This should have grabbed your attention if you are either an ERP software watcher or run SAP ERP and, in turn, likely work for a larger enterprise company. SAP has announced the deadline for supporting its ERP S/3 6.0 ECC (and earlier products) is 2027. Good news is that this was quickly updated from the initial 2025 time-line mere days after the earlier deadline ostensibly due to adverse customer reaction. Installing, running and certainly upgrading or tossing SAP ERP is no simple matter. This is not to single out the SAP ERP system, as most ERP module providers have had their share of implementation challenges, but SAP is the market share leader and has had a few more publicized issues. Notably, in parallel SAP has committed to supporting S/4 HANA until 2040 only. That itself is less than twenty years only. History points to SAP extending that deadline however.
Companies depend on SAP ERP software to run everything at their companies and the decision to upgrade or change this all-encompassing software is a multi-year engagement either way that will certainly come with both user experience and process challenges.
Customer choices are:
- To upgrade to SAP S/4 HANA, which utilizes SAP’s own HANA database or
- Switch to another ERP.
- A third, and perhaps more short-sighted, choice is to switch from SAP direct to a third party support organization beyond 2027. Third party providers certainly have their place and often offer good value, but the change has to happen sooner or later. It essentially delays the inevitable.
It is important to note that S/4 was rebuilt from the ground up and this is not a matter of a ‘simple’ upgrade. Moreover, the change in database requires that this large piece of the puzzle undergo its own transformation as well. SAP would remind customers of the upgraded architecture, capabilities and speed boost of its S/4 HANA product. Customers new and old should look at their SAP choices carefully and consider (right as they look at their numerous customizations) what to do soon as the SAP expertise out there is limited and one should not be caught shorthanded. SAP integrators would be delighted to help with what is surely not a mere software change, but a company transformation. A new implementation or upgrade is a multi-year effort and should be weighed against SAP’s 2027 deadline.
Frankly, springing into action last minute may give your company less leverage when speaking with SAP or others.
In short, the time to look at your current and future needs, processes and capacity for change is now.
*Things That Need To Go Away: A Pound Of Cure Instead Of An Ounce Of Preparation