What Are the Data Migration Phases for an SAP S/4HANA Project?

SAP Activate can be applied to each part of an SAP S/4HANA implementation project. This blog post will review the SAP Activate phases of SAP’s recommended roadmap for new implementations of SAP S/4HANA.


Specific SAP Activate-approved tasks are called workstreams. The workstream for data migration activities for on-premise implementations is called system and data migration, while the workstream for a cloud implementation is called data management.


Below is a look at the specific tasks the SAP Activate methodology recommends for the system and data migration workstream in each phase of an SAP S/4HANA implementation.



In this phase, the team should learn about data migration with the migration cockpit. A trial system should be provisioned if no new system is set up yet (see the SAP Cloud Appliance Library for more information, at



In this phase, the team will prepare a data migration approach and strategy. Specific tasks may include the following:

  • Business process map: Discuss data requirements and data formats.
  • Data migration approach and strategy:
    • Prepare data migration workshop.
    • Conduct data migration workshop.
    • Conduct data audit (data health check).
    • Prepare data migration scope and requirements document.
    • Present data migration scope and requirements document.
    • Conduct organizational assessment for data migration.
    • Conduct infrastructure assessment for data migration.
    • Conduct risk assessment for data migration and prepare a mitigation plan.
    • Complete the data migration approach and strategy document.
  • Demo environment: Discuss data requirements and format.

Learn more about the prepare phase for SAP S/4HANA migration here.



In this phase, the team will design the legacy data migration. This design will be used during the realize phase. Specific tasks may include the following:

  • Ensure master data management processes ownership.
  • Conduct data mapping workshops.
  • Conduct data quality assessment.
  • Define automated data migration approach.
  • Define manual data migration approach.
  • Prepare data quality plan.
  • Prepare data security design and plans.


In this phase, the team will execute the data migration. The migration cockpit will be set up so that loads to a QA system can be carried out. In addition, cutover planning will begin here. Specific tasks may include the following:

  • Quality assurance environment (QAS) data load:
    • Prepare and load master data into QAS.
    • Prepare and load transactional data into QAS.
  • Preliminary cutover plan:
    • Conduct organizational change management readiness check.
    • Conduct production support readiness check.
    • Conduct master data process governance readiness check.
    • Prepare preliminary cutover plan.
    • Review preliminary cutover plan.
    • Refine preliminary cutover plan.
  • Legacy data migration:
    • Develop data migration program units.
    • Execute and validate manual data migration.
    • Obtain data quality reports.
    • Perform SAP target load test.
    • Obtain data migration test results.
    • Conduct final data quality assessment.


In this phase, the team will migrate the data to the production environment. Specific tasks may include the following:

  • Production cutover:
    • Execute go live simulations 1–n.
    • Conduct data quality readiness check.
    • Finalize cutover plan.
    • Perform pre-cutover weekend closing activities.
    • Final check of production readiness and sign-off.
    • Perform cutover weekend activities and final production data load.
    • Obtain production data load sign-off.
    • Initiate solution manager update, solution documentation.
  • Production support after go-live:
    • Provide post go-live support.
    • Monitoring open issues to resolution.
    • Resolve functional issues.
    • Resolve technical issues.


In the final phase, the system is ready to run using the migrated data.


As you can see, the majority of migration tasks that actually use the migration cockpit occur during the realize and deploy phases of the methodology. But projects that ignore the data migration workstream until these later stages of the implementation project can easily run into trouble. You and your team should not underestimate the importance of the discover phase, especially if you are new to the migration cockpit. Similarly, skipping or shortening the prepare or explore phases can lead to problems down the line, such as a rushed realize phase.


The workstream tasks outline we just discussed is directly from the SAP Activate methodology and is current at the time of this publication. For more detailed information on each activity, visit SAP’s Roadmap Viewer site at From the home page of the Roadmap Viewer, click on General and then select the On-Premise or Cloud roadmap. With the selected roadmap visible, click Content and filter on the System & Data Migration workstream (for on-premise) or the Data Management workstream (for cloud).


This post should have provided you with a better understanding of the phases of an SAP S/4HANA implementation project, and how data migration and the migration cockpit fit into the project. Wondering if you should utilize SAP Activate when working on an SAP S/4HANA project? This post can help shed more light.



Editor’s note: This post has been adapted from a section of the e-book Introducing the SAP S/4HANA Migration Cockpit by Brian Atkinson.


Introducing the SAP S/4HANA Migration Cockpit
Introducing the SAP S/4HANA Migration Cockpit

Ready to transfer business data to your new SAP S/4HANA system? Learn to use the SAP S/4HANA migration cockpit to move data from SAP and non-SAP systems to both SAP S/4HANA and SAP S/4HANA Cloud. Start by exploring your migration options: files, staging tables, or direct transfer. Then create a migration project, customize migration objects with the migration object modeler, and correct errors that occur during data import. Finalize your SAP S/4HANA implementation!

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