Businesses value data for many different reasons ranging from supporting improved decision making, customer intelligence and behavioural insights, identifying gaps to name but a few. With companies creating more and more data each year, it comes as no surprise that having a data strategy in place is essential. This is also true for ERP systems and more and more emphasis is being placed on SAP data management planning.
At Proceed Group we’ve been involved in hundreds of SAP data management projects – some times from the start, other times only involved in one aspect. Through this experience we’ve collected hints and tips on ensuring SAP data management planning and project success.
Allow enough time
It will take longer than you expect to run a project, so do not leave it until the last minute or as an afterthought. Plan the project and ensure that there are sufficient resources and time to complete the project. If you are running the project in conjunction with other projects or key people have multiple responsibilities, allow time for them to do both.
It is never too early to begin
As a guide it is never too early to start planning for data management in your SAP environments, but you can leave it too late. By the time you realise there is an issue you may not have time or resources to complete within the required timeline. If this happens you will need to make a compromise – either changing the timeline (which can have significate costs) or reducing the scope of the project.
It is important to ensure the complete design and requirements are captured for all parts of the business and that it is validated before you start. Some parts of the business do not always appreciate how and when the data they own is used. If the design is not validated across the entire business unexpected side effects may be encountered which have a direct impact on the business’ ability to trade.
Remember your custom reports and processes
Remember the standard tools only process standard data objects in SAP. If you have customised database tables, reports or enquiries, these will need to be considered before you can implement the solution. Identifying these manually can be time consuming, which is why Proceed has developed a solution accelerator to assist with this.
Data may need cleansing first
It is possible that your standard business processes, do not end with the business data in a “business complete” state (e.g., Final closed flags not set or incomplete business items). You need to plan for this in your design and validate if you need to cleanse the data before moving it out of the database.
Test and test again
Unlike many projects, if the solution is not tested correctly there is significant risk to the business in both cost and/or business processes. Remember that once data has been moved out of the business transactional database it cannot be reloaded without engaging SAP professional services.
Don't attempt a “big bang” go-live
Once the design has been thoroughly tested and the solution is signed off, plan several smaller “drops” or releases to minimise the impact to the wider business.
Use the Pareto rule, you are likely to achieve 80% of the result with only 20% of the effort. Unless there is a legal reason not to, it is not cost effective to focus on the last 20% of the data as this could greatly increase cost and effort.
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