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What HANA cloud migration strategy will help ensure success?

Migrating to SAP HANA cloud requires a well-defined migration roadmap and establishing steps for building, deploying and sustaining the cloud. Here's what you need to know.

CIOs are under tremendous pressure to lower the total cost of ownership of managed business applications such as SAP ECC, or Enterprise Central Component, and simultaneously deliver responsive applications. Partly as a result, many are considering migrating some or all of their business applications to cloud platforms powered by SAP HANA, whether in the form of HANA Cloud Platform -- SAP public cloud -- or HANA Enterprise Cloud -- SAP private cloud. Either migration requires thoughtful planning and flawless execution.

Although HANA's newness means that implementation examples are not bountiful, we can learn from those companies that have already undertaken the migration journey. To that end, here are four steps in the migration progress you'll need to address.

Create a roadmap. CIOs' cloud migration strategies should include a roadmap that takes their current SAP systems landscape into account. Migrating directly to HANA cloud requires that a company has at least version 6.06 of ECC. If the company currently uses an on-premises version of SAP ECC with an enhancement package older than version 6.0, then it needs to first upgrade its system to EhP 6.0 before it can migrate to SAP HANA cloud.

Build. After the above step of assessing your cloud migration strategy for the system you already have in place and the cost, time, effort and resources involved, CIOs need to decide which of the SAP applications currently in use they will migrate to SAP HANA cloud and which will be kept on premises. If one or more SAP or non-SAP application talks to one another, which is normally the case, then it makes sense to include when and how frequently this will happen. For example, if employee attendance data from an on-premises time machine is sent to ECC in HANA cloud for payroll processing, then the company needs to integrate different applications and also set the frequency of data transfers.

Deploy. With all the planning and groundwork of your cloud migration strategy in place, it's time to begin implementation and execution of HANA. Effective change management initiatives will be needed at this stage. For example, a change management strategy should include informing stakeholders about the activities involved, their roles and the support required from them. This goes a long way to creating a smoother HANA migration. In addition, thorough testing of migrated SAP and non-SAP applications and training -- where required -- should never be overlooked.

Sustain. As with any ERP project, companies put in enormous effort to make sure everything is on track. Unfortunately, ERP system errors, such as authorization errors or missing master data, can sometimes occur after the go live. For this reason, it's important to ensure that enough quick fixes to potential go-live issues are in place to minimize business disruptions.  

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