Can Enterprises Meet SAP’s 2027 Deadline for S/4HANA Migration?

In the rapidly evolving landscape of enterprise resource planning (ERP), the push for digital transformation has become imperative. SAP, a leading provider of ERP solutions, has set a critical deadline for enterprises: migrate from the legacy ECC system to the cloud-based S/4HANA platform by 2027. With maintenance support for ECC ending, businesses face a significant challenge—completing this migration on time or risking substantial operational disruptions. The transition is not merely a technical upgrade but bears considerable implications for operational efficiency, compliance, and innovation.

The urgency around this shift is heightened by the potential ‘support cliff’ some companies will encounter even earlier, in 2025. As organizations grapple with this impending deadline, enterprise leaders must prioritize the migration to avoid being caught off guard. A significant proportion of enterprises are under pressure to transition promptly to S/4HANA, recognizing that staying on legacy systems will lead to unsupported software, which poses risks to compliance and operational success. Thus, the race against time is more than a corporate exercise; it’s a fundamental necessity for staying relevant and operationally sound in the digital era.

The Looming Deadline: Urgency and Pressure

The 2027 deadline for migrating from SAP ECC to S/4HANA is creating a sense of urgency among businesses. The discontinuation of mainstream maintenance for ECC post-2027 means that enterprises still operating on the legacy system risk running unsupported software. This transition isn’t just a technical upgrade; it bears considerable implications for operational efficiency, compliance, and innovation. As the clock ticks closer to the deadline, companies must accelerate their planning and execution to avoid system obsolescence and potential disruptions in their day-to-day operations.

Moreover, an immediate concern is the ‘support cliff’ some organizations will face as soon as 2025. This interim deadline adds an additional layer of pressure, forcing certain enterprises to speed up their migration plans considerably. This urgency necessitates that enterprise leaders treat the migration as a top priority on their strategic agendas. Delaying the process could mean increased vulnerabilities and operational inefficiencies due to outdated software and potential non-compliance issues. Therefore, the urgency and pressure are real and must drive proactive decision-making and resource allocation to ensure a smooth transition.

Adoption Rates and Migration Bottleneck

Despite the critical nature of the migration, only 57% of enterprises are currently on track to complete the process by the 2027 deadline. This significant migration bottleneck indicates that many organizations are grappling with the complexities of shifting from ECC to S/4HANA. For large enterprises with intricate systems and numerous integrated processes, the challenge is magnified, requiring meticulous planning and execution over a protracted period. The complexity of business operations and the integration challenges involved often mean that larger companies face a more arduous journey to S/4HANA, raising concerns about their ability to meet the deadline.

On the other hand, smaller organizations might find the transition somewhat more manageable. With a well-sized team and a focused strategy, smaller enterprises could potentially complete the migration within a year. However, even these smaller organizations must allocate their resources effectively to avoid delays and disruptions. The migration process is not just about shifting to a new platform but also involves significant changes in business processes and possibly the company’s entire ERP strategy. Thus, regardless of size, all organizations must make concerted efforts to align resources, timelines, and strategies to ensure they do not fall behind in this critical migration.

SAP’s Incentives and Support Programs

To alleviate some of the migration challenges, SAP has introduced various programs and incentives, including RISE and GROW with SAP. These initiatives aim to simplify the transition by offering comprehensive support, tools, and resources, thereby mitigating some of the hurdles companies face. However, despite these support mechanisms, the uptake has been slower than anticipated. One primary reason for the sluggish adoption rate is the perceived complexity and cost associated with the migration. For many enterprises, moving to S/4HANA involves not just a straightforward software upgrade but a fundamental transformation of business processes and models.

This fundamental shift demands careful strategic planning, which can be a daunting task for organizations already managing multiple priorities. Companies must not only adapt to new software but also rethink and often overhaul existing workflows, organizational structures, and business strategies. Despite SAP’s efforts to ease the transition with tailored programs, enterprises must invest considerable time and effort into understanding and executing these changes effectively. The role of these incentives is crucial, but their success ultimately hinges on the willingness and capability of enterprises to embrace the comprehensive transformation required.

Resource Scarcity and Rising Costs

As the migration deadline approaches, enterprises are facing a growing crunch in the technical talent required for the shift to S/4HANA. This shortage of skilled resources is driving up costs, making the migration process even more expensive and prolonged. Companies are finding themselves in a competitive environment, where the demand for specialized expertise outstrips supply, further complicating their migration strategies. The escalating costs associated with securing the necessary talent and resources create financial constraints for many businesses, causing further delays as they balance these costs against other operational priorities.

This scenario underscores the urgent need for businesses to act swiftly and strategically to complete their migration in a timely manner. Procrastination or inadequate planning could exacerbate the talent crunch and inflate costs even further as the deadline draws nearer. Enterprises must, therefore, secure skilled resources early in the process and allocate their financial and human resources judiciously. The competitive race for talent, coupled with rising costs, highlights the importance of timely and efficient action to avoid the operational and financial pitfalls associated with delayed migration.

Strategic Business Decisions

Transitioning from ECC to S/4HANA is not merely a technical upgrade—it’s a strategic business decision. Companies must consider the financial implications, such as the shift to a software-as-a-service (SaaS) billing model, and align their business goals with the capabilities offered by S/4HANA. The transition presents an opportunity to modernize and streamline operations, but it requires a comprehensive evaluation of current systems, future needs, and available resources. Moving to S/4HANA can unlock new efficiencies, support innovative business models, and enhance the overall agility of the organization.

However, businesses that delay their decision-making risk falling behind competitors and facing higher costs as the deadline nears. It’s crucial for enterprise leaders to engage in proactive planning, secure the necessary resources, and establish clear timelines to mitigate potential risks and ensure a smooth transition. Strategic foresight and timely action are vital to leverage the full potential of S/4HANA while minimizing disruptions and avoiding the pitfalls of unsupported legacy systems. Enterprises must view the migration not just as a necessity but as a strategic transformation that can drive future growth and efficiency.


In the fast-changing world of enterprise resource planning (ERP), the drive for digital transformation has become crucial. SAP, a top ERP solutions provider, has mandated that enterprises must migrate from the older ECC system to the cloud-based S/4HANA platform by 2027. With maintenance support for ECC ceasing, businesses face a significant challenge: they must complete this migration on time or risk severe operational disruptions. This transition is more than just a technical upgrade; it has far-reaching implications for operational efficiency, compliance, and innovation.

The urgency of this shift is intensified by the ‘support cliff’ that some companies might hit as soon as 2025. As the deadline looms, enterprise leaders must prioritize this migration to avoid unexpected setbacks. A large number of enterprises are under pressure to make the switch to S/4HANA swiftly, understanding that staying on outdated systems will lead to unsupported software, which poses risks to compliance and operational success. Hence, this race against time isn’t merely a corporate exercise; it’s essential for maintaining relevance and operational integrity in the digital age.

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