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SAP Data Migration - Are You Up for the Challenge?

by Jodee Hale-Schmid

July 27, 2010

Authored by Rich Anderson, Client Partner, Utopia, Inc.

SAP applications and ERP projects are big. They are cumbersome. They are expensive. Companies are constantly trying to mitigate their risks for these organizational changing events. Data migration is a key component of that project and it brings about several significant challenges:

CHALLENGE 1: NO Business Disruption During Go Live and Beyond


  • Poor quality master data unable to support core business processes may disrupt your organizations daily business
  • Ongoing support of current legacy systems during transition can be overwhelming

CHALLENGE 2: SAP User Adoption Needs to be High


  • Lack of quality data can make new system unusable to new users
  • Return on Investmen t is delayed as users don’t take full advantage of the new system or capabilities because they don’t “recognize the data”

CHALLENGE 3: Avoid Surprises


  • Delays are frequently caused by surprises in the data
  • Surprises early in a project can be managed – surprises late in a project are a huge problem

CHALLENGE 4: Data Governance


  • The data governance approach should be establish before the migration event to prevent issues after go live

So, what is the solution? For me there are four pillars on which a successful SAP Data Migration is based:

  • Tools - You need a world-class toolset for both data quality and data integration (Take a look at SAP® BusinessObjects™ Data Services).
  • Methodology – This should be a proven methodology that involves the business early, aligns with the overall project milestones, and is flexible enough to account for differences in each organization.
  • Templates – SAP data migrations have been done hundreds of times. Make sure to use the accelerators and templates that are available. There is no need to re-invent the wheel.
  • Expertise – SAP data migration is a special skill set. It can be learned, but best practices indicate you need the resources who have been on that train before.
Ultimately the message is simple, data migration is a risk. Address it early in the project so that you don’t have surprises late in the implementation.

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