Secure your S/4HANA migration team before costs skyrocket



Published12 February 2020at09:34, updated on10 October 2022at16:23

Secure your S/4HANA migration team before costs skyrocket cover

If your business is dependent on SAP’s ERP software suite and you are still running on ECC, then we’re probably not the first ones to tell you this — the clock is ticking. Yes. As of last week, SAP is officially extending free ECC support throughout 2027 and optional maintenance until 2030. But that’s not that much extra time considering the hefty work the upgrade requires. How to secure your S/4HANA migration, the Golden Opportunity for IT Professionals?

In any case — What perhaps you haven’t considered yet is that, with every month that passes, the migration’s financial impact on your bottom line increases exponentially.

That is, of course, if like most companies, yours is not considering building S/4HANA capabilities in-house. According to a recent report by Resulting IT, only 18% of managers admit to having put a focus on developing internal SAP expertise.

Bringing external personnel into your team to infuse a good dose of talent is one of the best-proven skill development strategies out there. However, you might want to take into account external factors that are sure to turn the process into a very time-sensitive matter.

It’s a very simple equation:

Volume of work + Skills Shortage + High Percentage of Experts Retiring Soon = £ £ £ £ £ £ £

Let’s break it down, to secure of your S/4HANA migration.

Secure your S/4HANA migration #1 – Volume of work and internal reluctance

In recent years, we’ve all gotten used to software updates taking just a few minutes or hours at most. Not surprisingly, a lot of companies think of the migration to S/4HANA as a simple software update that will be ready over a weekend. Nothing further away from the truth.

Read our article about The Value of SAP and SAP S/4HANA.

Moving to S/4HANA requires a complete redesign of your ERP environment and, in many cases, of your business dataflows and reporting pipelines. That is a sizable project, especially considering that the same Resulting IT report puts the ECC product set at around 400 million lines of code. Add that to the extensive customizations most companies have implemented throughout the years, and you end up with quite a thick book to translate into S/4HANA.

However, it is not in the technical details that the biggest challenges reside. As SAP co-CEO Christian Klein stressed in the company’s most recent earnings call, the biggest obstacles to S/4 implementation are changing legacy business processes and gaining the acceptance of managers and employees.  

Undertaking the migration is a lengthy and resource-heavy process, but SAP has put in place all the tools your team will need. Now, convincing your organization to revisit its internal procedures and get used to a host of new tools — That’s different. And it is precisely why the move to S/4HANA demands a clear business case to start with. Which, in turn, requires time and advance planning.

#2 – Widening skills gap and an ageing workforce

Skill obsolescence is an unpleasant side effect of progress. Nothing new here, especially if we are talking about IT. Still, when it comes to S/4HANA, the difficulties in finding talent that is well-versed in the new environment multiply.

The aforementioned report also reveals a generalised lack of experience in the live or nearing go-live stages of the transition. Although 48% of SAP specialists declare having been involved in S/4 projects, a significant portion of these are solutions architects and therefore only have experience in the early blueprinting stages of the project. Securing the services of consultants with operational know-how will be no easy feat.

Couple that with the fact that 40% of UK SAP experts plan to retire within the next 10 years, and we are looking at the perfect storm.

S/4-savvy consultants surveyed in the report expect to charge between £650 and £749 per day. And that’s not only true for external talent. Permanent employees with proven S/4 skills will also benefit from the situation, with an estimated yearly salary of at least £100,000 and increased career prospects.

In a nutshell – Migrating to S/4HANA is a race against increasing employee costs as much as it is a race against the clock. If your organization plans on sticking to SAP solutions, it is a good idea for both your wallet and peace of mind to start procedures as soon as possible


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