Main challenges of an SAP S4HANA project: solutions from our experts



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When a company decides to implement an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution, the project management is often complex and involves many challenges. When it comes to an SAP S4Hana project, the stakes are even higher, due to the need for careful methodology and planning, the complexity of the platform, and the importance of change management.


This article, from the combined perspectives of 3 SAP S4Hana expert consultants in our FocusTribes community, examines the most common challenges of implementing an SAP S4Hana project in logistics, manufacturing and finance and offers solutions to address them.



Work methodology is a crucial element for the implementation of an SAP S4Hana project. There are several models of working methodology, such as waterfall method, Agile method, Scrum method, etc. Each model has its advantages and disadvantages, and the choice of working methodology depends on the needs and objectives of the company.


In the context of implementing an SAP S4Hana project, the Agile methodology is often preferred, as it is more suited to complex and evolving projects. Unlike the waterfall method, the Agile method focuses on collaboration, communication and adaptability. It divides the project into small steps, called Sprints, and regularly tests the developed features to ensure they meet the business needs.



Aymen, MQM SAP S4Hana consultant, has been a freelancer and community member for 5 years. He talks about his collaboration with FocusTribes for a customer in the industry sector, and discusses the major challenges to be met, especially on the production side, in conducting an SAP S4Hana project.





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Hello, my name is Aymen.

I have been a consultant for fifteen years now and I have been freelancing on SAP for about eight years.


With FocusTribes, I am working on an SAP implementation project for our client Imerys, and I am mainly involved in the implementation of the production planning part of this S4Hana implementation.


What I really like about FocusTribes is the human side. From the beginning, things are very clear, whether it is from a contractual point of view or from a personal point of view. And there are no surprises since the beginning of our collaboration.


In my opinion, in the implementation of an SAP S4Hana project, there are two major challenges.

The first challenge is from an organizational and methodological point of view. We hear a lot about the Agile or Scrum methodology. Are these methodologies adequate for the implementation of a huge SAP project?

Secondly, the challenge for us as consultants will be to be up to date on all the new features implemented by SAP. To know the new tiles, to know the new applications, to be informed of the new features. SAP is a challenge for any consultant who wants to be up to date with what SAP releases in its upgrades and new versions.



The project methodology is also a point that Nelson, AMOA SAP S4Hana project manager at FocusTribes, emphasizes and specializes in the Finance part.

"In this type of project, the user tends to want to reproduce what he knows and when you go from a non-SAP ERP system to SAP S4Hana, it is even stronger. It is crucial to successfully explain the new SAP model to the customer in the upstream phase. Thanks to the new project methodology in Agile mode, we make them understand how to switch from the old model to the new one, how it works and what the advantages are. This way, we get them to react on their fears and expectations, which facilitates their adhesion from the beginning of the project."


          • - Adopt an agile approach: Opt for the Agile methodology for the implementation of the SAP S4Hana project. This approach favors collaboration, communication and allows continuous adjustments according to the needs of the company.

  1. - Establish regular sprints and testing: Divide the project into smaller stages (sprints) and perform regular testing to ensure that the features developed meet the business needs.

  2. - Involve stakeholders: Make sure to actively engage stakeholders throughout the project. Their participation and feedback will contribute to a better adaptation of the SAP S4Hana system to business needs.

  3. - Foster transparency and communication: Establish clear and regular communication channels with the teams involved. Transparency and fluid communication will help resolve issues quickly and maintain alignment between different parts of the project.


SAP S4Hana is a new technology. While with older versions of SAP, updates only occurred every 5 or 10 years, with the implementation of S4Hana, there are updates every day, with new features being developed regularly.

Consultants must be constantly on the lookout to deliver the best service to their clients. This is what Aymen mentions when he talks about the importance of constant training in order to stay up to date.


Abdoul, Supply Chain Project Manager currently on assignment for FocusTribes, confirms this: "With the implementation of S4Hana, the management of updates with version upgrades requires to surround oneself with fine expertise to know how to implement these new functionalities at the right time. This is the case, for example, with the Ewm module, on which few consultants are trained."


"In Finance," adds Nelson, "we have a new user interface, SAP FIORI, which is very different from what was there before. It requires a lot of explanation and knowledge on the part of the consultant. For those who knew the old SAP system, they are lost, hence the importance of having a good training to appropriate the new tool. The big advantage is, in the end, that this interface is much easier to use. The user experience is much more fluid with the ability to read on different media: computer, tablet or a cell phone."


  • - Find a reliable partner to ensure that the necessary skills and expertise are available on time.

  • - Set up a technology watch to monitor updates and new features.

  • - Set up a dedicated team to manage updates and testing before deployment.

  • - Plan training sessions for employees in order to train them on the new features and inform them of the improvements as they occur.



As Abdoul explains, another challenge is related to stakeholder buy-in: "In this type of project, most of the time, we are dealing with people who have been using systems for ten or even fifteen years, and the goal is to get them to buy into the new system. If you miss their buy-in from the start, the difficulty will be felt throughout the project." Adopting a new system can be difficult for employees, who must learn new skills and change their work habits.


As Abdoul explains: "S4Hana projects are often very large projects that are managed over several years, which is why it is important to support the teams in order to maintain the model over time without altering it too much as it is deployed in other countries and on other continents. There could be a temptation to distort the Core Model and move too far away from the initial model. That's the whole point of Change Management, especially in international projects."


We often have people from different mentalities and cultures. Cultural differences can affect the way employees work, communicate and collaborate. It is therefore crucial to understand these differences and to put in place measures to foster effective communication and collaboration between team members.


So how do we get them on board?


  • - To have consultants dedicated to the project and seasoned in soft skills and managerial skills.

  • - Identify the employees who will be affected by the change and inform them in a clear and regular manner.

  • - Involve employees in the implementation process to encourage buy-in.

  • - Implement appropriate training for employees who will use the system, identifying cultural differences and taking them into account in the planning and execution of the project.

  • - Set up multicultural teams to promote better understanding and communication between team members.

  • - Provide ongoing support for employees so they can ask questions and get help when needed.



Implementing an SAP S4Hana project is challenging for companies, but by adopting best practices, implementing careful planning, and working with trusted partners, companies can overcome these challenges and succeed with their SAP S4Hana project.



If you need to surround yourself with quality consultants and project managers, experts on SAP S4Hana, to carry out your projects, do not hesitate to contact us via the link below:


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To go further :

- The crucial role of the Project Manager in ERP deployments

- How to choose the right freelance consultant ?

Would you choose Central Finance over a Greenfield SAP S/4Hana?