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SAP FICO Data Migration – Global Execution, Planning and Approach

Data Migration is the most important part of any SAP project, whether its roll out or Implementation Project. If data migration goes wrong, minimum cost/benefit ratio will not be achieved by the business. This will not only lead to client frustration, dissatisfaction but also unnecessary damage in SAP reputation. Proper planning and its controlled execution are the key components for any Successful Data migration.

This blog covers Managerial aspects of Data Migration, Sap execution parts and other important points related to Data Migration.

SAP is intelligent and value creating ERP and successful data migration requires below activities. Purpose of this blog is to provide community the overview of the components of Data Migration based on experience. Below model may differ from project to project or client to client. Below list is inclusive rather than exhaustive.

  1. Global Planning.
  2. Scope
  3. Responsibility matrix.
  4. Upload Tool/Methods
  5. Unified Template Approach
  6. Uploads
  7. Verification
  8. Sign off
  9. Special approvals for additional uploads
  10. Peoples Management
  11. Additional Points
  12. Challenges and its resolution

1 Global Planning.

In a big project where multiple countries are involved and implementation/roll out to be carried out in phased manner, proper strategy and planning is must. Following planning components must be considered for proper execution of data migration.

Timeline

Upload start and end dates for each object and for each country to be decided in advance. Once dates are finalized and deadlines isn’t met, it may have below impacts:

  1. GO live date and overall plan may impact.
  2. It may have huge cost impact.
  3. Large organisation may have huge impact on its profitability.

So, consider above factors while deciding on timelines.

  • Upload cycle.

There might be different cycle of uploads in Data migration. This is most important step in planning. Consider below points for these steps.

  1. Number of cycles to be carried out. Whether 3 cycle or 4 cycle to be carried out. This is dependent upon the time availability.
  2. Standard cycle should be agreed upon for each country or each implementation.
  3. Whether additional cycles are also required and the reason for the same.
  4. Provision to complete entire upload in 2 cycles.
  • System for each cycle.

Generally Development, Quality and Production systems are used for uploads. This amounts to 3 upload cycles. In some cases, it may have 4 cycles including sandbox. System scope should be defined in advance with business. Contingency plan like uploads in Sandbox at last moment should be accommodated.

  •  Percentage of data upload.

Each phase can have different percentage of uploads. For e.g. Phase I could be in Sandbox or Development system. It might have 10% of data to be uploaded. Phase II may have 50% and Final upload could have 100%. This must be decided in advance at planning stage itself.

Whether Phase I will have only Master data or Master/Transaction data. Or Master data in Phase 1 and Master/Transaction data in Phase II.

2 Scope

This is most important aspect for Data Migration. Scope must be decided in advance. Generally below items are included for Data Migration.

  1. Master Data – GL account, Cost Center, Profit Center, Internal Orders, Asset Master, Bank Accounts.
  2. Transaction Data – GL open item, GL Balance, Vendor Open Item, Customer Open item, Asset balance, Tax line items.

3 Responsibility matrix.

Below teams should be part of Responsibility Matrix. This is just an example to give the overview of responsibility matrix. This may differ for other projects.

  • Global team

Global team is responsible for entire data migration cycle. If anything goes wrong or not within framework, global team must justify. Global team responsibility would be as follow.

  1. Responsible and accountable for implementation and business support teams’ task.
  2. Link between business support team and Implementation team.
  3. Link between management and other teams.
  4. Task resolution within timeline.
  5. Follow ups with Implementation team for Upload status.
  6. Follow ups with Business support team for File readiness.
  7. Query resolution for business support team.
  8. Error/Query resolution for Implementation team.
  9. Status update to Management team.
  10. Support to Users in absence of business support team.
  11. File uploads in case of absence of Implementation team.
  12. File review for business support team
  13. Data correctness post upload by implementation team.
  14. Team management
  15. …….and many more
  • Implementation team

Implementation team is the execution team. Following are the responsibility of implementation team.

  1. Uploads for entire master/Transaction data.
  2. Error resolution while uploading data
  3. Co-ordinating with configuration team and Global team.
  4. Follow up with Configuration team.
  5. Follow up with Global team for Data file.
  6. Reminders to Global team for Data File.
  7. Connecting with Global team for queries/doubt.
  8. Programme testing with test scenario before Data migration starts.
  9. File review before upload.
  10. Intimation of errors in file, if any, missed by global team.
  11. Adhering to upload timeline set by Global team.
  12. Adaptability for various uploads cycle.
  13. Quality output.
  14. Avoid communication with teams other than Global team.
  15. …….and many more
  • Business Support team

Business support team is a link between global team and client user teams. User team may comprise end users as well as IT consultant. Anyone from client is considered as user for Business support team. Following is the responsibility of business support team.

  1. Data migration process explanation along with global team to users.
  2. Template overview in detail.
  3. Assistance and guidance to users in filling template.
  4. Escalating matters to global team for any lapses.
  5. Managing timelines for each object.
  6. Follow up with user for filling up the templates.
  7. File review/correction for each object received from user.
  8. Resolving day to day queries raised by users.
  9. Communicating expectations from user related to DM.
  10. Assisting user to verify data uploaded in the system.
  11. Assisting user to check the GLs, Cost Center, Profit Center and all other master data in the system before file creation.
  12. …….and many more
  • Users file preparation.

User responsibility is as below.

  1. Complete the templates with relevant data for uploads.
  2. Route files to Business user team for verification before upload.
  3. Raise any queries to business support team related to DM.
  4. Not to connect with any team other than Business support team.
  5. Verify the correctness of data filled in template.
  6. …….and many more
  • Managing team.

Managing team responsibility is as below.

  1. Execution is in line as per global plan
  2. Status update from Global Team Manager, Business Support team manager, Implementation team Manager.
  3. Checking and adhering timelines as per plan.
  4. Revising/updating plans as per client requirements.
  5. Updating the changes to all concerned person.
  6. Team management.
  7. Defining scope in concurrence with business.
  8. Preparing responsibility/escalation matrix from Business team as well as implementing partner team.
  9. Status update to CFO/CEO of respective country.
  10. …….and many more

4 Upload Tool/Methods

Following tools are offered by SAP for Data upload. Appropriate tool must be selected based on its Pros and Cons, Technical requirement, Longevity, business requirement and any other factors.

  • LSMW

In ECC 6.0, LSMW is best tool for Data Upload. Standard LSMW programmes are offered by   SAP for each transaction data object. Creating 2 files for Transaction data is cumbersome. Due to this Consultants avoid LSMW approach.

To avoid this 2 files approach, connect with technical team to embed upload account in programme.  When file is prepared only one line of document is added. Upload account is automatically picked up by the programme. Values like amount, posting key, business area, Profit Centre will be populated from line item 1. This will result in time saving at the time of file creation.

LSMW is best for Master data upload. Create standard recordings and upload Master data.

In S/4HANA, LSMW is redundant and LTMC has been introduced. Read my blog on LTMC for details steps.

  • BDC

BDC is a very good feature but for big projects, this is not recommended. Recording transaction, coding exercise, preparing FS and testing for each country is cumbersome. For small projects with one company code or less data this is a good option.

Using BDC or LSMW is a subjective.  Business can decide upon this as what tool to use.

5 Unified Template Approach

  • Template creation

Create Common template based on above method selected. Share these templates to the Business support team and Implementation team. These templates must be used for all cycles and for all countries. Templates for below objects need to be created.

  1. Cost/Profit centres and Internal orders templates
  2. GL Balance and GL Open templates
  3. Vendor and Customer balance templates
  4. Asset Balance templates
  5. Asset Master Templates
  6. Tax line item templates.
  • Template folder.

Common drive or one drive should be used for all templates. File exchange should be restricted on emails. Protocols need to be set for file exchange and same need to be circulated to all concerned people. Violation should be escalated as per escalation matrix. File exchange on mail should be ignored and considered as null and void.

  • Template Checklist

For Qualitative content, create checklist for each object. Below are checklists I have created for each object. Share this checklist to users to avoid basic mistakes while filling the templates. This is an example and can differ for readers in their projects. Some of the points are repetitive in different objects. Please ignore as this is for user awareness.

GL Open item

GL Balance

Account Payable upload

Account Receivable upload

Asset Master

Asset Balance

  • Template rules.

Based on above checklist, prepare the template. Make rules in template considering below points.

  1. Field validation based on above check list.
  2. Colour coding for fields. Brown for Compulsory, Orange for not required, Blue for optional etc.
  • Template explanation and sharing

User meeting is required to be conducted. This must be detailed session extending for few days. Explain them below items in detail

  1. Templates
  2. Templates Checklist
  3. Templates rules for each object.
  4. Zero balance for upload account
  5. Upload/reupload of data.
  6. Timelines
  7. Responsibility matrix
  8. Escalation matrix.
  9. Guidelines
  10. Reports for verification.
  11. Verification process.
  12. Phases of uploads
  13. Systems for uploads.
  • File verification

Once file is received, note below few points.

  1. Check file at higher level. Make sure all mandatory columns are having values
  2. Filter each column and check nothing is blank.
  3. Check date format and other important things like Business area, Profit Center, Cost Center, Internal orders.
  4. Check posting keys, check DR and CR are in sync with Posting keys.
  5. Check if amounts are not in negative.
  6. Check full stop and comma specification.
  7. Assignment, reference fields are not blank.
  8. Check all above check list and rules in the file.

If satisfied with the content, forward the file for upload else reject with quoting the reasons (lighter node).

6 Uploads

  • Sample uploads

Sample uploads for few transactions for each object should be carried out before the final upload. User with the help of business support team should review the sample upload and give the confirmation for correctness. This step could prevent business from big blunder as well as big spoiler.

  • Final upload

Once approval for sample uploads is received, final upload for object should be initiated. Mail for sample approval should be saved for audit purpose.

7 Verification

  • Upload verification

Post final uploads, tallying system figures with file provided is to be carried out. Adopting proper approach for tallying data is very important. Following are the tips for better data verification.

    • Asset Master – First tally totals at asset class level. This will provide the figures which are tallying/not tallying. It has observed that consultants spend ample time in tallying Asset master because they tally the figures in totality. Instead adopt Asset class level approach. Later at asset number level. Tallying figure at asset class level will not only save ample time but will save much efforts.
    • For all other object – Adopt similar approach above. Tally at higher level and then drill down to detail level. For e.g. business area, profit Center, vendor, customer, Gl level.
    • Splitting approach – If file is huge, split the file and upload. This will help in saving reconciliation time, ease in reconciliation, less complexity, better control, easy tracking, speeder execution, less errors and smooth uploads.
  • Client verification
    • Educating user – Educating users/concerned person for above approach used for upload verification by consultant is very important.  This will save lot of time. There might be SAP and non-sap users. There might be novice user who are totally unaware of this process. Verification exercise must be conducted in right direction to get effective results.
    • Real time support – Users may require real-time support while verification. It may be on-shore of off-shore. Address their queries immediately.
    • Physical presence – Sometime physical availability is requested by client. At the time of Global planning, this aspect should be considered to avoid last minute negotiation. Benefits of physical availability in global project is ease in understanding the problem, prompt response for queries by user, speedy resolution, client enhance productivity, client confidence and rapid conclusion of task.
  • Re-upload/correction

This is very crucial step of any Data migration. Once client verification in above step is completed, user may identify some missing/wrong uploads. User will send additional files to upload. Sometimes it requires to re-upload the file again. Reverse the documents uploaded in above step and re-upload the file. For wrong uploads, get document numbers from user and reverse in the system and upload the new file.

Following might be the reason for re-upload

  1. User was unclear for uploads
  2. Auditors queries.
  3. Revaluation entries were missed out.
  4. Wrong uploads.
  5. Multiple uploads.
  6. Adjustments in financials
  7. …….and many more

This step may be surprising. Be prepared for umpteen uploads in some cases.

  • Data upload account – Zero balance

Once all transaction data are uploaded in the system, its balance should be 0. Total of the following gls should be 0.

  1. GL Balance upload account
  2. GL open upload account
  3. Asset balance upload account
  4. Vendor Balance upload account
  5. Customer balance upload account
  6. Stock balance upload account

Stocks are uploaded by Plant Maintenance module.

Inform Users for this step in advance as this will help them to identify the missing uploads.

8 Sign 0ff

  • Sign off

It’s very important to get sign off. This will mark as the closure of DM activity. Sign off is the criteria for initiating next step of the project. Note below points for Signoff:

  1. Take sign off for each object.
  2. Retain sign off mails for audit trail. Better upload in common drive for the project.
  3. Send repeated reminders for getting sign off mails. If not received, escalate to highest level.
  • Data upload account locking

Once sign off is received, lock all upload accounts used in Data migration for future uploads. Intimation mail need to be sent to all concerned users/process owners for the same. No further upload will happen in this GL account. This is to safeguard unauthorized posting in the upload account. Set workflow for re-opening this account.

9 Special approvals for additional uploads

Once entire Data migration is completed, user requests for additional uploads missed out during DM. DO NOT ENTERTAIN directly. Forward this upload request for special approval. These approvals should come from both – Business as well as Project Manager.

Totals of Upload GLs account must be 0 post additional uploads. If not, balance account principle is breached. Escalate/Intimate to management.

10 Peoples Management

This is most sensitive area of DM activity. In Global/large projects, data migration for multiple countries are carried out simultaneously. Consultant will have to deal with different kind of users. Approach adopted for one country might not work for another country. There are different regions like EMEA, APAC, Africa, Middle east etc. Every location has their peculiar style of working. Sticking to standard Data migration plan and modifying the approach as per country culture/time zone or user working style is very important. Carrying over recent DM upload experience is good but need to be adapted as per their requirement.

They may be following type of users from country to country

  • SAP users
  • Non sap users
  • New trainees
  • Cross lateral trainers
  • Highly experience user.
  • Business experts
  • Management people.
  • Aggressive users.
  • Passive users (Here take care as all onus for failures will lie upon you.)
  • Auditors
  • Consultants (part of business Support team)
  • …….and many more

11 Additional points

  • Cost Center hierarchy

Creating cost/Profit Center hierarchy is very easy for consultants. But for users its tedious task. In some projects, users are handed this responsibility. User will create each node one by one and this will be very time consuming. Work along with them for faster processing. Educate them with tricks of creating multiple nodes at same level. This will save lot of time.

  • Mass uploads

User/Person responsible for Cost/Profit Center uploaded might be wrong. Avoid writing LSMW for changing this. Use mass upload with Excel functionality for this. Refer my blog for detail steps.

  • Profit Center – Assignment/Removal of company code

Post Profit Center upload, sometimes all company codes are assigned to it. Profit Center belonging to a company code must be assigned. Others need to be removed. Use program RCOPCA60_2 – Removal and transaction code KEOA2 – Activation

Refer my blog for detail steps.

  • Wrong Asset Upload

In last moments, it is observed that Asset Master uploads are incorrect and cannot be considered for GO-Live, do not panic. Reverse documents for Asset balance posted in above steps. Once reversed, GL asset balance are 0. Make a fresh posting in transaction code ABF1L. This posting will reflect in Trial Balance and system is ready for GO-Live. Please refer my blog for ABF1L posting.

  • Asset Master reset.

In last moments, it is observed that Asset master uploads are incorrect, then reset the Asset master data (OABL). This will delete entire Asset master data for selected company code. Note: This is at company code level. Re-Upload the asset master in AS91.  Already Asset GL posting are done in above step. Safe Go-live.

  • Tax line item

Tax line item should have separate file Deactivate Withholding tax tick in mass upload for all Vendor Master. Upload Tax file and restore the tick with mass upload. If tick not removed, this would create extra line in Tax documents.

12 Challenges and its resolution.

Data migration challenges consultants during critical time. Below challenges can be faced while uploading data.

  • Multiple countries uploads.

It may happen that Go-Live date for few countries is on same date. Data need to be uploaded at the same time for each country. Global team and Implementation team are one, but Business support teams are multiple. Business support team, user and project managers will keep pressurising Global team member.

To resolve/handle this situation

  1. Request for additional resource in advance to Managing team.
  2. Intimate this situation to managing team.
  3. Prioritise the critical object and upload them first

This will save consultant from accountability.

  • Resource unavailability.

During last moment, consultant uploading files are not available due to sickness, time zone or any other reason beyond control. During this time, Global team member should have experience to upload file at last moment. It is advisable to have experience FICO consultant in global team. One upload cycle for each country for each object should be executed by Global team FICO consultant.

Almost in all organisation, female counterparts are not allowed to work late night. Data migration process requires late office sitting and continuous working till go live is completed. Please note below points.

  1. Provide laptop to Female counterparts to work till late night.
  2. If possible, allow them to work from home for entire production cycle.
  3. Allot them first or general shift.
  • Error resolution.

Errors during upload need to be resolved by Global support team. There might be following type of errors.

  1. Data error – Business area not provided.
  2. Configuration error – Like GL account not assigned to AO90
  3. System error – Like Cost Center not created.
  4. Global team error – Like Profit Center not activated.

Identify errors and forward this to respective team members asap. Real time communication on messenger will save lot of time.

  • User/Person Responsible

Verify in advance whether all User/Person responsible for Cost/Profit Center are created by Security team before production upload. This could be show stopper. Please note below points

  1. Start sending reminders from UAT phase itself.
  2. If possible, accommodate User/Person responsible in Quality upload files.
  3. Follow escalation matrix in case of no action.
  4. Check proper user ids are provided in files and not the names of employees.

I hope this document is helpful to you.

Regards

Zunaid

 

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