SAP ECC 6.0 End Of Life Transition Survival Guide

Successfully transition from SAP ECC 6.0 with confidence. Discover strategic and actionable insights with MSH.

Kurt Vosburgh
Mar 13, 2024
# mins
SAP ECC 6.0 End Of Life Transition Survival Guide

SAP ECC 6.0 End Of Life Transition Survival Guide

Successfully transition from SAP ECC 6.0 with confidence. Discover strategic and actionable insights with MSH.

SAP ECC 6.0 End Of Life Transition Survival Guide

Successfully transition from SAP ECC 6.0 with confidence. Discover strategic and actionable insights with MSH.

The sunsetting of SAP ECC 6.0 is coming up fast, and this time it isn't just a minor technical hiccup — it's a significant milestone that beckons a new era of enterprise resource planning. 

Some of you may be feeling a sense of dread welling up inside you at all of the work this is going to add to your plate.

Yes, SAP ECC 6.0 is approaching its end of life, but this isn't a doomsday scenario—it's an open door to innovation and transformation. This guide will give you the low-down on how to survive the transition and come out on the other side in one piece.

10,000 ft. View Of The SAP ECC 6.0 Announcement

SAP's announcements surrounding their maintenance strategies are always pivotal. The recent declaration is no different and marks a significant course for organizations worldwide.

On February 4, 2020, SAP made a decisive move to support their customers' future planning by extending the life of SAP S/4HANA until 2040. This extension provides a clear signal of SAP's commitment to innovation and long-term support for their flagship ERP suite.

The extension is twofold. First, SAP confirmed that their SAP S/4HANA would receive ongoing innovation and maintenance at least until the year 2040. Alongside this, SAP will provide mainstream maintenance for core applications of SAP Business Suite 7 until the end of 2027, followed by an optional extended maintenance phase ending in 2030. 

SAP stated, "This means that until 2040, there will always be at least one release of SAP S/4HANA in maintenance." Furthermore, they offered clarity on the subsequent options post-2027, giving businesses the choice of extended maintenance for a premium or customer-specific maintenance thereafter.

For organizations currently utilizing SAP Business Suite 7, this announcement provides a roadmap for future planning. Companies now have a timeline to strategize their transition to SAP S/4HANA, allowing for a more measured and methodical approach to migration. They can leverage the extended mainstream maintenance period to optimize their current systems while preparing for a future within the SAP S/4HANA ecosystem.

Additionally, the option for extended maintenance up to 2030 — albeit at a premium — means that businesses facing complex migration challenges have a buffer to ensure continuity and support. The subsequent customer-specific maintenance option ensures that no organization is left unsupported post-2030.

“The first thing to realize is that there is no one size fits all solution. Walmart uses SAP in a vastly different way than Magic Leap. Before you start, get clear on your broader mission objectives and technology roadmap for your company. Either internally or with a trusted advisor. From there, working through that exploration, you’ll know the right option to go forward. Either an upgrade, redo from scratch, or pay the crazy high fees to stay maintenance compliant.” 
- Landon Cortenbach - CFO & SAP Advisor @ MSH

How This Affects Different Kinds of Organizations

1. The Greenfield Contenders

These are organizations that are running on older or heavily customized SAP systems. The landscape may be cluttered with legacy processes that no longer serve the business effectively. 

For these companies, opting for a greenfield approach with SAP S/4HANA could represent an opportunity to start anew. You can streamline operations, integrate innovative practices, and fully exploit the capabilities of the latest SAP offerings. It’s a chance to redefine the business model and set a solid foundation for the future.

For Greenfield Contenders, MSH can provide strategic consulting services to ensure a smooth transition. From talent acquisition to project management expertise, MSH offers the support needed to navigate the complexities of a new implementation.

2. The Upgrade Enthusiasts

These businesses operate on relatively up-to-date and standard SAP environments and are in a strong position to transition to SAP S/4HANA. An upgrade path for them is appealing as it promises enhanced performance, new functionalities, and the advantage of continuity. It’s a step-up approach that builds on their existing investment, offering a growth trajectory that is both familiar and progressive.

MSH excels at helping upgrade enthusiasts by providing the right talent who can facilitate a smooth upgrade. The focus is on ensuring that the transition is not only technically sound but also aligns with the business's strategic objectives. 

3. The Undecided Majority

Many organizations find themselves in the middle ground. They might have a mix of outdated and current systems, custom code, and third-party applications that make the decision less clear. These organizations need a tailored approach, one that considers the unique aspects of their existing systems and the best path forward.

This is where MSH truly shines. By acting as a strategic advisor, MSH can help the undecided majority assess their current systems, weigh the pros and cons of different approaches, and decide on a course of action that aligns with their long-term goals. 

Here’s How To Prepare

Transitioning to a new ERP system like SAP S/4HANA is a significant undertaking that requires meticulous planning and forethought. Here are a few key steps to make sure you’re ready for the change.

1. Clearly define business objectives and stakeholders 

Before embarking on the transition, you need to establish what your business aims to achieve with the new system. Identify the pain points in the current system, envision the desired outcomes, and engage all relevant stakeholders to align expectations and responsibilities. Stakeholder buy-in is essential for a smooth transition and for driving the project forward effectively.

2. Clearly define project scope and timeline (and budget)

Setting the boundaries for what the project will cover is vital. Understand the functionalities needed, the extent of data migration, and any customizations required. Alongside, a realistic timeline that accommodates all critical milestones should be established. It's equally important to outline the budget, which should factor in not only the direct costs of the implementation but also any ancillary expenses that may arise.

3. Evaluate data quality objectively and prioritize clean up efforts

Data is the lifeblood of any ERP system. Assessing the quality of the current data objectively can prevent costly issues down the line. It’s imperative to identify areas where data cleanup is needed and prioritize these efforts. Clean data ensures a more efficient transition and a more reliable system post-implementation.

4. Review enterprise wide technical landscape for implications

Understand the broader technical ecosystem within which the SAP system operates. Get started on reviewing hardware, software, and network infrastructures, as well as existing integrations with other systems. The technical landscape review helps to anticipate and mitigate any compatibility issues that may arise during the transition.

5. Don’t forget to include a comprehensive change management and communications strategy

Change can be challenging, and an ERP transition is no exception. A comprehensive change management strategy is essential to address the human aspect of the transition. Keep everyone informed and provide ample training to ensure that all users are comfortable and competent with the new system. Effective communication helps to manage expectations and reduce resistance to change.

“Ensure you're approaching this intelligently. Don't limit your planning to just an SAP project if you have critical integrations, like with a third-party logistics partner as an example. Understanding all of the business objectives fully before defining the project's scope is crucial. This comprehensive planning approach will enable more effective internal preparation and ultimately influence budget decisions.” 
- Landon Cortenbach - CFO & SAP Advisor @ MSH

Alternative ERP Solutions

The path to digital transformation, particularly regarding ERP solutions, often leads to SAP S/4HANA. The reality of the situation is that, for many companies, alternatives to this robust platform might not measure up, especially when the goal is to harness the full power of a modern ERP system.

For most companies, the move to SAP S/4HANA is the right choice — or rather, the ONLY choice.

Given the sophistication of the platform and its alignment with various industry best practices, it's often the case that other ERP solutions fall short in comparison, especially for the scenarios described earlier. If you’re skeptical, you can look at it as a fork in the road:

1. Move to SAP S/4HANA

For the majority, transitioning to SAP S/4HANA is a strategic move that promises a competitive edge. It's a future-proof investment that brings agility, efficiency, and growth potential. Organizations that choose this path can leverage MSH's expertise to ensure that their journey is marked by success, with access to top-tier talent and strategic guidance every step of the way.

2. Pay SAP Maintenance Fees for Highly Customized Platforms

Some legacy businesses, especially in sectors like oil and gas, may opt to continue operating on their current, highly customized SAP platforms. This choice often comes with significant maintenance fees, but for certain large enterprises, it can be a temporary measure while they strategize on the best way to transition without disrupting critical operations.

SAP FAQS

What is SAP ECC 6.0?

It's a comprehensive ERP system that has been instrumental for various enterprises over the years.

When was SAP ECC 6.0 released?

SAP ECC 6.0 is the technical successor of SAP R/3. It debuted in October 2005, establishing a new benchmark for enterprise systems.

What is the end of life date for SAP ECC 6.0?

Currently, the clock stops ticking in 2027.

What is the difference between SAP ECC 6.0 and S4 HANA?

SAP ECC 6.0 is an older ERP system designed for on-premise use, focusing on transactional processing with a traditional database structure. In contrast, SAP S/4HANA is a more advanced ERP solution that leverages in-memory computing to provide real-time analytics and data processing.

How to migrate date from sap ecc to S4 HANA?

with a comprehensive assessment of your current landscape to identify necessary process simplifications and data cleansing needs. It's crucial to plan the migration carefully, and consult with a professional to avoid any pitfalls.

Big Takeaway

The transition from SAP ECC 6.0 to SAP S/4HANA is a big moment for any organization, one that promises a blend of challenges and opportunities. 

The key to a successful migration lies in recognizing the unique position of your business - whether it's starting fresh, upgrading, or somewhere in between - and crafting a strategy that aligns with your long-term objectives.

As you weigh your options, consider the support that can make all the difference. 

Ready to explore the possibilities with SAP S/4HANA and make the transition a seamless success? 

Contact MSH today to navigate through the process and come out the other side with everything you need to continue adapting and innovating.

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