How to Kick the Tires on SAP S/4HANA Without Breaking Your Budget – or Your Team

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The clock is ticking for SAP ERP customers, who must migrate to SAP S/4HANA by 2027 or face increased support costs for their legacy systems.

While SAP is positioning S/4HANA as a transformative platform, in reality, many CIOs and their IT teams are making the move out of necessity rather than choice. They also understand another reality: 2027 is not that far away in terms of enterprise IT systems. A successful migration depends on plenty of advanced planning and testing before making the switch. This can be time-consuming.

This can also be expensive. Systems Integrators and consultants are clearly interested in this transformation: They know an opportunity when they see one, and this is a particularly big one. Firms are oiling their sales pitches and promising not just a seamless transition to SAP S/4HANA but much more: They’ll redesign your business processes, add a bunch of new tools to your environment, and gladly add every other bell and whistle – so long as you’ll commit upwards of $1 million just for them to develop a plan.

Here’s the thing: You don’t need to embark on a multi-year transformation project – with a multi-million-dollar consulting agreement to boot – to successfully migrate to SAP S/4HANA.

Most customers just want to make the move to the latest version – before SAP ERP support runs out – and stay compliant. This means you need a practical way to test your SAP ERP datasets – not a million-dollar plan drawn up by consultants.

That’s why we’ve built SAP S/4HANA Express Labs, a live S/4 environment running in a Public Cloud that allows you to kick the tires with your actual SAP ERP data. This allows for ample testing and iteration: Teams can get their hands dirty figuring out what works and what will need to be changed well in advance of the 2027 migration deadline, and without breaking anything in their production environments.

Minimum Viable Product, meet “Minimum Viable SAP S/4HANA”

At Lemongrass, we think of this as a “minimum viable SAP S/4HANA” approach. It’s a take on the longstanding Minimum Viable Product (MVP) approach to software development and product development. In the MVP model, the goal is essentially to build something new as quickly as possible so that you can find out what works well – and what doesn’t – and then iterate and improve over time.

We’re applying that same mindset to SAP S/4HANA migrations. You don’t need an expensive, multi-year project to do this. You need to test your data. We’re giving you the environment to do exactly that – for free.

You read that correctly.

This is a fully-funded opportunity, in partnership with the likes of AWS and Intel. Lemongrass gives you the environment and runs it for you for one month, supported by our deep SAP and Cloud expertise. It’s your sandbox: Play around, find out what works, discover what breaks – well in advance of 2027. No commitment is required.

It’s a fantastic launchpad for your SAP S/4HANA migration. It also creates another significant opportunity: Because SAP S/4HANA Express Labs runs in a Public Cloud, you can also treat this as an opportunity to test a broader shift to Cloud from a traditional data center environment.

In this way, an Express Labs trial can become a proof of concept for your longer-term Cloud strategy, which might include goals such as high availability (HA) or disaster recovery (DR), in concert with your SAP S/4HANA migration. You can test and take data out of SAP and connect it to Cloud-native data services, for example, to better unlock the full benefits of Cloud platforms that aren’t always available with a lift-and-shift approach. You might decide to begin to leverage powerful Cloud data services with SAP first and then do your SAP migration second.

The general goal here is to retain maximum flexibility to take full advantage of Cloud and Cloud-native services. This again requires testing and iteration –and this is a key part of the value in our MVP approach. Express Labs offers ample flexibility and visibility, as opposed to a more rigid black-box model.

The move to SAP S/4HANA might be required, but it doesn’t have to break your budget or your team.

In fact, it can be an opportunity to kickstart your Cloud strategy and ensure that you do it your way – rather than retrofit your goals into someone else’s expensive strategy.

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