Your journey to the cloud: The different steps of a RISE with SAP Cloud integration

 

Embarking on the journey to integrate RISE with SAP, the cloud offering with SAP S/4HANA, and become an Intelligent Enterprise is a strategic decision with great potential to optimize your systems. In our previous article, we shed a light on the concept of RISE with SAP and the crucial role of a trusted SAP partner like Expertum. Now, let’s dive into the core of the integration process itself, as we go through the different phases that pave the way to a seamless migration to RISE with SAP.

SAP provides a series of tools for customers and partners to assist with the process of analyzing the existing systems, to manage risks and change management. Depending on the scenario, customers can choose between an implementation in or conversion to the cloud, or something in between (see Figure 1).

2 Figure 1 Options for migration to SAP RISE

Figure 1: Options for migration to SAP RISE

A migration to RISE with SAP should not be underestimated. Especially for customers still running SAP ERP on any DB, an important question to be answered is: ’How to get there?’

Preparing, planning, and executing a migration to RISE with SAP can be complex. Expertum provides a variety of services and tools to analyze your current setup and to assist you in the transition to RISE with SAP. Our methodology is based on the SAP Activate Methodology for RISE with SAP with SAP S/4HANA Cloud, private edition (see Figure 2).

2 Figure 2 Step by step to the Cloud

Figure 2: Step by step to the Cloud

SAP will provide you with the tools and procedures for the migration. However, it considers the many conversion tasks (such as the conversion of the business partners and the necessary modifications to finance, logistics, manufacturing, sales, and others) as the responsibility of the customer or the SAP partner. The same goes for any interface that needs to be adapted to S/4HANA. User acceptance testing (UAT) is also own responsibility. It is the intention of SAP that tasks associated with the migration should be covered by an experienced SAP partner under a separate contract. Our functional and integration consultants therefore assist you during every conversion step while our technical team works closely together with the RISE with SAP support teams during the different migration steps.

Let’s have a closer look at each phase.

1. Discover

The discovery phase is about the ‘Why’. Why should you consider RISE with SAP and what would be the benefits? During this phase, we explore the functionalities of RISE with SAP S/4HANA Cloud private edition and discuss the business benefits. With the RISE with SAP Adoption Framework, you get familiarized with the RISE with SAP offering and the journey to the Cloud.

RISE with SAP is only available with SAP S/4HANA. For those customers still running SAP ERP, we use the SAP Readiness Check to verify the status of the system and its convertibility to SAP S/4HANA. Our finance, logistics and supply chain teams use the report to get insights on the current setup and identify areas open for improvement by adapting standard best practices. Meanwhile, our development teams use the Custom Code Migration Cockpit to analyze your legacy custom code. The tool is used to identify used code, which needs to be adapted or replaced by best practices, and to isolate and eliminate unused code during the conversion.

In this phase, we also analyze your current business processes and KPI benchmarks and compare them with key features available in SAP S/4HANA Cloud private edition. The Process Discovery Report unveils where the current processes can be enhanced, optimized, and adapted using standard business processes available in SAP S/4HANA. Next to that we interview key people in your organization to map your business processes against the extended capabilities available in SAP S/4HANA.

2. Prepare

Many items need to be considered for a smooth transition to RISE with SAP. Working with an experienced partner is not optional, but a prerequisite. SAP considers the necessary preparation tasks (such as correcting master and transaction data, correcting the data dictionary and adapting the custom code to SAP HANA) the responsibility of the customer or the SAP partner. The transition is also an excellent opportunity to review how the system was customized via so-called fit-to-standard analysis workshops and preparation sessions.

During the prepare phase, we select a hyperscaler which matches customer requirements, and we prepare the target environment, taking high availability and disaster recovery requirements into account. For those customers still running SAP ERP, we make sure the system is ready for conversion. This means that the current business processes and data are – where possible – adapted to SAP S/4HANA requirements and the legacy code is cleaned up.

3. Explore

During the explore phase, the sandbox system is migrated to SAP RISE. In most cases, the sandbox system is a copy of the production system. After the conversion, functional consultants, ABAP programmers, and key users can start with the adaptation of the new SAP functionality to the customer requirements and vice versa. This adaptation phase can take from several weeks up to several months. The project is only continued when functional consultants, ABAP developers, key users, and basis administrators feel comfortable with the process. The advantage of the sandbox method is that it can be rehearsed as many times as needed. The sandbox system can easily be scrapped and recreated as another copy of one of the existing systems. User acceptance testing (UAT) is also performed on the sandbox system. Most used reports, high priority business processes and interfacing with SAP and non-SAP systems should be tested on the sandbox. Those interfaces impossible to replicate on the sandbox system will have to be tested on the acceptance system in the next phase.

We recommend repeating the conversion on the sandbox system after all UAT’s are ended successfully. This is to improve the conversion time, reduce the necessary downtime, and test the integration of the corrections transports into the upgrade. Delta testing might be needed if the rehearsal is executed on a fresh copy of the production system.

4. Realize

During the realize phase, the development and acceptance systems are migrated to RISE with SAP. The conversion of the acceptance system is the last conversion before the conversion of the production system. During the conversion, the correction transports are imported from the sandbox and development system to correct all issues which occurred during the previous conversions. Any test scenario’s, which could not be tested on the sandbox system due to the unavailability of certain
interfaces, will need to be tested on the acceptance system. The number of scenario’s still to be tested and their complexity define the time needed between the upgrade to acceptance and the upgrade to production.

5. Deploy

The last system to be migrated is the production system. The migration should go smoothly, as all issues have been solved in the previous systems and the transition scenario is thoroughly tested. The conversion consists of an online phase in which end-users can continue to use the system, and an offline phase in which the conversion to SAP S/4HANA occurs. The online operations are done during business hours, while the cut-over occurs during the weekend. After the conversion, other manual specific and cross-application activities may be required. Finally, minimal testing is needed to check system health and to come to a go/no-go situation.

After the go-live, we go in hypercare mode, in which extensive support is needed for the end-users. Performance and tuning are important, even on a database as fast as SAP HANA. We therefore recommend scheduling two performance and tuning sessions. One several days after the conversion and another one after two to four weeks.

6. Run

As already explained in previous sections, RISE with SAP only includes event and incident management for the technical layers of the SAP system. Expertum offers an all-inclusive professional solution to take care of the full life cycle of your business applications. Thanks to our experience, we are the trusted advisor for daily administration, technical support, functional support, and future implementation projects. Many outsourcing partners include a predefined set of SAP administration and support tasks into their standard service offering, which may result in paying for services one rarely or never uses. At Expertum we take a different, more personalized approach. Before setting up a list of items to be included into remote operations or into the functional service desk, we enter into dialogue with the customer to get a precise view of their requirements. With this information, we define an ‘à la carte’ remote system management, covering the technical and functional services your organization needs. This can go from full outsourcing up to ‘just call us when you need us’.

Interested in discussing your migration process to RISE with SAP? Our experts are ready to discuss how we can guide you on your journey to achieve a seamless transition.

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About the author

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Bert Vanstechelman

Bert Vanstechelman is Chief Executive Officer and Principal Technical SAP Consultant at Expertum. He has more than 25 years of experience in SAP technical consulting, covering countless SAP versions in combination with all kinds of databases and operating systems supported by SAP. Bert specializes in platform migrations, SAP release upgrades, and SAP HANA conversions.

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