What Role — If Any — Should a Program Management Office Play in Your Next SAP Upgrade?
Q&A with SAP’s Keith Johnson
North America PMO
SAP America, Inc.
SAP customers frequently tell us that one of the key factors of a successful SAP implementation, especially an upgrade, is a structured and disciplined project management capability. Project management provides the critical link between the goals established by the steering committee and the activities executed by the project team. In this executive interview, SAP’s Keith Johnson, vice president of SAP Consulting’s North America Program Management Office (PMO), advises readers on how to establish a thriving PMO, which can actively manage and balance scope, quality, resources, risk, and schedule throughout an application’s life cycle — and then track progress against the organization’s program plan.
Q. When you look across upgrade projects today, where do you see customers struggling the most?
A. On the whole, customers lack an effective mechanism to manage the upgrade process in a deliberate manner. One of the best ways to maintain, control, and derive full business value from your upgrade project is to manage it through a program management office (PMO).
In many organizations, a PMO is a function that supervises a portfolio of projects. The PMO has staff dedicated to supporting the strategic objectives within the organization. Specific to the SAP landscape, a PMO should oversee — and provide governance for — business value realization throughout the entire application life cycle.
The important role of a PMO does not subside when implementation ends. While an upgrade project has a beginning and an ending point, the PMO works from the business value perspective. This means PMOs must concern themselves not only with a project, but with how that project fits into the organization’s business strategy and technology roadmap, looking ahead two to five years. It is the PMO that must examine the value of an upgrade, measure and quantify it, and communicate how it fits into the larger IT roadmap.
Q. What role, if any, should SAP play in the PMO of a customer?
A. The truth is that it varies by customer. The determining factor, from my experience, is the customers’ maturity regarding the program and project management processes and how they approach an upgrade.
Some customers with very mature PMOs have their own SAP Center of Excellence and, in many cases, there is no need for SAP to be directly involved with the PMO. Conversely, there are companies, especially where an upgrade poses a sizable business impact, where SAP is involved from the beginning, on a daily basis.
It may come as a surprise that, in certain PMOs, companies have given SAP a seat at the table. With many large customers, SAP helps steer the PMO to aid customers in deriving the fullest benefits from their SAP systems.
Q. What about customers new to SAP, or those who have struggled in the past with implementations and upgrades? How can they increase SAP’s participation?
A. Those customers who want SAP to have a bigger role may request our involvement directly by contacting their SAP Client Partner, or through a formal RFP. We review each request on a case-by-case basis, generally after we’ve discussed various critical considerations with the customer, such as the type of upgrade (technical or functional), magnitude of the impact, and level of customization required.
While the level of involvement — by SAP or by SAP’s partners — will vary from organization to organization, and even from project to project, the important thing to remember is that there should be some level of involvement. For both SAP and its partners, it’s good to have us around, but only based on the level of comfort — yours, ours, and our partners’. And that’s determined by the maturity of your program and project management processes.
Q. Say I’m an SAP customer and I choose to engage SAP in my PMO — what would you bring to the table?
A: One of the benefits of involving SAP at the PMO level is our assistance with your overarching methodology. A key enabler of a successful SAP upgrade project is a robust and mature upgrade approach based on Accelerated SAP (ASAP) methodology. ASAP is available to all of our customers; it’s a streamlined set of deliverables, activities, and enabling accelerators, which allows customers to perform an upgrade in a consistent way that stresses predictable results and outcomes.
But remember, the methodology is only as good as the tools that are available to apply it. For instance, SAP Solution Manager contains a roadmap that enables ASAP methodology, replete with descriptions of roles and responsibilities, as well as recommended milestones and tasks. SAP Solution Manager also provides an integrated ability to look at testing — a key project driver, for example, is effective regression testing of what specifically has been changed and upgraded.
Q. Even with a great methodology in place, upgrade projects can still go astray. So what would you say is the most critical component of a successful upgrade?
A: Imposition and governance of ASAP methodology (or any project methodology, really) are two of the most important duties of the PMO, which is responsible for rigorously executing PMO processes throughout the program life cycle. As a result, the PMO should contain full-time, senior leadership with the resources and authority to develop and communicate a comprehensive PMO organization and structure. The project office needs to operate according to the guiding principles of milestone management, issue resolution, and risk mitigation.
For customers interested in establishing a PMO, or for those with a PMO who want better integration of SAP resources in their landscape’s management, please contact your SAP Client Partner or visit SAP Consulting at www.sap.com/services/consulting. And for information regarding upgrades, visit the Service Marketplace at http://service.sap.com and type in the keyword “roadmaps.”
How It Fits: The PMO and the Project Organization
The PMO is one of five major components within a traditional project organization (see chart below):
- Steering committee: The executive sponsors of a project who define strategy, determine budgets, and set overarching timelines
- Program management office (PMO): The organization that operates on behalf of the steering committee to maintain the IT roadmap and associated business case(s); charters and governs projects; and assures the consistent application of project management standards
- Project office: The organization that manages the project’s particulars, reporting to the steering committee
- Advisory team: An advisory council brought in as needed, sometimes representing a country or region, or specific industries or roles
- Project team: The employees responsible for executing and delivering a project
Company leaders designate the steering committee, which then must realize the business case for a technology implementation. The committee’s job is first to obtain, then to maintain, investment in the project and to ensure that the project achieves a certain business benefit.
The PMO operates on the steering committee’s behalf. While the steering committee charters the PMO to achieve a certain outcome based on limits of time and budget, the PMO accepts that charter and establishes the program roadmap to realize the business objective, then recommends the chartering of specific projects to the steering committee. The PMO will then charter specific projects. The project office manages the creation of a detailed plan that executes and monitors predefined objectives; it then reports back to the steering committee on the objectives’ progress. Finally, the PMO notifies the steering committee on the alignment and achievement of the business objectives.
- Defines and approves strategy
- Determines budgets
- Performs milestone reviews
- Has unwavering sponsorship
- Senior leadership Global representation
- Cross functional
- Program management
- Budget approval
- Scope approval process
|Program management office (PMO)
- Manages program projects and resources
- Has a strong relationship with the steering committee
- Enables cross-team integration
- Middle management
- Cross functional
- Global exposure
- Program reporting
- Resource management
- Scope management
- Budget management
- Issue management and escalation
- Release planning
- Responsible for delivering the business value of the project per the project charter
- Plans and manages the project or release
- Controls changes to protect the business objective
- Escalates trade-offs to the steering committee
- Middle management
- Both IT and business project managers
- Recognized leaders in their areas
- Project planning, execution, and reporting
- Project controlling (i.e., managing the scope, budget, timeline, and resources)
- Risk and issue management and escalation
- Represents country-specific processes, system organization, and data requirements
- Participates in workshops
- Coordinates with other teams
- Process design
- Data definition
- Trade-specific knowledge
- Solution-specific knowledge
- Manages project delivery
- Produces project deliverables
- Project delivery
- Scope management
|The key players in a traditional project organization
6 Guiding Principles to Run Your PMO
You must understand and incorporate several guiding principles within the PMO to guarantee effective program management:
- Business objectives and their related business-critical requirements — Pay close attention to your critical business requirements. Manage, design, and build your project with a concrete agreement that these requirements have been prioritized and agreed upon by the business as critical to success.
- Time to value — Concentrate on the project elements and tasks that accelerate benefit realization. Manage the program via the business case and don’t lose sight of the need to monitor realized benefits.
- Business readiness — Focus on preparing the business to operate the solution, engage the users throughout the organizations, maintain communication, establish expectations of the business, and evaluate the readiness along predefined checkpoints.
- Having the right team with the right skills — Confirm that the project team has the required skills to complete development and implementation activities in an effective and efficient manner.
- Clear decision-making authority — For each process area, establish an overall accountability point; one person has clear decision-making authority and is the “process owner” of those decisions.
- Aggressive schedule management — Ensure that the joint team and executive sponsors are willing to take the necessary steps to stay on schedule, maintain momentum, manage scope, control costs, and deliver system benefits.
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Experience Smooth, Efficient SAP Application Upgrades with VMware Infrastructure
Many SAP landscapes will undergo a major upgrade over the next 6 to 12 months as SAP ends standard support for SAP R/3 Enterprise and extended support for SAP R/3 4.6c 32-bit applications.1 The upgrade process includes creating and maintaining new SAP environments, software upgrades, and extensive test cycles. To help customers streamline this process — while mitigating project risk and saving valuable resources — VMware Infrastructure virtualization software for industry-standard systems provides benefits throughout the software life cycle.
Enhance Your Upgrade Testing
Vital to an upgrade’s success is the ability to conduct functional, performance, and integration test cycles. VMware solutions allow you to increase the number of test cycles and to quickly spin off new SAP systems for ad hoc tests, greatly improving your upgrade quality.
VMware Infrastructure allows you to clone your production setup or create virtual machine libraries that mirror it; this can be used to provision development, QA, and test environments. SAP requires system cloning during upgrade testing; VMware software provides easily cloned templates, speeding up the process. You can test upgrades against clones rather than your production environment.
You can achieve 24-hour test automation with VMware Lab Manager, which supports various snapshots and configurations, allowing you to conduct tests more quickly and thoroughly. This expansion of test capability also supports the synchronous upgrade of interconnected systems.
If you encounter issues during the upgrade, VMware snapshot technology allows you to roll back to a known good version. You can save different upgrade stages to build a test tree, enabling you to pinpoint where issues arise.
Better Prepare and Manage Your Upgrade Environment
New software versions often require more resources and infrastructure or hardware upgrades. Meanwhile, compliance with regulatory requirements and IT policies might require older SAP environments and data to remain active beyond normal upgrade cycles. As a result, many companies must maintain a larger hardware footprint. VMware Infrastructure helps you consolidate SAP application environments on fewer, new-generation servers, increasing availability while providing cost and support benefits.
Through virtualization, you can start the upgrade project on existing hardware, running multiple operating systems, SAP applications, patches, and kernel versions on the same server. Nobody has to wait for new servers to arrive, and the required environments are up and running faster. As servers arrive, you can smoothly migrate the new SAP environments to the new servers without service disruption.
Discover How VMware Can Help
If you plan to upgrade your SAP landscape, VMware technology can help make the process more efficient, freeing up valuable resources. To learn more, visit www.vmware.com/SAP, and read the Virtualization for SAP blog at http://communities.vmware.com/blogs/SAPsolutions.
Case Study: The VMware Infrastructure Experience
A leading provider of digital imaging and print management solutions used VMware Infrastructure to facilitate a major upgrade in late 2006. The company was able to run twice as many test cycles as initially planned, and they experienced improved stability of production applications. Since VMware Infrastructure makes provisioning new server resources a snap, consultants had the resources they needed — even in the face of unpredicted demand for new systems.
The upgrade proceeded on time and on budget, despite a significant expansion of features during the project. After project completion, the manufacturer achieved significant hardware and energy cost savings and is now able to support 1,800 SAP users with just two administrators. This is just a brief window into the widespread success that a typical VMware customer experiences.
1 Please visit http://service.sap.com/maintenance to learn more about the specifics of SAP’s maintenance strategy.
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Global Program Director
Upgrade with an Eye to the Future
Take a Staged Upgrade Approach with Atos Origin’s Consulting Services
A flexible and reliable IT architecture is critical for supporting the rapidly changing requirements in today’s business environment. Atos Origin views SAP ERP 6.0 as the best foundation for handling these future market uncertainties and recommends that companies use it as a launching point for innovation within the business. But what is the best way to upgrade to SAP ERP 6.0?
Understand What Kind of Upgrade Your Company Is Targeting
When planning an upgrade, companies need to decide on an upgrade strategy that balances cost with technical evolution and innovation that supports the business. There are several types of upgrade strategies to achieve this balance:
- Technical upgrade: The initial phase for all upgrade projects is typically a technical upgrade. Companies using this approach want to set up technology platforms that enable continuous upgrade innovations to meet business and IT goals. This upgrade must ensure that all functionality that worked before the upgrade will work after its completion, all while minimizing potential disruptions and keeping your business operations stable.
- Functional and retrofit upgrade: This approach is for companies focusing on reducing system complexity by replacing custom objects and modifications with standard SAP functionality. This decrease in custom developments leads to lower ongoing maintenance costs, which in turn reduce the overall TCO. In addition to addressing customization issues, this approach focuses on select business areas in which the new functionality is easy to implement, quickly adding value — such as the new SAP General Ledger, SAP Employee Self-Service, or SAP Manager Self-Service.
- Strategic upgrade: This upgrade is for companies concentrating on using SAP ERP 6.0’s new functionality to optimize their business processes and enable innovation. In this approach, companies align their upgrade activities with SAP’s new-release planning through enhancement packages, business priorities, and value mapping. This involves an iterative series of identified enhancement projects and presents a strategic perspective at the enterprise level to support business strategy, enterprise architectures and IT governance processes.
Support Your Project with a Comprehensive Set of Upgrade Services
To enable these three upgrade strategies, Atos Origin has developed a comprehensive five-step upgrade approach, supported by its service offerings (see figure on the next page):
- Awareness Service — Identifies and clarifies upgrade drivers and options.
- Assessment Service — Helps determine the upgrade scope and budget.
- Technical Upgrade Project — Conducts the actual upgrade to achieve the technical platform for innovation.
- Optimization Service — Delivers an easily identified and justified functional and retrofit project as part of a continual process of adding value to the business. This service also includes an immediate follow-up project review to determine the next steps.
- Strategic Upgrade Service — Takes a strategic approach at the enterprise level, aligns with your enterprise architecture and IT governance processes, and uses SAP’s release strategy, helping you plan for upcoming SAP functionality.
Atos Origin designed these services and tailored them to support your upgrade approach in the context of your business needs. These services include Atos Origin accelerators, such as various tools, methodologies, and templates that complement the standard SAP upgrade tools. For example, Atos Origin created the Upgrade Evaluation Tool (UET) and the Upgrade Cost Estimator (UCE) to assist in all aspects of the technical upgrade, from preparation to post go-live support.
“These tools have been developed to analyze the customer system landscape and report all SAP and customer modifications prior to the upgrade to determine project scope and complexity. It then calculates the corresponding impact in terms of cost and duration, enabling [Atos Origin] to offer fixed-price, technical upgrade projects,” says Michel Mertens, Director, Atos Origin Global SAP Competence Center, Brussels.
Consider Atos Origin’s Approach
Atos Origin’s upgrade approach encourages companies to take advantage of the continuous business improvement and innovation that SAP’s functionality offers. The process has been industrialized to implement globally packaged upgrade services, including:
- Training: Over 4,400 global consultants continually refine their skills through training on the latest SAP technologies. Trained upgrade project coaches are assigned to clients to support them through their upgrades. “We have extended our internal training program with upgrade classroom training such as ADM326 and E2E400 and with e-learning material in order to be able to train and update the knowledge of our SAP consultants involved in upgrade projects,” says Kermit Brence, SAP Solution Architect at Atos Origin, Houston.
- Collaboration: The Atos Origin Global SAP Competence Center supports a global upgrade community and knowledgebase that encourages discussions on solving issues more efficiently. “The global project knowledge management system is an important factor in allowing [Atos Origin] to continually deliver cost-effective upgrade projects,” states Hilary Mason, Senior Project Manager at Atos Origin, London.
- Best Practices: Atos Origin has developed Centers of Expertise in six countries — with each center focused on a specific business vertical — to deliver industry best practices for SAP business solutions. These Centers of Expertise assist customers by using SAP Best Practice solutions and methodologies to achieve business flexibility and become more competitive. Additionally, they accelerate implementations for new customers and for customers looking to upgrade to SAP ERP 6.0. “Working with SAP, our Centers of Expertise offer extensive benefits to our customers by harmonizing and rationalizing their specific portfolio throughout their enterprise,” says Iain Boag, Group Senior Vice President of Enterprise Solutions at Atos Origin.
These services are delivered using a combined front-office and back-office delivery model to minimize project costs. The front office delivers high-level planning and consulting services, such as project management and development of technical architecture strategy. The back office delivers low and medium-level repetitive services, such as code correction and configuration; Atos Origin has a network of nearshore and offshore locations in North Africa, Eastern Europe, Asia, and Brazil.
Upgrading to SAP ERP 6.0 offers SAP customers a comprehensive, proven foundation for handling the uncertainties of the changing business market. And Atos Origin — with over 20 years of experience implementing upgrades for clients — offers a standardized approach to making the most of such an upgrade. Atos Origin’s best practices and accelerators provide companies with the right upgrade approach to work with today’s business climate and prepare for tomorrow’s challenges. To learn more, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, call +44 780 591 0016, or visit www.atosorigin.com.
|Atos Origin’s step-by-step approach to your upgrade project, including its relevant service offerings
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Founder & CTO
BackOffice Associates, LLC
Upgrade Your Data, Not Just Your Software
Nothing stays the same. No one knows this better than the executive facing an upgrade of existing SAP R/3 systems to SAP ERP. As soon as you start considering the project, eager colleagues begin asking for enhancements, additional modules, the consolidation of several other systems into SAP ERP, and many additional changes to optimize the new system’s use within the company.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking of the upgrade process purely as a software project, but it is important to remember that underlying all of these changes and enhancements is your data — one of your business’s most critical assets. An upgrade is not just a software upgrade — it is a business process upgrade, which includes software, procedures, people, and most importantly, your data.
So for your next SAP upgrade, you need to consider the following very carefully: Are you performing a technical upgrade or are you re-implementing SAP software? If you’re looking at a technical upgrade only, you may be missing an opportunity to resolve any ongoing issues with poor data quality that you have struggled with upon first implementing an integrated ERP system.
Note though, that it is not enough to recognize the importance of data quality — you must have a proven plan, robust tools, and experienced people to finally resolve the effects of poor data quality in your SAP system.
A re-implementation of SAP software is the right time to take advantage of your hard-earned knowledge about poor data quality and its impact on your ability to realize the full benefit of your SAP ERP system. Now that you have direct experience using SAP, it is also a good time to make the most of SAP solutions’ continuing improvements and upgraded features.
If you are considering these types of improvements in your next upgrade, and if you want to learn how to provide more value to your business in the process, read on.
Why a Data Migration Upgrade Is the Right Way to Go
BackOffice Associates recommends implementing a data migration upgrade, instead of a software upgrade, in the following scenarios:
- Your organization possesses a critical need for high-quality data.
- You are adding new functionality to your system as part of the upgrade.
- You are consolidating multiple SAP R/3 systems into one SAP ERP system.
- You have significant custom tables and fields in your SAP R/3 system.
Ensure Data Quality
Many companies started out by filling their SAP R/3 systems with data that was only marginally better than the data in the legacy systems they replaced. Unfortunately, these organizations did not provide strong data governance and data stewardship for their SAP R/3 systems, resulting in gradually degraded data quality. This occurred because they often copied configuration data directly from legacy systems, without analyzing or cleansing it. Incomplete stewardship processes in legacy systems carried over into SAP R/3, which resulted in data that was obsolete or that lacked referential integrity.
In addition, organizations often postponed — or overlooked — archiving in SAP solutions. Over time, as noted previously, the overall quality of system data deteriorated, though users often couldn’t understand or analyze why.
A data migration upgrade allows you to analyze and cleanse your data. Armed with a more complete understanding of your
SAP systems, you should meet with your business process owners and revisit their requirements — remembering that these requirements will change over time. You can review data, make decisions, and implement corrections so that the data you load into SAP ERP is business-ready data1 that is also business relevant.
You can also put stewardship procedures in place that introduce automation and create accountability and ownership at the user level. To do this, you will need to acquire a preconfigured toolset with workflow enablement, quality metrics reporting, and duplicate detection (see figure below). For global organizations, the tools should also be multilingual.
Most importantly — in addition to preconfigured content and functionality — business people (not IT teams) should be able to easily configure the toolset. Enabling the business to control the data is imperative in order to effectively manage your specific business process requirements; the tools must be user-friendly. Instituting this commitment to data governance at the business level will empower your organization to retain high quality, business-relevant data for years to come.
Add New Functionality
During the initial implementation of SAP solutions, project teams often cut back on the scope of the implementation in order to hit their target go-live date. An upgrade is your opportunity to add that scope — or newly available capabilities — back in.
In addition, many SAP R/3 users have learned a hard lesson by the time they begin considering an upgrade: Their attempt to replicate their legacy system in their new SAP solutions was a mistake — that they would have been better off having utilized the inherent SAP process designs from the start.
A software upgrade alone will not allow you to address these opportunities but a data migration upgrade does. New functionality, supported by business-ready data, can be introduced as part of the upgrade. Data can be retrieved from any remaining legacy systems or constructed to meet the specific needs of the SAP ERP features you are adding.
Consolidate SAP R/3 Systems
It’s highly unlikely that your multiple SAP R/3 systems are absolute clones of one another — or that they contain entirely distinct data. This is just another reason we advocate upgrading to the SAP ERP system through a data migration upgrade.
The migration process will allow you to merge data from multiple systems, identify and remove duplicate records, consolidate records from multiple systems into single SAP ERP records, and ensure that all required data has been captured from each and every SAP R/3 system.
Upgrade Your Custom Tables and Fields
At the time of your upgrade, make it a point to also review the content of your custom tables and fields, while asking yourself:
- Why do these objects exist?
- Are they still necessary given the current functionality of your SAP solutions?
- Should we archive some of this data?
- Are there orphan records as a result of the archiving of standard SAP data?
- Will the new functionality aptly support the custom data objects?
This analysis — and the subsequent actions required to assure complete and accurate custom data in the new system — will not happen by simply performing a software upgrade. If you upgrade the software only, you have no opportunity to review your data and make these critical decisions. In the context of a data migration upgrade, you will be able to analyze your custom data and determine whether it is still appropriate for your business.
10 Steps to a Data Migration Upgrade
So how do you actually go about performing a data migration upgrade? BackOffice Associates recommends following these steps:
1. Conduct a Data Audit
Review your current data, testing for business relevance and business readiness. Do you have obsolete data? Do you have incomplete data? Do you have archived data you no longer need? Do you have duplicate data? Do you have unnecessary data? Do you have all the data you need to make the best use of your SAP system? What configuration values will you need in the new SAP ERP system?
2. Map Data and Establish Rules
Align your existing data to the data structures in your new SAP ERP system. The mapping of most standard SAP fields from SAP R/3 to SAP ERP will be straightforward. But where will you map your custom fields? How will you handle duplicate records from your legacy SAP R/3 systems in your one new SAP ERP system? Are you replacing other legacy systems as you move into SAP ERP?
3. Construct Data
Your new functionality may require data that doesn’t exist in SAP R/3 today. For example, you may be adding international trade functionality with your SAP ERP upgrade and you will need to support it. Your data migration upgrade will allow you to collect this data and include it in the SAP ERP load.
4. Extract Data
Extract the data from SAP R/3 and other systems that you will use as part of your SAP ERP upgrade, and place it in a staging area. That way, you can validate it and prepare it for SAP ERP.
5. Validate Data – Part I
As required by your internal and external auditors, verify that the data you extracted is complete and correct using tools (like the BackOffice Data StagingWarehouse, see figure) and reports designed specifically for this purpose.
6. Transform Data
Apply any business rules required to prepare your data for SAP ERP. Do this using a repeatable process that tracks changes and provides qualitative and quantitative reports. Remember that data conversion is not a mere extraction, transformation, and loading task. Your data is the heart of your business operations, so to produce predictable results, you must build a repeatable process that focuses on analysis, construction, and consolidation. To support this process, you need the right tools, a proven methodology, and knowledgeable, experienced SAP experts. Only with all three pieces can you deliver business-ready data to SAP. During this stage, compare all data to the new SAP ERP configuration and to each other, to ensure that there will be no surprises at go-live.
7. Validate Data – Part II
After you’ve prepared the data for loading into SAP ERP, verify again that it is complete and correct, using tools and reports designed specifically for this purpose.
8. Load Data
Load your SAP ERP system with your transformed data. Data loading will go smoothly because you’ve already verified your transformed data against your SAP configuration, and plus, you know that it’s internally consistent.
9. Validate Data – Part III
After you’ve loaded the data, again verify that it is complete and correct using tools and reports designed specifically for this purpose. By this time, you have performed three critical validations: that the data was extracted from the legacy system correctly, prepared for SAP ERP correctly, and arrived in SAP ERP correctly. This process satisfies the most rigorous audit requirements.
10. Govern Data
Employ a comprehensive process of data stewardship, under the umbrella of corporate data governance policies, to guarantee that the quality of the data remains high. Use tools and metrics to test key data regularly — daily, weekly, monthly. Use software and procedures that prevent duplicate or incomplete data from entering the system, and ones that also expedite the creation of new data.
Consider this: What if there was a way to automate data governance and provide business process owners and business managers with automated reports and remediation plans for retaining data quality in SAP? BackOffice Associates recommends, at a minimum, that you institute a passive data governance model — an automated practice in your organization that holds the business accountable on a regular basis for its data and error remediation. Errors are automatically reported back to their authors for correction and quality metrics are delivered to management. This model enables a valuable, measurable process. If your business requires you take things a step further and institute active data governance (see figure), this will ensure data is deemed business ready prior to entry into the SAP system, eliminating the possibility of business process interruptions due to errors in omissions, consistency, content, duplicates, misuse of SAP, or lack of standards.
A data migration upgrade is nearly always the right choice when upgrading from SAP R/3 to SAP ERP. In today’s marketplace, the quality of your data is absolutely critical to your company’s long-term success. The software upgrade is important, but the data upgrade is essential.
For more information on how BackOffice Associates can help you with your data migration upgrade, please visit www.boaweb.com.
About BackOffice Associates
BackOffice Associates has been a thought leader in SAP data quality solutions since 1998 (see chart). With a staff of nearly 300 professionals throughout the United States, Europe, Australia, India, and Mexico, BackOffice Associates is considered one of the industry’s most experienced providers of SAP data quality solutions. BackOffice Associates’ innovative method of data preparation has been utilized in both training and assisting SAP customers for over a decade. The company has provided unparalleled “Boring Go Live” migrations by reducing risk through effectively cleansing, constructing, and validating data for SAP. BackOffice Associates’ data validation technology, methodology, and resources provide a complete set of tools to handle legacy migration to SAP in a fully validated and documented environment.
Key Term: Data Migration Upgrade
A data migration upgrade is a process consisting of:
- Analyzing the existing data
- Reporting on and resolving current issues in the data
- Validating the prepared data
- Loading the data into the new SAP ERP system
|Our holistic method for legacy extracts brings legacy data into the central repository for analyses and reporting. This data is then matched with SAP solution configuration data, which identifies key migration challenges. Loading early and often assures a continual improvement cycle is implemented, assuring business-ready data for SAP solutions at go-live.
|Reporting tools, such as the BackOffice Data StagingWarehouse (above), can organize and analyze data. These robust tools allow the user to view or download the data, keep metrics, and provide user-level security, protecting your data so that only those authorized may review it.
|The four models of data governance; as automation increases, error resolution time and business process interruptions decrease
|Data Quality Offerings from BackOffice Associates
- “Boring Go Live”2 migrations with zero business process interruptions due to data
- Proven risk mitigation methodology meets testing and validation requirements
- Applications that incorporate codified best practices for SAP
- SAP data quality experts
|Passive Data Governance
- “Business-Ready Data” for operational harmony in SAP
- Visibility into data quality metrics
- Workflow notification published directly to business data owners
- No change in normal user processes
- Solutions leveraged standalone or through your SAP portal
|Active Data Governance
- “Business-Ready Data” firewall for SAP
- Six Sigma/TQM level master data governance
- Ability to turn master data management into a business process
- Sarbanes-Oxley compliance
- Collaborative data authorship that is easily audited
- Accelerated time-to-value for new object introduction
1 Business-ready data is data that has been fully evaluated for duplicates, business relevance, and completeness.
2 A BackOffice Associates process that delivers a smooth and uneventful startup for any customer implementing SAP.
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Technology Solutions, SAP
|Marcel Van Den Top
Upgrade and Prosper: Treat SAP Upgrades as Opportunities, Not Just Business as Usual
Upgrades. Many organizations tend to oversimplify them as a series of technical tasks to “get through” to avoid increased maintenance costs. When viewed through this lens, upgrades often have a very basic goal: to be completed as inexpensively as possible while avoiding system downtime.
In our view, upgrades are significant opportunities to improve your business, positioning you for future success by leveraging the benefits of SAP Enterprise Central Component (SAP ECC) and SAP NetWeaver.
BearingPoint takes a tools-based approach to SAP upgrades; it involves automating the tasks of documenting your current business processes, reviewing your custom code, and mapping all of this to the new SAP functionality provided by your target release. Centered around SAP Solution Manager and the ASAP upgrade roadmap, BearingPoint’s solution for SAP upgrades (see figure below) identifies potential benefits, as well as methods for preventing business risks. BearingPoint helps you to understand which new and improved functions are the most relevant to your business, as well as which functions an upgrade greatly impacts. If you are running SAP ERP Financials, for example, BearingPoint identifies which processes you can streamline with the new General Ledger (G/L).
3 Mistakes to Look Out for When You Begin an Upgrade
For many companies, the potential risks of upgrading are real. If your company does not complete an upgrade properly, you can disturb your technical infrastructure, drive up total cost of ownership (TCO), and disrupt business as usual. There are three issues that frequently impede a successful upgrade:
- Failure to accurately estimate downtime. There are many factors involved in quantifying the amount of system downtime required for an upgrade. Many companies underestimate unconfirmed repairs, modifications, support-pack levels, and the ways that these items can adversely impact system downtime. This can cause downtime to exceed estimates, and can create long-term technical repercussions if an upgrade is rushed. BearingPoint helps you to prepare and plan your upgrade so that you can properly set expectations with your users.
- Lack of documentation. Many companies lack sufficient documentation for their custom development, business process configuration, and test cases within their specific SAP environments, making it hard to create a viable upgrade plan. Bringing documentation up to adequate standards can be a time-consuming and challenging step in the upgrade process, but the Business Process Structure in SAP Solution Manager helps you to complete an inventory of development objects and configured business processes. BearingPoint provides you with predefined procedures and settings to leverage SAP Solution Manager. This way, you can get right to documenting, testing, and maintaining your SAP business processes, reducing your upgrade risks.
- Not treating the upgrade as a substantial project. Too many businesses think of an upgrade as just another technical patch that they can easily implement without much thought or planning. Nothing could be further from the truth. You must treat your SAP upgrade as any other significant IT project, with a dedicated project manager, sufficient resources — both financial and personnel — and a detailed project plan that includes adequate regression testing. Failure to do this will almost inevitably result in excessive downtime, cost overruns, technical glitches, and dissatisfied users. BearingPoint’s upgrade methodology can help your company plan its upgrade project (see sidebar).
SAP Solution Manager: The Key to a Successful SAP Upgrade
SAP Solution Manager is, in many ways, the center of the SAP universe. It is the focus of new SAP implementations, as well as the service and support center for any business upgrading to SAP ECC, SAP NetWeaver, and future SAP releases. (To learn more about upgrading to the latest SAP release, see the sidebar to the right.) Even if you are performing what you consider to be a straightforward upgrade, SAP Solution Manager is a necessity. It allows you to perform future upgrades — technical and functional — efficiently. SAP Solution Manager allows you to centrally manage your multicomponent SAP landscape, facilitate change management, and reduce the TCO of your SAP infrastructure.
Many organizations don’t effectively leverage this tool. Although some additional work is required to install it during your implementation, the potential returns of using SAP Solution Manager lead us to consider it the centerpiece of BearingPoint’s upgrade methodology for SAP.
BearingPoint’s solution for SAP upgrades uses SAP Solution Manager to help you build a complete interactive business process-oriented solution catalog that includes system components, organizational roles, custom objects, standard configuration, transactions, test scripts, and more. With this catalog in hand, you can structure and organize your project activities and deliverables in the short term. BearingPoint’s solution for SAP upgrades helps you take a more mature service management approach in the long term, allowing you to operate, maintain, and extend your SAP solution more effectively in the future.
For more information, call +1 866 BRNGPNT (in the US and Canada) or +1 508 216-2523 (outside the US and Canada). Or visit www.bearingpoint.com/sap.
Fully Prepare for Your Upgrade Project with BearingPoint’s Methodology
BearingPoint can help you to prepare for your upgrade by first performing a thorough assessment of your organizational goals, objectives, and capabilities. Based on this assessment, BearingPoint can then formulate a strategy for using SAP Enterprise Central Component (SAP ECC) 6.0 in conjunction with all involved SAP component systems, such as SAP NetWeaver Business Intelligence (SAP NetWeaver BI) and SAP Supplier Relationship Management (SAP SRM), helping you to secure measurable business benefits that are in line with your company’s long-term strategic goals. Additionally, BearingPoint can help you to develop a comprehensive business case, complete with both business and technology work plans. Finally, BearingPoint uses SAP Solution Manager, automated testing, and other tools to perform the upgrade in a way that accelerates your ability to achieve tangible results.
By taking advantage of BearingPoint’s methodology, you can substantially reduce the cost and potential risks inherent in any major upgrade. You can use the upgrade as an opportunity to improve your business processes and achieve your organization’s goals, from revenue growth and cost takeout, to increased productivity and improved customer and employee satisfaction.
Upgrade to the Latest SAP Releases: The Benefits Are Tangible and Significant
In addition to an improved technological infrastructure, you gain a number of other significant advantages by upgrading from SAP R/3 4.6 (and earlier) to the current SAP releases. These include:
- Reduced maintenance fees. With each successive year, it costs more to maintain your early SAP releases. Upgrading will contain your maintenance costs and dramatically reduce your TCO.
- Tighter integration. Not only will you have better integration among various SAP solution components, but you will also be able to easily integrate your SAP environment with other non-SAP systems. Built using open standards, SAP NetWeaver interoperates with technologies such as Microsoft .NET, Sun Java, and IBM WebSphere, allowing you to run your business on a single, integrated platform. This in turn positions you to utilize Web services and begin to transform your IT operation into one that’s based on a service-oriented architecture (SOA).
- Access to enhanced functionality. Early SAP releases contain very focused functionality. By upgrading, you get all sorts of broader functional gains through the latest SAP applications, including the new G/L, Duet, expanded human capital management (HCM) functionality, and travel and expense management capabilities.
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Mitigate and Control the Risk of Application Upgrades
HP Provides a Roadmap
Companies rely on their SAP software solutions to run their business. New implementations or upgrades introduce risk to the flawless operation of the critical business processes supported by SAP applications. Subsequently, as with any major IT project, applications might not work as expected or there might be a detrimental effect on the day-to-day functions of the business.
Therefore, it is critical that your IT team predicts, quantifies, and controls risks to the business for every change release, support-pack release, and upgrade.
Develop a Risk-Control Framework
Mitigating and controlling risks comes with a price tag: HP has found that companies typically spend between 20% and 40% of their time during upgrades on testing end-to-end business processes. Traditionally, enterprise application testing has required dozens, or even hundreds, of manual testers at high costs, with end users being pulled in to test every change.
And the challenges don’t stop there:
- Testing requirements are not always aligned with top business requirements.
- The process of creating and executing test plans can take too long.
- Companies often ignore taking a systematic approach when evaluating test results and assessing risk.
- With the adoption of the new SOA-based SAP solutions, customers gain the ability to create, configure, and integrate any kind of complex composite application, which presents new, additional challenges.
Consequently, it is difficult to make go-live decisions with confidence.
In order to address these challenges and better control risk, IT should set quality priorities at every single stage of the SAP application life cycle and consider the following three questions.
- Can we guarantee that we have thoroughly tested the application functionality and all critical end-to-end business processes will work as expected?
- Can we provide visibility into application quality over time as we work toward going live?
- Can we confidently make go-live decisions?
These questions frame the basic disciplines of risk control. If IT organizations take the right steps to address them, they can greatly reduce the time, cost, and risk of major application initiatives, such as upgrades.
Optimize the Quality Process with HP
HP Software offers HP Quality Center, an application that addresses these challenges by adding structure to your SAP application testing process. It reduces the time and cost required to deliver or upgrade business applications by automating, controlling, and enforcing your quality standards. It helps you to manage software requirements, plan testing activities, schedule and run tests, track defects, and provide reports, graphs, and dashboard views of quality metrics.
HP Quality Center software, which has earned “Powered by SAP NetWeaver” certification, also allows for the smooth flow of information among various testing stages. It drives a more effective and efficient global application testing process and supports high levels of communication and collaboration among distributed testing teams.
This integrated solution provides real-time visibility into application quality. The Web-enabled HP Quality Center software brings communication, organization, documentation, and structure to any SAP testing project. It becomes the central point of control for all quality-related assets. Because your team members can use HP Quality Center software via the Web, all project members can access critical project information, regardless of geographic and organizational boundaries.
HP Software Complements SAP Solution Manager
HP Software solutions are tightly aligned and integrated with SAP solutions. Consider the SAP Solution Manager Adapter; it integrates into HP Quality Center software to extend the capabilities of SAP Solution Manager in quality and performance management.
The SAP Solution Manager Adapter is more than just an interface between HP Quality Center software and SAP Solution Manager (see figure). It is a true integration of people, processes, and data to save time, mitigate risk, and lower costs:
- It saves time by streamlining the application management process.
- It mitigates risk by improving control for implementations and upgrades.
- It drives cost-effectiveness by eliminating manual tasks.
Furthermore, HP Software embedded performance-testing best practices into SAP Solution Manager for the benefit of all SAP customers. The HP quality process itself also closely aligns with the SAP Solution Manager best practices. During the project preparation and blueprint phases, for example, the IT team maps test requirements to business requirements, providing full coverage of critical business processes. During realization, IT defines and executes the test strategy, focusing on business processes and risk mitigation. And as part of the final preparation, IT can test the application’s performance to determine the necessary scalability for real-life user loads.
Ensure the Success of Your SAP Upgrade Projects
SAP applications are mission critical. As a result, any upgrade or implementation requires a clear strategy and an integrated set of solutions to reduce risk.
HP Software provides a comprehensive solution to support the SAP application life cycle. It offers a full set of integrated products, services, and best practices for SAP quality and performance management, change control, and business service management. It is best used jointly with SAP Solution Manager to better align processes and maximize customer benefits. (For more information on the value of SAP Solution Manager, visit www.sap.com/platform/netweaver/components/solutionmanager/index.epx.)
HP helps to ensure successful outcomes for your SAP projects by helping you achieve all of the benefits of running SAP applications while mitigating risks. To learn more about how HP Software solutions can help optimize your SAP upgrade project, visit www.hp.com/go/sapsoftware.
Key Questions Reveal Your Upgrade Project Readiness
HP Quality Center helps you answer the following questions about your SAP implementation or upgrade project:
- Are you certain that your SAP system is ready to go into production?
- Will your SAP project meet release deadlines?
- Can you verify that all of the critical business processes are working as expected?
- Can you prove that you thoroughly tested major requirements?
- Are you sure that you have resolved all of the high-priority or urgent defects?
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VP of Marketing
Devote 72% Less Time to Managing Change in Your Next SAP Upgrade
When SAP customers roll out new applications or upgrade existing applications, the process can take months or even years. Companies often need to alter configurations in their SAP environments, while still maintaining the production environment during this period. To avoid disruptions to the production environment, many SAP customers implement a second, parallel development environment, and configure and test their upgrades or new applications.
Given the time required to deploy the upgrade or new application, and the need to maintain the production environment, parallel environments often fall out of sync. SAP customers then have to synchronize the parallel environments — something that, until now, users did manually.
The Newmerix Automate! Advantage
Newmerix Automate! for SAP solutions offers a holistic way to manage change across your SAP environment. It is a comprehensive application lifecycle management suite powered by SAP NetWeaver. The list of new and ongoing business initiatives is never ending, whether it’s overcoming competition, strengthening customer service, cutting costs, or improving quality. Each initiative has an impact on the underlying business infrastructure. Whatever the nature of these business strategies, their by-product is inevitably change. Newmerix Automate! for SAP solutions delivers configuration, change, and release management capabilities. It helps you meet aggressive timelines for deploying SAP upgrades and cut operational inefficiencies.
Newmerix Automate! for SAP solutions is comprised of three modules that operate both independently and in unison: Automate!Change, Automate!Test, and Automate!Control (see figure to the right).
- Automate!Change integrates with SAP Solution Manager, helping IT to achieve consistent and business-driven change, configuration, and release management, as well as Sarbanes-Oxley compliance.
- Automate!Test allows IT to ensure predictable release cycles, lower testing costs, and increase the speed of test cycles of greater breadth and depth.
- Automate!Control integrates with the other two modules to provide an overarching, single command center to manage the entire life cycle of change — from the request stage through deployment and training.
With Newmerix Automate! for SAP solutions, you can regulate business process change during upgrades, enable mergers and acquisitions, and implement best practices. It allows you to analyze the impact of changes, automatically document business processes, test application changes, and comply with IT governance regulations.
Escape the Change Management Quicksand
What’s the bottom line? Based on proprietary research conducted with Newmerix’s customer install base, companies see a 72% reduction in the hours required to configure and deploy changes related to SAP upgrades and maintenance. To learn more, visit www.newmerix.com/upgrades.
|Newmerix Automate! for SAP solutions is comprised of three modules — Automate!Change, Automate!Test, and Automate!Control — that operate independently but in a unifying cycle.
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VP of Enterprise Solutions
Take the Guesswork Out of Your Next SAP Upgrade
Lay the Foundation for Success with Services from SITA
As organizations look to upgrade their SAP environments, they tend to be so focused on how to do the upgrade that they forget to clearly outline why they want to upgrade. The most crucial underpinnings of a successful upgrade project, however, are proper planning and smart execution.
To help companies complete these critical steps, SITA CORP has designed Uptrak, an upgrade assessment tool that not only helps you execute your upgrade project, but build a strategic upgrade plan as well.
The 7 Tenets of Upgrade Planning
At SITA, we’ve found that the key to successful planning is to establish a formal upgrade assessment, which should run for two to three weeks. This will help your company:
- Decide if it is looking for a strategic, functional, or technical upgrade. Knowing this will allow you to determine more easily your company’s business goals and the KPIs needed to measure their success.
- Fully assess the inventory of all specialized customizations in your current SAP environment. Uptrak scans your SAP system for these custom modifications and sorts them by development class and level of complexity. This information is important for accurately estimating how long an upgrade will take.
- Identify the new features and functions that your organization wants to implement and determine how the changes will affect your business.
- Outline a detailed project plan with scheduled tasks, making sure you leave a buffer (about 20% of your total project time) for any unexpected activities that may occur.
- Evaluate the system architecture that you will be using, including the hardware and the transport strategy.
- Define a go-live strategy, including a downtime plan and a contingency plan.
- Establish a training plan to update internal employees about the new technology or redefined business processes.
Executing the Upgrade
With years of experience dealing with SAP upgrades, SITA’s team of consultants can also help you execute key upgrade phases, such as:
- Demonstrating the business value of your upgrade: Focus on business pain points and evaluate how your planned upgrade version will solve them. It’s important to show your business the value it will gain from the upgrade — by activating new functionality for a pilot group to demonstrate the solution’s potential, for example.
- Setting up development environments and quality assurance systems: It’s wise to design parallel development and quality assurance environments in which to perform your upgrade tests. To keep a pulse on all the tasks and goals that you want to complete, we recommend using Uptrak for tracking purposes at this crucial stage of the process.
- Testing: Allocate 50% to 60% of your project time for testing, and test multiple times to reduce downtime and mitigate risk during go-live. It’s also a good idea to use SAP Solution Manager as your corporate testing tool.
- Going live: This involves setting up contingency plans, backing up systems, and even setting up a call center to address any post go-live questions from end users.
Consult Experienced Advisors
There are many reasons to upgrade your company’s SAP environment. And with the right tools and advisors, your company can pinpoint its goals to best plan and execute the upgrade process.
For more information on Uptrak, visit www.sitacorp.com/uptrak. And to learn more about SITA’s consulting services, visit www.sitacorp.com/upgrade.html.
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Downsize Your System Downtime
Sun Microsystems’ Upgrade Approach Avoids Interruptions to Your Ongoing Operations
Our global economy is generating a demand for more round-the-clock services, shrinking the time available for even scheduled system downtime — the majority of which is for updates and system maintenance. Yet upgrades are a completely necessary part of keeping a business both innovative and competitive. So what IT needs is a balance — IT managers must now look for ways to limit their system downtime during an upgrade, without cutting back on the upgrade’s scope.
Minimize the Downtime for Your Next Major Upgrade
To decrease the length of an upgrade, Sun has developed a best-practice upgrade approach that uses Solaris Containers and Solaris ZFS (zettabyte file system), which are innovative virtualization technologies that are included in the Solaris 10 Operating System (OS). This procedure helps to reduce the overall SAP environment’s downtime during an upgrade and enhance the efficiency of IT operations.
Let’s look at an example of Sun Microsystems’ approach. Many companies are currently considering or planning an SAP NetWeaver Portal upgrade and they often budget a certain amount of downtime for it. But IT can minimize this downtime by using Solaris Containers and ZFS to complete three critical steps (see figure below):
- Step 1: Create a clone. Using Solaris Containers with Solaris ZFS, create a clone of the portal environment. This step does not impact the operational process.
- Step 2: Upgrade the clone. Perform the software upgrade on the clone environment. During this process, the original production system will still be available for users.
- Step 3: Switch to the clone. After successful testing and quality assurance on the clone environment, switch all users to the cloned, upgraded system.
- Because in many cases SAP NetWeaver Portal environments do not store dynamic data, no data is lost when you switch from the primary environment to the cloned, upgraded environment. This way, the switch from one system to the other does not impact the end user. The clone behaves identically to the original and is quickly available for full use — only the clone’s IP address is different. Thus, the clone environment can be redefined as the primary environment after the upgrade by changing the domain system name entry.
Additionally, the clone functionality works with any Solaris Container, so users can apply cloning to other SAP NetWeaver components for QA, training, and backup.
Learn More About Sun’s Upgrade Approach
Sun Microsystems’ upgrade approach helps customers minimize system downtime; using it, companies can take advantage of new SAP functionality without worrying about slowing down their day-to-day operations.
For more details about using Solaris Containers and ZFS to clone your SAP environment, visit SAP Developer Network at www.sdn.sap.com/irj/sdn/weblogs?blog=/pub/wlg/4804. And for more information about Sun Microsystems, visit www.sun.com/sap.
|Sun Microsystems’ three-step, clone-centric process can help your company minimize the amount of downtime needed for an upgrade
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