Data Migration in S/4HANA Revamped

Together with a revamped business suite you can expect revamped data migration tooling. We are used to work with LSMW for years as the legacy data migration tool for new implementations

and migrations. LSMW is still an available tool in S/4HANA, but working with LSMW can be a cumbersome process, this is also the reason why a lot of third party solutions (based on LSMW) are created and sold to make life easier. Now we have new tools available, can we completely forget the old fashioned LSMW?

Together with the innovations related to data models, user interfaces, etc. in S/4HANA, SAP has revised the way we load data into SAP.

The reason to come up with a modern and easy to use migration tool is to simplify and fulfill the following challenges and requirements:

  • Migrate data from SAP/non-SAP systems to S/4HANA
  • Provide a data migration solution without programming requirement
  • Incorporate custom objects in an easy way
  • Mapping data between source and target system
  • Reduce effort and minimize downtime

Before going into detailed explanations, I will provide you the list of available tools for data migration in S/4HANA. Besides the two new tools, we still have LMSW and RDM:

  • LSMW
  • Migration Cockpit (MC)
  • Migration Object Modeler (MOM)
  • Rapid Data Migration (RDM) with Data Services

Are you interested in the different migration tools in S/4HANA and various possible transition scenarios? Would you like to know more about the availability of LSMW and have detailed explanations on the Migration Cockpit and Migration Object Modeler? Are you wondering why you still need the more advanced Rapid Data Migration tool and what this tool is all about? After having gained insights in these tools, you probably also want to have a nice overview of when to use which tool? Then continue reading this blog.

In of my previous blogposts I explained the possible transition scenarios to S/4HANA. You can read the full post here, but I will give a quick refresh here since the transition scenarios are related to the choice for a migration tool.

S/4HANA Deployment Options

New Implementation

This approach is also known as the greenfield implementation. For this approach the available data migration tools will be discussed further in this blogpost. The duration and complexity of the project depends on the number of required data migration objects and the volume per data migration object.

System Conversion

From a technical point of view, a system conversion is a complete conversion of an existing SAP ERP system to SAP S/4HANA. So, an existing SAP ERP system is converted to S/4HANA together with the database tables, data models and application code.

Landscape transformation:

the landscape transformation scenario requires currently a service or consulting engagement with SAP. There is not generally released toolset with documentation available which you can use to configure, test und execute your own, individual data migration to the SAP S/4HANA platform. The currently available tools and technology are only available via SAP Value Assurance Services or Consulting Service Engagements.

As mentioned before, LSMW is available within S/4HANA On-Premise, but not considered by SAP as the migration tool going forward. When using LSMW in a S/4HANA environment all object should be checked and tested carefully. Especially for objects which are subject to change, like GL account / Cost Elements.

According to SAP, LSMW is not recommended for data load into S/4HANA and can be used at customer’s own risk.

The Migration Cockpit is the new migration tool for S/4HANA. It is available for on premise as from version 1610 and it is the only migration tool for Cloud deployments. It is a tool for the initial upload of data only and not all LSMW functionalities are covered. The number of supported objects are growing with each new release, but not all objects are available currently.

In the below 2 tables you can find the available object in the S/4HANA 1610 and 1709 releases.

Available objects in S/4HANA 1610:


Migration cockpit available object S4HANA 1610 (32)

Available objects in S/4HANA 1709:


Migration cockpit available object S4HANA 1709 (52)

How does the Migration Cockpit work?

The Migration Cockpit features a single point of entry where, via guided procedures, data selection, data transformation and monitoring can be performed. It provided logs and documentation to help the user during the process.

To my opinion the most convenient part is the fact that there are predefined Excel templates for each object and SAP is taking care of the source and target structure mapping automatically.

Let’s see how this works…

Migration Project

The transaction code for the Migration Cockpit is LTMC. In the Migration Cockpit I have created a Test project. From the test project I can navigate to the available Migration Object:


Create Migration Project in Cockpit

Download Template

I have selected the Migration of Vendors object. As you can see the system also shows the dependent object, in this case the migration of banks. From this page I can download the Excel template. The Excel file can be saved locally, and you can start filling in data. The Excel templates are in XML format.


Migration Cockpit Migration Object Vendors with Excel template

Upload File

After you have prepared the file, and all mandatory fields are filled, the file can be uploaded in the Migration Cockpit.


Migration Cockpit Migration Object Vendors Upload file

Activate, start transfer and validate data

The uploaded source file is now ready. After selecting the correct file, it should be activated first and then we can start the transfer.


Migration Cockpit Migration Object Vendors Start Transfer

Convert Values

In this step the field mapping will be done. If a value is found for the first time, you need to confirm the value.


Migration Cockpit Migration Object Vendors Convert Values

Simulation and import

Now you can click on simulation and import.


Migration Cockpit Migration Object Vendors Execute import

The import is finished and the vendor is created.


Migration Cockpit Migration Object Vendors Created


All actions in the Migration Cockpit are performed as a background job (SM37). To understand the import process and for troubleshooting in case of errors it is good to understand how the BAPI behind the Cockpit works. The BAPI used for the data import can be found in transaction LTMOM. In the BAPI you can also see how the source and target fields ere mapped.

For On-Premise and private cloud deployments it is possible to enhance the pre-defined migration objects with the Migration Object Modeler (MoM). The MoM is designed to integrated custom objects (e.g. add new fields) and to create SAP standard object which are currently not in scope of the Migration Cockpit.

Standard object can be easily enhancement in the Migration Object Modeler with the following steps:

  • Select the appropriate project/object
  • Edit source structure
  • Change field mapping
  • Download new template

Let’s see how we can enhance the previous used vendor master data object in the Migration Object Modeler:

Transaction LTMOM and select the project/migration object

Select the specific Migration Object in your project in which you want to make enhancement.


Migration Object Modeler Select Object

Editing Source Structure

Here you can find all the fields which are shown in the Excel template. From here additional fields can be added.


Migration Object Modeler Change Source Structure

Select the tab in which you would like to make an enhancement. As you can see, all fields in a specific tab in the Excel file are grouped together in the hierarchy. I will add a field in the Purchase Organization Data. Select the structure and switch to change mode:


Migration Object Modeler Change Source Structure 2

As you can see, the template default fields cannot be changed. I add my enhancement in the first free field.

Migration Object Modeler change field mapping


Migration Object Modeler Adding Field to structure

Change Field Mapping

After we have added the enhanced field in the source structure, the field mapping must be maintained. Find your field in both left and right-hand sides of the screen. Drag and drop the file form the right side (target structure) to the left side of the screen. You will see that the new field will become active.


Migration Object Modeler change field mapping

Download the new template file

After the Migration Object enhancement, we can download the new Excel template from the Migration Cockpit. The template will include the new added field.


Migration Object Modeler Download new Excel template

After you have seen the Migration Cockpit and the Migration Object Modeler you may wonder why you still need Data Services. SAP Rapid Data Migration is a tool which must be installed on your system separately.

SAP Data Services provides capabilities for data extraction, transformation, and load (ETL), as well as data quality management, and text data processing. The ETL capabilities of the tool can be used free of charge, but the data quality features require a Data Services license. The Rapid Data Migration package also contains sample migration content in the form of e.g. business partners, materials, sales document etc.

In the next chapter I share an overview of all the available migration objects in Rapid Data Migration. You will see that the delta with the latest version of S/4HANA (1709) is not huge. The added value of Rapid Data Migration is not the higher number of available standard migration objects, but the ETL and Data Quality capabilities together with the SAP Best Practice Migration Content.

The SAP Best Practiced Migration Content is not only available for S/4HANA, but also for other SAP solutions listed below. These packages can be downloaded for free with your S-user.

  • SAP Business Suite on HANA
  • SAP ERP (incl. Retail and HCM)
  • SAP Billing for Utilities
  • SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central
  • SAP Hybris Cloud for Customer

Process overview

In the next picture a high-level overview is given in 6 steps about the architecture and process of the Rapid Data Migration Solution.


Rapid Data Migration Architectur

1. Source and Target system

  • On the left side the system is integrated with one or more SAP or non-SAP legacy systems via different interfaces (flat file, data base, etc.)
  • On the right side the S/4HANA system is connected.

2. Extraction and profiling

  • This is the staging area between the source and target system. The area is provided by the database on which SAP Data Services runs.
  • In this step the data is extracted and analyzed (profiled)

3. Cleansing, Conversion, validation and loading

  • In this step the cleansing of data records is done. You ensure that the data comply to certain rules and the customizing settings in the S/4HANA system. Data cleansing can include e.g. dividing fields, merging field and converting values to certain formats.
  • The cleansed and verified data is then imported to S/4HANA

4. Customizing extraction from SAP S/4HANA

  • The customizing settings in the S/4HANA system are extracted and replicated to the intermediate layer so you can ensure that the data is compatible with these specific customizing settings (e.g. plants, material types, customer groups, etc.).

5. Data Reconciliation

  • The actual imported data to S/4HANA is reconciled with the expected data for the Data Services migration.

6. Dashboard and Reporting

  • The entire migration process can be tracked and traced with dashboards and reports. The pre-defined reports are delivered in the SAP BusinessObject BI WebIntelligence tool. The reports can be used as is or can be used as a template to create own reports.

Available object in the Rapid Data Migration tool

Below you can find the list of all available migration objects in Rapid Data Migration. I have added an extra column to make an easy comparison between the available object in the Migration Cockpit in S/4HANA version 1709. Column “MC 1709” indicates the availability of the object in the Migration Cockpit for version 1709.


Rapid Data Migration available object (65)

You now should have a good overview of the different data migration tools available today for existing system and for S/4HANA. It can be difficult to choose the right tool, there is no general recommendation because multiple tools can be used in parallel and the choice of tool depends highly on your deployment model and data quality requirements.

To below overview will help you to choose the tool for your situation.


S4HANA Migration When to Use What

If you’re familiar with LSMW, you can clearly see that the Migration Cockpit and the Migration Object Modeler will make lives easier. It is a ready to use solution which will reduce migration time. The solution is not perfect and still needs some enhancements, but SAP has announced that these set of tools are the feature solutions for data migration in S/4HANA.

The number of migration objects are growing with each release, and when we have a look at the planned functionalities and enhancement it is quite promising.

  • Direct access via RFC (instead of file upload)
  • Staging area between source and target system
  • Data Quality (cleansing, checks, etc.)
  • Analysis (In SAP source system)
  • Automated validation (of migration results)

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