You’ve been warned. After SAP stops supporting its current Business Suite in 2025, any organization that stays with SAP must run the SAP HANA database. Industry chatter holds that the company may extend support beyond 2025, but it’s clear that the end is approaching if you run SAP on top of non-HANA databases. With this in mind, it’s time to start thinking seriously about your plans for an SAP HANA migration. The good news is that seven years is enough time to work out a good plan and execute it. Further good news is that new hosting options are emerging that reduce the investment bite of making the move to HANA. What follows is an SAP HANA migration checklist, accompanied by suggestions on how to enjoy a successful transition to SAP HANA and S/4HANA.
SAP HANA migration checklist
Migrating to SAP HANA can be a big undertaking. With forethought and planning, though, it can be a manageable process that delivers many business benefits. Here is a checklist of tasks and thought exercises that should help facilitate a sound migration.
- Work out your business case – Besides the looming 2025 deadline, there are many business benefits, and not a few costs, to migrating to SAP HANA. How the move will pay off is going to depend on your unique business factors. Before you start spending money and assigning people to migration work-streams, it’s a good idea to know your business case.
- To PoC or not to PoC? – A proof of concept (PoC) is highly recommended as a step toward migration. A limited scope migration PoC helps your people learn how to handle the migration. It will also reveal weaknesses in your migration plan, such as faulty handling of custom coded objects.
- Get an executive sponsor – Due to the business-critical nature of SAP, it is critical to get executive support and keep them apprised of project timelines, budgets and challenges.
- Pick your infrastructure – You may want to use the migration as a pretext for changing your infrastructure choices. Cloud options, which we provide, offer flexibility, security and performance that business requires.
- Work through any security and compliance issues – This may or may not be a major aspect of the migration, but you have to analyze the security and compliance implications of migration. These include things like privileged access rights to the new SAP HANA database, hardening the servers that will host the data, compliance with data privacy laws and so forth.
- Establish your definition of success for the migration – Devise metrics to establish that you did what you set out to do, e.g. achieving a stated completion date and budget expenditure or hitting database performance targets.
- Pick your team – The migration will take some of your peoples’ attention. For one or two people, it might even be a full-time job for the duration of the project. Anyone involved needs to understand their role and what the expected time commitment will be.
- Select a partner – The right business partner can make a difference in migrating to SAP HANA.
Project plan and DB (database) migration guide
The project plan for the database migration should include a careful assessment of current and future data needs. The migration presents an opportunity to modify the data architecture and cleanse the database. Data capacity is an issue here, as well. SAP HANA is an in-memory database, so its costs and performance will depend on how much data it needs to store in production.
For the actual migration, SAP offers the Database Migration Option (DMO) in Software Update Manager (SUM). This is for systems based on AS ABAP. DMO makes it possible to combine the following into a single procedure: A Unicode conversion, a prerequisite Enhancement Pack and/or NetWeaver upgrade as well as a Heterogeneous Migration to SAP HANA. There will be downtime only once per iteration. With this capability, you can approach the process as a single project with one Go-Live.
S/4 HANA migration—the ultimate end goal
Migrating your data to SAP HANA is likely going to be the first step toward moving your entire SAP landscape to S/4 HANA to run your business. In some cases, it might make sense to do it all at once, though usually it’s wise to do the data migration first. In financial terms, it could be smart to put off S/4HANA to get the most out of current licenses.
We encourage clients to consider one of three basic modes of S/4HANA implementation:
- From scratch – means setting up new, clean instances of S/4HANA, either on-premises in the cloud. You then deploy your business processes one at a time. This approach is good for new SAP customers or businesses that lack complex integrations between SAP and other applications.
- Conversion – means migrating an existing SAP Business Suite instance directly to S/4HANA. This is fast, but it may break something in the process.
- Consolidation – means putting SAP systems together before migrating them to S/4HANA.
Working with Symmetry on SAP HANA Migration
Having worked with hundreds of SAP clients, we offer unparalleled experience in SAP upgrades, implementations and migrations. We are one of the first companies supporting HANA in production. We can help you weigh investments, culture and other factors—then collaborating to arrive at a plan that supports both short-term and long-term goals. We also offer SAP hosting, and comprehensive managed services in Basis, SAP and cyber security and GRC.