Migrating Disparate Data to a Common SAP S/4HANA Cloud ERP

February 23, 2022
3 Minute Read

After an acquisition, a leading space technology company launched an initiative to upgrade their legacy Oracle ERP system to SAP S/4HANA Cloud and bring the acquired company’s older SAP system onto the new common platform. With the schedule slipping and mission at stake, our client needed an expert team in the command center to get the project back on course.

Serving businesses and governments around the globe, our client builds infrastructure and information systems that are vital to a sustainable future. From pioneering spacecraft and robots to satellite imagery and geospatial intelligence, their innovative solutions power critical exploration and decision-making. And it all relies on data.

Since our client was migrating not only their own Enterprise Command Center (ECC) but also the acquired company’s Oracle ERP and a few other systems, this was a monumental undertaking. And besides the challenges associated with integrating disparate and archaic platforms, there was a significant amount of data maintained in spreadsheets, like free-floating planets beyond the reach of any existing ERP orbit.

RGP Mission Control: Bringing Rigor and Velocity to Project Execution

With extensive experience in SAP as well as deep data and analytics, business automation, and project management expertise, our team took the helm, guiding the data migration workstream toward aggressive timelines to define, build and execute their data migration strategy.

Earth and space data migrating to SAP cloud

Data migration is the backbone of any ERP implementation.

After mapping out the data migration strategy and process details, we acted as client-side advisor while collaborating with the SI team to execute high-quality SAP S/4HANA solution deliverables, including:

  • Data preparation: developed data migration programs for raw data extraction, matching and merging, and transformation to target system format, with a data quality assessment
  • Data cleansing: identifying and resolving discrepancies to create validated master and transactional data records
  • Data loads: executing the migration plan, generating data validation reports and performing automated validations.
  • Data archiving and governance: analysis and transformation of other historical data not loaded into SAP but required for management reporting.

ERP implementations are never simple. But when one set of data is from Mars and the other from Venus, things get … complicated.

“Merging two business units creates a slew of data mapping complexities and challenges in creating a master data set,” our data and analytics leader explained. “Besides the different legacy technology platforms, they also had different processes and different customer profiles.”

For example, the new SAP system could have 75 attributes in a customer record, while the old Oracle system had 120. You have to define, map, and dedupe all of those records onto the new future state data model and then go through that same process for migrating data from the old SAP system to the new one.

Also, because many of our client’s customers are government organizations — and must account for regulatory compliance, internal controls, and security requirements—they’re using a highly secure government version of the software, which adds technical complexity.

Delivering at Warp Speed with Data Automation

In addition to SAP technical experts and data engineers, our team also included consultants from RGP’s data automation CoE. RGP’s tool set automates many data and analytics processes, providing rocket fuel to dramatically accelerate the timeline and get our client’s schedule back on track.

“Before we came on board, our client was manually processing some of the data outside of the ERP system, line by line in spreadsheets,” Sean says. “By taking advantage of automation, we were able to speed the process to handle approximately 100,000 records in a matter of seconds.”

“With automation, it’s just a matter of pushing the button to extract the data, and then reload and validate it for each step.”

Sean Brown, RGP VP, Data and Analytics

This kind of system project is often “kind of hairy,” Sean says. “Automating as many processes as possible makes it a lot less daunting. You spend the effort upfront to get it automated. But then, you can just make minor modifications as you focus on building the next phase of migrations.”

Approaching the Final Frontier

Phase 1 of our client’s journey to S/4HANA is scheduled to go live in early 2022. Work is ongoing for the remaining two pillars, with each bringing in additional modules and data. But already, our team has made a significant, positive impact on our client’s transformation:

  • Reduced manual effort and quality risk, minimized costs, and enabled a scalable, repeatable process.
  • Increased the rigor of project management and planning and transparency of execution.
  • Acted as client-side advisor to increase data migration quality and value.

If complex data migrations or ERP initiatives are on your roadmap, RGP’s data and ERP experts are here to help. Learn more about our Business Technology and Data and Analytics capabilities and how we complement the work of system integrators to ensure a successful mission.

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