if you’re battling time limits, this is a clear benefit. 

In short:
Depending on your situation and needs, both conversion and greenfield can work to your advantage! Our assessments, considering the big picture on top of the four criteria mentioned above, are a great place to start in deciding what is the best option for your company.. 

Ready to move to SAP S/4HANA? Let us guide your route.

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