RISE with SAP: How SDT helps businesses transform data with maximum flexibility

In today’s world, with so much data floating around that can be helpful in making insights and decisions, it is important that businesses be able to select, harmonise, and transform that data in a way that would create value without too much downtime or disruption.

In a live fireside chat on RISE with SAP and S/4HANA Accelerated with Selective Data Transformation held on Monday, 5 July, the SAP Ecosystem from APAC represented by industry leaders came together for the very first time. 

The five panelists, namely SAP’s Chern-Chuen Khor, Datavard’s Ulf Spies, SNP Group’s Gerald Faust, cbs Corporate Business Solutions APAC’s Holger Bock, and Natuvion APJ’s Chris Schroefl revealed how selective data transformation (SDT) can help customers make such important leaps when it comes to data with SAP.

The SAP S/4HANA SDT is an alternative to a system conversion and new implementation to SAP S/4HANA which merges the benefits of both the greenfield and brownfield approaches without their respective limitations. 

 Through SDT, a company can reduce the data footprint by flexibly selecting and focusing on moving relevant data, said Faust, managing director and CEO of SNP for Asia Pacific Japan. 

 “SDT combines multiple steps into one projectfor example, enhancement upgrades and accelerates the move into new infrastructures, whilst minimising downtimes. The software-centric approach simplifies complexity with up to 70% reduction in project cost, time, and effort,” he explained. 

SDT is not just an exclusive approach, stated Natuvion APJ CEO and Co-founder Schroefl, but it can also complement greenfield and brownfield approaches. He added that SDT is by far the most flexible approach for customised solutions and system configurations. Bock, managing director cbs, APAC also stated that applying the SDT approach while considering business process harmonisation generates additional value from the S/4HANA journey, not just from the new S/4HANA functionalities.

However, it should not be an option if a customer is not up to date with the EHP upgrades, if certain functions cannot be deactivated, if one wants to leave organisational units behind, or if one wants to use current systems as re-accelerators, Schroefl said.

Additionally, applying selective data transition enables an organisation to achieve near-zero downtime, especially when migrating extensive data systems, Holger said.

For Spies, managing director of Datavard APJ, SDT strikes a balance between different approaches, helps move historic data selectively with minimum business disruption, and merges multiple systems in one environment.

One common goal

Through SDT, SAP and its partners come together to automate customers’ journey to the cloud, Faust said. Schroefl added that the founders have all successfully executed projects on data transformation and all have proprietary software that allows for flexibility and SDT.

“The partners have proven experience in very diverse commitment to supporting the movement to any SAP customer transitioning to cloud,” Schroefl stated.

Bock reinforced that the common thread that unites the SDT community partners is the ability to analyse 'AS-IS' situation to understand the system landscape, pre-project required and budget consideration. For our customers, this would mean transforming their S4 project into a business project by adding business value.

“It is important to work with the customers in any transformation plan without losing any valuable data or processes implemented in the infrastructure,” said Holger.

SDT complements partners with much more diverse offerings to their standard brownfield or greenfield offerings, Spies said. They also help SAP with an industry standard to offer a valid approach to either of the aforementioned approaches in order to be more scalable.

In addition, Khor, the COO for SAP Southeast Asia, who was also moderating the eventproclaimed that whilst their customers have scaled their businesses, they are still frequently dependent on just one SAP system, hence the need to rethink the considerations between flexibility and balancing trade-offs in moving data. Retaining critical data and process configuration and innovating through a new RISE with SAP implementation in the cloud do not have to be mutually exclusive. That’s where SDT comes into play, allowing companies to strike a balance between flexibility and risk, to not throw the baby out with the bathwater. ​

How SDT delivers promised value to customers

Khor asked how partners facilitate customers to enable business transformation. Holger mentioned that a global manufacturing customer had to harmonise their finance environment end-to-end when moving to the S/4HANA cloud environment. With harmonisation and corrected data, business values are generated.

With so much historical data that can be of value in the future, Faust assured that SDT can reduce downtimes in order not to sacrifice essential time and resources that will be lost once the business is stopped. He mentioned working with a large Japanese retailer where they helped the company scale a large amount of data with minimised risk and business disruption automating their journey to S/4HANA and cloud.

On the other hand, companies that are struggling with older systems and other software incompatibilities definitely have a difficult time moving and transforming their data. In cases like this, Schroefl said that sometimes extracting old data and taking it to S/4HANA is the only option to move forward whilst skipping necessary steps in upgrading to SAP’s ECC 6.0 release.

“We implemented a staggered approach in which decisions were more or less swinging between standards,” he added.

Moreover, SDT is a useful way of mitigating the risks of moving through older SAP releases, said Khor.

“We are operating under one purpose, to deliver value to customers and facilitate business transformation, harmonise the use of data, minimise business disruptions, and help customers increase flexibility, speed and agility with lower risks as they move to S/4HANA and Cloud,” Khor stated.

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