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The Road to Secure and Accurate Data

Q&A with BackOffice Associates’ Chief Strategy Officer Rex Ahlstrom

insiderPROFILES, Volume 5, Issue 2

April 1, 2014

The Road to secure and accurate data

In this interview, BackOffice Associates’ Chief Strategy Officer, Rex Ahlstrom, discusses the data migration applications available from BOA, the SAP Data Services Migration Accelerator and the SAP Information Steward Accelerator. Customers of these solutions can benefit from the combined support of SAP, BOA, and additional services partners.

 
About Rex Ahlstrom

Rex Ahlstrom

Rex Ahlstrom joined BackOffice Associates as the Chief Strategy Officer in December 2011. He brings over 25 years of leadership and technology-centric experience and oversees all operational, strategic, and technology functions. Previously, Rex served as Vice President of Operations at SAP following SAP’s purchase of SOALogix, an enterprise software integration middleware company where he served as CEO for over seven years. Prior to working at SAP, he was the CEO of MSI Software and held various management roles with organizations such as Defense Systems Inc., TeleSciences, and Westinghouse.

Q: As a longstanding partner of SAP, when did your global reseller partnership come about, and what is its market significance?

When David Booth, our President and CEO, joined the team in 2011, he and our management team saw an opportunity to further serve customers by joining hands with SAP, and this reseller partnership is the result. We’ve served in a variety of partnership capacities with SAP over the years, and while SAP has more than 10,000 partners, BackOffice Associates is now among only 14 companies with global reseller agreements — others in this category include leading global organizations such as Adobe, HP, OpenText, and Cisco. Our information governance and data migration specialty makes our solutions a perfect complement to SAP software, as SAP solutions run optimally and produce the best results when customer information is accurate and secure, whether that data resides in SAP ERP, SAP Customer Relationship Management (SAP CRM), SAP Supply Chain Management (SAP SCM), or other enterprise systems. Ultimately, this global reseller agreement creates a unique opportunity for the market and adds substantial value to the SAP solution stack and long-range roadmap.

Q: Which BackOffice Associates solutions are now being resold by SAP?

The two solutions that are being resold are the SAP Data Services Migration Accelerator application by BackOffice Associates and the SAP Information Steward Accelerator applications by BackOffice Associates, available in both custom and human capital management (HCM) editions. These proven solutions help customers complete their data migrations on time and on budget, as well as provide users with greater control over data and more visibility through powerful tools such as a project management console. Both Accelerator solutions were designed to produce rapid data quality results that can be used to ensure business-ready data for implementations of SAP software, all through a central, secure governance model.

Q: How do these solutions complement SAP’s offerings?

A big component of what these solutions bring to SAP and its customers is our depth of industry and line-of-business content and knowledge. The combination of SAP’s broader toolset and BackOffice Associates’ purpose-built solutions delivers the best of both worlds. Extending SAP’s data services tools and going beyond ETL, BackOffice offers market-specific expertise to SAP customers so they can quickly make sense of various types of industry data (such as FICO, capital management, and HCM-specific data), ensure successful data quality initiatives, and drive a tangible ROI. Customers can also tap into BackOffice’s 18+ years of knowledge regarding numerous legacy systems — including PeopleSoft, IBM Maximo, MAPICS, home-grown systems, and even mainframes — to guarantee a smooth data migration or conversion across multiple systems.

Q: What are the main capabilities of SAP Data Services Migration Accelerator?

The SAP Data Services Migration Accelerator application is integrated with SAP Data Services software and helps migration teams connect, prepare, and validate data prior to loading. Teams can leverage a built-in project management console for end-to-end visibility across tasks and schedules. Our proprietary methodology is built into the solution to simplify complex processes, and intuitive screens and templates cut down on the time it takes to complete an implementation. Additionally, when paired with BackOffice Associates’ services, the solution offers customers the unique ability to auto-generate data services migration code while adhering to coding standards, which is a tremendous time saver. Our services also include a vast library of legacy system types, reports, and analytics that speed time to value and decrease costs for overall implementation services.

Q: How about the key features of SAP Information Steward Accelerator?

As I mentioned before, the SAP Information Steward Accelerator application comes in two editions — custom and HCM. Both editions offer data stewards and business users a content-rich passive data governance solution that is integrated natively with SAP Information Steward technology. The solution helps teams in any industry efficiently investigate and eliminate data errors to yield superior data quality, master data management, and information governance. The HCM edition offers the addition of tailored content and reporting designed to accelerate and optimize data quality in implementations of HCM solutions. For example, the analytics woven into the HCM edition enable organizations to use reports to drive notifications, workflow, and project management around detected errors. Through passive data governance, these errors are not only identified but also automatically and securely routed to the proper individuals through Microsoft Excel files. By using SAP Information Steward Accelerator, HCM personnel speed the error resolution process and cut the amount of time they spend determining what analytics content to examine to discover and mitigate data errors.

Q: What level of support is available for these Accelerator solutions now being resold by SAP?

As both Accelerator solutions are being sold directly by the SAP salesforce, customers benefit from a variety of full support options offered through SAP, BackOffice Associates, and other services partners. Our top priority is meeting customers’ most pressing needs, and we welcome every opportunity to perform in a services capacity to augment and optimize their deployment of our software. Our BackOffice team offers more than 450 data experts who are ready to deliver faster time to value and reduced deployment costs. We also regularly work alongside system integrators (SI) and complement their services to help customers reduce data-specific SI spend and take data off the critical path. Ultimately, we remain flexible in our services approach to ensure that our expertise is applied in the areas where we have core data-focused knowledge that will benefit the customer.

Q: How does this partnership fit into the SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud vision?

Access to data is becoming more crucial to businesses than ever before. SAP has stepped up to the challenge of data management with its role as the cloud company powered by SAP HANA. By building out the SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud platform as the development platform for all SAP apps and actively moving all classic apps onto it, SAP will be able to conduct more real-time data analysis, more easily consolidate systems, and drive another wave of migration from legacy systems to the SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud. Having our SAP Data Services Migration Accelerator and SAP Information Steward Accelerator capabilities available on the platform offers customers the ability to rapidly analyze mission-critical data for business relevancy and readiness as well as improve overall data governance.

Learn More

For more information on BackOffice Associates products, visit www.boaweb.com/sap. To learn more about the BackOffice Associates solutions resold by SAP, visit www.sap.com/data-services-migration-accelerator and www.sap.com/information-steward-accelerator.

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