Let’s face it: no one gets excited about migrating. However, much vendors tout the considerable benefits of SAP HANA, migration is still a costly and potentially disruptive (albeit necessary) process that takes resources away from your core business activities.
But anything worth doing is worth doing well — mainly when your whole business depends on it. A careful, well-designed approach to SAP HANA migration can not only cut your migration costs by as much as 50% but yield long-term cost savings and other benefits that are even more substantial. Here’s how to save money in your HANA migration, and set your business up for success in your new database.
Don’t Buy a License Until You’re Ready
For many organizations, the biggest challenge of an SAP HANA migration isn’t building the landscape, coping with downtime, or getting accustomed to the new system — it’s making the decisions. Upgrading to SAP HANA presents a range of cloud migration strategies.
Should you perform a barebones upgrade, or do preliminary work to prepare for your S/4HANA migration? Alternatively, should you go all the way to S/4HANA, combining the entire upgrade process into one project?
Moreover, underneath those broad strategic decisions lie dozens of smaller choices — from what managed services model to use, to how to make the best use of existing resources, to where to host your landscape. It’s easy to fall victim to decision paralysis at the beginning of the Discover phase, especially if you haven’t had a significant infrastructure project recently.
Many organizations make this frustrating situation worse by buying an SAP HANA license before they’re ready to move. They may underestimate their delays in beginning the project or assume that the license will create the necessary pressure to move them out of their indecision. However, when that license fails to jump start their migration, they can end up sitting on it for a year or more, wasting money without solving their indecision.
To control costs, do not buy your license until you’re ready. It won’t speed up the process, or remedy organizational challenges that may be holding you back; it will increase costs and could sour your organization on SAP HANA migration.
Start With a Full System Audit
The excellent news about SAP HANA migration is that it doesn’t have to be hard. The SAP migration process is mature, safe, and affordable with the right provider, and challenges with the decision-making process generally have more to do with uncertainty about HANA than with HANA itself. Resolve that uncertainty, and you can overcome indecision, execute the migration, and start showing ROI.
The difficulty is that traditionally, getting to know your system is itself costly. You may have to hire a team for a week or more to audit your code, build a report, and make recommendations. Moreover, once you do, you have no way to confirm their findings besides taking their word for it. That itself can be a significant barrier to taking your first steps towards SAP HANA.
That’s why Protera offers a free, self-service SAP migration assessment. Our software can quickly audit your landscape, providing you a detailed picture of where you are, and what steps you need to migrate to HANA. Because it’s automated, free and has no strings attached, you’ll be able to scope your project before you pick a vendor and invest in your project. That gives you the power to choose the most cost-effective solutions for your HANA migration.
Understand the Costs of SAP HANA
Migration presents a substantial upfront cost, but the migration itself is not the most significant cost center. Over time, the OPEX of hosting, licensing, maintaining and upgrading your SAP HANA system will add up to much more than your migration. Unfortunately, these costs are more difficult to calculate, and they’re often less of an immediate concern when companies are budgeting for an SAP HANA migration. The problem is, the very decisions that can save you a little money in your initial migration can end up costing you much more in the long run.
For example, one ERP migration step we always recommend is to sanitize your data before moving to HANA. By auditing your records, fixing inconsistencies and eliminating unneeded data, you can shrink your hosting requirements, and save your team effort later on in preparing for S/4HANA. This step isn’t strictly necessary — you can move your system as is, reducing the amount of work and possibly the cost of your initial migration. However, you’ll be paying more for hosting from day one, and may suffer performance issues and other problems as well.
With system integrators, hardware providers and other stakeholders, different profit models can lead to different priorities. If an SI can sell you a bigger box, they’ll make more money off it. If they can transfer your system as is, they’ll be able to finish the migration more quickly and move on to other work. While most are honest, upstanding businesses, they don’t have the same interests in ensuring your system is efficient — their only job is to get you up and running.
Understand where your costs lie and make sure your migration partner is every bit as interested in decreasing your costs as you are. In the long run, your SAP landscape — and your business — will be far more cost-effective.
Look for Long-Term Strategic and Technical Capabilities
Your migration is just the first stage in an ongoing process of upgrading and maintaining your SAP system. Your system will need regular tweaking and tuning to maintain peak efficiency, along with periodic future upgrades and migrations to S/4HANA and beyond. As SAP and third-party technology continue to develop and evolve, you’ll also face future strategic decisions that will impact your business’ IT costs, agility and ability to compete in the market of tomorrow.
Your IT partner can be a crucial ally in this process. They can be a trusted advisor, helping you evaluate all the technological options available to you, and choose solutions that address both your computational needs and your strategic goals — but only if they understand the business aspects of your landscape along with the technical aspects.
Before you choose an SAP HANA migration partner, make sure they understand your business, and where you’re trying to go — not just with your current migration but with your future technology strategy. A technically competent partner can help you succeed, but only a strategic one will help you excel.
Succeed in Your HANA Migration and Beyond
Migrating to SAP HANA won’t significantly change your business on its own. The performance benefits are excellent, but unless you’re currently suffering slow performance, they’re not going to change how your company operates substantially.
However, your HANA migration is the foundation of your future IT landscape. A smooth, cost-effective SAP HANA migration can prepare you for a strategic S/4HANA transformation with the potential to reshape your business, with substantial improvements in every area from financial closing, to logistics, to long-term planning. If it’s marked by delays, cost overruns, and poor results work, on the other hand, it can set the clock back, sabotaging organizational buy-in, slowing adoption and putting you behind your competitors in technological adoption.
At Protera, we’re not just here to move you in and move on. We aspire to be your long-term technical partner, which means the success of your migration is our number one concern.
Contact us to learn how Protera can help you make a cost-effective journey to SAP HANA.
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