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Transforming Multinational Apparel Operations with S/4HANA Clean Core Extensions on SAP BTP

LeverX transformed a multinational apparel corporation's approach to S/4HANA extensions and add-on delivery. With meticulous analysis, collaborative workshops, and SAP BTP utilization, we streamlined operations, overcame obstacles, and seized new business opportunities.

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LeverX transformed a multinational apparel corporation's approach to S/4HANA extensions and add-on delivery. With meticulous analysis, collaborative workshops, and SAP BTP utilization, we streamlined operations, overcame obstacles, and seized new business opportunities.

Faced with the challenges of maintaining and optimizing its SAP S/4HANA system, a multinational corporation in the apparel industry sought to enhance its performance, while minimizing disruptions during upgrades. With a global workforce of 65k+ employees and a diverse range of products, several branches, and producing plants, the client aimed to streamline their operations and ensure seamless business processes.

Defining Challenges

The customer had implemented extensions and custom applications using Classical ABAP extensions development approaches and techniques, without adhering to 'Clean Core' concepts tailored for S/4HANA, which led to increased cost and efforts connected with S/4HANA systems upgrade, and poorly written code, technical debt, complexity in supporting the legacy. Consequently, this approach created  significant issues during upgrade processes, such as:

  • Because of the numerous customizations, each system update cycle resulted in disruptions and increased maintenance expenses.
  • Delays in updates stemmed from the complexity of the transition process and unexpected disruptions, resulting in an outdated S/4HANA system lacking critical new functionalities.

Recognizing the importance of addressing these challenges, the client turned to LeverX for our expertise in SAP BTP Extensions development . LeverX's reputation as an official and trusted provider of SAP development and consulting services, coupled with extensive experience in S/4HANA migrations and custom development, contributed to the client’s decision to embark on this transformation journey with us. Moreover, our client-centric approach resonated with the client's objectives, solidifying the decision to engage in development efforts with us.

How the Transformation Journey Started

Our contribution included methodical stages that guaranteed the client confidence, clarity, and transparency from the beginning to the end of the process.

Step 1: Enablement and learning

Our process commenced with a comprehensive 1-day workshop held at the client's location. The main aim was to acquaint a broad audience from the client's team with the various use cases and capabilities of SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP). With over 130 participants, including both onsite and remote attendees, we systematically covered all BTP pillars, illustrating practical ways for our client to harness the platform's potential for optimizing their operations and achieving organizational goals.

Step 2: Analysis

Our project commenced with a comprehensive analysis of the client's SAP S/4HANA landscape and custom ABAP programs. LeverX experts collaborated closely with stakeholders, gaining insights into the existing system to identify challenges and opportunities.

Step 3: Dedicated team formation

A dedicated team of seasoned professionals, including enterprise architects and integration experts, was meticulously assembled to lead the project. Their wealth of experience ensured the success of the transformation journey from start to finish. We also invited the team that worked directly on the SAP migration projects as external LeverX consultants.

Step 4: Clear goals formation

Together, we defined the project scope, set clear objectives, and outlined a roadmap for success aligned with the client's unique needs and goals.

Making a Difference With SAP BTP

SAP BTP was chosen as the platform to tackle the client's challenges and quest for a robust and scalable solution. Here's why SAP BTP was the logical choice:

  • Integrated tools and services: With a comprehensive suite of integrated tools and services, SAP BTP provides the foundation needed to future-proof systems and drive digital transformation. LeverX's decision to use SAP BTP was driven by the platform’s coverage of all required tools and services for successful S/4HANA extensions development.
  • Cloud-based architecture: With its cloud-based architecture, SAP BTP provides flexibility, scalability, and accessibility, allowing organizations to adapt quickly to changing business needs and market demands. It is ideal for so-called "side-by-side" extensions connected with the S/4HANA but deployed outside, enabling seamless integration and scalability while maintaining agility. This architecture ensures that organizations can effectively scale their operations and innovate without constraints, aligning with the dynamic nature of modern business environments.
  • Clean Core principles: SAP's "Clean Core" principles ensure a streamlined and efficient development process. By minimizing the need for customizations and adhering to best practices, it’s perfect for simplifying systems, reducing complexity, and improving maintainability – and that’s exactly what our client was looking for.
  • SAP ABAP Environment within BTP: The availability of the SAP ABAP Environment within BTP is particularly advantageous. It leverages the existing ABAP environment and investments while harnessing the benefits of cloud-native development. The availability of this service within BTP secured a seamless transition for the client’s ABAP-based system and ensured that they will be able to modernize and innovate in the future, without disrupting their existing operations. Also, existing ABAP team now can easily perform and support developments on BTP environment using the programming language they are used to.

Technology Stack

Fiori UIs on BTP HTML5 Repository
Build Work Zone
Cloud ABAP Environment
RAP (RESTful Application Programming Model)
ABAP Landscape Portal
ABAP Administrative Launchpad
S/4HANA OData APIs
Connectivity Services (SAP Cloud Connector)
Business Application Studio

Interaction diagram for the BTP side-by-side extensibility approach

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Navigating the Transformation Journey

Embarking on a transformative endeavor, LeverX orchestrated a comprehensive development strategy that unfolded across distinct phases. 

Phase 1: Assessment and planning

We initiated the process by conducting a detailed assessment of the existing codebase, pinpointing areas for optimization and enhancement. This included reviewing and identifying code incompatibilities, examining relevant external S/4HANA APIs, and scrutinizing released objects and successor objects. We also performed thorough ATC checks to uphold code quality and compliance standards. Additionally, we evaluated the applicability of the Custom Code Migration App to facilitate the migration process. We adhered to SAP's "Clean Core" principles throughout these steps, ensuring a smooth and efficient migration process.

Phase 2: Transformation efforts 

LeverX initiated a transformation phase focused on modernization with SAP BTP and BTP ABAP Environment. Custom ABAP programs were re-architected and modernized, integrating the ABAP RESTful Application Programming Model (RAP) to improve performance, scalability, and maintainability per the client's objectives.
Moving forward, LeverX streamlined the migration process by minimizing customizations and reducing dependency on custom code — this effort aimed to optimize system performance and mitigate risks associated with future S/4HANA upgrades. Throughout the process, adherence to SAP Activate Methodology and implementation of best practices for code quality and compliance were prioritized to safeguard the client's long-term investment.

Phase 3: Collaboration and support

Throughout the project, LeverX collaborated closely with the client's technical team, providing guidance, training, and support. Our aim was to ensure a seamless transition to the new environment, empowering the client's team to maximize the benefits of the solution, as well as to pass through the knowledge of how to use new implementation approaches compared to classical ABAP to the team.

Project Results

The collaboration between the multinational corporation and LeverX led to considerable increases in system performance, stability, and cost-effectiveness. Notably, LeverX completed the project in an astonishingly short time — just three months.

Key achievements:

  • Reduced downtime during upgrades
    LeverX's streamlined migration process minimized disruptions during upgrades, reducing downtime and increasing system availability.
  • Lower maintenance overheads
    By adhering to SAP's "Clean Core" principles and optimizing the custom ABAP programs, LeverX helped the client reduce maintenance overheads. The modernization efforts led to improved code quality, minimizing the need for frequent maintenance interventions.
  • Enhanced agility in responding to business requirements
    LeverX's migration to SAP BTP enabled the client to enhance agility and responsiveness to evolving business requirements. The cloud-based architecture of SAP BTP provided flexibility and scalability, allowing the client to adapt quickly to changing market demands. We also opened up space for AI services since we expanded the BTP use for S/4HANA systems.
  • Empowered customer teams
    Throughout the project, LeverX prioritized knowledge transfer and skill development within the customer teams. The teams were equipped with new methodologies and approaches to code delivery, fostering a culture of continuous learning and innovation. This empowered the customer teams to confidently navigate future development and maintenance tasks, ensuring long-term sustainability and success.
Our collaboration with the client not only addressed immediate challenges but also laid the groundwork for sustained success in the competitive market landscape. Together, we have unlocked new opportunities for digital transformation and business growth, paving the way for future achievements.

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