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Top 10 lessons learnt when leading a data migration on a SAP S/4HANA project

Data migration can easily be the downfall of any project. A lot of focus goes into having a great solution, the right functionality, testing that the system works however a lot focus also needs to be given to the data that comes from the legacy system into your new ERP system. We all know the saying – Garbage In, Garbage out.

I was pleasantly surprised to encounter all the new tools SAP has introduced for data migration for clients and partners to use on their S/4HANA journey. I want to share with you the 10 lessons I have learnt from developing a migration solution for a SAP S/4HANA project, I hope you find them useful as you embark on the same exciting journey.

1. Explore available options for data migration

SAP offers various methods to load data into S/4. The new kids on the block we discovered at the start of our project was the SAP S/4 Migration Cockpit and SAP Data Services with the Rapid Deployment Solution for SAP S/4HANA. And the old faithful comrades were still in the mix – LSMW and SAP BDC still had a place in our project.

Other vendors have also built IP and tools to help you on your data migration journey. EY innovated in this area and just recently the EY Intelligent Transformation Platform was certified as a SAP solution. The EY Intelligent Transformation platform (ITP, SAP ECC to SAP S/4HANA) is a Customer Vendor Integration automation tool (ECC Customer and Vendor data migration to S/4 Business Partner data).

Follow link for more details: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6602602056068939776/

2. Define a data migration strategy for each data object

We defined a data migration strategy for each of our objects to reduce the development effort required on our project. Our approach covered master data and transaction data and our high-level approach to data migration development was:

  • Use S/4 Migration Hub Templates for Data Objects where available
  • Use SAP RDS Data Migration Solution if no S/4 Migration Hub Template is available
  • Only develop a new data flow in S/4 Migration Cockpit or SAP Data Services if no template is available and target record count is over 100 records
  • Capture data directly into environment where target records counts is less than 100 records

3. Understand the limitation of each tool

The first page of the S/4 Migration cockpit should not be skipped over, take a few minutes and read it. For example, the amount fields can’t be bigger than 15 characters including the decimal point. In cases where you have data that fits this scenario, you should use the migration cockpit.

Another good example was when trying to load Master Recipe. There was no Migration Hub Content and no RDS solution as well, however SAP came to the rescue and confirmed what we already suspected… use LSMW and a BDS recording to load the data as detailed in OSS note 2456506 – Mass processing of master recipe is not possible.

4. S/4 Migration Cockpit can highlight configuration issues

Our data migration development/unit testing and functional unit testing was running in parallel. The templates fast tracked our development and we could start loading data much earlier than anticipated. It is not always easy to load data while the configuration is being finalised, however by doing this we highlighted some configuration issues that did not surface during the normal unit testing cycle on the function side.

In early stages we could load data, identify defects and seek assistance from SAP functional stream to adjust design to adhere to SAP principles and standards which at the end makes for a better streamlined solution. It was almost as if the data migration team performed an additional testing cycle that was not planned… and there can never be to much testing on a project

5. S/4 Migration Cockpit templates are very particular on formatting

Data formats are very specific in the S4 Migration Templates. To avoid fill issues in XML template and unnecessary headaches when trying to load the data, follow the instructions in the OSS notes below… it really saved us a few times.

2620588 – How to use Migration Objects template for Data Migration Cockpit
2692715 – Migration Cockpit: How to correctly fill data into XML template

6. SAP Rapid Data Migration to SAP S/4HANA is a great additional add-on

In a perfect world everything would be possible using SAP’s S4 Migration Cockpit. It is so easy to use and quick to implement.

The rapid data migration to SAP S/4HANA solution enables you to realize the full benefits of the next-generation business suite even faster. It accelerates the process of cleansing, validating, transforming, and migrating your data from any system to SAP S/4HANA.

Link to SAP Rapid Data Migration to SAP S/4 HANA:

https://rapid.sap.com/bp/#/browse/categories/sap_s%254hana/areas/migration/packageversions/RDM_S4H_OP

We had limited SAP Data Services skills in our team and we could still use the RDS solution. The RDS solution really helped us fast track our delivery and quality of solution.

7. Quick updates on tables without using migration tools are possible

Our first objects that we loaded were profit centers, cost centers and GL Accounts. The S/4 Migration Cockpit shows very clearly dependencies on the objects and it was very intuitive to use. Profit centers and cost centers loaded without issues and then we were stumped by GL accounts which we thought would be just as easy as the other two objects we have just loaded.

We were stumped with the wildcard value * in the Tax Category field. The possible values for the field in the lookup table contained the usual values (*,+,-) and so did our file, but the file still didn’t want to load. The * values just didn’t want to be accepted and didn’t pass the validation step.

One of our team members in India had a great idea. Load the file without the tax category and then use transaction MASS to update the table with the correct values. Transaction MASS allows you to update fields directly into a set of master data objects. Not all the master data objects are there but if your object is there, you can select your object, select the field you to update, map your upload file to the fields for the object and load your data. Great way to overcome some of the issues we faced during our loads.

8. 1-2-3… and you have created your own custom S4 Migration Cockpit template

Everything was running smoothly; the team quickly got the know how on all the tools and the project delivery was running on schedule. One morning, a wide-eyed team member broke the news in our daily stand-up meeting… there was an object that we had to migrate, however there was no migration template available or SAP Data Services RDS solution.

We have been so spoilt with the myriad of templates available in S/4 Migration Cockpit and the RDS Data Services Jobs that we were taken aback when we discovered some object did not have template. But the shock didn’t last long, we quickly started investigating and found how easy it was to create our own template. Have a look at the blog one of our team members wrote that gives a step by step instructions on how to create your own data migration template using the S4 Migration Cockpit.

Follow the link to the detailed steps:
https://blogs.sap.com/2019/10/01/creating-an-object-template-for-s4hana-migration-cockpit/

9. Tweaks under the hood are possible in S/4 Migration Cockpit

After our first OSS note gave us instruction on how to correct the value check table for a translation objects we very quickly resolved some of the issues we experienced on our own.

Using transaction LTMOM, you can select your translation object, select the export parameters and change the value table. After your change, you need to save and regenerate your object.

Other changes are also possible – adding new fields or show hidden fields that is already available in the function module you are using for migration. Follow the same steps as described in the blog mentioned in the previous tip to enhance your object.

10. Use SAP Expert Chat… great feature

SAP Expert chat is a great function I have used frequently during out S4 Data Migration project. When encountering migration issue on the S4 Migration Hub Templates or the RDS solution we quickly connected on the SAP portal and got assistance on the issues we were facing. If is was not possible to resolve the issue immediately the online SAP team created an OSS note with all the required details in from the chat and send the details to me for the next follow up.

 

Good luck with your data migration and I hope these suggestions helps you on your journey!

I only have one wish for the SAP Genie… I hope SAP develop an easy S4 Migration template next to load the Financial Statement version… just imagine how great that will be!

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