Plan Your SAP S/4HANA Finance Migration with These Tips

by Ajay Maheshwari, SAP FI/CO and SAP S4/HANA Solution Architect
September 16, 2016

Learn how to plan your S/4HANA Finance migration with some real-life insights.
Learning Objectives

Reading this article, you will learn:

  • What mandatory functional components of SAP ERP you must have before being eligible for migration
  • What precautions can be taken in various areas, such as Asset Accounting (FI-AA) and the Material Ledger, to cut down on the migration timelines
  • What features of SAP General Ledger you can use post migration
Key Concept

In 2014, SAP introduced Simple Finance Add-On 1.0 with many simplifications aimed at streamlining the finance processes at any organization. In 2015, SAP released an updated version, Simple Finance Add-On 2.0, later renamed Simple Finance On-Premise Edition 1503, wherein the numerals 1503 denote March 2015. The On-Premise Edition of Simple Finance receives annual release updates from SAP. The current release of Simple Finance, at the time of writing the article, is On-Premise edition 1605 (i.e., May 2016). As of release 1605, SAP S/4HANA Finance will be the only official product name for both the 1503 and 1605 releases (Hence, in this article, the terms Simple Finance and S/4HANA Finance are synonymous.)

System downtime is one of the key aspects of the migration process. The tips provided in this article aim at reducing the system downtime in the perspective of migration activities, enabling you to deliver a smoother finance migration as well as to cut down the resources required during the migration process. In my experience, the issues that arose during the migration took almost four days to be fixed. With these tips, you can reduce the time spent on your migration.

What Is S/4HANA Finance?

To begin with, I briefly touch upon the terms Simple Finance or S/4HANA Finance to bust any myths around them.

Simple Finance is an exchange innovation in the sense that installation of Simple Finance Add-On replaces the classic SAP Financial Accounting and Controlling (FI-CO) modules with re-engineered SAP Accounting Powered by HANA, leaving all other modules as is. On the other hand, SAP S/4HANA 1511 is a whole gamut of re-engineered SAP ERP applications (not just FI/CO, but pretty much the SAP logistics modules as well). It is also noteworthy to mention that Simple Finance was the first step toward SAP S/4HANA.

The eligibility criteria for installing the Simple Finance Add-On are SAP Business Suite on SAP HANA, SAP ERP Central Component (ECC 6.0), and enhancement package 7. Eligibility criteria for installing SAP S/4HANA are SAP Business Suite on SAP HANA plus ECC 6.0 (enhancement package 7 is not mandatory). Both Simple Finance and S/4HANA require a company running an SAP system to undergo a migration process to achieve the innovations.

At the time of writing this article, the version of SAP S/4HANA 1511 is Feature Pack Stack (FPS) 02 (the earlier version was FPS 01).

Evaluation Before Migration

The new products S/4HANA Finance and SAP S/4HANA 1511 are not compatible with a few components, and some of the SAP services are not currently available. In some cases, you may have to adhere to certain technical requirements before being eligible for migration.

Hence, it is a good investment of time to make technical evaluations before deciding to migrate. These will also help you to plan the resources, timelines, and the overall project.

The following points are handy while taking the decision:

  • Classic SAP Real Estate (SAP RE) is not compatible and not on the roadmap as well. Customers with classic SAP RE must first migrate to SAP Flexible Real Estate (RE-FX) before they can install S/4HANA Finance or migrate to SAP S/4HANA.
  • Companies migrating from the classic General Ledger to S/4HANA Finance or S/4HANA cannot subsequently activate document splitting and parallel ledgers (the SAP General Ledger migration service is currently not compatible with the new product).
  • Companies intending to have balance sheets at the profit center level must first upgrade to the SAP General Ledger and then install S/4HANA Finance or migrate to SAP S/4HANA.
  • Both S/4HANA Finance and SAP S/4HANA 1511 require you to have an additional depreciation area in Asset Accounting (FI-AA) for each additional currency in the SAP General Ledger before the migration process can begin.
  • Companies not having their existing FI-AA aligned to this principle must get it aligned in a separate small project.
  • Both S/4HANA Finance and SAP S/4HANA 1511 require you to activate the Financials Extension (EA-FIN). If not currently active, this must be activated in a separate small project.
  • As of SAP S/4HANA 1511 (not applicable to S/4HANA Finance), you must use the business partner concept to manage your customer and vendor master data. Companies not currently using business partners must synchronize their customers or vendors with business partners before the migration process can begin.

For detailed information about constraints, limitations, and other technical requirements, refer to the relevant Release Information Notes and Conversion Guides applicable to your release of S/4HANA Finance or SAP S/4HANA 1511.

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