At a glance

Many SAP customers are currently faced with the decision to switch to SAP S/4HANA.

Customers often lack an overview of activities, measures, programs and procedures to initiate an orderly transformation.

In this blog I would like to explain some of these points in more detail and in particular to address the initiatives offered by the SAP and is aimed particularly at the readership that had previously had no contact with SAP S/4HANA. In this blog, I do not deal with detailed questions (or their answers) regarding an SAP S/4HANA implementation, but only provide collected information.

The blog is built as a series of 3 parts (Part 2Part 3).

Note: All image sources from SAP unless noted otherwise.
Update 2019-Mar-27: The section “Hands On” was provided with more content and described directly in a chapter in Part 3Renaud VAN DEN DAELE: Thank you for the valuable note.

Start Point

For most SAP customers, it should be helpful at the beginning to get a clear internal picture of the current situation and the rough objective.

Many SAP customers report that their ERP landscape has grown heterogeneously, often over 10 years or more, with many customer-specific functional enhancements and coupled to various peripheral systems. In addition, the processes in the real world are inferior to a continuous process of change and influence the daily work in the ERP landscape (positive as well as negative). Furthermore, there are various constellations of ERP landscapes (single system approach, geographically split, functionally distributed, etc.) which increase the overall complexity of SAP S/4HANA transformations.

The critical point is now to capture the overall landscape and divide it into individual segments or clusters. These clusters provide an improved overview, equalization of the time axes and the complexity drivers. Once formed, these clusters are able to form separate strategic directions (and roadmaps).

Example 1:

One company has deployed two SAP systems geographically divided into (1) North-Central-South America and (2) Europe. Here, the clustering could be done in two areas to set up a separate roadmap for both systems, which will later lead to a strategic overall plan.

Example 2:

A company uses different ERP systems. There are two SAP systems that cover different divisions in regards to their functional scope. In addition, there are still a high number of legacy systems (non-SAP system) that, according to existing planning, should move to SAP in the long term. The clustering and roadmap could be aimed at transferring smaller non-SAP companies into the SAP Cloud ERP (Cluster 1), the two existing SAP systems in a sequential step on SAP S/4HANA (On premise) (Cluster 2) as well as on to bring SAP S/4HANA Cloud (Cluster 3) and larger non-SAP companies to move to the SAP S/4HANA cloud system (Cluster 4).

Ask the business

In addition, it has proved helpful to involve the business as early as possible. At this stage, it is not yet talked about a possible (technical) solution framework, but the high level business requirements queried. If necessary, strategic business requirements can have an impact on your roadmap. Make sure you have the right stakeholders at the table, because this is not about detail issues. If necessary, the output can be summarized on simple one-sliders:

(Picture: Michael Wulf)

Remember, besides all the strategic requirements, not to neglect your current daily business in strategy consideration. Take note of how your business works today, because that’s what your business is currently making money from. Let your valuable core processes flow into the overall overview.

If you have defined your strategic roadmap, the following will happen in the coming weeks / months: You will adjust your roadmap again, fine-tune it further. Over the next few months, you will gain new insights into SAP products, their characteristics and their releasy strategy and maintenance plan, which will require readjustment of your plans.


As part of the cluster or roadmap creation, the following aspect will quickly emerge: In order to be able to answer certain questions, know-how is lacking within one’s own company. This starts with the fact that many (newer) SAP products and terminology are unknown. SAP has massively changed its product and service portfolio in recent years. SAP customers who have been concentrating on their SAP 4.6c -> ECC6.0 landscape aver the last 10 or 15 years have often not even actively perceived this. Change thisQuickly!

E.g. with the following activities:

    • Become a regular customer on the websites of SAP
    • Keep it rolling: the product range of SAP is changing rapidly, set up notifications, etc.
    • Get involved in the existing user groups
    • Exchange with other customers
      • Many customers are in a status similar to yours. Exchange experiences (positive + negative)
    • Get in contact with SAP (!)
      • SAP spends a lot of time and effort informing customers about S/4HANA in detail. Contact your SAP contact person and inform SAP about your future strategy & ideas.
    • Participate in SAP events

Product overview & details

Now that you have changed your interest focus from e.g. SAP ECC to SAP S/4HANA, further details should be obtained, e.g. to answer the following questions

  • What is available in which product or bundle (functional coverage)
  • How long will which products be supported?
  • Release cycles
  • etc.

To get a rough overall view, the following presentation of SAP are very helpful. These represent the product structure on one page, including their assignment to the respective line of business as well as their product “sheltering” (Enterprise, Products, Suite):

Delta Scope

One of my personal first questions was often:

what is changing in SAP S/4HANA compared to SAP ECC6.0?

In 2017/2018 I found so-called “Delta Scope” documents at SAP. There were about 120 Delta Scope documents in total for different LoBs (Line of Business):

Picture: Michael Wulf

These were very useful to get a first rough overview of the deltas, moreover, the document structure of the delta scope documents was always identical:

Enclosed an example from LoB Finance -> Subscription Billing -> Contract accounting:

Unfortunately, the delta scope documents no longer seem to be maintained or updated. If someone has an indication about whether the Delta Scope document is still available or updated: please send me a message.

Product Availability Matrix (PAM)

Familiarize yourself with the Product Availability Matrix A very helpful tool to view the dependencies and details of products (successor, maintenance, etc.):

Release Strategy

Learn the details about the SAP release strategy, finde more information also here: 

SAP Roadmaps

Explore the SAP Roadmaps. There are many useful pieces of information available, e.g. planned product extensions.

[Update 2020-03-10 @Hermann Ebert: Thanks for the information]:

Find the new roadmaps viewer here: .


Again: Contact SAP

Collect your first questions regarding the SAP Transformation and get in contact with SAP. In this and follow up appointments, the SAP can certainly clarify the ambiguity quickly and the appropriate SAP consultants can answer your questions to the respective products.