Greenfield, Brownfield, Or Hybrid – Which S/4HANA Migration Strategy Is Right for You?

Greenfield, Brownfield, Or Hybrid – Which S/4HANA Migration Strategy Is Right for You?

Greenfield, Brownfield, Or Hybrid – Which S/4HANA Migration Strategy Is Right for You?

Implementing SAP S/4HANA has become a top priority for most businesses. According to a 2022 study, 44% of businesses are already live on SAP S/4HANA or have started to move. 

A key part of the migration process is settling on the ideal migration strategy for your business. Going through with SAP S/4HANA migration requires the cooperation of multiple departments, training, exhaustive system testing, compilation and transfer of huge data reserves, and more. With all these considerations, it is easy to see why businesses put off migrations or upgrades until they are left with no other option.

However, choosing the right migration approach can significantly reduce these challenges. Depending on some key factors such as the state and size of your data, choice of deployment, existing state of technology usage, and future business requirements, there are three approaches to roll out SAP S/4HANA:

  • Greenfield approach
  • Brownfield approach
  • Hybrid 

Read on to see a detailed explanation of each approach, its key differences, and how to pick the best one for your business.

Greenfield Deployment for SAP S/4HANA

This migration approach works like a reset button. It provides an opportunity to harmonize and redesign your processes and workflows. Moreover, any customizations done on SAP ECC 6 also get wiped away during the migration process. This approach is best for companies that are new to SAP implementation. The Greenfield approach takes around six months to implement the solution depending on the modules and processes in scope. More profoundly, this approach is ideal for your business if:

  • The model has completely changed, or you have acquired or restructured the business.
  • You are entering into a merger/demerger setup.
  • The ECC system is obsolete.
  • The current business processes are not supporting long-term strategies.
  • You are currently using a highly-customized system.

For HODEK Vibrations Technologies, Sapours delivered a Greenfield S/4 Hana implementation and also followed it up with a post-implementation custom support model, involving off-shore support with optimized on-site support as needed. It helped HODAK achieve a 60% reduction in manual work and a 30% increase in efficiency. Read the complete story, here.

Brownfield Deployment for SAP S/4HANA

While greenfield is an overhaul of complete business processes, a brownfield approach is more like a renovation of the current SAP ERP system. This approach allows businesses to keep their tried and tested business processes along with the new customizations. 

The brownfield approach is considered the fastest and cheapest implementation approach. This approach can be the best choice for your company if:

  • Your ECC is used in a Unicode system.
  • You prefer to adopt the SAP S/4HANA processes gradually.
  • Historical data needs to be retained.
  • You are looking to minimize risks, costs, and downtime.
  • Software needs to retain most of the past customizations.

Hybrid Deployment for SAP S/4HANA

Touted as the “Mix & Match” approach, Hybrid incorporates the best of both, the greenfield and brownfield. In essence, hybrid deployment allows for consolidating several ERP systems, thus, reducing the need for multiple systems that hinder data consistency. Landscape transformation, an adjunct of the hybrid approach, drives business process harmonization by consolidating multiple clients.  

Besides, it’s based on the premise that existing ERP customizations can be reused, and more customizations can be created on top — such as those that accommodate SAP S/4 HANA innovations. All in all, the hybrid strategy bodes well when businesses are: 

  • Aiming to consolidate data from multiple sources (ERP systems)
  • Looking to have enough customizable options at their disposal
  • Endeavoring to reuse the customizations on existing ERP and enrich them

Important Factors to Consider

Indeed, all three approaches have specific applicability to specific scenarios. And that makes it viable to weigh them across certain factors that could determine the success of S/4HANA migration. Here’s a rundown of the same:


Consider the greenfield approach; we’re talking about process reengineering, no constraints, a complete redesign, etc. Naturally, this accrues higher costs when compared to the other two options. 


Consider the brownfield approach; we’re looking at tweaking traditional processes, sustaining operational continuity, preserving master data, etc. Naturally, this buys in certain constraints – limiting the enterprise’s ability to overhaul the system design per modern-day requirements. 

Apart from these, there’s the idea of being risk-averse in the face of business uncertainty, migrating master data, etc. All in all, incorporating these factors helps narrow down on the ideal strategy.

Get Started with the Right SAP S/4HANA Implementation Strategy

Since the SAP S/4HANA migration involves various challenges, the approach to changeover should be planned very carefully. Regardless of your choice of migration approach, migrating to SAP S/4HANA requires the right team to ensure a smooth migration and close the gap between strategy and implementation. 

With a team of experienced SAP consultants and state-of-the-art migration tools, you can also reap the maximum benefits of SAP S/4HANA. Connect with us to start your migration journey today.

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