SAP S/4HANA Is a Chance to Start Over, But What About The Legacy Systems?

datavard system decommissioning

IT professionals work in a funny environment with complex technology that sometimes exhibits baffling behavior. “Did you try to reboot it?”, “It works on MY machine!”, “This has historical reasons” are among some of (in)famous IT statements. A typical thing to do is start over and rebuild a solution from scratch to fix previous mistakes and avoid new oens. While this is not always smart or cost effective, it seems to satisfy our constant need to improve inefficient or misbehaving technology.

SAP system decommissioning is not as easy as it seems

SAP S/4 HANA gives SAP professionals a chance to “start over” and redefine ERP processes to trim away some of the fat which might have accumulated over the last decades of using R/3, mySAP, and ECC. Using smart data migration approaches for selective migrations can help preserve some data and processes while giving the chance to redesign others. However, this does not necessarily simplify the overall system landscape – regardless whether in cloud or on-premise! After all, legacy SAP systems typically need to be kept for a number of years due to legal requirements and for auditing purposes.

Finance documents, for example, typically need to be kept for 10 years after being posted. As a result, SAP customers find themselves being forced to migrate to S/4HANA within the next years, while at the same time having to keep their old SAP systems up and running for years and years after completing their journey to S/4. This may be even more challenging than it sounds, because security patches need to be installed, the operating system and database may require attention and patches, and sometimes even life-cycle upgrades. Typically, SAP customers run multiple SAP production systems, e.g. to cover different regions or business lines. This can result in a crazy “zoo” of legacy systems.

Datavard’s DataFridge helps taming this zoo. It reduces the TCO, manages all legacy data in one central place, and helps to comply with legal requirements.

Using DataFridge, SAP customers can use a central solution to manage all legacy data, including scenarios such as legal hold, retention rules, and eventual data destruction. DataFridge stores data using inexpensive storage and technology of choice. While supporting all major databases and cloud providers, Datavard recommends to use Hadoop, ideally in the cloud to not have to deal with day-to-day operations of the storage platform. The solution provides data access through SAP application logic, thus assuring security and integrating seamlessly with the overall productive SAP landscape and infrastructure.

The step by step process of system decommissioning / retirement

The first step for legacy system retirement or decommissioning, is to ingest the legacy application data into DataFridge. This ingestion process involves extraction and tagging of data to classify it by legal entity, creation date, authorization group, and other characteristics for future data discovery and access. In DataFridge, all data is organized in Business Objects grouped by Logical System. Using this organization structure, data can be ingested from any number of SAP or even non-SAP systems – no matter whether data originates from an ERP system or any other solution.

Once ingested, data cannot be changed anymore. The technology uses a software-based WORM storage (Write-Once-Read-Many). Such a storage allows for initial storage of data, followed by read access only, until the data is destroyed.

DataFridge allows users to access the data, browse it, display data, and export data to various file formats. The typical use case is to use DataFridge Data Browser which supports generic access to all business objects and provides dedicated data browsers with additional functionality for some business objects, e.g. to display account balances in the same layout as the legacy SAP application did. There is also an option to provide third party data access for building custom dashboards (e.g. through Power BI or BeX queries).

Retention rules can be defined to implement data destruction and delete old data once legally allowed – unless the data is kept under the so-called Legal Hold. Data under a Legal Hold must not be deleted until the hold is released. To assure this, DataFridge provides Legal Hold cases to include data from several Business Objects in one case. A four-eye principle for data destruction ensures that no mistakes are made when releasing a Legal Hold Case and purging data.

If you would like to know more about system retirement, register for the webinar:

WEBINAR FEBRUARY 28, 2019 | 5:00 PM CET Dealing With Legacy SAP Data:  System Decommissioning and Retention Management   REGISTER NOW