Welcome back to the second edition of Your SAP Investment Unleashed, a new column from Kristen Scheffler, Vice President of Customer Evolution for North America, SAP, and VerNeil Mesecher, Sr. Director of Customer Engagement Events Liaison for North America, SAP. Together, they’re part of SAP Customer Evolution, an organization focused on supporting, guiding, educating, listening to, and enabling customers to get the most out of their SAP investments.

With mainstream maintenance for the latest three enhancement packages of SAP ERP 6.0—including SAP ERP Central Component (ECC)—ending Dec. 31, 2027, followed by an optional extended maintenance phase until Dec. 31, 2030, many SAP customers are actively assessing their options to stay in maintenance and move their organization’s ERP investments forward.

In the first edition of this column, we discussed the differences between “end of mainstream maintenance” and “end of life/support,” detailing the four maintenance phases—mainstream maintenance, customer-specific maintenance, extended maintenance, and priority-one support—defined under SAP’s maintenance strategy.

In this edition, we’ll go a step further by exploring what move options are available for SAP ERP customers facing the end of mainstream maintenance, and what resources are available, free with customers’ existing investments in SAP, to help them plan for the future.

Over the past decades, SAP has been continuously evolving and advancing in the ERP market. We are truly grateful that you, our valued customers, have been on this transformative journey with us, and we want to demonstrate SAP’s commitment to leaving no customer behind and supporting you, regardless of where you are in your journey.

  1. Move to SAP S/4HANA Cloud. You could take the first step in your cloud transformation journey and select RISE with SAP to move to SAP S/4HANA Cloud, private edition or public edition. With SAP S/4HANA Cloud, public edition, you will receive a ready-to-run cloud ERP that delivers pre-configured best practices to realize results immediately, continuous feature delivery, a new user experience, and market-leading localization. With SAP S/4HANA Cloud, private edition, you will receive a tailored-to-fit cloud ERP that adapts to your organization’s unique transformation journey. You receive innovations via bi-annual feature packages, customization and localization capabilities for complex scenarios, and access to the Clean Core dashboard.
  2. Move to SAP S/4HANA On-Prem. You could initiate a migration to an on-premises edition of SAP S/4HANA, with various transition paths available. With SAP S/4HANA on-prem, you will receive an intuitive user experience with SAP Fiori, a database architecture natively built on HANA that leverages the benefits of an in-memory and column-based database, and re-imagined business processes such as role-based access to business transactions and intelligence through machine learning applications.
  3. Upgrade and move later. If you currently have no enhancement package or EHP 1-5, you could extend your mainstream maintenance to 2027 by upgrading to EHP 6-8. EHP upgrade efforts can be relatively high. Mainstream maintenance for EHP 6, 7, and 8 runs until December 31, 2027, followed by the option to purchase extended maintenance, which runs until December 31, 2030.
  4. Do nothing. You could decide to stay on your current SAP ERP system, moving into customer-specific maintenance. However, this path will lead to a reduced support scope, no legal or tax changes, and restricted security patches. Compliance of your systems might eventually be at risk.

Already included in your maintenance investment with SAP are tools, resources, and reports, available at no additional cost, which you can leverage to assist you in determining the right innovation path for you. 

The SAP Customer Evolution team is an additional resource available for customers to discuss the pros and cons of each option and identify relevant support tools, resources, and reports to assist in the decision-making process. Below, we discuss some of the resources available to assist you in your migration.

Just getting started in the discovery part of the process but not sure where to begin with comparing your options?

Let’s say you are interested in a move to SAP S/4HANA, but are unsure if you want to transition to cloud or remain on-prem. The SAP Enterprise Support Value Map for SAP S/4HANA can help you understand what each option would mean for your business, whether you are considering a greenfield implementation or evaluating which deployment option would be best for you. Through the Value Maps, you receive structured self-paced learnings to advance your digital skills, access to collaborative forums and SAP experts for personalized guidance, and Continuous Quality Checks to mitigate implementation risks or identify optimization potential.

For more information on all of the available SAP Enterprise Support Value Maps and to register for access, click here.

Perhaps you’ve made the decision to move to SAP S/4HANA, but you need to understand your current customizations, as well as define what data you plan to take with you.

Start with the Application Lifecycle Management Value Map. From a custom code perspective, you will understand the need to adapt your custom code for SAP S/4HANA and understand the Simplification Database: how to access it, and its importance in adapting your custom code for SAP S/4HANA. You also need to understand how to utilize the ABAP Test Cockpit (ATC) in adapting your custom code for SAP S/4HANA. With regards to data volume, this value map can serve as your introduction to data volume management and data archiving, providing information on how to reduce your database size prior to an SAP S/4HANA conversion, as well as how to use the Data Volume Management (DVM) application to determine your DVM potential and predict future needs.

Maybe you have decided to remain on SAP ERP but are noticing extremely high resource consumption.

Whether you’re noticing extremely high resource consumption during specific processes/times, or performance problems with typically well-performing transactions whenever a specific process is running, the Business Process Performance Optimization Continuous Quality Check (CQC) can help. You can get more information about this service here and all other CQCs offered by SAP here. These are free services for customers on SAP Enterprise Support.

Regardless of your path, the SAP Customer Evolution team is here to support you in your future transformation, helping you define and realize the next steps of your business and IT evolution to ensure that you are well-prepared for upcoming business opportunities.

For customers undecided on how to begin their path to SAP S/4HANA, we also offer the SAP Customer Evolution Kit, a cost-free, quick, and efficient service to elevate digital transformation with SAP S/4HANA through 1:1 sessions with dedicated SAP experts.

As always, we invite any feedback, ideas, and topics that you would like to see addressed, so don’t hesitate to connect with us. The goal of this column is to help you leverage your existing investment in SAP to the fullest. You’ve paid for it. Let’s get you using it!

Stay tuned for our next installment. Wishing you all a peaceful, very happy holiday season!

Your SAP Investment Unleashed is intended to answer your burning questions and address hot topics for the SAP community. Please contact the authors with your questions, and future editions of this column will address them. Kristen Scheffler can be reached at kristen.scheffler@sap.com, and VerNeil Mesecher, Jr. can be reached at verneil.mesecher@sap.com.

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