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Bluefield Migration to S/4HANA

T-Systems and SNP migrate SAP systems to the public and private cloud - saving up to 30 percent in costs.

Software-based SAP transformation – what makes the combination of SNP Bluefield and T-Systems truly unique worldwide?

From collaborations to partnerships and from sub-projects to full-scale M&As (mergers and acquisitions), there are many ways for companies to come together. The purpose of doing so is usually to complement each other and to build common economic ecosystems. Here, the ideal result would be a ‘one plus one equals three’ scenario where the ability to deliver can be increased exponentially, or where synergies can significantly improve the added value of complementary processes.

So it goes in theory – but how about in practice? Concepts that dovetail perfectly on paper and in Excel spreadsheets are sometimes difficult or even impossible to implement in everyday business practice. They’re too complex, too fluid, or so in need of explanation that the actual benefits fade into the background or the sales structures are simply not created for the new requirements.

Identifying needs at the right time

Take SAP transformations, for instance. Why should a system integrator invest in business transformations such as SAP carve-outs and mergers when they can only deliver and execute one or two of these complex projects in a single fiscal year? Many consultancy firms have entered partnerships with specialists so that they can deliver the complex data migration required. The calculation behind doing so is obvious: high sales and high EBIT. But to achieve these results, sales and technical account teams must be able to identify customer needs at the right moment to position the topic in exactly the right place.

Is the documentation of all the customer’s SAP interfaces fully up to date? How are the different data areas of the customer’s SAP system actually being used? Which possible solutions would Microsoft Azure offer for an SAP landscape, for example? And what may be necessary to ensure a secure transformation? It is well worth companies and their service providers asking themselves these questions from time to time. The sobering reality is that a large number of partnerships exist purely on paper after a short while – either because these questions were not asked at all, or were asked too late, or the attempts to find the answers failed, or because the huge variety of possible combinations were often difficult to implement in practice.

T-Systems recognized how high the bar was set at an early stage. The Deutsche Telekom subsidiary has a wealth of customers who operate their SAP landscapes in the T-Systems cloud, so the topics of data migration – and in particular, selective data migration – have been on the agenda for many years. Even then, the list of challenges was long: from the migration of large-scale complex SAP landscapes into the T-Systems cloud in short timeframes, to record-breaking carve-outs and mergers with or from SAP systems. Shell and Heineken are just two examples of global enterprises that now operate their worldwide SAP landscapes entirely in the T-Systems cloud.

Call the family doctor – or send for the specialist?

Company logo SNP-Partner, blue square with blue swallow

One thing unites the world of IT and our lives as human beings: if a deep malaise sets in, it can cause pain and quickly endanger the victim’s health. And where a business is concerned, it is by no means only the heart of the enterprise that gets affected. Let’s take the thought one step further: Then you can go to your family doctor as a first step. Or straight to the medical center. Just an analogy that neatly illustrates why T-Systems and the software provider SNP SE entered into a partnership ten years ago - as a “care center,” so to speak, whose specialists really have a command of the required disciplines.  

Since then, T-Systems has been gaining experience in using SNP software through a number of large-scale joint projects – and today, customers are reaping the benefits of this collaboration. Currently, companies typically face three questions regarding their SAP landscapes:

  1. Is the public cloud a sensible alternative for me, and if so, how do I use it?
  2. How do I plan my own path towards S/4HANA?
  3. How can I consolidate my SAP landscape to reduce the number of SAP systems?

These questions are not new to T-Systems, and nor are the challenges behind them. The Deutsche Telekom subsidiary is the world’s largest SAP hosting provider, operating over 820,000 terabytes’ worth of SAP HANA databases for its customers. And it is the only IT service provider worldwide with SAP end-to-end certification – built on years of expertise in SAP operation and transformation.

Costs, downtime, risks – down, down, down! 

In concrete terms, what connects the company with SNP is a shared belief in software-based SAP transformation. By combining SNP CrystalBridge software and the SNP Bluefield migration methodology with the services and experience of T-Systems, customers are able to make their SAP landscapes truly fit for the future. As a result, enterprises can cut their SAP migration project costs by around 30 percent, reduce the downtime of SAP production systems by over 70 percent and minimize the project risk – all at the same time. 

In the first step, the entire project is divided into different phases. During the roadmap phase, T-Systems leverages the SNP CrystalBridge landscape assessment to determine basic statistical and structural information from the customer’s SAP landscape. Based on this assessment, businesses receive an evaluation and an overview of the entire SAP landscape with respect to identification of the interfaces, SAP usage analysis, SAP S/4HANA readiness and cloud sizing.

As Marcus Flohr, S/4HANA Program & Portfolio Lead at T-Systems reflects, “Experience shows that this analysis provides the ideal foundation for a successful migration.” Can SAP systems be merged? What are the candidates for consolidation? Which S/4HANA migration approach is the most suitable? Particularly for customers who have been operating their SAP landscape for years, the SNP CrystalBridge assessment enables T-Systems consultants to work together with the customer to identify which data should be transferred to the new S/4HANA environment, and which company codes and plant lists that are no longer used should remain in the old system.

Moving with care 

“You have to imagine it as if you were moving into a new house or a new apartment,” Marcus Flohr explains. “The first thing I use in my house is the new infrastructure, such as the elevator or the broadband connection. I buy new furniture and make myself at home, but I always take a few things with me from my old apartment and continue to use them. This is either because they are of high personal value, or simply because they are still very useful in my new domestic ‘infrastructure’.”

A second key aspect of the roadmap phase is selecting the target environment. Which cloud should be used? Do you want to continue to work ‘on-premises’ and use your own infrastructure? What must be considered with hybrid models? Multi-cloud providers such as T-Systems have the necessary experience to evaluate each model with customers, and to calculate the various pricing models. Here, the SNP CrystalBridge assessment makes a valuable contribution; the captured analysis data is essential for meaningful sizing of the new target environment. The current database size and historical data identified during the assessment enable calculations of future data growth and the development of tailored offerings, whatever the customer’s preferred cloud and service level.

First the roadmap – then implementation 

Based on the T-Systems project methodology and the SNP Bluefield approach, the existing SAP landscape is made ready for S/4HANA. Significant cost benefits can be achieved when IT service providers are able to execute multiple diverse projects – such as technical database migrations, SAP upgrades and Unicode conversions – in a single step. This methodology saves project costs for users and means there is only a single instance of planned SAP downtime.

For the final S/4HANA migration, however, the target environment must first be defined for the SAP system. T-Systems leverages the findings from the SNP CrystalBridge assessment and makes the new platform available in the private cloud, public cloud, on-premises or in hybrid environments. The target systems are installed and prepared for selective data migration. Here, too, the roadmap phase and CrystalBridge assessment pay dividends for the user, as the initial selection criteria for data was already defined at that stage. Now, these rules are extended in line with the selection criteria and stored in SNP CrystalBridge. 

A reliable way to reduce risk

Once all migration rules have been defined and tested, the data is copied directly from the original SAP system into the new SAP S/4HANA production system. Again, only one planned downtime period is necessary for the SAP production system. “What is much more important, though, is that the original SAP system remains unchanged, so if an error or technical issue occurs, it can be brought online without lengthy recovery procedures,” Marcus Flohr explains. “It is precisely this approach that significantly reduces the level of project risk and frees up valuable time for our project teams during a weekend migration project.”

Overall, we are talking about nothing less than a practically unique combination of software and service. T-Systems enables its customers to deeply analyze their SAP landscapes, define a roadmap for the entire migration process, utilize all possible cloud models and effectively and sustainably set up S/4HANA systems with a selective data migration process. 

Author: Thomas van Zütphen
Photos: Press images SNP, iStock

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