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How to Avoid Going Over Budget with a Foolproof Data Migration Strategy

by Amanda McKeon

November 2, 2011

By Amanda McKeon

Anyone who has worked on an SAP project knows that the data migration aspect is not the easiest part of the puzzle. According to a white paper by Philip Howard, more than 80% of data migration projects run over time and/or over budget. Cost overruns average 30% and time overruns average 41%. So how can your company avoid being part of this statistic?

Luckily for attendees at Managing Your SAP Projects 2011, Michael Pytel presented a session titled “Building a Foolproof Data Migration Strategy.” Before implementing an effective data migration strategy, one must fully understand data migration and all of the components involved. Pytel defined data migration as the translation of data from one system to another, whether manual or automated, so that it can be used in another application or system. He listed six main components to an effective strategy:

  • Context: The type of data being migrated and its usage
  • Storage: Where data resides today and tomorrow
  • Data flow: How data enters and moves through the organization
  • Tools: Software and/or manual processes used to move data
  • Ownership: Person(s) responsible for managing data
  • Continuous monitoring: Processes for ensuring data quality

Pytel admitted to the audience that he is a big fan of SAP’s ASAP (Accelerated SAP) methodology. And why shouldn’t he be with ASAP delivering proven best practices, templates, and tools such as guidebooks and accelerators? The methodology minimizes risk because it is based on the experiences of SAP and its customers. The ASAP methodology is comprised of five phases:

  • Project Preparation
  • Business Blueprint
  • Realization
  • Final Preparation
  • Go-Live and Support

Pytel suggested another tool to help with data migration: The Legacy System Migration Workbench (LSMW). The Workbench is ideally used for initial and periodic data transfers from non-SAP systems to an SAP system. It also checks consistency against customization and provides reusable mapping. LSMW does not extract data from the legacy system since it is not meant to replace an ETL or data loading utility, nor is it able to transfer data from SAP into another system. Fortunately, there are other tools available for this purpose such as BackOffice Associate’s Boring Go Live® data migration and WinShuttle’s data import and upload tool.

Combining the ASAP methodology with the Legacy System Migration Workbench could keep you out of the 80% of organizations that run over in time and budget. To learn more about data migration strategies follow Michael Pytel on Twitter (@michaelpytel) or visit SAP Community Network.

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