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Accelerate your DATA Journey to SAP S/4HANA

This blog focuses on the data (mainly master data) that need to be moved, loaded and maintained on the journey to SAP S/4HANA. I’d like to outline different options to use packaged software solutions to improve data quality, enrich data & right size data volumes on that journey. How to utilize them BEFORE, DURING and AFTER the migration is proposed here.

Target Audience

SAP Solution Architects & Data Architects from customers and/or services partners that plan to move or started their move to SAP S/4HANA. If you plan to do a system conversion you may just be interested in the INNOVATE and SUSTAIN sections as outlined below.

Setting the Stage

We live in a data-driven world and the value that data delivers to business is more important than ever before for the success of innovative companies. Any migration project provides the big opportunity to answer the question

“What about my data?”

Since data needs to be moved from one or many applications into the new target system, there is the unique chance to not only clean data so that it fulfills the minimum needs for the target application, but also modify, standardize and enrich it, so that also future data demands and data innovations can be addressed.

Data is a corporate asset that needs to be continuously available in high quality within SAP S/4HANA and across the entire application landscape. Instead of just technically moving data from source to target or just perform a “one-time manual cleanse activity”, we recommend to introduce software solutions during the migration process that can be utilized even after the SAP S/4HANA migration was finished and become part of a enterprise wide Data Management Platform to make sure that data is consistent, accurate, complete and available across the entire application landscape.

A SAP S/4HANA data migration project is like moving house:

The one unique chance to clean-up your household.

How to Start ?

Before starting your SAP S/4HANA journey you need to consider which way to go. Out of the three general approaches as outlined below, the SAP S/4HANA journeys New Implementation and Selective Data Transition should always consider a solid data cleansing and data standardization process established during the migration phase.

 

 

Once you’ve identified your transition approach, the SAP Activate Roadmap “Transition to SAP SAP S/4HANA” provides a fully guided path and methodology for New Implementation, System Conversion and Selective Data Transition. Look for Solution Specific->Transition to SAP S/4HANA HERE .

The Workgroup Data Management outlined in the SAP Activate methodology can utilize software solutions to improve data quality even before the data migration itself is happening (PREPARE).

During the MIGRATION phase standardized and re-usable processes, approvals and people interactions will accelerate, re-run and govern the data migration task.

Finally, data quality and data volumes need to be managed continuously once the migration to SAP S/4HANA is finalized (INNOVATE) to make sure that the data value will be preserved.

Data validation and Data enrichment services can be utilized along the entire journey. (SUSTAIN)

 

PREPARE Phase

Within the PREPARE phase you do check data from all your relevant sources (SAP and non-SAP) that will be data providers for SAP S/4HANA. Data Cleansing activities that are supported by SAP Data Services/SAP Information Steward are happening to cleanse the data in the source systems even before the migration is started.

The Business Partner is a mandatory concept within SAP S/4HANA. The complexity behind the Business Partner and the CVI technical component is well described in the SAP S/4HANA Cookbook “Customer/Vendor Integration”.

The new Business Partner model forces all migration teams to think about how to introduce the business partner concept and when. This task is critical for the SAP S/4HANA overall success even though the Business Partner is not really a migration topic, since the Business Partner is already available in SAP ECC.

In order to reduce user confusion in SAP S/4HANA I’d recommend to introduce the Business Partner for customer and vendor master data management as soon as possible during the journey to SAP S/4HANA.

How?

SAP Master Data Governance can support the introduction of the Business Partner early, even if all business applications still run on SAP ECC. SAP Master Data Governance on SAP S/4HANA can be introduced early to merge and migrate customer and vendor data into a centralized master data hub. Identical customers and vendors are merged into a single business partner during the SAP Master Data Governance Consolidation process. SAP Master Data Governance will replace the maintenance of customer and vendor master data from within the SAP ECC systems: New master data is created in SAP Master Data Governance and distributed to the consuming SAP ECC applications. The underlying SAP S/4HANA platform can be subsequently utilized to migrate business applications from SAP ECC overtime which converts the SAP Master Data Governance Hub deployment into a Co-deployment architecture.

The final task that you should undertake during the PREPARE phase is the Right Size Move to SAP S/4HANA by evaluating data volumes of your source systems and their relevance for the new SAP S/4HANA solution.

Only move the data that is needed and relevant for SAP S/4HANA. Other business complete data, you might move into an archive, so that it is still accessible and available if needed. There may be also data in your source systems that your are not even allowed to use anymore. GDPR regulations are a driver for such an evaluation. With the utilization of SAP Information Lifecycle Management you’re reducing complexity, scope and overall costs of SAP S/4HANA with the right data volume to be migrated.

MIGRATE Phase

The phase of data migration is a repetitive task of reading data from sources, staging it, validating it (again) and making it ready for the target SAP S/4HANA consumption. This entire process typically involves many different people who need to review, change and approve the data before it is final and can be loaded into SAP S/4HANA.

Roman Dykhno, Value Engineer@Syniti described this phase as follows.

“A successful data migration relies on sound methodology, tools built specifically to execute that methodology, and qualified resources to execute against that methodology and toolset.

The data migration process must be repeatable, reliable, and efficient.  This requires that manual manipulation and construction of data be minimized, and only used as a last resort. As a part of the repeatable process only business relevant data will be processed and made business ready for SAP S/4HANA. The SAP S/4HANA system validation and logic will be applied to the converted data, prior to loading into SAP S/4HANA.

Data will be loaded “early and often”, as many test loads as possible, and the data loaded will be used by business teams for project testing cycles. In order to reduce risk and leverage the “load early and load often” concept, data will initially be loaded with best practice, then later enhanced per project specific requirements.”

Even though you may think that the migration to SAP S/4HANA is a “on-time occurrence”, experience has shown that companies continuously perform migration projects in one or the other way. (Due to acquisition, spin-offs, application retirements, application consolidation etc.)

Since data is such a critical success factor for an application migration, you should establish a Data Migration Factory as part of your Data Management Platform. It is the technical foundation for a data migration methodology. The Data Migration Factory will evolve over time and all components will be created and configured, so that they can be re-used to the maximum extend for the next migration project.

 

 

SAP Advanced Data Migration by Syniti is the management layer in such a Data Migration Factory. It holds processes, data rules, mappings in a central place (and not distributed across various different systems (e.g. different ETL Tools, source or target applications, etc.) . SAP Data Services is utilized solely as ETL engine to execute generated data mappings. The pure data upload into SAP S/4HANA can be done either via SAP Migration Cockpit for any kind of data (transactional or master data) or via SAP Master Data Governance Consolidation for master data if SAP Master Data Governance is enabled on SAP S/4HANA.

Please also check out the SAP Community Topic around SAP Migration Cockpit  and ask questions in that context.

 

 

INNOVATE Phase

Once your SAP S/4HANA target application goes live, you start with right sized, clean and accurate data of a high quality (If everything during PREPARATION and MIGRATION went well).

How do you make sure that it stays like that?

You do need to establish processes and tools that govern any master data creation and change to make sure that data stays at high quality at the point of entry. In addition you should establish a continuous data quality monitoring against a set of dimensions that contain your key data quality rules. Any erroneous data records you would then automatically, or manual improve within SAP S/4HANA.

The prior investment into SAP Master Data Governance can be leveraged here! SAP Master Data Governance contains governance and data quality (DQM) functionality to make sure that high data quality is continuously available in S4/HANA. SAP Master Data Governance DQM was introduced with the SAP S/4HANA 1809 release and enables you to evaluate, monitor and improved master data quality as embedded functionality in SAP Master Data Governance.

In a similar way SAP Information Lifecycle Management is re-used to manage data volumes with a reliable and regulation compliant data archiving concept.

 

SUSTAIN Across all phases

I any data migration project there are elements and tasks that cannot be really “squeezed” into any phases as outlined above. A very prominent example for this is the task of “validation and enrichment” of data. Validation is the task of checking one or more data fields against in internal or external data set.

Examples: For business partners this is typically an address validation services, which checks whether the address exists, return the correct writing and enriches the response with additional information like GEO codes or regional information. For materials, products or spare parts there are other fields of interest and different service provides to be invoked.

Data Enrichment usually means the integration of new information about your data asset that is not available internally. Examples of data provides in this category are Dun & Bradstreet or the Corporate Data League.

Any data service invocation is happening via a standardizes API that ideally is already integrated into the system where the data is residing.

Two services that I’d like to highlight in the context of an SAP S/4HANA migration project are the SAP Data Quality Management, microservices for location data and the SAP Cloud Platform Data Enrichment They’re both available as pre-build services in the SAP Cloud Platform.

Both services can be utilized in any phase of the migration process (PREPARE, MIGRATE, INNOVATE) to validate and enrich data either in the source systems, during the data migration process or once the data is in SAP S/4HANA.

 

SUMMARY

Every migration project is different and a successful journey/migration to SAP S/4HANA is influenced by many factors that determine complexity, duration and effort.

Even though data extraction, evaluation, improvement and load can be done fully manual with SQL scripting or other development approaches (see LINK from SAP DMLT), I want to encourage you to think broader towards a Data Driven Company in which Data Management as an integral part of the IT & application landscape. The above mentioned products & solutions provide significant value on your journey to SAP S/4HANA, but also beyond that.

You may ask “But what about my processes that I’d like to improve on my journey to SAP S/4HANA?”.

Since this is a topic as least as big as DATA, I’d like to draw your attention to the below high level diagram, which outlines many tasks (“WHAT“) related to data, processes, extensions, testing and document management and “HOW” SAP solutions can support you with these topics on your SAP S/4HANA journey.

All extended solution mentioned below need to be discussed in separate BLOGs.

 

 

 

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