Friday, May 17, 2024

Enabling ECC to S/4HANA Transformations Through Data Archiving

At a recent SAP event, PBS Software hosted a break-out session and asked “How many of you have moved or started to move your SAP systems from ECC to S/4HANA?”.  From 30 represented companies, 90% of those questioned have not migrated or started their journey.  It’s an astonishing number considering the time and effort to plan a complex system migration.

The most common concerns from SAP customers seem to center around the migration approach and how to manage their data.

“Should we use a greenfield approach and take this opportunity to standardize or re-design our processes?”

“Maybe brownfield is better and we just convert what we have to a S/4HANA platform!?”

“We have multiple ERP system’s in our environment.  Since we’re moving, should we consolidate?”

There are a number of factors impacting those decisions.  Those often include availability of resources to support the migration, impact to operations, user needs, and policies.  Supporting business operations, ensuring reporting integrity, and supporting compliance or data retention requirements are key concerns for the end-state.

SAP data archiving and archiving solutions are often overlooked components of the transformation from ECC to S/4HANA.  While SAP includes standard functionality to archive data, many companies don’t have the expertise or knowledge with data archiving to understand how it can prepare them for the move.

Additionally, there are concerns with how the archive data may be presented to users or how archiving helps.  Using standard SAP functionality and enhanced archiving solutions from PBS Software, SAP customers can prepare early, address some easy wins for data reductions, and build confidence with their end-users for the move.

These are some use-cases where data archiving can help you prepare for the upcoming change.

  • Optimize your ECC data volume: Even if the journey to S/4HANA is expected to be years in the future, the ECC production database should be lean.  This will drive key decisions around the data migration and the future size of the S/4HANA environment that will support your data.

While most companies may have adopted limited or sporadic data archiving practices to address specific problem areas, this leaves a lot of easy opportunities to reduce your production database footprint.

With industry-leading archive retrieval solutions (Archive add ons) developed by PBS Software, IT organizations can increase the scope of data archiving in their ECC environment and still enable seamless access to archive data using enhanced archive-enabled SAP transactions.  While standard data archiving focuses on migrating business-complete data from the production database to alternative storage, end users still have the flexibility to access archive data using familiar transactions.  This gives customers the flexibility to reduce the production data footprint using SAP standard archiving while ensuring that all audit and compliance needs are supported.

Some companies have been able to reduce their production data footprint by up to 50% with aggressive data archiving initiatives.

For the future move to S/4, the archive files (ADK files) are moved to storage that can be accessed in the new landscape.  The benefit of this method is that the archive data remains in low cost storage.  (i.e. It’s not imported into the S/4HANA database).  The data can remain accessible in S/4HANA using compatible versions of the Archive add ons used in the ECC environment.

  • Move your content to the cloud early: Using a compliant content management solution like PBS ContentLink, businesses have the opportunity move structured and unstructured archive data to their preferred cloud provider in advance of their S/4HANA migration.

With this solution, you have the option to update your ECC content management environment to a lean system that supports common cloud technology.  The solution will support storage of SAP archive files (ADK’s), Archivelink documents, print-lists, and more.

This gives the flexibility to migrate to a platform that supports the future S/4HANA environment, reduces the dependency for on-premise storage, and places archive data in a platform that’s ready to connect to the future S/4HANA system.  With minimal infrastructure required, this cloud-ready solution is ready for testing in days.  When it’s time to build the S/4HANA environment, it provides the flexibility to connect to the existing blob storage in the new environment without the need to move the data again.

  • Stay compliant by maintaining legacy data

As discussed earlier, standard SAP data archiving gives customers the ability to move business-complete data to archive files, but what about the data that isn’t business complete?

Do you have an option to keep legacy data outside of the S/4HANA system?

Here’s a scenario to consider.  You’ve decided to use a greenfield implementation.  The ECC environment has 10 years of data.  You were able to archive 7 years of business-complete data that needs to move to S/4 and there’s 3 years of data that potentially can’t be archived.

The data retention policy requires that this data is retained for 15 years.  Or, you have legacy systems that have been maintained for compliance that you can’t simply abandon.

With solutions like PBS Nearline Analytic Archive (NAA), you now have the option to make a full system copy of a legacy SAP system to a side-car database (outside of S/4HANA).  This copy can be completed regardless of the record status.

From the S/4HANA environment, adapted transactions will allow users to query the data from the side-car database.  This solution provides the flexibility to maintain compliance and decommission old infrastructure while keeping legacy data out of the S/4HANA environment.

Finally, data archiving is not an after-thought for migration planning to S/4.  It’s a critical component to simplify the move of data, minimize the impact of data migrations, ensure compliance, and reduce your total cost of ownership.