Transforming to the Intelligent Enterprise: SAP S/4HANA Migration

1. Problem description

27 – or 2030 if customers opt for Extended Maintenance. That’s when SAP is ending support for all versions prior to SAP S/4HANA. This implies a mammoth project for most established SAP customers, because this is no ordinary upgrade – it’s more like a completely new implementation. The biggest challenge from both the complexity and time perspectives is the migration of existing data and documents to the new environment.

Moving multiple heterogeneous legacy systems, typically not from one single manufacturer, to a new centralized and modern solution inevitably entails data migration projects. The associated workload for large companies very quickly adds up to 5,000 man-days and more.

The better the data quality and smaller the volume of migrated information is, the greater the benefits of data migration are. Duplicates, incomplete or erroneous data records, such as those concerning long-sold or closed parts of companies and business units, already cost storage space and maintenance in the legacy systems. A new and central solution’s potential to create value is reduced accordingly if these legacy issues are also transferred to the new environment.

SAP has also recognized the challenge of historical data and documents when companies are transforming themselves into an “Intelligent Enterprise”. This is why the Walldorf-based firm – within the framework of its SAP Movement program for faster implementation of SAP S/4HANA or SAP C/4HANA – recommends meeting this challenge. It advises companies to undertake an intelligent – meaning selective – transfer of historical information to the new environment and treat it from the outset as part of the transformation project.

2. Repercussions

Established SAP customers who have planned or already started the migration to the new software generation are soon faced with a massive drain on financial and staff resources, as large SAP installations comprise many terabytes of data. Another aspect is that they may need to make significant investments in the new infrastructure required for the implementation of SAP S/4HANA.

In addition, customers’ existing data pools unavoidably contain multiple incorrect data sets that have been building up over the years. If customers were to undertake a full migration without cleaning these data sets beforehand, the data would be transferred to the new environment – a significant and even unacceptable risk for the digital business processes and models of the future.

New business models, such as those based on the Internet of Things (IoT), are even at stake if sensors and machines are assigned to the wrong customer data. The opportunity in centralization and modernization projects, however, lies precisely in not transferring all legacy data and documents, but just the up-to-date and correct information that is really needed.

The migration of existing data pools to SAP S/4HANA or SAP C/4HANA also requires their transformation as the database structures are different. This generates potential problems with internal audits and external checks. Who is able to guarantee that no data was changed during the transformation? This is exactly the reason why existing SAP systems can’t simply be shut down after the migration auf SAP S/4HANA, at least not until the various data retention obligations and periods have been fulfilled.

The situation gets even more complicated with requirements governing not just retention and storage, but also deletion. Since 25 May 2018 the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requires companies to be able to delete certain types of information in a targeted way on the individual data set level.

3. Impact

From a business point of view, it would make no sense to carry out transformation and migration to SAP S/4HANA by transferring all data and documents from the existing systems to the new environment but still keeping the legacy systems running in parallel to the new software generation. After all, continuing to run obsolete systems is one of the main reasons why many companies spend 80 percent of their overall IT budgets on operation. Often, 70 percent of that is for running old systems alone. The ideal division would be 60 percent for IT operations and 40 percent for innovation – permanently.

Another obstacle that’s at least as big is insufficient data quality following a migration. After all, digitalization is based on data. If the data is incorrect, highly automated processes between man and machine, as well as between machines, are impaired and error-prone. Analyses of incorrect data will lead to companies drawing wrong conclusions, which may have a fatal effect on the ongoing development of their business model. The transformation of their company to an Intelligent Enterprise would be in danger of failing.

A further point is that continuing to run SAP legacy systems may expose companies to a legal risk if they have not been adapted to meet GDPR deletion requirements. However, this adaptation comes with a heavy technical and financial burden, assuming it is even possible.

4. Solution

The solution to the challenges associated with migration to SAP S/4HANA is the system-independent management of the entire life cycle of legacy data and documents – forming a part of the destination environment after migration. Data Migration International has developed the JiVS IMP Information Management Platform precisely for this purpose.

The road to SAP S/4HANA is indeed rocky. A huge mountain of accumulated data and documents as well as business logic from the existing systems makes the journey very arduous. Should the mountain be removed, loaded and transported to its destination (brownfield)? Should you bypass it, leave it behind and start again (greenfield)? Or should you just remove parts and deposit the mountain elsewhere, in a slightly different form and on a smaller scale (bluefield)?

4.1. Data staging area

JiVS IMP generally acts as a central collection point and provisioning area or “data staging area” for company information. Data and its quality can be analyzed and optimized here, such as by duplicate cleansing, enrichment from other, business-relevant sources and harmonization. This is actually of essential importance – not just for migration projects, but also in all agile business scenarios such as mergers and acquisitions, digital transformation and big data along with the resulting digital business models and processes.

The JiVS IMP data staging area reveals its full benefit when migrating to the SAP S/4HANA and SAP C/4HANA. There are five steps that shorten, speed up and reduce the cost of the path to the new SAP environment.

4.2. Housekeeping

JiVS IMP is the solution to the problem of getting rid of legacy issues – regardless of whether customers choose a greenfield, brownfield or bluefield approach for migration. As JiVS IMP allows the management of data and documents that are no longer operationally required, including their business logic throughout their entire life cycle: from their transfer from the production systems to legally compliant storage and final deletion. Thanks to JiVS IMP, customers can view information management independently of the question of whether they are transferring individual developments and configurations from existing SAP systems in whole or in part to the new SAP environment based on the brownfield or bluefield approach, or whether they are returning to the greenfield standard.

With support for more than 2000 business objects in enterprise solutions – and over 1200 for SAP systems alone – companies can transfer 100 percent of their H data and documents from legacy systems to JiVS IMP at the touch of a button, usually without any project-related expense.

The most important aspect of housekeeping to switch to SAP S/4HANA, however, is that historical information remains accessible at all times. This allows companies to migrate only that part of the data to SAP S/4HANA that they actually need in their day-to-day business, such as open orders.

4.3. Identify

Once the information pool has been transferred from the legacy systems to JiVS IMP, the analysis can begin of whether and which data the customers need and which they don’t need in SAP S/4HANA. JiVS IMP offers an analysis tool with various parameterization options for this. For example, the information stored in the legacy system can be selected and sorted by orders that are older than six months and have therefore already been completed, or by company codes and plants that no longer exist. Other selection criteria for data reduction potential analysis (DRPA) would include organizational units, various master data and transaction data types, modules that are no longer required, such as MM/PP and Basic, or certain business objects. This DRPA results in reports for management in the form of whitelists or blacklists that specify which tables and fields in tables are to be transferred or are no longer required.

During the identity phase, JiVS IMP therefore already provides a very good basis for deciding whether and to what extent the switch to SAP S/4HANA is worthwhile. Due to the large number of successfully completed SAP projects, JiVS IMP knows the data structures of various SAP releases from R/3 Version 3.0 up to SAP ECC 6.0 and supports over 1200 SAP business objects as standard. The selection criteria no longer have to be developed, but just configured.

4.4. Design

Once it has been clarified what’s operational and what’s historical information, the detailed planning of data selection and migration follows in the design phase. This also takes place on JiVS IMP. The selection criteria from the identify phase are then further refined and tested, so that the cut in the data pool can be automatically done by software and real-time access to the data pool in SAP.

If the selection criteria and the filter rules based on them are all working correctly, the next step is the definitive transfer of the information from the obsolete systems, including any new data and documents that have appeared since the first transfer.

The design phase offers even more advantages. It allows decisions to be made as to whether the number of business objects in SAP S/4HANA can be massively reduced from the 180 maximum possible to perhaps 40 or 50, for example through process changes or returning to the SAP standard.

4.5. Transform

At the end of the design phase, JiVS IMP provides accurate and tested filter rules as whitelists and blacklists. This gives customers the choice of whether they want to use the SAP conversion tool or third-party solutions to transform and migrate the information. Alternatively, JiVS IMP can transfer the complete data package to SAP’s Migration Cockpit and JiVS IMP’s own Extraction, Transformation and Loading (ETL) solution or to third-party ETL tools such as SNP.

4.6. Operate

Once the migration has been completed and SAP S/4HANA has been successfully started, JiVS IMP wholeheartedly plays its strategic role as part of the destination architecture during the Operate phase. With JiVS IMP, many problems typical of existing SAP environments can be avoided right from the start in the new software environment. This includes, for example, the continuously rising need for resources. As a result, data and documents that are no longer needed in day-to-day business after a certain point in time can be regularly historicized using JiVS IMP. SAP S/4HANA therefore remains permanently lean, which reduces operating costs accordingly over time.

Furthermore, the information in JiVS IMP continues to be of high value, not just for legal but also for business reasons. The longer the order and project lead times are in an industry, the more regularly business users need to access information from the past. They also only get an all-round view of a customer or process if they actually know what information exists for it as a whole. However, they do not want to switch back and forth between different environments for this purpose; after all, this discontinuity is taboo in the cloud age.

4.7 Integrated SAP editions

With its SAP-specific S/4HANA and C/4HANA editions of JiVS IMP, Data Migration International is offering the optional integration of its information management platform into destination systems. Irrespective of the interface, whether it’s SAP Fiori, S/4 or C/4, SAP users are shown the information pool belonging to a business case. They also have the option of navigating directly to this content and opening it in the respective SAP interface. This not only increases productivity, but also user satisfaction when working with JiVS IMP.

Backend integrations also play an important role in addition to these frontend integrations. As the data structures will change again and again with SAP S/4HANA or SAP C/4HANA. Automating the data transfer to SAP S/4HANA or SAP C/4HANA from less structured non-SAP systems, for example, requires a dynamic adaptation of the mapping rules in JiVS IMP. For this, changes to the data structures must be automatically transferred via the interface to the Java-based platform for information management. This is exactly the option that the JiVS IMP editions for SAP S/4HANA and SAP C/4HANA offer.

Customers can implement JiVS IMP either in their own data center or use offers from the public cloud for implementation. Supported environments include Amazon Web Services, the Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure. At the same time, customers can choose from a variety of popular database management systems (DBMS), from IBM Db2 to Oracle Database and Microsoft SQL Server to SAP IQ.

5 Customer benefits

Over 1,000 implementations worldwide have shown that this concept works. The costs for operating JiVS IMP are generally 80 percent lower than the expenditure to continue running the legacy systems. The fact that the information is transferred unchanged from the legacy systems and tamper-proof in storage is recognized by auditors, ensuring legal certainty with regard to the tax authorities. in addition, as it’s a Java-based platform, JiVS IMP is independent of the systems on which it runs. Consequently, there is no spare parts problem with the hardware, as is the case with legacy systems. As a living system, JiVS IMP also allows for regular security updates, so that the risk of cyber-attacks and espionage is permanently contained. Once the information, including the underlying business logic, has been transferred from the legacy systems to JiVS IMP, these can be completely switched off and disposed of.

5.1. High degree of automation

Thanks to a very high degree of automation, JiVS IMP enables the transfer of all information from legacy systems at the touch of a button. Compared to conventional methods, this corresponds to an acceleration of several orders of magnitude.

5.2. Massive data reduction

As a rule of thumb, transaction data is not required for more than one year. This means a 90 percent reduction in the original information pool for a legacy system that has been in operation for 10 years and a 95 percent reduction for a system that has been in operation for 20 years. In addition, the new systems can be kept permanently lean and can therefore be operated more cost-effectively by continuously moving information generated and processed there to JiVS IMP on a specific date, such as one year after generation.

5.3. Migration into the future

Whether it’s greenfield, brownfield or bluefield, JiVS IMP supports any migration approach that customers choose. For this purpose, JiVS IMP follows the same business object-focused approach as conversion and migration tools from SAP (e.g. Migration Cockpit) or third-party vendors. This support is directly reflected at the JiVS IMP repository level. As a result, JiVS IMP is able to map the business objects of the legacy systems as well as the new software generations and their further developments at database level. For example, SAP S/4HANA no longer distinguishes between the business objects Customer and Vendor like SAP ECC 6.0, but only recognizes the common business object Business Partner. Using JiVS IMP, auditors can display customer data and documents as they were created in SAP ECC 6.0. However, a customer adviser working with SAP S/4HANA receives a view of the customer in JiVS IMP, as if the customer had been created in the new software generation. Finally, life cycle management also means the ability to support future changes to business objects and completely new business objects.

5.4. Fit for digitalization

With the help of JiVS IMP, existing SAP customers can ensure the level of data quality that is appropriate for the requirements of digitization alone – also and especially in the context of big data projects. JiVS IMP not only saves existing SAP customers money, but also provides companies with major additional benefits in the form of greater agility, flexibility, legal certainty and innovative capabilities.

5.5. Massive benefits

The advantages of JiVS IMP in the context of migration to SAP S/4HANA or SAP C/4HANA are huge. The operating costs generally drop by 80 percent or more compared to the cost of continuing to run the legacy systems. At the same time, the migration workload is generally reduced by 50 percent, while access to legacy data and documents remains 100 percent intact. Together with the retention management function, JiVS IMP provides the basis for 100 percent legal certainty. As part of the target architecture, JiVS IMP ensures permanently lean SAP S/4HANA and SAP C/4HANA systems. Customers can therefore expect the new software generation from Walldorf to reduce total operating costs by 25 percent.

6. Pricing and availability

JiVS IMP and the editions for SAP S/4HANA and SAP C/4HANA are available now. The functional scope and pricing are defined on a project-specific basis. Customers can choose to subscribe to the platform’s functionality as a service, enabling them to transfer capital expenditure (CAPEX) to operating expenditure (OPEX).

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