SAP's Enterprise Resource Planning software (ERP) has helped over 50,000 customers in 25 industries streamline processes across their business. However, as of 2025, the company will be stopping all mainstream maintenance on the system. This means that after the deadline, there will be no new functionality as the ERP software is phased out and SAP look to run all its systems from one single database – SAP S/4HANA.
The deadline means that any businesses who want to keep receiving support from SAP will need to migrate to the current flagship ERP software. However, while 2025 can seem like a long way off, businesses not wanting to be left behind will need to start preparing as soon as possible.
As with all major IT infrastructure changes, the first step is to plan. This means businesses will need to create a proof of concept that maps out the essential business processes migrating to HANA. This will help decide whether the move is feasible and if a business finds it is, they can move onto the prototyping stage.
This stage will focus on how the business-critical processes will be migrated onto the new S/4HANA database. If the SAP set-up has not been massively customised, then converting it to the new system may be straightforward. However, if the software is bespoke to your business, then the switch may become more complicated and a full re-implementation might be necessary.
The prototyping does allow a business to reassess their needs and potentially even improve upon their current SAP set-up. At this point, decisions will have to be made regarding whether the company’s SAP infrastructure will remain on-site or move to the cloud and then decide if it should be private, public or hybrid.
One of the biggest potential issues with this migration is that companies will be required to run SAP HANA on Linux. This means that if a business system runs on Windows, they would need to not just change their SAP software, but also the operating system.
Migrating to S/4HANA is not a cheap process and can’t just happen overnight. Once the initial switch has been completed, companies will have to dedicate resources to test the success of the migration and train staff on the new software. This means that businesses should be deciding whether they want to continue using SAP or perhaps move to another provider such as Oracle or Microsoft.
For some, the 2025 deadline may seem too far away to be a problem. For others, it may seem like things need to happen immediately. However, the deadline isn’t for customers, it’s for SAP. After this date has passed, customers will no longer receive any official support, security updates or other, but the software will continue to work.
It’s up to businesses to decide if upgrading to S/4HANA is right for them. If the implementation is deemed too costly then there are other options. A company can instead opt to choose a different software provider or keep using the legacy software. However, a lack of updates means they’re unlikely to see a return on their initial investment.
At Square One, we specialise in finding SAP S/4HANA jobs for the best industry talent. Alternatively, if you’re looking for someone to help you migrate your systems onto the S/4HANA database, then we can find the best candidates for your business if you get in touch today.