SAP EWM and SAP S/4HANA Transition – A long and rocky road?

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SAP S/4HANA, SAP’s new product generation, is part of most IT strategies of companies where an SAP product is used as a product management system. This is mainly due to SAP HANA’s optimized business logic and data models, along with SAP FIORI’s completely redesigned user experience. SAP customers, whose switch is imminent in the coming years, expect accelerated processes, a modernization of their application and infrastructure, the improvement of user-friendliness and the optimization of existing as well as new business processes and models.

Studies indicate that the transition for most SAP customers will take place between 2021 – 2023 which will cause a veritable wave of migration. IT strategies must therefore be harmonized with the business strategy along with the planning of various logistics projects in order to succeed. The logistics processes around LE-WM to SAP EWM will also be affected by the transiton. But when is it worthwhile to prepare for this, so that we can clear all hurdles on the way to project success?

What needs to be Considered

Previous system landscape

With code changes and consolidations, various SAP tables disappear in SAP S/4HANA, objects are unified. An existing custom code for LE WM enhancements could therefore no longer be compatible and makes the detailed analysis of in-house developed SAP programs indispensable. Last but not least, projects fail because no know-how providers are available for questioning certain functionalities, documentation is missing, or interface functionalities are unknown. Ground your assumptions on well-founded results from Custom Code Reviews.

Cost cannot be estimated

Many companies are under pressure to keep the total cost of ownership (TCO) of their system landscape low. A move to SAP S/4HANA and the accompanying SAP EWM implementation challenge business leaders and application managers with the task of planning the costs of digital transformation. For the sake of clarity, a feasibility analysis has to be carried out.

Knowledge about SAP S/4HANA and SAP EWM embedded is not available

The transition to SAP HANA and the use of SAP EWM embedded in SAP S/4HANA is changing the existing IT landscape. Unawareness may prevent you from making the right decisions for process optimization. Challenge a high-level improvement analysis to see the potential or build an SAP S/4HANA playground to test logistics SAP FIORI apps and SAP EWM features.

All departments must be involved

A migration to SAP S/4HANA and SAP EWM is not just a technical migration. The launch requires the coordination of all operational areas along the value-added chain.

Operation model not clarified

With the transition to SAP EWM, various questions arise regarding the operating model: Embedded in SAP S/4HANA or as a decentralized installation, as a basic version or with extended functionalities for e.g. Material Flow Control and integration with SAP TM (Transport Management), in-house solutions for sub-functionalities or even a cloud edition? After a process analysis, you will get advice on suitable deployment alternatives for your SAP EWM. Maybe as part of a feasibility study?

In which order

During the SAP S/4HANA switch, SAP customers could focus on finance/accounting and general ERP processes first, with the intention of turning to logistics, warehousing and transportation at a later stage. This can lead to an innovation backlog in the area of warehouse optimization with SAP EWM and your digitization strategy. Check the advance transition as a decentralized installation in order to realize and push your logistical concepts in a future-proof manner in addition to the actual S/4HANA transition.


The planned and kept project start is also crucial. Today’s SAP customers will be asking for services for system integration and process consulting in order to provide themselves with external, industry-specific know-how in the area of organizational preparation, master data cleansing and logistical process harmonization. Due to the abundance of transition projects of different companies, a re-planning can be risky. Time and resources for the actual project goals may not be available anymore.

There are generally three global options for your conversion to SAP EWM and SAP S/4HANA: 1. Pure “system conversion”, 2. transformation and lifting of potentials by conversion or 3. speculation on the change of the roadmap for LE-WM in SAP S/4HANA beyond 2025. Your decision in this regard reflects the way of your transition or transformation project.

For any further questions please contact

Henry Böhland
Senior Consultants SAP Logistics



Are you interested in state-of-the-art logistics solutions? Then I am your contact person. I look forward to your call or your message via contact form.

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