Curious how a brownfield implementation can level-up your SAP systems? Or how to get started with an AMS provider for a brownfield implementation? Read below as we unpack these concerns, and reach out to our team with any questions- we’d love to hear from you.
What is a Brownfield Implementation?
A brownfield implementation is an exercise in upgrading your current SAP ECC landscape to S/4HANA. This includes keeping most of your existing business processes or slightly altering them, updating to the latest software, and undergoing a little bit of data transformation. The infrastructure of your legacy or external systems, components, and interfaces will remain the same, taking into consideration the S/4HANA connectivity and communication requirements. Brownfield implementations, as compared to greenfield or hybrid implementations, can often be less costly, shorten project timelines, and reduce the impact on day-to-day operations.
Further, brownfield implementations can enable businesses to:
- Take advantage of later release features and functionalities, as they can be completed as add-on projects
- Reevaluate customizations and existing processes
- Carry over as many customizations as possible from the ECC source system and minimize initial rework efforts (like interfaces, enhancements, etc.)
- Experience less disruption to existing business processes
- Invest less time and resources, as much of the process is automated
With an established system and processes, there may be internal questions about the actual need to upgrade your SAP system. Outside of the many technical and functional benefits that come with a system upgrade, SAP ECC systems will soon be reaching the end of their support. SAP will still provide mainstream maintenance for core applications of SAP Business Suite 7 software until the end of 2027, but after 2027, any optional extended maintenance will come at an additional 2% on existing maintenance costs until the end of 2030.
Benefits of an AMS Provider for a Brownfield Implementation
While brownfield implementations are considered as less resource- and time-intensive, common implementation pitfalls can plague the project (such as poorly defined outcomes and objectives, resource overcommitment and bandwidth constraints, poor communication and follow through on project activities, etc.), draining both time and money. An experienced Application Managed Services (AMS) provider, however, can help businesses navigate common pitfalls and deliver all the expected benefits of an upgrade without the headache of a full implementation. Leveraging an experienced and trusted AMS provider for your brownfield implementation can bring a number of advantages, including:
1. Business Process and Scope
Brownfield implementations give you the chance to take a second look at the processes and customizations put in place as part of the initial implementation and as the system/processes have matured. An AMS provider brings integrated resources who are familiar with your current system/application landscape, environments, and processes. They can partner with you in helping to develop a plan, leveraging years of experience and industry-specific expertise to help reconcile flaws in old processes and emphasize best practices. They can also provide additional configuration fine-tuning and customizations to meet any new or changing processes and would be able to work with your business to prepare for data migration and conversion.
2. Technical Assessment and Expertise
As most familiar with upgrade implementations can attest, nothing derails a project timeline like unexpected development or technical rework. An AMS provider can conduct a thorough analysis of customizations in the current ECC system to minimize rework and provide a targeted, polished approach to any necessary rework. They can also advise on what legacy customizations can transition to leverage standard S/4HANA functionality and those that can retire legacy customizations. With S/4HANA being implemented mostly as a cloud solution, technical assessments might also be necessary during brownfield implementations to make infrastructure adjustments, allowing for the right-sizing of the system for a potential move to the cloud.
3. Testing and Training
Brownfield implementations can sometimes suffer from business resource focus and dedication due to the perceived lack of importance compared to greenfield implementations. Having dedicated AMS resources for regression testing development and testing execution can minimize these resource bandwidth concerns. An AMS provider would also provide the continuity of knowledge around business processes to help get business resources up to speed, including in-the-weeds AMS resources available to provide training on new functionality and/or processes when needed.
4. Go-Live and Support
An AMS provider has experienced resources embedded within the project team who can also help execute cutover and go-live. The transition out of hyper-care into the same high-level run support with intimate knowledge of upgrades and processes, enabling a smooth implementation from start to finish.
Partnering with an Experienced AMS Provider
Every client has their own set of application maintenance challenges. At Clarkston, our support model is inherently scalable. We support on-demand, short-term requests, traditional skills-managed services, and full outsourcing of your entire landscape. Our AMS team has a broad range of technical and functional expertise, specifically with managing ECC and S/4HANA, and a wealth of experience with supporting brownfield implementations.
If you’re looking for an AMS provider to support your brownfield implementation, our team can help.
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Contributions from Kevin Merchak