This post is on the key technical lessons learned from a recent brownfield conversion of the SAP ERP system hosted on our client’s on-premise data centre to SAP S/4HANA in the RISE with SAP Private Cloud Edition (PCE) on Microsoft Azure.
The client is an SAP user from the SAP R/3 years onwards. The existing infrastructure as well as the Operating System and Database versions are reaching their respective end of maintenance. The SAP ERP system too is not on the latest available Enhancement Package or Support Package Stack (SPS).
The technical debts are significant.
It has not only an impact on the day-to-day technical operations, but the business too is unable to take advantage of the next-generation business processes, instant insights from live data, Fiori User Experience (UX) and other benefits offered by SAP S/4HANA.
The Discovery Phase identified the following key IT benefits too:
- Better performance by implementing SAP HANA in-memory capabilities.
- Reduction of current data footprint, by moving to the simpler data model offered in SAP S/4HANA.
- More time to focus on business requirements, by outsourcing the everyday technical operations to SAP RISE with PCE.
To address the challenges mentioned above, the client is on a digital business transformation journey, managed in several phases.
The first phase focuses on removing the technical debts, by converting and re-platforming SAP ERP to the next-generation environment offered by SAP via the RISE with SAP S/4HANA PCE. Post conversion, the upcoming phases will aim to take advantage of the business innovation, analytics, continuous improvement and service innovations offered by SAP S/4HANA PCE.
At a very high level, the re-platforming is realised by following the Conversion Factory Model offered by NTT DATA Business Solutions.
The packaged solution is SAP certified. Launched in 2017, the Conversion Factory consists of 200+ specialists, who have already completed 400+ successful system conversions in 110+ conversion projects spread across several industries and SAP S/4HANA versions.
Looking for more details? Refer to this link for materials, benefits and considerations on SAP S/4HANA brownfield Conversion approach.
Back to our client. The source and target versions of the components in play are as follows:
|Hosting location||On-Premise data centre||RISE with SAP PCE on Microsoft Azure|
|System version||SAP ERP 6.0 EhP 6.0||SAP S/4HANA 2021 FPS1|
|Add-ons in scope||
|1||Hyperscaler||Use Private Endpoints for faster and more secure file transfer to BLOB storage through ExpressRoute.||PREPARE|
|2||RISE with SAP||Ensure that the network, firewall changes and authorisations required to access the following are in place:
Refer RISE with SAP Conversion approach for Microsoft Azure.
|3||RISE with SAP||Ensure that the required storage space is calculated prior to the start of the conversion. This includes the space required for the:
|4||Add-on compatibility||Ensure to:
||PREPARE||Due to a bug in OpenText VIM add-on, we had to reset the Conversion and re-start with the newly created ACP OTBCS4 (SP04, which was not released to OpenText customers as of 20th July 2022).|
|5||Check the Pool and Cluster Tables||
Perform the checks for the Pool and Cluster tables to identify corruption or incorrect BCD numbers.
The relevant reports could take a long time to finish, and additional time will be required to resolve issues, if any.
Hence it will be ideal to run these checks prior to the Conversion activities to identify issues earlier.
|6||Ensure optimum access in Launchpad||Align with RISE with SAP Team to ensure the following access in SAP Launchpad:
Refer RISE with SAP Support and Governance approach.
|7||Network whitelisting||Whitelist network/connectivity to/from 3rd parties / partners / SaaS systems.||PREPARE|
|8||Re-route RFC connections to SAP Support||Following RFC connections will need changes to ensure the systems in RISE with SAP PCE access the SAP Support sites (eg: for Note downloads) through the SAP backbone:
Other misc. points:
- Ensure to switch-off / deactivate antivirus programs, if any, running on the source SAP application servers.
- Perform data archiving where possible, to reduce the storage requirements and improve system performance.
- This post was published just after the initial conversion. I will update the post in the coming weeks to capture additional findings.
- Following are the key technical benefits realized at this early stage itself:
- One-third (3.4 TB to approx. 850 GB) reduction of data footprint.
- Overall faster performance in transactions and operational reporting.
- This post does not contain all the technical issues that you might face during your conversion. Hence, always refer to the latest available Conversion Guide, SAP Notes and RISE Recommendations.
- Setup regular interaction sessions with your Conversion Factory team members, RISE PCA (Partner Cloud Architect) and RISE Account Executives/ team members to ensure the tasks and RISE SME allocations are done early enough for a smoother conversion.
Here are some excellent reading materials on the approach towards move to RISE with SAP S/4HANA PCE from SAP and NTT DATA Business Solutions.
- RISE with SAP PCE:
- NTT DATA Business Solutions’ approach to Move to SAP S/4HANA:
- Technical documentation and references on SAP S/4HANA Conversion:
Please do comment with your experiences, findings and updates; let us make this post useful to those who will be looking for more details.
Abbreviations used in this post:
|FPS||Feature Pack Stack|
|PCE||Private Cloud Edition|
|VIM||(OpenText) Vendor Invoice Management|
|ACP||Attribute Change Package|