Moving to SAP HANA Cloud is not simply a matter of running an upgrade utility on your current business processes and data. You’ll need to re-implement it all on the new platform to fully realize the benefits that it will bring. There are several business and technical challenges associated with SAP transformations, particularly around maintaining business continuity, which is critical to any organization dependent on SAP.

The whole project work was divided into the following phases:

  • Planning and preparation phase
  • SAP system upgrade
  • SAP system migration to SAP HANA
  • Verification and monitoring of systems after migration

Migration options

There are three options for moving:
Option 1: New installation

  • You install new system on SAP HANA
  • Either without changing existing solutions (greenfield)
  • Or for transforming existing solution to SAP HANA by performing (selective) data migration

Option 2: Classical migration

  • To bring original system on release supported by SAP HANA, you perform update/upgrade (if required)
  • Then, you classically migrate your traditional database to SAP HANA

Option 3: One-step upgrade and migration with DMO

  • You use database migration option (DMO) that combines upgrade and database migration in one step
  • One process, one tool, one downtime

Option 1: New installation for transformation

Challenges: Increased effort to deploy (addressed by services)

– Address changes to existing solution landscape by transformation with SAP Landscape Transformation software with reduced effort to build targeted landscape (such as via shell creation with carve-out options + system consolidation)

– Complemented by transformation services (such as Data Management  Services or System Landscape  Optimization consulting services)

– Provides opportunity to correct design issues–System consolidation–Harmonize data as part of the migration (chart of account, master data)

– Leveraged flexibility by offering selective migration–Migrate only specific data without business disruption (such as of last two years)–Combine data cleansing –leave unused master data behind–Smoothly introduce new business processes (for example, new general ledger)

– Minimized downtime service available

Option 2: Classical migration

– Typically requires extended downtime (depending on DB size) and several downtime windows (depending on scope)
– With inclusion of upgrade, fallback to original state only possible via restore
Overview: You perform upgrade (if required) + heterogeneous system copy with classical migration tools.

– Results in nearly identical system

– Minimal impact on functional teams

– Separation of concerns

– Minimized downtime service available

Option 3: One-step upgrade and migration with DMO
(Involved migration tools)


Relevant steps in one tool and one process, “big bang” approach


– Manual effort and error-proneness reduced

– Lower prerequisites for SAP and DB start releases

– Only intermediate fallback effort, as original database could be reactivated

– Downtime optimized (depending on scenario)

– Only one downtime phase

Challenges of SAP migration

Business issues

  • Unique requirements: Every SAP migration is a one-off, due to the many customizations that are applied and updated over time.
  • Lack of qualified and experienced staff: SAP experts are hard to find, and people with experience in SAP transformations are even harder to find.
  • SAP can’t be “turned off” during the migration: Many businesses depend on SAP for critical transactions, and any disruption to SAP service can leave an organization unable to operate.
  • Quality and security: Even if you maintain business continuity, any errors in data can quickly propagate inside and outside of the SAP system. At the same time, the data must be secure and comply with corporate and regulatory requirements throughout the transformation.

Technical difficulties

  • Traceability and governance: Many businesses that run on top of SAP are heavily regulated and must maintain end-to-end auditability, traceability, and governance.
  • Complex dependencies: The SAP landscape involves multiple applications, with dependencies that can slow down the software delivery process.
  • Diverse platforms: SAP modernizations must run on a variety of platforms, such as cloud and mobile devices.