Disclaimer: this blog is written with the sole intent of knowledge sharing based on my own personal experiences across various IS-U Data Migration projects. Please feel free to provide feedback/comments based on your project experiences that will enhance this write-up for the entire community within the SAP Utilities space.
The Importance of Data Readiness:
While we all know the importance of Data Migration in the SAP CR&B solution, it is also important to recognize the value added by focusing on Data Readiness Plan right from Day-1 of the Implementation Project or better yet, even before the Project starts!! I have personally seen a very clean and smooth cutover to the SAP IS-U Solution when much needed attention was given to a Data Readiness Plan.
Data Profiling and Data Cleansing are different and important aspects of a good Data Readiness Plan. This will ensure that accurate, consistent and usable data is migrated over to the new SAP CR&B system.
Planning for Data Readiness:
- First of all, a focused Data Readiness team should be planned for and dedicated resources allocated who will be responsible for ongoing tasks related to various Data Clean-up Activities.
- In the early phase of the Implementation Project, it is a good idea to kick-start the Data Cleansing/Data Readiness efforts with an Out-of-the-Box Data Cleansing Elements document focused primarily for the SAP CR&B solution. This is a list that I have compiled using my experience on various IS-U Projects to-date. This list helps in identifying data elements that need to be profiled and are good targets for Data cleansing.
- A Data Cleansing Tracking Matrix or a similar tool should be utilized to monitor the Data Readiness progress.
Aspects of Data Readiness:
- Data Profiling: to identify the data elements that need to be “cleansed” or targeted for data cleansing in the legacy system, various sets of legacy data tables/data files should be analyzed and profiled to check for known data inconsistencies.
Below are commonly profiled data sets just to name a few. More data elements are listed in the document attached:
- Meters Data – to identify duplicate meters numbers across the legacy system;
- Customer Data – to check for accuracy in the Name, address, telephone number, email fields just to name a few;
- Contact Log/Memo logs – since these are usually “free-form” text fields, accuracy check should be done to identify various “control” characters that may be embedded in these fields – e.g. “return” or “tab” characters that will usually cause errors during the actual data load process in ISMW.
Needless to say, the Data Profiling can be executed in-house by the legacy Data Team or can be executed and/or outsourced using various 3rd party tools available out there in the Data Migration Space. This blog is not focused on naming or marketing any specific tool as such.
- Data Cleansing: In addition, to the known Out-of the-Box Data Elements, Data Profiling Results also aid in capturing / creating a specific list of various Data Elements that need to be cleansed in a CIS Legacy system.
All items on the Data Cleansing list should be prioritized based on level of criticality and need for the successful progress of the Data Migration efforts. E.g. If a mapping rule specifies use of LAST NAME field to determine if a Business Partner will be converted as an Organization or a Person, then this should be a high-priority cleansing item since this is a baseline rule in the creation of a Business Partner in SAP CR&B system.
Data Cleansing tasks are usually ongoing activities during the course of the project. Depending on the volume and nature of cleansing activity, various data elements identified for data cleansing are either cleaned-up manually by the Data Readiness team or designated business folks; or programmatically fixed; or applied via mapping rules in the Extract & Transform programs.
As mentioned above, it is important that Data Cleansing progress be tracked and monitored by a designated Data Readiness Plan or a tracking matrix of the sorts.
Hoping that the above penned thoughts, based on my personal experience will help in stressing the importance of Data Readiness in a SAP Utilities Project.