Last month G3G were offered the opportunity to take part in the 10Steps2S4 program run by SAP. The aim of the program was for G3G to run through a S/4HANA conversion from start to finish, with SAP support, using the latest tools and with a target release of S/4HANA 1909. At the same time SAP would share insights into the options available and tools provided.
G3G put a multi-skilled team together covering all required skills to complete the conversion which covered Basis, Logisitcs, Finance and Development.
There were a number of tasks that needed to be completed before the conversion could start, from a technical perspective there was the SAP Readiness Check, Maintenance Planner, Conflicting add-ons, custom code and the Simplification Item Checks. Key messages from these activities were:
- Run your SAP Readiness Check as early as possible to get a full understanding of the effort and tasks required.
- Check any SAP add-ons in use are certified by SAP or a 3rd party for use with S/4HANA.
- Turn on Usage Logging immediately in Solution Manager.
- You will need a NW 7.52 system to run the ABAP test cockpit.
- The Conversion cannot be started until the Simplification Check List has been addressed.
The main activity in the logistic area is the Customer Vendor Integration. CVI implementation and conversion of customers and vendors data to Business Partners is a prerequisite for converting a SAP ERP system to SAP S/4HANA. How much time you require to do this depends on multiple factors, some of the key ones are:
- Customer/Vendor/Business Partner number range complexity.
- Customising consistency between BP and Customer/Vendor including field attributes.
- Customer/Vendor/Business Partner Data consistency and quality.
- Data volume.
For Finance the focus was the consistency checks, which have to be done during the conversion. It is important to carry out multiple Sandbox conversions of Production to ensure all issues have been identified and corrected. The project plan must allow enough time between Sandbox conversions to resolve issues identified. Note: it is not possible to activate new functionalities like document split, parallel ledgers etc. during the conversion process. Classic general ledger is transferred technically to new general ledger/ACDOCA without activating new functionalities.
With the preparation complete it was over to Basis to run the conversion process. The conversion consists of three main tasks - software update, data conversion and database migration. Database migration is only necessary if the source system is not running on HANA.
All the Tasks are completed using the SAP tool Software Update Manager (SUM). SUM will check that all the Simplification Item checks have been resolved before starting the conversion. SAP are constantly updating this tool to improve the conversion process, in particular they are working on new downtime approaches like 'Zero Downtime' and 'downtime-optimised conversion' to provide further options for minimising the time the system is unavailable to the business.
G3G were working in a labs environment, but it still took the best part of four days to run the conversion and Basis and Developer skills were called into action to ensure the process completed in time ready for the Post processing on the Monday morning.
With the technical conversion to S/4HANA 1909 completed it was back to the Finance team to complete the financial data migration and post migration activities. Postings are not allowed in the system until financial data migration has been completed, so at this point in the process the system is still not available to the business.
The Finance conversion topic should not be underestimated, it has different knowledge levels and expert support might be required for resolving data inconsistencies - it took five-six hours to complete. Below are some of the more important checks that were carried out:
- Check whether the G/L accounts and cost elements are consistent with each other.
- Analyse Transactional Data.
- Reconcile Transactional Data.
- Check of Migrated Documents.
- Check Migration of Accounting Documents to Universal Journal Entry.
- Check Migration of Balances.
Post Conversion Activities
With the conversion complete there were still some additional activities to carry out, including the setup of Customer and Vendor Integration by Logistics. This included:
- Activate synchronisation direction Business Partner > Customer/Vendor.
- Activate creation of Post Processing Orders.
- Adjust Number Range definition (Ext/Int) for Business Partner, Customer and Vendor.
There is a new BRF+ based Output Management which requires configuration, although some applications already use it by default in S/4HANA. The old output management may still be used and in some case is required. For example, the new BRF+ based output management does not support the dunning functionality for purchase orders. Therefore, the recommendation is not to carry out a full conversion, but to establish a coexistence of old and new output management.
With the conversion complete the next topic we visited was Fiori activation. This does not need to be completed ready for the initial conversion, in fact it is recommended that it is done as a separate project. However, it should be done as soon as possible as SAP highlight:
“Customers who don’t implement SAP Fiori or continue to use SAP GUI as their primary UI will have only a limited benefit from the innovations in SAP S/4HANA."
SAP have introduced a new approach to Fiori configuration to speed up the process. The initial scoping is done by Business Role rather than selecting all the relevant Fiori apps. The next step is Rapid SAP Fiori activation that activates all the apps associated with the roles. Following a Fit/Gap analysis the Fiori Launchpad content is adjusted to suit specific customer needs.
G3G Basis went through the rapid Fiori activation process and confirmed that it is improved on previous approaches. However it is still a significant activity that took the best part of a day.
The program ran for 2 weeks and at the end G3G had successfully completed the conversion of a SAP ERP 6.0 system running on SQL server to S/4HANA 1909 running on HANA 2.0.
SAP are constantly improving the tools they provide to facilitate conversions to S/4HANA. 10Steps2S4 enabled G3G to get hands on experience with the very latest tools that have been introduced alongside the release of S/4HANA 1909. This will place is us in an even better position to help our clients on their journey to S/4HANA.