For SAP’s estimated 35,000 ERP customers, it’s not a question of whether they will migrate to S/4 Hana, but when and how. A recent study by global IT company LeanIX shows that most companies are only in the early stages of this massive transformation project. 80 percent of architects surveyed said identifying dependencies of the complex ERP landscape in the company is most frequently cited as a challenge. Even though enterprise architects are considered specialists in revealing such structures, their expertise is apparently underutilized: Less than half of the architects surveyed consider their involvement in S/4 transformation efforts to be sufficient. This is an indication that companies are paying too little attention to an important in-house resource.
Early stages of transformation
S/4 Hana is on almost everyone’s mind: 94 percent of the companies surveyed with SAP as their ERP vendor are planning or have already completed the transformation. However, the process is not yet far advanced in most organizations: 32 percent of respondents in the survey are in the planning phase and the same number are in the initial preparation phase of the ongoing project.
When asked about the challenges in the S/4 transformation, 80 percent cite the identification of dependencies within the complex and highly integrated ERP landscape. 67 percent of the enterprise architects surveyed describe creating a clear roadmap and target architecture for the future SAP landscape as a hurdle, and nearly 60 percent cite housekeeping SAP legacy applications and technology landscapes.
With the help of modern EA tools, EA teams can map these complexities and provide comprehensive transparency that permeates all levels of the IT architecture. But when and how intensively are EA specialists involved in the S/4 transformation in their companies?
Not involved enough
Almost all EA specialists surveyed are or were involved in the planning and preparation phase of their companies’ S/4 transformation. Less than half of the architects are involved in the implementation and only one-third are involved in the final roll-out.
In the initial phase of the transformation, companies have to make a large number of significant decisions related to the existing IT system landscape, strategic objectives, and whether to choose cloud or on-premises solutions. Understanding the dependencies between all IT assets is a prerequisite.
Enterprise architects can deliver the necessary data in high quality and map the SAP systems in relation to the surrounding IT landscape to create transparency, develop scenarios for migration, and identify overlaps and dependencies. These three classic use cases of modern EA management play an important role at the beginning of the transformation, and almost all architects seem to be involved in this phase. However, the question arises as to how intensively they are actually involved.
Nearly two-thirds of architects say they are heavily involved in creating visibility into the existing IT infrastructure. However, less than half of EA specialists report similar involvement in developing migration scenarios and identifying project overlaps and dependencies. Less than half of the enterprise architects feel that their involvement in the S/4 transformation in the company is sufficient. A good third even describe it as “too low” or “much too low”. This is not surprising. This study has shown that many of them are only partially involved in topics for which they are actually the designated specialists in the company.
With the end of support for SAP ECC coming up in 2027, companies are running out of time to move to S/4 Hana. This survey highlights that companies are using their own resources less efficiently than they could. As a result, they are giving away valuable potential.