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Unlocking SAP Custom-Code Success: The Golden Thread

The complexity of preparing for an SAP S/4HANA upgrade or conversion should never be underestimated. There are so many considerations, from greenfield, brownfield, or even new “smart brownfield” approaches to data migration, custom code, interfaces, and so much more. It’s more than enough to keep CIOs and their staffs up at night!

The reality is that you can still push such a conversion off for a while, but want it or not, it should be considered by 2027 when SAP ends mainstream maintenance for SAP Business Suite 7/ECC. This means the sooner you start, the more time you have to consider and prepare for all the upgrade challenges you’ll be facing. In this post, I want to address one of the top challenges: what to do with all that custom code?

Most well-established SAP customers manage on average over 25,000 custom objects with more than 2.5 million lines of code. These were built and accumulated over a 20-to-30-year history, either by in-house resources, a variety of system integrators, or even by SAP itself as a “one-off” project. In many of these cases, there are no supporting documents, no designs, and it’s also highly likely the people who originally requested and insisted on having these objects built are no longer with the company.

So why keep all this stuff anymore? Can we just rip the bandage off and be done with it already?


Why It Isn’t That Simple

While it’s true that at least 50% of custom objects are never or rarely used, and 25% of the objects are clones and copies of SAP standard transactions with a bit of extra flavor that can be retired, there are some custom objects which represent the real innovations and “secret sauce” that makes companies run better.

And while there are multiple tools available to assist with custom-code conversions, there is sadly no silver bullet or magic wand that will automatically do them. The way in which such code was developed, in fact, makes it largely impossible to simply “lift and shift” it to SAP S/4HANA or even to SAP BTP. Instead, it has to be completely reconsidered and reworked using a variety of options that will also keep the core clean.

These options could include key-user extensibility (in-app extensions), low-code/no-code extensions (SAP Build), side-by-side extensions in BTP, the ABAP environment on BTP (Steampunk), or even developer extensibility in SAP S/4HANA (embedded steampunk). But which is the most straightforward and efficient method for your specific needs and situation? What roadblocks will you potentially face?

Fortunately, there is skilled assistance to help ensure conversion success. JDC Group’s new BTP Development Services practice provides the “golden thread” to help organizations with their mission-critical, custom-code dilemmas.

Our comprehensive and pragmatic approach includes strategic advisory during the early phases of upgrade assessments, cloud transformation ideation workshops, design and development of future-proof cloud solutions, and deployment with ongoing support.

Our BTP Development Services practice is staffed with SAP-certified consultant teams, the majority of whom are former SAP employees and leaders with years of specific planning, design, and execution experience. They can support your organization on its cloud-transformation journey and help you to solve even the most complex challenges—including refactoring custom code to extend its use beyond the dreaded 2027 cut-off date.

Ready to grab onto that golden thread? Begin today by contacting JDC Group’s BTP Development Services practice to start the conversation on a cloud-readiness transformation for your enterprise.