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Compliance Benefits of a Controlled Methodology for Decommissioning Legacy SAP Systems

Many companies have older legacy SAP systems still operational for audit compliance, review and reporting purposes. We know that as data ages it become less valuable and this is especially true for legacy data. However, businesses need to retain data until it reaches its end of life, because of legal holds, in support of governance/audit requirements, or for maintenance histories. 

It becomes somewhat of a balancing act as keeping everything. It is not only expensive and inefficient, but it can be contrary to compliance guidelines. For the data that still has value for business and/or audit/governance, there are several options for those operating in an SAP-based solutions environment:

  1. Leave the legacy SAP system running
    1. Most expensive as you have to maintain
      1. support pack updates
      2. backup schedules
      3. resources to support the system
      4. pay licensing cost
      • v.     other
  2. Decommission the system and rely on system recovery (most likely from tape) if data is needed
  3. Move the data to less expensive platform
    1. Less expensive and easier to maintain
      1. move to platform that support SAP solutions such as Microsoft
      2. data is compressed
      3. only move over data that needs to be kept
        1. limits governance and compliance issues as only address data being kept
        2. purge data that is no longer required
      4. have one support system with data from multiple SAP systems
    2. Facilitates decommissioning of legacy SAP system
      1. saves space, licensing and support cost (see list above)
      2. easier to purge data once it reaches end-of-life

What it comes down to is that the important factor to remember is to move the data in a ‘controlled’ manner.  For instance, many SAP systems have older data that is not useful to the groups using the system, so keeping it available in the active system takes up valuable space. With a ‘controlled’ method, you take the time to understand what data is needed for the groups using the system. An example would be Audit/Controls/Governance. You would most likely need financial, controlling and asset data, the latter depending on audit regulation and country. You also want to provide a means for extracting the data that is efficient and allows you to meet response deadlines. Using the specifically developed tools, data resides where there is proper security so that end users can access only the data for which they are authorized.  With these solutions in place, you can select the data to be moved and have a specified way to report only the data needed and control user access to that data through authorizations.

Does your company have legacy SAP system and what are you doing about them? 

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