SAP ERP systems are complex systems, prone to redundancy, obsolescence and entropy. Relatively old systems present common problems: large databases, obsolete functionality, poor quality code etc. All this becomes worse, largely due to the lack of solutions capable of carrying out objective and precise diagnoses of the system.
It remains paradoxical that, currently, with the majority of SAP clients planning or analysing their future S4HANA migration —a technologically superior environment— dealing with these problems is being overlooked, problems which will end up becoming part of the new system unless they are eradicated or mitigated.
Some of the problems, although they will be eased with the technological improvements of the new system, will continue to be pitfalls of the past which will be migrated—taking up time and effort in the conversion project— and which will have to be managed as soon as the new system is up and running. Our approach in this situation is to undertake certain initiatives that will eliminate or minimise the effects of these problems. In general, these are grouped under the term “simplification” given that, for the majority, the solution will consist in separating what is necessary from what is contingent, what is necessary being understood as everything that cannot be done away with in order to operate in the new system and what is contingent being understood as the rest. Different domains in which to act can be established: the data domain, the functionality domain, the code domain or the infrastructure domain amongst others. In this article the approach regarding the data domain will be described and later on the approach for the rest of the domains will be outlined.
The main problem regarding data in SAP clients is its growth in volume, which stems from failing to implement a correct data lifecycle. Data is created, updated and maintained, but once it fulfils its mission, it doesn’t disappear from the system, it stays in the system, taking up space and slowing down access with no compensation. The SAP solution for this situation is SAP Archiving, which allows you to extract the less relevant information —contingent— from the database and store it in a secondary repository. SAP Archiving is a good solution, but the problem is that systems management isn’t usually adopted, and when you reach the conclusion that you need to archive, it’s usually too late: the database already has problems deriving from excess volume and the magnitude of an archiving project, in this situation, it is usually difficult to justify.
However, now is the best time to take on these kinds of projects: the greater the volume of date, the greater the need for space in the future database, and greater effort in the conversion project, whether it’s upgrade/migration (to Suite on HANA) or conversion (to S/4HANA). Once the need and the suitability of the moment is determined, the problem regarding complexity continues to exist. Our approach in these cases is always based on the same principles: analysing the system with the best solutions and, on the basis of an objective and precise diagnosis, setting out the necessary interventions. For data analysis in any version of a SAP ERP system, we recommend using a combination of tools that will give precise information relative to the data, the volume of data and more importantly, the structure and organisation of the data. On the other hand, the same SAP tools can complement this analysis with information regarding the complexity of the different objects and associated volumes.
Once the results of the extractions are obtained, they are analysed and a Situation Report is drawn up with conclusions and alternative courses of action. This process is followed in collaboration with the client team who, thanks to the unique and exclusive view offered by the analysis carried out, will be able to make decisions on a scientific and objective basis.
This Investigation, Diagnosis and Recommendations (IDR) service offered by Novis is carried out in a short space of time, thanks to the use of sophisticated tools which are part of it. Not only data analysis can be included, but also:
- Debugging master data, client data and supplier data, for their subsequent conversion to Business Partners.
- Infrastructure: sizing, design and technological alternatives.
- Interfaces: setup and impact analysis.
- Custom Code: setup, impact analysis, remediation and testing.
- SAP licensing.
In forthcoming articles we will cover these other points in more detail.
For those interested in this service, we offer to evaluate aspects, as a whole, which are most relevant to your particular case, so as to appreciate the benefits of carrying out in advance the preparatory projects for the inevitable conversion to S/4HANA.
Feedback/discussion with the author: Guillermo Vera Novis Euforia Partner