The People, Processes & Technology of an Effective Data Migration to SAP S/4HANA

Posted by Katie Mowery on March 30, 2018

When you’re migrating from a non-SAP legacy system or from an SAP ERP system and implementing SAP S/4HANA, your master and transactional data must be migrated from the legacy system into a new environment – and with that comes a lot of things to consider, plan for and build processes around.

Data migration is one of the biggest risks to a new system implementation. 38% of data migrations fail due to a lack of understanding of the source and target systems and poor planning/execution by project teams. A failed data migration as a part of your SAP S/4HANA implementation means decreased value of the powerful business platform  because it’s only as good as the data enabling it.

But there’s other risks to a poorly executed data migration. 

  1. There is lost time and reduced employee efficiency because time is spent managing and maintaining inaccurate, incomplete data, instead of using clean, trustworthy data to drive insights and analytics.
  2. Data issues are often addressed by adding more resources and additional project time causing increased budget and employee hours.
  3. Data loss can result in potential revenue loss or compliance/regulatory impact.
  4. Missed deadlines & project milestones - If your data is not available and in business-ready shape in time for go-live, you miss out on operational commitments and it could delay the entire system deployment.

These risks become reality when data migration is treated as a secondary priority during the move to SAP S/4HANA.

At Utopia, our goal in a data migration project is not to simply move data from one system/format to another – that can be done by anyone; it is to ensure that the migrated data is high quality, usable and supports the underlying business processes and operational goals of the organization. When we put data first, we’re really looking at the long-term potential of what that data enables.

To do that, we focus on connecting the people, processes and technologies that influence and impact data initiatives.

In your organization you probably have data stakeholders who have differing views on what your business goals are, IT (installation, maintenance) Business subject matter experts – perhaps a combination of those two skillsets, essentially, those who understand the rules in place for data creation, but cannot write them, and maybe IT can move the data but hasn’t been briefed on the long-term priorities for what value is expected to be extracted from the data. This combined with the team that is going to guide and collaborate with you through the data migration process… this is the PEOPLE component.

Then you have the technology– Mapping tools, data cleansing toolkits, all designed to analyze, determine the health of and ultimately create fit for use data.

And then the processes – how do you deal with exceptions, data issues need to be dealt with and decisions that must be made – do you use a batch process to cleanse a lot of things, or a functional expert to go in and fix it individually?

Our approach is designed to be as unique as the data that drives your organization because your data needs to fit your business needs. And wouldn’t it be nice to realize its full potential when making the investment in a new system? 

Topics: SAP S/4HANA, data migration