This isn't just an SAP problem, of course. Migrating to new environments, and to entirely new uses, is a major stress point. A company needs to really understand its legacy data and business processes, and it needs a firm idea of how the new system is supposed to look and act. In between are a myriad steps – data cleansing, migration, transformation, loading, testing – that can further complicate success and tempt failure.
Adding SOA to the mix brings an interesting twist to the migration problem. If all you do is migrate a set of applications data into SAP NetWeaver and MySAP without regard to an eventual SOA deployment, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise. Your data may be old, tired, and broken, full of incomplete records, errors, inconsistencies, and other problems that weren't necessarily show-stoppers
There are some solutions to this problem – Trillium Software has a product called Discovery that can find these problems before they're migrated into the new system. But regardless of how one tackles the problem, SAP – and everyone else in this market – has a major effort ahead of itself. Migrating has always been hard – migrating to hit the SOA brass ring will be harder still. For SAP and its customers, garbage in, garbage out just took on a whole new meaning.
This was first published in August 2005