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Following part I, where I introduced the special requirements of SAP AFS customers and the general options of data migration, I will now explain the scope, how to conceptually approach data migration, which prerequisites are necessary, as well as best practices.

Before diving into the details, I would like to share the highlights of the AFS data migration to SAP S/4HANA for fashion and vertical business. SAP is planning to provide pre-defined AFS specific migration objects and the capability to derive complex selection criteria automatically from the company code. Furthermore, automated mapping between source and target structures are supported with the capability of renaming the source data and migrate them to the S/4 HANA system in a consistent manner. Lastly, the ability to prepopulate the old values and suggest them as new values based on the selection is offered.

Scope

The first release of the data migration package consists of the following migration scope. Master data and open transaction data (migration objects) are planned to be part of the first release.

Concept

Before running the migration scenario shown above, a number of prerequisites need to be addressed.

First, the AFS source system needs to either be or upgraded to version 6.0 and higher. Furthermore, the DMIS add-on needs to be upgraded to preferably SP15 and above.

Second, the target system needs to be prepared. A new SAP S/4 HANA 1809 system set up with repository and customizing is required. Necessary mappings need to be provided (e.g. Master Grid to Characteristic Profile/Merchandizing Category). Next, all configurations and settings need to be manually implemented in the target system and all delta customizing has to be maintained by the customer.  Lastly, necessary notes need to be implemented in the target system to ensure the system is ready for a readiness check. Don’t forget to create and maintain the required RFC connections in the target system.

The migration process consists of a four-step sequence: select, map, simulate, and migrate.

Data Selection

The data selection uses a simple selection criteria – company code. If the company code is not linked to any of the predefined objects, such as Purchase grid, then the solution derives the organizational unit from the company code and utilizes it to select the relevant purchase grid data. The object that has to be migrated needs to be selected from a displayed list.

Rules/Mapping

At the stage of mapping with the help of rules, the structural mapping of the sender data model to importing parameters of the API is executed. Some of the possible transformation rules are:

  • Fixed value rules
  • Simple move of values
  • Mapping (x to y)
  • ABAP Code based rule for functional logic implementation

Simulate & Migrate

During the simulation and migration, new numbers are created for objects where internal numbering is used. A mapping between old document numbers and new document numbers are stored, which is referred by other migration objects while posting the data into the S/4 HANA system. The planned simulate feature can be used mimic the migration process without performing actual migration. This feature is not available for all migration objects. It also helps in identifying issues and correcting them before performing the actual migration. The data is then migrated to the S/4 HANA system using the standard APIs, thus facilitating an additional validation for the migrated data.

Using the migration package will help the customers with the benefits of minimizing time, cost and effort. Leveraging an SAP solution instead of creating custom code helps to maintain high data quality and consistency with automated mapping proposals and transformation. Furthermore, data validation with the help of built-in validation rules is enabled. As a result, customers achieve an easier, safer migration with step-by-step guidance during the migration process. 

Best practices for a smooth migration

In order to smoothen the process, we have collected some best practices customers should ensure in advance.

  • Make sure, the availability of key contacts in your organization is secured. The key contacts can include the project lead, system administrator/IT representatives as well as representatives from application and business.
  • Assessment of the current business/IT environment – This allows a business to pinpoint the things that work and the things that don’t and how they can use SAP to correct those shortfalls.
  • Analysis of the value SAP S/4HANA brings to the business – This allows us to see where our return on investment comes from and how we can leverage the system to aid business growth.
  • Validate that the target system is a net new implementation ideally with no transaction data.
  • Extract all important business numbers such as stock balance and number of open transactions so that this could be used for validation, post migration. All the custom codes are transferred to the target system
  • Configuration of new functionalities in the target system such as merchandizing categories are maintained
  • Availability of an adequate test landscape
  • For reliable test results, it is advisable to use a copy of the production system. This will also provide a comprehensive indication on potential performance issues.
  • It is recommended to use a similar hardware and system configuration as for the final migration in at least one of the test migrations, this will help to analyze the performance
  • Sufficient testing technical and business cases is extremely important to check and confirm the functional correctness after the completion of data migration
  • At least two or three test migrations before Go-Live (Recommended)

To sum up, the data migration from SAP AFS to SAP S/4HANA for fashion and vertical business supports existing AFS customers to move to S/4 with pre-defined AFS specific migration objects, the capability to derive complex selection criteria automatically from company code, an automated mapping between source and target, and the ability to pre-populate the old values and suggest the new values based on the selection. This will give existing AFS customers the right tools to focus on their transformation journey to run simply vertical.

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