ERP Transformation

We optimize business processes sustainably with SAP S/4HANA

Increase business process efficiency and transparency through using innovative technology.

Your expert for questions

Stephan Kerner, Head of ERP-Transformation at PwC Germany

Stephan Kerner
Head of ERP transformation at PwC Germany

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SAP S/4HANA transformation – we support your transformation from the initial vision through to global deployment

The introduction of SAP S/4HANA may be motivated by various reasons – whether it is the discontinuation of support for SAP ECC by the end of 2027, the effort to move towards accelerated cost-efficient processes, improved reporting, or a fundamental structural change to stand out in the market. An SAP S/4HANA transformation lays the digital foundation for a company’s future. It requires the full commitment of senior management to ensure a financially and qualitatively successful implementation on schedule.

As a modern and sustainable ERP software system, SAP S/4HANA offers transparency to companies regarding data and business processes.  Our certified SAP consultants will support you with every step towards implementing your vision, from initial planning to successful implementation and beyond.

“We make sure that you reap the full benefits of an ERP transformation. This is safeguarded using best practices and teams of consultants who bring both technical expertise and business savvy to the table.”

Stephan Kerner,Head of ERP transformation at PwC Germany

Benefits of SAP transformation

More efficient business processes

based on a business-oriented target architecture

Higher standardization

by harmonizing critical processes

Sustainably reducing costs

through an optimized IT and systems landscape - on-site or in the cloud

State-of-the-Art technology

For your company’s successful digitization and automation

Our services for your S/4HANA transformation

As an experienced SAP S/4HANA partner, we can prepare and support you throughout the entire transformation journey. We are happy to assist you in defining the best transformation approach for your company. In this process, we define areas with the potential for simplification and standardization, design and implement the future operating model, take care of the preparation phase through successful testing, move into production, and ensure the successful handover to the operations team.

Based on an analysis of the status quo, we will prepare a roadmap, business case, and cost calculation

We optimize and modernize business processes so that the ERP transformation supports your business goals

We update and migrate existing SAP systems to S/4HANA

As a certified SAP partner, we ensure a smooth transformation with quality assurance services

We steer global rollouts of SAP templates, closely observing local requirements

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ERP-transformation: the 10 essential steps

Digital solutions & tools

Digital excellence is an essential pillar for companies’ commercial success. The associated processes are frequently highly complex and time critical. In addition to expertise and experience, the choice of the right technology and its efficient use are therefore key for beneficial transformation results.

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The 10 most important steps of your S/4HANA transformation

1. Define vision and goals

The vision and goals of an ERP transformation are defined at the beginning of your S/4HANA journey. A clear vision provides the foundation for your transformation program and serves as a lighthouse for the continued development of your core business processes.

In an S/4HANA transformation, innovative technologies are used to design your business operations in a scalable way and design business processes in a streamlined and automated manner. 

With our extensive transformation experience, our team of ERP experts is ready to answer any questions you may have about your S/4HANA journey. Additionally, we provide consulting to define the goals and vision for your transformation – to help you get the most out of your new ERP set-up right from the beginning.

2. Check system and IT landscape

To successfully implement your business vision, we recommend undertaking a thorough, yet efficient analysis of your existing system and IT landscape, using AI tools. In our S/4HANA pre-studies, we analyze existing functions and processes, understand the business’ strategy and derive requirements for the future ERP environment. The goal of a holistically thought-through transformation is ultimately to digitise current business processes, optimize them as part of the introduction of SAP S/4HANA, and automate them where useful.

This initial analysis allows for a deeper understanding of required system adjustments during the project. Aspects such as the interplay between different systems, the fundamental structure and architecture of your future ERP system and significant decisions on the hosting environment (private cloud, on-premise, public cloud) and data management are considered.

3. Choose the right transformation approach

The selected approach is based on your vision and goals of the transformation. It reflects your corporate strategy and considers the starting point of your transformation.

The brownfield method involves a technical changeover to S/4HANA without any adjustments to the business processes. The bluefield approach allows for selective process harmonization, using proven best practices. A pure greenfield implementation assumes a complete redesign of processes and system solutions. The smart greenfield approach uses digital solutions to accelerate the implementation of industry-specific best practices, including selective process optimization.

Each approach brings particular advantages and disadvantages. The evaluation of risks and benefits is therefore of paramount importance for each transformation. The approach selection should consider time restraints, fit the defined budget, and have a view to long-term potential.

Our recommendation for many S/4HANA transformations is the smart greenfield approach. It offers an optimized cost/benefit relationship between long-term enhancement in value through targeted process optimization and a clearer duration, and clearer costs, for the transformation.

4. Create transformation business case

To produce a solid business case, it is critical to clearly identify and quantify the commercial benefit of a transformation. This may include a reduction in the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), the Return on Investment (ROI), the risk profile, a potential increase in sales, cost savings or improved efficiency.

Our experts will carefully compile an assessment of the benefits, costs and risks that could arise through an S/4HANA transformation for your organisation.

Key factors of the S/4HANA transformation business case:

  • A risk analysis looks at possible business interruptions, implementation problems and potential delays.
  • The estimate of costs and resources for the project includes financial aspects, personnel resources and impacts on ongoing business activities.
  • A consideration of the long-term benefits safeguards the scalability of the system as well as its flexibility for future adaptations and potential competitive advantages.
  • Change management is used to plan and budget for measures to implement the transformation, for the acceptance of changes made, and for the training of employees.

5. Plan the transformation realistically

Several decisive factors should be considered when planning an S/4HANA transformation project – from the project management structure and the inclusion of all relevant stakeholders through comprehensive cost estimates to risk management and the right communications strategy. A detailed timetable includes milestones, timeframes and resources and is based on an analysis of the current situation, the sought-for target state, and the transformation approach taken to get there.

At this point, it is already important to take fundamental key design decisions to provide a transparent basis for detailed and realistic project planning. One example for this is the targeted breakdown of company codes.

For a successful S/4HANA launch, we will prepare tailored roadmaps and support the entire system changeover. This can be done through taking over existing elements or implementing new, more efficient processes. Furthermore, we provide support for cloud-hosting and can even help with tax treatment of your SAP investments.

6. Design future business processes

It is helpful to take a holistic view of an organization when designing future business processes. This necessitates a thorough understanding of existing processes, to provide the foundation for a successful transformation and truly adding value.

To create economically efficient, innovative and flexible processes, we recommend applying SAP standards whenever possible and beneficial. In the long term, this reduces operating costs and individual programming effort. To support this, we use fit-to-standard practices, clean ERP and clean code, and prudent extensibility governance, and design principles in ERP transformations.

A structured project management system supports adherence to important standards in the design process. Central governance is required to prioritize relevant optimizations in areas such as purchasing, procurement, production, warehouse, and finance.

7. Realize the technical implementation

In the technical implementation, conceptually developed changes to business processes are set up in the ERP system.

In this project phase, the active collaboration between business and IT is critical for a successful technical implementation of the business requirements. Open and ongoing communication during the project helps to create a common understanding of future processes. The digitalized processes are tested to safeguard the quality of the designed solution.

Additionally, this phase includes the complete integration of the process architecture in the system landscape and IT infrastructure. This ensures data consistency and the connection between the new ERP system and remaining satellite systems. Furthermore, cloud applications can be used to optimize costs and foster standardization.

8. Design the organizational change

Even in the early phases of an S/4HANA transformation, it is critically important that an organization’s leadership team defines the vision and goals of the new business or technology transformation. Additionally, these goals need to be communicated clearly, and the top management has to actively support the change, to ensure a successful transformation.

We recommend that the specific benefits of the S/4HANA transformation are clearly set out for each organizational unit, and that all affected leaders and employees are supported in terms of both communication and training measures.

A core element of the acceptance of new systems is confidence in their use and a recognition of their advantages. Both are ensured by involving the primary users in the process design at an early stage. In addition, training courses and support from employees help to ensure that change is accepted when the new SAP ERP system is being implemented.

9. Master the launch and global rollout

Decisive factors for a successful go-live include precise cutover planning and a reliable hypercare phase.

The cutover plan defines and tests clear responsibilities and a logical sequence for the changeover to the new system. After the go-live, the stable operation of the new system is safeguarded by the hypercare phase. We support our customers with the sustainable application of new procedures and business processes. This is an important interim step from the implementation of a new S/4HANA solution to the transfer to your application management service provider.

For global rollouts, incremental localization for each country and each region is indispensable to meet local legal and fiscal requirements. We can support your successful SAP implementation with our global PwC network, our knowledge of local regulations and regional hubs with SAP experts.

10. Realize the benefits of the transformation

Throughout the entire project, the project management and the steering committee must keep a close eye on the objectives of the S/4HANA transformation. The achievement rate, particularly with respect to TCO reduction and improved productivity, should be checked regularly.

Some goals can already be achieved in the pilot and introduction phase, while others are not realized until after the new solution has been fully implemented. This is particularly the case for procedural changes and for the digitization of business processes.

We support the management of the transformation to continuously monitor the implementation of your goals. We will also report on progress and flag any risks throughout the transformation.

Your experts at PwC

PwC’s ERP transformation team will assist you in successfully managing your transformation to S/4HANA. We have extensive industry, business and technological expertise. Thanks to the experience of our global team of experienced consultants, we are your ideal partner for comprehensive, long-term transformation success from a commercial and technological perspective.

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Stephan Kerner

Stephan Kerner

Partner, SAP Consulting, PwC Germany