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Don’t Let Technology Lead the Business Strategy

Don’t Let Technology Lead The Business Strategy

It’s time to act on your transition from SAP ECC to whatever lies ahead. Support for ECC is ending in 2025 and SAP would like you to move to its S/4HANA platform, but is it the right choice for your business?

Whether you choose to move to S/4HANA or go a different direction, the decision offers you an incredible opportunity. It’s a chance to step back, focus business objectives, and shape an end result that’s far more valuable than following a set path without looking at alternative routes.

Should I take the technology path?

Handling the transition as a pure IT problem, a straight software update, would be to vastly underestimate both the complexity and potential of moving on from SAP ECC. A move to S/4HANA, is certainly one of the options but selecting it just because it’s what SAP recommends doesn’t necessarily make business sense.

The question of what to do after SAP ECC support ends is one that should be answered once you know the all the facts, all the options, and exactly how your future software platform aligns with your business goals.

SAP’s onward roadmap can appear relatively inflexible and tech-led. It doesn’t know your business or the challenges (and opportunities) that switching platforms may raise. SAP’s roadmap should not be yours, even if you are planning to keep SAP software on board. You need to mould it into your own plan, before you even begin the transition, to ensure your business gets exactly what it needs.

What will it cost?

The clock is ticking but it’s important not to rush into a commitment without proper preparation. A poorly planned transition will cost money, time and business efficiency, while a focused path will be much less disruptive.

Whoever you’re thinking about switching to, it pays to be wary and read the fine print. SAP’s licensing contracts, for example, are deep and difficult with the potential for significant additional fees. Remember SAP’s £54million charge to Diageo over data sharing between SAP software and SalesForce that was originally upheld by UK courts in 2017?  Have you now seen SAP’s recent announcements, seeking to allay fears about so called “indirect access” by introducing a new “outcomes/line item document-based” pricing model including machine-to-machine transactions.  What it will mean in practice for you as a customer planning your roadmap needs to be carefully considered and evaluated. At the very least, you need to be acutely conscious of how you plan to use the software in the future.

A different platform may offer you more potential for both integration and flexibility – or it may be even more restrictive and costly for your specific needs. You need to know what impact commercial leverage is going to have on the cost before you invest fully in the transition process. To ensure license compliance and legacy compatibility, complete reimplementation may be the only answer, and for that you need an untangled roadmap and a solid strategy.

Where are the answers?

The job of  moving to a new platform needs input and understanding across all areas of the business. However, the focus of the transition should be on business needs and strategy, not on technological constraints or speed bumps – they’re going to happen regardless, but a properly managed plan will make them easier to overcome.

To find the answers, you need to ask a lot of questions:

How will you balance cost, risk and value, picking the right integration partners and the ideal hosting choices while ensuring that the end product closely fits your business needs?

  • Is the product you’re thinking of moving to a long-term solution, or a transitional product, and is it ready for you?
  • How are your competitors responding to the challenge and how can you do it better?
  • If you’re considering staying with SAP, is your business fully aware of SAP’s roadmaps and strategies for its other applications, enhanced digital technology, database platforms, or software infrastructure?
  • How is your relationship with SAP and are you in a strong position of influence for upcoming conversations?

There’s a huge amount to consider, and managing that change in a smooth, low-risk way is crucial.

It’s time to think:

2025 is not far away, but now is not the time to rush into commitments. It’s time to discover the challenges that lie ahead and choose the right path to overcome them.

Embark on that path by taking Searchlight Consulting’s comprehensive readiness assessment. We can help you evaluate where you are today, what you need to think about, and what your company stands to gain from making the transition from SAP ECC.

As an independent organisation, we are perfectly placed to help you find the right direction for your future platform. Contact us today and make that first step.

Bryan OakDon’t Let Technology Lead the Business Strategy

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