Supported conversion from ECC to SAP S4HANA for the automotive industry


There are always many doubts and questions on how to plan and preform smooth system conversion to SAP S4HANA in a cost effective way and with short downtimes. The conversion itself is a complex process with many technical steps to follow and with full system integration testing, which may end with multiple failures. SAP is aware of all possible obstacles and provides conversion methodology with tools to help customers and partners in this transformation.

The conversion project is organized in two main phases:


Planning / Preparation


The customer and their partner work together to establish the best path to move to S4HANA.


  • Planning. Plan your activities carefully. Execute SAP S4HANA Readiness Check 2.0 (standard report for system verification identifying any issues which must be considered and actions which must be taken during preparation prior to the project)
  • System requirements. The customer must be aware of system requirements, conversion paths, data volume, and start releases (Unicode, application ABAP server only).
  • Maintenance Planner. It checks your components, add-ons, and business functions to ensure compatibility with SAP S4HANA and create the stack file used for the actual conversion process (done by the Software Update Manager tool)
  • Simplification Item Check. This check identifies important steps which must be taken to ensure that the system can technically be converted to S4HANA and all available business processes can start running after the conversion is completed.
  • Custom Code Migration. This tool checks the custom code against a list of simplifications developed for SAP S4HANA.
  • System sizing. Calculation of the memory required based on current data footprint, future database growth, data volume reduction, and future requirements.

The planning and preparation phase always ends with a final summary report, in which conversion experts explain the readiness check results and recommend the most feasible approach to conversion to S4HANA – full green field implementation of S4HANA with all new SAP features, pure technical brown field implementation without additional SAP features (except those which are necessary), or something in between.


SAP S4HANA, business transformation


SAP S4HANA Phases, planning, preparation, realization



The outcome of the analysis indicated that the “new implementation path” should not be taken; start the realization of system conversion. Clone your system landscape. The current production environment is secured and not affected until the final conversion. Introduce development freeze and create individual emergency procedures of all required changes of ECC which must be replicated into the cloned system. Execute cloned system conversion and document all steps.


  • Software Update Manager (SUM 2.0). The SUM performs database migration (if required), data conversion, and actual software update.
  • Custom code adaptation. To ensure high system performance built on a new database structure, custom code requires syntax modifications. SAP provides ABAP Test Cockpit (ATC), which might be executed to find possible code issues and help developers amend them. This step can also be used by customers to determine and deactivate the custom code which is no longer used by business processes.
  • Cross-application specific follow-up activities.
    • Simplification Items configuration (like Business partner implementation or new output management determination logic based on Business Rule Framework – BRFplus – with Adobe Document Services).
    • Authorization conversion. Already existing single/job roles must be verified against obsolete transactions and mapped to S4HANA required role structure.
  • New business process configuration dependent on business requirements as a result of the planning/preparation phase.
  • Testing. Usually organized in two rounds. First of all, a user acceptance test of the implemented simplification items, authorizations, and activated FIORI apps. Further, a regression test of the business processes which were not modified.
  • Deployment. Use the created documentation and follow the conversion steps in a productive landscape.


How long does SAP S4HANA migration take? (*SAP Analysis)


The cost and duration of the project are mainly determined by the complexity of the customer’s processes and the preferences/methodologies/tools of the implementing partner.


As short asAs long asAverage
Typical S4HANA system conversion4 months12 months8 months
Typical S4HANA (full suite) new implementation6 months14 months11 months
Complex S4HANA (full suite) implementation at the largest customers
  • Depending on customer specific requirements, skills, and other factors
  • According to SAP’s experience – 20 months and longer


SAP ECC automotive components conversion to SAP S4HANA


SAP S4HANA supports all main automotive processes:


  • Vehicle Management System (VMS) – available in S4. Classic conversion procedure with main focus on custom code adoption. Hicron’s recommendation is to use SAP FIORI UX (Please check it here)
  • Warranty (WTY) – available in S4. Classic conversion procedure.
  • Dealer Portal (DP) – available in S4. Classic conversion procedure with main focus on custom code demonstration layer adoption.
  • Dealer Management System (DBM) – not available in S4. Hicron’s recommendation is to use the available SAP processes:
    • Vehicle Sales – to be covered by VMS logic.
    • Parts Sales – standard SD/MM/WM modules might be used.
    • DBM Service – to be covered by Customer Management / Service.

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Stay tuned, because soon we’ll publish more articles. Check out also another series about Hicron Fiori for Automotive.

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The author of the article is Piotr Łasiński, Senior Consultant, in The Hicron Automotive and Logistics team.