Points to consider strongly before initiating migration to SAP HANA

SAP HANA, an innovative in-memory database, is one of the pioneering innovations helping enterprises improve business processes and performance leading to a positive user experience. The growing popularity and utility value of SAP HANA is driving many enterprises today to migrate to a SAP HANA-based business environment.

However, HANA can prove to be a financially intensive transition. Businesses need to estimate if such a transition can offer ROI-positive outcomes before undertaking the migration.

Many enterprises, therefore, seek the services of an independent application management service provider to ensure the best way to initiate migration. Choosing an experienced Application Management Services (AMS) provider is one of the key decisions the Chief Information Officer of an enterprise must take after due diligence.

Choosing an Application Management Services Provider before SAP HANA migration

How it can help

Many enterprises, including big brands with global operations, have made successful transitions to SAP HANA. The common denominator has been the usage of specialized digital transformation consulting services that have played a major hand in easing the migration efforts.

For all the application advantages offered by a SAP HANA system, keeping costs under control and ensuring a smooth transition remain core challenges. It is for this reason that an AMS provider should be chosen keeping in view the enterprise’s future IT needs. Usually, such contracts are long-term ones ranging from 5 to 10 years. If an organization decides to migrate to SAP HANA, but the AMS service provider is not compliant, this may reflect badly on the CIO.

Performance indicators to look for in an AMS provider

Know what you want in AMS

When choosing an AMS provider, CIOs focus mainly on pricing models but sometimes ignore the knowledge acquisition and transition process. For example, an AMS provider can guide the CIO if the company is ready for a S/4HANA implementation that offers advanced analytics to decode the enterprise’s massive data.

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The performance indicators that a CIO must focus on while choosing an AMS include:

Business agility:

Digital transformation is a work in progress, with constant evolution and course corrections to deal with changing business requirements. An AMS provider should, therefore, be agile and proactive enough to pivot the migration model either in anticipation or implementation of such changes. The resourcing and staffing of the service provider should be adequate to ensure such transformations are done with minimal or zero downtime.

Focus on end-user experience:

Any technological change that offers thrust to the business should be implemented with a focus on end-user experience. For instance, if the employees dealing with the transition are not happy with the final implementation, it does not bode well for the IT agenda of the enterprise. Any unsatisfactory work by the AMS can dent the relationship between employees and the IT function, which can cause business disruptions.

Working as a strategic partner:

The ideal AMS provider is one that can work with the enterprise as a strategic partner. Anticipating any technological changes that can help enterprises gain ground or improve their IT systems should be surfaced by the AMS provider periodically. A passive or purely reactive AMS provider may not be what the doctor ordered.

Challenges to anticipate during a SAP HANA Migration

Migration to SAP HANA may offer a business advantage with detailed data analytics and a new-age database engine, but the migration itself can be a big challenge.

Decoding the SAP HANA costs:

 From licensing costs to hardware costs, HANA can be expensive for many enterprises. A focus on ROI along with a detailed breakdown of expenses should be in place before migration. For example, running an SAP environment on an Oracle database means that enterprises pay an annual fee for only the database. With HANA, the enterprise will have to purchase an entirely new database. Add to this the annual maintenance costs and the costs of infrastructure required for SAP HANA implementation. It is therefore essential to derive the sizing costs as enterprises pay per gigabyte on the HANA appliance.

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Benefits beyond speed:

HANA is not just about speed, although customer processes do run faster post a HANA implementation. Any customization in SAP applications may mean a lack of the 20X speeds that many hope for post-HANA implementation. So, post-migration speed should not be the sole criteria to migrate to SAP HANA.

Ways to get best out of SAP HANA migration:

Seeking a Proof of Concept (POC) for HANA is one of the best ways enterprises can ensure they are ready for an investment on SAP HANA systems. A well-oriented AMS provider will offer a POC allowing businesses to see if the newly added functionalities and improved speed of operation add thrust to the business objectives of the enterprise. Ensure that the POC is done with live data and not using SAP demo data. This will ensure the final results are actionable and can offer deeper insights, helping businesses understand if migration to HANA fulfills their objectives or not.

Migration to SAP HANA is an important decision that should be taken after due diligence, and after fully understanding the business needs and SAP HANA costs. Collaboration with an agile AMS provider can drastically ease the strain and turnaround times associated with any transformation effort.

Photo by Grant Wickes

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