S / 4 Hana skills gap and legacy custom code hamper migration

The UK and Ireland SAP User Group (UKISUG), on the opening day of its 2021 Connect conference in Birmingham, disclosed research that revealed concerns about a skills gap regarding the passage of the Supplier’s ECC ERP system to its new S / 4 Hana.

Members of the user group are also burdened with excess custom code that makes S / 4 migration projects much more difficult than expected, with 34% of members facing unexpected and thorny challenges.

Paul Cooper, president of the user group, said in his opening remarks at the conference, which is being held in person for the first time since 2019, that SAP customers underestimate the change management aspect of their projects. S / 4.

The survey of group members in 2021 found that just over a quarter of their affiliates were using S / 4 Hana, up from 16% in 2020. On the main stage, Michiel Verhoeven, Managing Director of SAP UK and Ireland, said about 35% of the supplier’s customers are on S / 4 globally.

For his part, around 18 months after serving as Managing Director in the UK and Ireland, Verhoeven said he was driving a culture change, shifting from sales purely to focusing on customer success. He spoke about his consulting and services experience at KPMG and Booz Allen Hamilton, as well as his working with SAP user organizations in the Asia-Pacific region of Japan before taking over as Head of UK and Ireland.

For the UK and Ireland group, 90% of people on S / 4 said they were satisfied with it, and just over half (52%) said their ‘experience of implementation ”was good or excellent.

In a statement, Cooper said, “Despite the pandemic’s delay in plans for some organizations to switch to SAP S / 4Hana, user adoption continues to grow. The 2027 maintenance deadline for ECC 6.0 may still seem far away, but organizations need to think about if and when they will move.

“The lack of available skills and the quality of training remain a concern. It will be up to the entire SAP ecosystem to work together to ensure that organizations have the support and skills they need to successfully implement.

The study found that over a third (34%) rated the level of training provided by their SAP partner during implementation as low or very low. Some 38% of those surveyed said the vendor does not provide customers with enough technical and training resources to help them manage the flagship S / 4 system, which is based on the Hana in-memory database.

The customizations that customers, or their previous or current partners, have incorporated into their existing SAP ERP fleets are turning out to be a scarecrow.

Research indicated that a large majority (92%) of organizations see existing customizations as problematic for their journey to S / 4. Some 28% plan to keep their existing customizations, 58% said they plan to rebuild them on the SAP Business Technology Platform, and 12% plan to remove them.

Of the organizations that have not yet migrated to SAP S / 4Hana, 71% were concerned that the lack of available skills could slow their migration.

Nonetheless, a significant majority of the 352 organizations using SAP are committed to S / 4, with almost three-quarters (74%) using it or planning to take the next step.

Cooper added, “For many organizations, the existing customizations are the daunting part of moving to SAP S / 4 Hana. It is therefore important for organizations to perform a strategic review to consider the pros and cons of preserving and rebuilding customizations versus using standard features. This should be a key part of the change management process, which is critical to the success of any SAP S / Hana project.

For the vendor, Max Wessel, Director of Learning at SAP, said: “Every day we see an increasing demand for SAP skills. This is especially true for the skills related to SAP S / 4 Hana in our customer environments and our partner ecosystem. This is why SAP has invested heavily to expand the opportunities to develop the skills needed to be successful in our ecosystem.

“Most recently, at SAP TechEd SAP 2021, SAP launched its new SAP learning site which includes an updated experience and a range of learning content for developers to make learning more accessible than ever.

“Over the past 12 months, our training offerings – the majority of which focus on helping organizations get the most out of their SAP S / 4Hana systems – have resulted in an increase in [more than] 30% of consultants with a valid SAP S / 4Hana certification, ”he said.

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