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Are Companies Creating ZAP Out of SAP?

SAP has 180,000+ customers worldwide, with more than 60,000 who are ERP customers. With 2025 as a hard deadline to retire all ECC support, all applications will run exclusively on S/4HANA. This means that every single business that will want or require support directly from SAP has no choice but to plan a migration from ECC to S/4HANA within the next few years. Through rapid application development solutions such as EdgeReady Cloud, this is possible for even the most complex cases.

ECC and Customizations

One of the biggest advantages that SAP delivered with ECC was flexibility. SAP enabled hardware and software combinations that organizations were comfortable with, as well as customizations and custom Z-Object developments to meet unique business needs. Flexibility on the customization front led to thousands of non core-modifications (Z-Objects) to be developed and deployed by tens of thousands of ABAP programmers across SAP Installations over the last couple of decades. These non core-modifications (Z-Object customizations) were unfortunately paired with:

  • Extensive and laborious system maintenance efforts whenever patches, EHP, and upgrades had to be applied.
  • Long and expensive development efforts in building, maintaining, and enhancing these ABAP programs.
  • Shortage of ABAP programmers that delayed projects and exceeded budgets.

Those ABAP customizations were a vital step —and the only option at the time— to meet custom requirements. But not anymore.

A Simpler S/4HANA Migration

 S/4HANA, also known as the digital core, needs to be kept clean and pristine with standard configurations as close to SAP best practices as possible, to avoid all the pain-points organizations have experienced with custom Z-objects in ECC. Today, with the advent of the latest cloud technologies, organizations have once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to eliminate or at the very least reduce this technical debt of non core-modifications, (i.e. custom Z-Reports, Z-TCodes and Z-Objects that were designed and built in R/3 and ECC years ago), when migrating from ECC to S/4HANA, all without having to forego or compromise on any business functionality. This can be achieved with a digital edge solution to modernize SAP. A digital edge solution wraps around the digital core like S/4HANA to enable all non core-modifications.

An optimal digital edge solution: 

  • Is very tightly integrated with the digital core S/4HANA - interacting with all ABAP objects just like any other Z-Object interacts with standard objects in SAP.
  • Does not have a middle-ware of any type between the ABAP objects in digital core and the custom objects in digital edge enabling a smooth interaction with minimal development effort.
  • Will host all non-core-modifications. i.e Z-custom development objects .
  • Leverages all the roles and authorizations of SAP to eliminate duplication.
  • Provides a single, consistent user-experience to end-users.
Digital Edge Image SAP Blog Vaidya


Moving all non core-modifications to a digital edge solution can generate significant benefits during migration and beyond. Some of the benefits during migration are:

  • Up to 50% reduction in ABAP remediation and migration effort. Since a lot of the custom Z-objects are eliminated, this reduces the ABAP technical effort in remediation and eventually migrations to S/4HANA.
  • Up to 30% reduction in ABAP migration cost. Elimination of custom Z-objects reduces the need for expensive ABAP resources and reduces the overall cost of the migration.
  • Up to 50% lower load on in-house SAP technical staff. Most organizations are already running short of in-house technical staff and migration like this takes all the available technical bandwidth an organization may have. By eliminating non-core-modifications, it alleviates the pressure on already stretched in-house technical staff.

Some of the long-term benefits in keeping the SAP configuration as close to SAP Best Practices is reduced effort and cost in applying future enhancement and upgrades to S/4HANA as well as a faster time-to-market for custom requirements by building these on the digital edge.

Pillir recently held a  webinar on the topic of reducing ABAP customizations during migrations. For more information, please check the on-demand version of the webinar here.

Vaidya Aiyer

Vaidya Aiyer

Vaidya Aiyer is a leader, innovator, entrepreneur, and technology geek. He has the reputation a major leader and innovator in the low-code space, specifically regarding ERP modernization. His 25 years of ERP/SAP experience has propelled his company’s vision of accelerating modernization and digital transformation. Vaidya has also held executive positions at Lenovo, SEAL Innotech (enterprise mobility and Google Apps solutions), and Medtonic (lean manufacturing solutions). Pillir provides an innovative,ERP-focused, low-code/no-code, cloud-native platform called EdgeReady Cloud.