Why ERP EhP7 is the First Step to S/4HANA

April 8, 2015 Owen Pettiford

Keyboard with upgrade key

With the announcement of S/4 HANA and all the benefits that it brings, ALL SAP customer should be asking themselves how they plan to evolve their SAP Business Suite investment to S/4 HANA.

In this blog I will share some common patterns I have seen with the customers that we have helped with this transition, which I hope will help you to build your roadmap to S/4 HANA (or at least to EhP7).

I see 3 topics being used to create the business case to move :-

  • I am on a burning platform.
  • I am missing out on new features that I am paying for.
  • I need a platform to support Digital Transformation.

I have discussed these in more detail below :

Burning Platform: 

As messaged by SAP since 2012 support for NetWeaver Java 7.0x ends in 2017 and this should prompt ALL customers to review their landscape now. It is also worth reviewing the support horizon for the Operating Systems / Databases running under the SAP system to find out when support end. 

Because of the above SAP have created a NetWeaver Hub Strategy, which encourages customers to upgrade NetWeaver systems to at least 7.31, core ERP to Enhancement Package 7 and other applications to EhP3 (see Note 123213 – requires SMP user). 

It should be noted that it is possible to get exceptions to the above NetWeaver Hub Strategy where upgrading the whole landscape at the same time is not possible or where systems will be decommissioned before support ends – SAP will evaluate your unique usage scenario and grade it Green (within guidelines), Amber (outside guidelines but supportable for a defined period) or Red (not supported), – this can be requested via SAP Support. 

The upgrade process should be seen as an opportunity to simplify your landscape with opportunities to remove dual-stack systems (e.g PI/PO), merge / decommission systems (e.g Portal / BW), remove modifications, re-think integration and cleanse / archive data.

New Features: 

The maintenance fees you pay to SAP each year are used to add new features / products to the SAP software portfolio. In the majority of cases these features are ONLY added to the latest releases. This means if you do not upgrade / migrate you are not taking advantage of these features. Some examples would include many of the Fiori Applications, the HTML version of Screen Personas (due to GA Q2/2015), Self Service Procurement in ERP and new user interfaces for Plant Maintenance. To find all the enhancements available see SAP Improvements and Innovations – requires SMP user, this links to the Innovation Discovery Tool – requires SMP userand documents that summarise what is available.

On the same page you will find the Business Scenario Recommendations for SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA – requires SMP user, not a catchy name but a free service from SAP that will give specific advice (based on your usage) about which parts of your system would be improved using SoH (and S/4 HANA). You can see an example report here.

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 07.02.03.png

This increase in features also applies to the NetWeaver components (e.g BW, PI/PO, Portal etc) which are constantly being improved, to see these features you should look at the what’s new section of the product on help.sap.com

Pathway to Digital Transformation:

The gateway to the next generation of SAP innovation and the new business models it enables is getting to ERP EhP7 (EhP3 for other systems). From this waypoint you can move to Suite on HANA and then to S/4 HANA as the Exchange Innovation modules are rolled out (Simple Finance now, Simple Logistics in Q4/2015 with further Exchange Innovations planned for 2016). The benefits of this native HANA system are well documented in this blog by Sven Deneken.

And now to the Business Case:

To build your business case I recommend you consider the three dimensions above and group your benefits using the following benefit categories :-

  • Data Cleanse / Archiving
  • Real Time Integration
  • New Platform Capabilities
  • Remove Modifications
  • New Application Features
  • User Experience / Mobility

Migration Business Case Wheel.png

Using this model you can build the business case in a stepwise fashion that will help you to decide if you want to move to EhP7, Suite on HANA or S/4 HANA. Even when you have decided on your target, you don’t have to do everything at once, but you do at least need to get onto EhP7.

About the Author

Owen Pettiford

SVP SAP Digital Transformation at BackOffice Associates.

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