imec migrates from SAP ECC to SAP S/4HANA

Imec | TheValueChain

imec wanted to get a head start on the inevitable shift to cloud services and SAP S/4HANA. So the company decided to upgrade its existing SAP software and purposely opted for a brownfield migration. This provided them with a future-proof platform that allowed them to retain their existing custom applications. 


  • Brownfield migration from ECC to S/4HANA 
  • Switch from on-premise hardware to cloud 
  • Switch from on-premise Open Text to cloud


Brownfield solution 

Imec, the renowned technology research centre, ran the same SAP implementation for twenty years. Over time, the company made significant investments to keep this software up to date and implement the necessary adjustments. But in order to optimise their business processes sustainably, a migration to SAP S/4HANA was the only futureproof solution. 

Imec opted for a brownfield migration in which the ERP system is upgraded without abandoning existing structures. Brownfield has the advantage of complying with the latest SAP systems quickly at a relatively low cost. Moreover, there is a lot less change management involved. 


Sandbox migrations 

The scope of imec's migration project required extensive preparations. We initially performed a sandbox migration (migration in a test environment, copy of production) to identify and resolve gaps. This also gave imec the opportunity to evaluate and test existing processes and revealed twenty gaps that needed to be addressed. 

Together with imec, we decided to start a second sandbox migration to eliminate as many of the gaps as possible. In doing so, we also looked at whether alternatives were available, such as integrating existing SAP applications or implementing change management. Thanks to a pragmatic approach with transparent communication, we managed to achieve a successful conversion in no time.  

"The smooth running of the test migrations was very important for good cooperation. Open communication and efficient interaction with imec led to fast and reliable results." 

- Philippe Devooghdt - Project Manager - Solution Architect at TheValueChain 

From on-premise to cloud 

For the actual migration, we had to take into account not only a conversion from ECC to S/4HANA, but also from an on-premise system to the cloud. Imec wanted to switch from on-premise servers to Azure Cloud. Rank 1, TheValueChain's sister company, managed to seamlessly integrate the existing hardware into Azure. We also transferred their off-cloud OpenText ECM system to the cloud. 

In the end, more than 150 interfaces had to be integrated with S/4HANA, from EDI systems to time sheets. It was important that the look and feel was retained as much as possible, as imec wanted to minimise its reliance on change management. Where necessary, TheValueChain provided training to bring employees up to speed. 

We also organised discovery workshops to show which optimisation possibilities S/4HANA offers for imec's future. Not a so-called big bang, but modular improvements per department. This would allow imec to seamlessly continue its SAP transition. 

"With imec, we have shown that a technical and large-scale migration to SAP S/4HANA while retaining existing applications and structures is possible, without sacrificing room for future optimisations.” 

- Philippe Devooghdt - Project Manager - Solution Architect at TheValueChain

Customer stories

Peter Krul | TheValueChain

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