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The Big Move: What's Your Best Route to S/4HANA ?


The Big Move: What's Your Best Route to S/4HANA ?

NIMBL | Oct 21, 2019

Is it Brownfield, Greenfield or Bluefield™?

Similarly to choosing a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, selecting a new home always seems to stress out those involved. Not only do you need to decide what your new home will look like, you also need to choose which furniture, appliances and clothing you will be taking with you. You'll need add budget and timeline concerns into the equation, and the whole process can become quite daunting. That is why people decide to work with professionals.

Moving your company’s data presents a lot of the same considerations as moving to a new home.

Right now, your business processes, workflows, financial information (and all your other pertinent data) might be on a SAP ERP system that is in need of a new home. This home needs to be a place that provides new business value by making your data process faster, your analytics easier to understand and displays that data so that it empowers your team leaders to stay competitive. That “new home” for SAP businesses is SAP S/4HANA and the question you need to ask is: Which route to SAP S/4HANA makes the most sense for my business?

As of the writing of this article (October, 2019) , there are three (3) paths which are recognized as the most effective options for getting to SAP S/4HANA. They are known as the Greenfield, Brownfield, and Bluefield™ routes and they each have their own unique pros and cons.  They each share a specific commonalties related to some options to consider when moving.

For the sake of this comparison, let’s assume that whichever house you choose, they will all be on SAP S/4HANA Avenue. A remarkable street that delivers  best-in-class analytics, speed of reporting, storage and user experience.

Watch Greenfield Webinar


Let's take a quick look:

Greenfield: Building a Home from Scratch

The Greenfield approach is an entirely new implementation. This means that you have the ability to redesign your business process, rewrite your customizations and essentially create your ideal ERP from ground up and take advantage of the full functionality that SAP S/4HANA has to offer. One of the noted “drawbacks” of the Greenfield approach, however, is that can be very time consuming due to all the change management associated to a “from scratch” approach. In terms of our moving analogy, you are essentially constructing a brand-new home for your data. While this takes a great deal of time, preparation and planning, you will end up with a prescriptively designed home. Need help from NIMBL on building your SAP ERP home from scratch, click here.

Brownfield: Moving into an Existing Home

Brownfield is a system conversion to SAP S/4HANA where you migrate your entire SAP system to your new ERP. This means there is no re-implementation or disturbance to your business processes and it is generally your fastest route to S/4HANA. Brownfield also allows organizations to capitalize on any spend they’ve already done in their current system.

That being said, because you are moving the entirety of your SAP system with the Brownfield approach, reorganizing existing coding, hierarchy and business processes will prove difficult since you aren’t forced to do so. You will need to find the motivation, the drive, to innovate.  In our moving scenario, this would be similar to buying home that has already been built and then moving in all of your existing furniture and personal items. It makes for a quicker move, but you won’t immediately be able to customize the house. NIMBL can help with your Brownfield migration too, click here to speak with us about your Brownfield implementation.

Bluefield™: Adding Additions to an Existing Home

The Bluefield™ approach – created by the software company SNP – is an SAP certified solution that allows the customer to choose which business process they want to keep and which they want to customize. The Bluefield™ route is essentially a hybrid approach that lets you “migrate and upgrade features and data in a single go-live project.”

Similar to the greenfield approach – but not as time consuming – there is a certain amount of planning that makes it a longer process than performing a Brownfield system conversion. For our moving analogy, this would mean buying a house that you like but building onto it based on your preferences

For a full view of the Greenfield, Brownfield and Bluefield™ routes to S/4HANA – exploring all the essential pros and cons – watch our 30-minute Need to Know webinar.

Watch Greenfield Webinar

Our expert team will follow up with the opportunity for a personal demo to help you identify your ideal route. Fill out the form below to speak with our team.


Written by NIMBL