Demystifying SAP: Greenfield vs. Brownfield SAP S/4HANA Migrations


Depending on your starting point and systems, two main paths exist to migrating to SAP S/4HANA: greenfields and brownfields. Both routes come with their own advantages and challenges. Some may say that the path of a greenfield installation is much easier; the company is starting from scratch. The brownfield deployments may face a more difficult path as they move from systems that have not been updated in a decade due to customizations and the fear of breaking a critical business system.

Greenfield SAP S/4HANA installations A Greenfield installation is when companies are starting from the ground up, completely new to SAP and ready for SAP S/4HANA or ditching the old system entirely and only migrating data. This can be the easier path for organizations with highly complex customizations and very old systems, although in any greenfield migration, there are still important decisions and preparations to be made.

The key components to a successful SAP S/4HANA installation aren’t anything new; building a schedule, cleaning up data, assigning ownership, and creating teams. As you’re off to a fresh start, you’ll be able to create a roadmap that will lead you through go-live, including extensive testing.

Brownfield SAP S/4HANA migration Organizations planning to move from an existing SAP ECC installation are going to find the road to SAP S/4HANA much steeper – although not impassable. In addition to the steps you’d perform in a greenfield migration, you’ll also be handling ABAP code corrections and other technical migration issues. Sandboxes, like our Cloud Ignite solution, will be of importance during these migrations; you’ll want to test everything extensively before the go-live.

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