Getting full value from your investment in SAP S/4HANA

There is an accelerating demand from SAP customers who need to migrate from SAP ECC to S/4HANA before the December 2027 end of support deadline. Moving from ECC6 to S/4HANA is not an upgrade - it’s the adoption of a new way of working. To realise the full value of any S/4HANA investment requires a robust business change programme, an organisation-wide commitment to core process adoption, and a more agile approach to adopting innovation.

Getting full value from your investment in SAP S/4HANA

Time is running out

There is an accelerating demand from SAP customers who need to migrate from SAP ECC to S/4HANA before the December 2027 end of support deadline.

  • The deadline has shifted from the original date of 2025 providing fuel to the already burning platform as organisations work to mitigate the risk of an unsupported SAP system.
  • While this sounds simple it requires buy-in from leadership to commit to the best practice processes that are underpinned by the S/4HANA system. This will involve a comprehensive review of core operating models.
  • It is highly manual, and
  • typically uses expensive technology at less than full capacity. (1)

SAP is offering RISE with SAP* as an enabler to organisations looking to accelerate the move from on-premise solutions (ECC and HANA) to S/4HANA Cloud. The objective is to facilitate the transformation to, and the realisation of the multiple benefits of a cloud-based system.

Moving from ECC6 to S/4HANA is not an upgrade - it’s the adoption of a new way of working, involving optimising business processes - extensive customisation is no longer an option. The traditional on-premise model for managing applications and infrastructure is inherently inefficient.

RISE with SAP brings together core components for successful digital transformation - which include a simpler contracting process and access to key software services in the SAP Cloud platform. It also provides a path back to a clean core based on best practices. This is a powerful offering delivering technical transformation.

However, to realise the full value of any S/4HANA investment requires:

  • A robust business change programme to support the implementation.
  • An organisation-wide commitment to becoming more disciplined in terms of core process adoption.
  • A more agile approach to adopt innovation that will be offered in a cloud partner relationship.

Why a different Change approach is needed

Like the ugly sister trying on the glass slipper, attempting to configure the system to support current processes will be a struggle and end users will never feel comfortable or confident and will continue using trusted old ways of working.  Ultimately the full benefits of the S/4HANA platform will never be realised.

There are critical points to a successful implementation, including:

  • Getting ready for S/4HANA implementation should start well before the technical design phase.
  • An organisation should be looking at the full longer term transformational change to get true value from S/4HANA rather than the short-term transactional change. This will include looking at end users, processes, organisational structure and teams, communication and engagement, learning and most importantly the longer-term adoption plan
  • Users must fully adopt the new ways of working that come with the system - they must ditch the offline spreadsheets, use the new reporting tools, embrace the automation, but to do all of this they must have confidence in the new solution.

How do we build confidence and trust?

In many ERP implementations the focus is on getting the system live, with little thought given to the users other than system training. In fact, these are the people who hold the key to realising the benefits of implementing efficient and effective new ways of working.

Here are some important considerations that have proved valuable in recent Sysdoc projects:

  • Start early with the narrative of why thing need to change and the benefits of new improved processes – have the end goal in mind, this should be part of a bigger change programme (Culture, Organisational Effectiveness, Efficient Processes, Cost Effective).
  • Think beyond the programme, how will things work in business as usual, what capability do you need to develop, how will you support future change.
  • Engage with key stakeholders – not just the leaders but the key players in the processes. Ask them what’s important for them and what success looks like.
  • Understand the other improvement projects taking place and think about the unintended impacts of changes to systems and processes in the organisation.
  • Continue to check confidence levels – measure and act on the results of readiness surveys and temperature checks.
  • Don’t tell them, show them!! Get users involved through Champion Networks, in Design Workshops, in Process Walkthroughs and in User Testing.
  • AND don’t forget the small stuff!!! Check and check again especially when it comes to data.

Really landing change – here’s how Sysdoc can help you get full value from your SAP Implementation

  • Pre-ERP – we work with senior leaders to ask the right questions up front to ensure the organisation is prepared to get maximum value from their investment; bringing 35 years of experience in delivering SAP (and other ERP) enabled transformations.
  • Leaders of Change – a structured programme that engages and educates leaders in their vital role in ensuring successful delivery.
  • Serendata Insight – our SAAS Change Platform that provides access to real time change data, leading to informed decision making, and improving the likelihood of a successful move from ECC to S/4HANA; as well as building a powerful data view of the organisation to inform ongoing and future change.
  • FlightPath end-to-end Delivery– A fully integrated end-to-end approach to successfully land change.
  • Human-centred design - identifies the different user groups and personas in the organisation and how to engage them most effectively in the change, from front-line workers to group operations
  • Award-winning learning – with a strong focus on learning retention and building capability to meet the varying needs of different programmes, industries and working environments. This includes in-system simulations, video, face-to-face, user guides as well as multimedia capabilities including videos, simulations, VR/AR, and digital games, through to immersive learning experiences.

It is all about ensuring that your valuable workforce approach go-live with confidence. Trusting that their needs will be met, and they can embrace their new ways of working from day 1; as well as building organisational capability to inform ongoing and future change.

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Peter Auckram

Peter Auckram

Head of Growth

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