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From Old Station Wagon to New Ferrari – Driving a Migration with 4.2 and RDS

When a customer signs a deal with SAP, they expect that by
the end of the SOW that the quality of their data will be improved, their
processes will run more smoothly and quickly, and the potential derived value
from Data Analytics processes will be much more powerful. Metaphorically, the
customer signs the contract because its analytics are being driven like an old
station wagon, slow and unreliable. Our job is to implement our solutions,
methodologies, and SAP Best Practices to ensure that their data and analytics
run as quickly and powerfully as a new Ferrari.

The customer brought us in for a data migration from their
legacy systems to an SAP ECC target database using Data Services 4.0. The
customer hoped this process would be the equivalent of a mere tune-up or oil
change, but what we delivered was more reminiscent of a full engine rebuild and
some body work.  At the inception of the project most of the customer’s source data

resided in various source databases located on numerous separate systems; the

remainder of it was contained in .csv/.txt files stored in various directories. The data

was for two separate countries (required to be migrated in parallel), each within a

hodgepodge of sources and all devoid of any adequate mapping documentation or

naming convention standards.

After landscape and requirement evaluation, our team concluded
that there was no feasible way to conduct the parallel migrations while meeting
the requirements without violating SAP Best Practices; we needed a vehicle
(environment) with more functionality. After initial hesitation the customer
gave us the green light to rebuild their environment. First, we upgraded Data
Services/Information Steward from 4.0 to 4.2. We implemented ECC, CRM, and DQ
RDS packages for data migration and configured Address Directories for
countries whose data we would migrate.

While these upgrades were imperative, the process changes
and Best Practices that we infused into their culture were equally crucial. We
developed an architecture supporting separate Central Repositories for each
country (and RDS package) and associated Local repos and database schemas
relevant to the objects each developer would need access to for migration; we
allocated proper security privileges to each. We established Best Practice
naming convention methodology, ensuring that every object, ranging from
individual flat files to full databases, maintained consistency. We coached the
customer on DS Workbench and Migration Services, providing full KT each step of
the way.

Initially, the customer wanted as little change as possible
during the migration. The ‘station wagon’ environment was all they had ever
driven and understandably, they valued the comfort level they had reached with
it. As of today, they now drive a sustainable, high-performance, Best
Practice-supported landscape capable of powerful Data Analytics processes- one which I
was thrilled to help them achieve. I have never given anyone the gift of an
actual high-performance sports car. This engagement, however, provided me with
the opportunity to offer the gift of a fast, powerful environment that drives
like a Ferrari. To me, this was just as rewarding in its own right.

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