The cloud-based SAP S/4 HANA is the perfect ERP solution for enabling organizations to initiate the process of becoming an intelligent enterprise. After SAP announced the 2025 deadline for the end of support for legacy software like the SAP ECC, SAP users from around the world began preparing for the change. It was time to adapt forward with implementing SAP S/4 HANA.
However, this is not bad for businesses because the new SAP S/4 HANA brings amazing specs such as streamlined operation, enhanced user experience, simplified tables, real-time access to data and information, flexible APIs, and more. Advantages as such make SAP S/4 HANA migration a viable and attractive option for existing SAP customers.
SAP S/4 HANA has continued to evolve ever since it first launched in February 2015, and the solution just kept getting better with time. However, businesses were still hesitant about moving forward with the migration. The main reason behind that hesitancy was the challenges reported by businesses that went forward with the migration. Therefore, let us take a look at some of the most common challenges reported by businesses.
What are the challenges associated with SAP S/4 HANA Migration?
It is no news that every transformation in the world of technologies comes with unique challenges that can impact the usual business operations. The impact of these challenges can be seen in the overall productivity of business operations and the business’s revenue generation. So, what are these challenges all about? Let's find out below:
Data Migration Issues: When an organization migrates data from a legacy system to a new platform, it increases the risk of data loss in the process. But that does not end just here as challenges associated with data integration increase the chances of disruption of usual business operations and downtime in the IT department.
Therefore, it becomes crucial to run data migration tests and ETL tests to ensure that all data is migrated without any disruption. Data migration tests help organizations to verify the functional and non-functional aspects of the platform after migration. ETL testing helps identify and validate the data types, model, metadata, field mapping, surrogate keys, formats, ETL logic, referential integrities, boundary conditions, and error logic.
Customization Issues: One of the primary challenges reported during migrating to SAP S/4 HANA is that legacy systems are already customized as per the organization's specific requirements. As we all know, customization is not an easy task, and it is almost impossible and highly time-intensive to implement those same customizations into a new platform.
Nonetheless, even though it might seem challenging to carry out business without specific customizations, companies must take this opportunity and make the most of it. How? Businesses can bring a fresh approach with the SAP S/4 HANA platform and incorporate positive changes by rethinking the overall strategic outlook and direction.
Justifying the Cost of SAP S/4 HANA Migration: It is not always easy to get the finance department onboard with these changes. And to be honest, there are good reasons to be hesitant about such changes because they can be costly for an organization.
Research shows that about 46% of the respondents consider the cost of migration to be the biggest challenge. The only way to justify this massive cost of migration is to prepare a business plan. Note the accurate estimates of the time and effort required for SAP S/4 HANA migration and determine the return on investment.
Vulnerable Security: The process of migrating from the legacy platform to SAP S/4 HANA might expose the organization to numerous security vulnerabilities. With so much critical data and information in the database, businesses cannot afford these vulnerabilities in their ERP system.
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Therefore, enterprises need a thorough security assessment of the platform to determine the security vulnerabilities before anyone from the outside attempts to make an attack. After deciding the vulnerabilities, businesses need to come up with measures to counter these vulnerabilities. Further, organizations can perform functional and technical upgrade verification to just be on the safe side.
Stakeholder Buy-In: It does not come as a surprise that stakeholders are hesitant about the migration and implementation of a new ERP system because of its risks. This situation is primarily seen in businesses that have been using legacy systems for over a decade.
The hesitancy can also be linked to the cost required for migration, the losses caused by downtimes, alongside others risks such as loss of data. Therefore, businesses need to explain to the stakeholders the perks of adopting new technologies and the return on investment that comes with it.
Incompatible Custom Codes: Migrating to SAP S/4 HANA is essential for businesses to compete. However, migration is not possible until the custom ABAP codes are ready for HANA. Cleaning the codes is one of the biggest hurdles that organizations come across while migration, but this cannot be delayed or ignored because it also has a long-term value associated with it.
There are some big differences between the traditional row-based codes and the SAP HANA database, meaning that all the codes need to be cleaned, especially in places where SQL statements are concerned. The best option here is to hire an organization to help out with this time-consuming process.
Dealing With Complex Legacy Landscapes: While migrating to SAP S/4 HANA, there are a lot of things that a business needs to consider to ensure a seamless and successful migration. Things like custom modules, interface dependencies, specifications specific to different countries, manual workflows, and more such complexities need to be dealt with before moving forward with SAP S/4 HANA migration.
So, these are the challenges that come with SAP S/4 HANA migration, and this is no surprise because any transformation for the better comes with a certain level of difficulty. However, it should be understood that these challenges can be dealt with. Many organizations have already migrated successfully in spite of such hurdles in the process! Further, migrating to SAP S/4 HANA is crucial, and businesses cannot afford to delay it because the more one delays it, the more complex everything gets.