An Inconvenient Truth: Migrating to S/4 HANA – Moving Custom Objects to S/4 HANA

When planning your migration to S/4 HANA, don’t forget to plan for your custom objects!

SAP provides a couple of paths to S/4 HANA to take advantage of the in-memory technology. The two options are:

  1. Apply Service Packs to get to the correct starting point (if you are already not there), upgrade to HANA database, the S/4 code base, and code changes for process and technical changes;
  2. Re-implement on S/4 HANA.

The inconvenient truth; depending on the amount of custom development, migrating custom objects (Z or Y fields, tables, programs, and transactions) can be the long pole in the tent. A lot of planning and effort will go into moving your objects to S/4.

In both options above, you need to plan for eliminating, re-developing and/or re-engineering these objects. With the re-architected and simplified data structure, the chances are high that you will have an impact on your custom objects.

What steps must you take to estimate the effort and manage your risk?

For purposes of this article, we focus on option 1. We will assume that if you opted to re-implement, there are major reasons for this decision. Usually, the overall effort and cost of ownership of custom objects is a factor.

In the option 1 approach, SAP provides you with some helpful tools to estimate the technical steps i.e. SAP Software Update Manager (SUM) and Custom Code Analyzer (CCA). SUM is launched to assess the overall readiness of your SAP delivered environment for the upgrade: synchronize by application, Basis, and support packs.

CCA is used to identify the custom objects and assess the level of effort affected by the database and code changes.  The output is a list of all custom objects in ECC.

There are practical steps to consider for your custom objects. They are:

  • Are the objects in use today? (we use a 13-month window to account for annual processes)
  • Do they support your desired business processes? (your justification)
  • If yes to the above 2, do they need re-engineering or re-developing of the code?

Hopefully, you have whittled the list of custom objects down to a more manageable number.  Our experience shows that there is a 50/50 split between re-engineering and re-developing the code. This is as much an art as it is a science and varies by customer.

The steps for analyzing the objects include:

  • Run the SAP Custom Code Analyzer
  • Compare the objects with SAP’s S/4 HANA Simplification Database to understand where SAP has made changes that affect your code. Review the Custom Code Migration Worklist (a part of SAP NetWeaver 7.5) to understand the changes associated with the simplification in HANA.
  • Plan, prioritize and estimate the effort for your list of objects.

This approach shines a light on your objects that you have to change to make the move to HANA. This list combined with the appropriate justification and approvals provides the necessary governance and support for your migration of custom objects into S/4 HANA.

Custom objects are an essential component of your business and is not going away with digital transformation, an inconvenient truth – but relevant. Our Advisory Services and On-shore, remote development options provide our customers with the clarity and confidence to pave your roadmap to S/4 HANA.

You surely don’t want to do any more than is necessary to make the migration to S/4.  To discuss your migration plans contact Mark Vasinda,, 972.977.3100; or your Titan Consulting Director.