As the market is starting to migrate to S/4HANA, we’re seeing more and more manufacturers wrestling with a difficult question. Do we launch an ERP-integrated B2B eCommerce solution now, or do we wait until we’ve migrated to S/4HANA?
When it comes to the Corevist Platform, we’ve got good news: There’s no reason to wait. If you’re on ECC now, it’s easy to reuse all your Corevist investment with minimal additional effort once you migrate to S/4HANA.
We’ll give you all the nitty gritty details below. But first, let’s see how an S/4HANA migration affects B2B eCommerce if you aren’t using the Corevist Platform.
How other B2B eCommerce architectures handle S/4HANA migrations
Most B2B eCommerce platforms weren’t built to play nice with SAP ERP. They’re standalone solutions that want to act as the system of record for all business data and logic. To talk to SAP, they require third-party connectors or integration solutions.
In this scenario, migrating to S/4HANA and keeping your B2B eCommerce solution is pretty difficult. Essentially, you have to rebuild what you already own for the S/4HANA environment. We’re seeing people shutting down their B2B eCommerce solutions that are integrated to ECC. Without a clear path for salvaging their existing solutions, these organizations are forced to put B2B eCommerce on the shelf until after the migration—even though it’s essential to customer experience in the digital age.
Of course, some manufacturers don’t have B2B eCommerce integrated to ECC. These organizations can’t imagine launching B2B eCommerce right now because the S/4HANA migration is taking up all the oxygen in the room. There simply aren’t enough resources in IT to deal with ERP-integrated B2B eCommerce while S/4HANA is looming on the horizon.
In both these scenarios, organizations are waiting to become ETDBW (easier to do business with). They’re deferring an improvement to customer experience because their internal changes require so much heavy lifting.
Let’s be honest, it’s not a great strategy.
Luckily, there is a solution. The key is an SAP integration architecture that easily transitions from ECC to S/4HANA.
Making B2B eCommerce simple (even with an S/4HANA migration on the horizon)
We totally get the mentality that would rather wait for B2B eCommerce. It makes sense — especially since most B2B eCommerce solutions require a massive project to integrate them with ECC or S/4HANA.
But what if B2B eCommerce didn’t require all that heavy lifting — even to achieve ERP integration?
What if your B2B eCommerce solution included prebuilt integration to ECC? And what if you could leverage that integration with minimal changes after you migrate to S/4HANA?
A solution like this would allow you to leverage all the value of B2B eCommerce now, on ECC, and in the future on S/4HANA. It wouldn’t force you to delay until after the migration.
This is the value that the Corevist Platform provides.
How the Corevist Platform transitions from ECC to S/4HANA when you migrate
The Corevist Platform includes prebuilt, configurable integration for SAP ERP. To facilitate our clients’ migrations from ECC to S/4HANA, we have certified add-ons for both systems.
It’s fairly straightforward to reuse your Corevist investment when you move from ECC to S/4HANA. The only question is whether your business processes are changing as part of your migration.
Once the Corevist package is installed in your S/4HANA system, the user exits are configured, and your site is pointed at S/4HANA, it will automatically adhere to the logic and data defined in the new Corevist package. There’s literally no change required other than the three steps we outlined above. But, let’s examine both scenarios.
Scenario 1: No business process changes
Our technology includes an add-on that we install in your SAP system. That add-on contains user exits that are configured to accommodate your unique requirements.
Here’s the beauty of it. Those user exits can be repurposed or migrated seamlessly over to S/4HANA. We can take all that logic that’s been done in ECC and move it over to the S/4HANA environment. In fact, the process is fairly simple.
- We establish the VPN connection to S/4HANA using your preferred SAP connectivity protocol.
- We re-implement the user exits and reconfigure the Corevist add-on package to comply with S/4HANA standards (see Technical Details below).
- We repoint the the Corevist website to the S/4HANA system.
Because the Corevist front end functions independently of the API layer, there’s no change required on the front end. That’s literally all there is to it. (More on the front end below.)
Scenario 2: Business process changes
If your business processes are changing as a result of migrating to S/4HANA, we may have to do additional work to accommodate those changes in the Corevist add-on.
For instance, say you made a change in ECC to ensure Corevist populates the field Purchase order types with the value “ZWEB.” Then when you implement S/4HANA you don’t have such a value. We would have to configure our Add-On to accommodate this change.
There are a few other areas in the Corevist add-on that might need reconfiguring. It all depends on what processes are changing once you go to S/4HANA. (See Technical Details below for more information.)
No impact to the front-end experience
As we explained when we launched our all-new Corevist platform, our front end is now decoupled from the backend web environment that integrates with SAP. The front end doesn’t store any business logic. Rather, it simply acts as a window into the appropriate data and logic in your SAP system.
It doesn’t matter if you’re on ECC or S/4HANA. The front end always functions this way. If you’re migrating, that means you can reuse all the B2B eCommerce decisions you made—how you market to your customers, how you set up users in the database, your look and feel, and your application scope. You keep all the investment you made in your Corevist user experience when you migrate to S/4HANA.
The technical details of migrating B2B eCommerce to S/4HANA
Some things are different in S/4HANA. Typically, there are five differences that impact the SD (sales and distribution) module. Our S/4HANA add-on accounts for each of these things and may require additional configuration based on your data and business processes.
1. Customer master -> business partner
When we transition a Corevist implementation to S/4HANA, we need to account for the fact that the customer master is replaced with the concept of a business partner. This affects the customer master tables in ECC.
2. Material master supports 40-character SKU numbers in S/4HANA
In S/4HANA, the material master now supports SKU numbers with up to 40 characters. ECC only supports 16 characters. This is helpful for organizations that have long SKU numbers due to iterative product revisions.
3. S/4HANA credit management process uses FSCM
In S/4HANA, credit management depends on FSCM (financial supply chain management). This is a net-new module in S/4HANA. Corevist implementations moving from ECC to S/4HANA have to account for this, since Corevist includes real-time integration for open items, credit status and payments.
4. ECC pricing tables are replaced
In S/4HANA, the pricing table “KONV” is replaced by a new table, “PRCD_ELEMENTS.” This impacts the display of real-time, customer-specific pricing in the Corevist Platform, so we have to account for it.
5. New table structure in S/4HANA
The S/4HANA data model is different from ECC. In S/4HANA, there are no summary tables, index tables or history tables. Instead, line item tables are used.
So … should you wait to migrate to S/4HANA before implementing the Corevist Platform?
The short answer is no.
Installing and configuring the Corevist S/4HANA add-on is a minor project compared with the S/4HANA migration. Rather than putting B2B eCommerce value on hold, it makes more sense to implement Corevist while you’re still on ECC. That way, you can start getting ROI immediately and become easier to do business with.
You don’t want to underestimate the value of organizational learning here. If you implement B2B eCommerce while you’re still on ECC, you get a chance to learn the ropes and find out what customers really need. With a solution like Corevist that transitions easily to S/4HANA, you can leverage all those learnings in future iterations of the B2B eCommerce program — and you can do so without the need to launch a new solution when you get to S/4HANA.
Plus, we all know how these major migrations go. Deadlines often get pushed back — sometimes by months or even years. It’s a shame to tie up the value of B2B eCommerce with the uncertainty surrounding an S/4HANA migration. This is one reason Corevist is built to transition easily from ECC to S/4HANA — so you can start deriving B2B eCommerce value now while preparing the way for your future on S/4HANA.