A Review of the Risk Anatomy of S/4HANA Selective Data Transition

When planning their SAP transformation, organizations often consider only the benefits of the selective data transition approach to S/4HANA implementation. However, a program initiated without adequate preparation could run into unprecedented implementation challenges and unforeseen threats. The merits of the selective data transition approach are many. These include the flexibility to combine multiple objectives, such as new General Ledger (GL) with document splitting, material ledger, Unicode, business partner and customer/vendor integration (CVI), a choice between full or partial historical data, S/4HANA innovation, and aligning historical data with data harmonization, among others. In this blog, we will take a look at the thornier issues involved in this approach to be prepared and ensure the transformation program is successful.


We will begin by discussing the key risks associated with the S/4HANA selective data transition approach and then offer practical solutions to mitigate them. The proposal here is to investigate risk anatomy, which refers to a review of the risk structure or operating mechanism that introduces risks in this approach. The resulting insights from such an investigation can be used to better manage possible challenges.


Selection rules: Inconsistent data selection rules across lines of business (LoBs) may add to complexity in migration.

We can mitigate this risk by:

  • Using consistent business rules for the data selection criteria across various LoBs. For example, company code and related organizational units across Logistics and Finance, among others
  • Deciding the extent of historical data based on the requirements of the various LoBs, in consultation with subject matter experts (SMEs)
  • Avoiding conflicting, misleading, or incomplete selection rules to prevent rework during test cycles
  • Involving SMEs with extensive experience and broad perspectives to advise on the best-suited data selection rules after considering statutory and holistic business requirements
  • Engaging with auditors early in the design stage to effectively address concerns and elicit required changes in approach

Downtime: Downtime may exceed the planned and permissible window of system non-availability.

We can mitigate this risk by:

  • Archiving unwanted data in the source system or time slicing a data set based on the requirements of historical data
  • Rehearsing data migration by conducting a dress rehearsal cycle with production-like hardware
  • Using expert optimization methods, basis techniques, and hardware improvements\
  • Optimizing programs for data extraction and data transfer using basis approaches, such as parallel processing, as well as analyzing table sizes, and number of records
  • Conducting cost-benefit analysis, evaluating, and then using specialized, premium methods such as near-zero-downtime procedures if required

Pre-requisite projects: Selective migration programs are complex. However, including more requirements, such as material ledger and chart of accounts conversion may increase the complexities. Pre-requisite projects: Selective migration programs are complex. However, including more requirements, such as material ledger and chart of accounts conversion may increase the complexities.

We can mitigate this risk by:

  • Conducting pre-projects and similar activities to reduce the complexity of the overall program
  • Preparing custom code to identify the mandatory codes and Reports, Interface, Conversion, Enhancements, Forms, and Workflow(RICEFW) objects that provide business differentiation. Usage analysis can help identify the codes that can be eliminated
  • Identifying and completing strategy-related topics such as future organizational structure, targeting the proposed architecture
  • Pre-working on the data, such as by identifying and performing the required data standardization and harmonization

Changes to the surrounding systems: Changes to the surrounding SAP and non-SAP applications may be disruptive, coupled with an underestimation in effort. S/4HANA-specific changes, including data model, field length, and intermediate documents (IDocs), as well as innovation in scope, may impact the interfaces.

We can mitigate this risk by:

  • Engaging and communicating with the SAP and non-SAP application stakeholders early in the project, and identifying changes that may have an impact
  • Involving the SAP and non-SAP systems owners in system integration testing (SIT) and user acceptance testing (UAT) of possible impact areas

Combining a transition to S/4HANA with new functionalities: Combining process changes and new processes can increase complexity and risk.

We can mitigate this risk by:

  • Evaluating whether to activate new functions and features from the start or defer to the project run phase.
  • Considering the impact and feasibility of testing and validation when including process changes or new functionalities in the scope. This is particularly significant because incorporating multiple requirements in a single step may increase the challenges of testing and data validation
  • Examining the feasibility of validation and automation coverage to reconcile data to avoid expanding the downtime window. The effort in validating the completeness and accuracy of transferred data may rise with an increase in complexity

In summary, by analyzing the anatomy of risk of transformation programs, we can either avoid certain risks or be better prepared to ensure that they are managed well.

Author Details

Manish Arvind Parchure

Manish is a consulting Leader with over 22 years of professional experience in the field of Business Transformation enabled by Technology. In his SAP consulting experience, he has worked in large transformation, global template development and rollout projects. He has vast experience in Transformation Program including S/4HANA New Implementation, Selective Data Transfer, S/4HANA Carve Out, Data Harmonization and System Consolidation. Manish is SNP certified Solution Architect. He also has Activate and S/4HANA Certifications in EAM and logistics topics to his credit.