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Blog Series: Process Mining As Accelerator for the SAP S/4HANA Transformation – Part 1/3

This is a series of three blog articles that will demonstrate how process mining can support you in your SAP S/4HANA Transformation.

Part 1: Challenges for the SAP S/4HANA Transformation and introduction of Process Mining

The SAP S/4HANA migration is a critical topic for all companies currently utilizing SAP, as all SAP customers are required to complete the migration by 2027. Due to each customer’s unique processes, customizations and third-party add-ons, the systems are not standardized and this means increased effort is required for the migration. When selecting a migration partner, companies should not only choose one that offers a customer-specific approach to ensure a successful transformation, but also technologies such as Process Mining that can accelerate and reduce transformation costs.

Process mining is a technology to visualize real processes from various IT systems (for example SAP, Oracle, Jira and many others). Using this technology, there is no need for simulation, as real-time processes are automatically discovered by tracking documents through different tables. We refer to this as “following the digital footprint” or “using your digital twin”.

How can Process Mining help you to accelerate your SAP S/4HANA migration?

Embarking on an SAP S/4HANA Transformation journey is a strategic move for organizations seeking to modernize their business operations. This transformation typically occurs in several distinct phases, each with its own set of challenges and considerations. From the initial preparation and exploration stages to the deployment and running of the new system, the transition can be complex and demanding. However, by leveraging the power of process mining, organizations can gain valuable insights into their existing processes, identify potential bottlenecks, and optimize their workflows. In the following sections, we will delve into the different phases of the SAP S/4HANA Transformation, explore the challenges they pose, and illustrate how process mining can facilitate a smoother and more successful transition.

Some of the challenges that can come up within the transformation include but are not limited to:

  • Insufficient process documentation: Lack of comprehensive documentation makes it difficult to understand and analyze existing processes, leading to potential gaps in the transformation process.
  • Inaccurate master data: Poor quality or inconsistent master data can hinder the migration and implementation process, impacting the accuracy and reliability of data in the new system.
  • Lack of functionality of existing systems: Legacy systems may lack the functionalities required by SAP S/4HANA, necessary modifications or integrations to ensure a seamless transition.
  • Budget constraints: Limited financial resources can restrict the scope of the transformation project, affecting the implementation timeline and the ability to address all necessary requirements.
  • High level of customization: Extensive customization in current systems may complicate the migration process and require additional effort to align with the standard functionalities of SAP S/4HANA.
  • Non-harmonized business processes: Misaligned or inconsistent processes across different departments or locations can create complexity and increase the difficulty of standardizing and harmonizing processes during the transformation.

If you take a closer look at the SAP S/4HANA migration, you will find the following phases: Discover, Prepare, Explore, Realize, Deploy and Run.

Steps of the SAP S/4HANA transformation
Figure 1: SAP Activate Methodology – Overview of the phases in the SAP S/4HANA transformation Source: SAP

SAP Activate is a proven methodology for guiding organizations through the transformation to SAP S/4HANA. The methodology encompasses several phases, starting with Discover, where the strategic goal definition and roadmap planning happens. Here for example SAP Process Insights can be used for a quick discovery and tailored recommendations.

In the Prepare phase, the current state is analyzed to define the project scoping and planning. In this phase process mining can help to identify existing process gaps and inefficiencies that need to be addressed in the transformation.

In the Explore phase, the requirements gathering, solution design, and identification of process improvements occur. Process mining provides insights into current process variations and bottlenecks, enabling organizations to optimize and streamline their processes before migrating to SAP S/4HANA.

During the Realize phase, systems are configured, customized, and developed along the solution. In this phase, process mining helps design and model the future-state processes aligned with S/4HANA capabilities.

In the Deploy phase, the system testing, user training, and go-live preparation take place. Process mining enhances user trainings, assists in monitoring process performances in test systems, and ensures the smooth transition to the new system.

Finally, the Run phase involves ongoing system operations, support, and continuous improvement. Thereby, process mining enables continuous monitoring, analysis, and improvement of the migrated processes ensuring long-term efficiency gains and alignment with the potential of SAP S/4HANA.

By leveraging process mining throughout the SAP Activate methodology, organizations can accelerate their SAP S/4HANA transformation, enhance process efficiency, and achieve successful outcomes.

SAP S/4HANA migration A challenging task?

At Scheer we offer a comprehensive range of services required for the transformation, ensuring that companies can complete their SAP S/4HANA migration project with our team of SAP experts. We support them through all the different phases to ensure a successful implementation, with the added benefit of process mining to complement the migration process. Regardless of the transformation approach they choose (such as brownfield or greenfield), we will guide through the entire transformation journey with the best tools that are adequate for the companies’ needs.

In the second blog post of this series, you will find a specific example of how process mining can be used to identify SAP processes from a Business Capability Map that can be improved and analyzed. This technology allows organizations to easily capture data from SAP transactions and transform it into a comprehensive understandable process model that shows the current state of processes and their variation across the company.


Author: Fernanda Carcamo