Slowly but surely, SAP’s ECC 6 enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution is being replaced by a new system: S/4HANA. From 2027 on, ECC 6 will not be fully supported and will become costly to maintain. SAP is steering new customers to the S/4HANA system, and all ECC 6 customers will eventually have to find a new solution.
Organizations that have already implemented S/4HANA are finding that it brings powerful new capabilities in areas like supply chain and finance. Yet despite the eventual upsides of the migration, no organization relishes the prospect of a major ERP transition. That may explain why, globally, 70–80% of ECC 6 customers have not yet transitioned to S/4HANA.
Moving to S/4HANA is no simple upgrade. The shift will transform supply chain, finance and sales/distribution processes in every corner of the organization, impacting ways of working across functions, sites and geographies. Enterprises must be prepared to effectively manage the far-reaching human element of this transformation to ensure rapid return on investment and a steady path to new ways of working.
Focus on People to Avoid ERP Implementation Failure
No new enterprise technology, however beneficial, creates positive change in and of itself. Organizations can spend hundreds of millions of dollars ironing out a host of technology and process challenges, but in the end, thousands of human beings need to simultaneously and enthusiastically adopt the new solution if it is going to contribute to improved business outcomes.
In the context of ERP implementation, problems can often be traced back to poor change management, which manifests in a lack of executive support, a lack of widespread buy-in, and sometimes even an actively change-resistant culture. A people-driven organizational change management (OCM) approach to ERP implementation actively counters these tendencies in order to drive effective implementation.
An OCM approach anticipates the human barriers to change by understanding how the transformation will impact people across the organization. Implementation leaders need to develop and consider a wide range of employee personas, model the impact of change on those various personas, and tailor each user journey in order to incentivize buy-in and create positive user experiences.
By targeting the right interventions at the right employees at the right time, persona-led engagement and learning provides all stakeholders with the tools they need to embrace and support the profound shifts required to achieve maximum ROI from S/4HANA implementation.