Usually, when we have to start thinking about SAPB1 master data migration a big red light slowly
starts flashing. And it’s not because it’s disco night down at our favourite pub. Fact is,
data migration is a critical project component and it deems careful planning. If
underestimated or left to the last minute it leads to project pressure, slippage of go-live or a
deadline dropping into the great beyond. Why? Simply put, if the data is not there all
dependencies will slip.
So let’s delve into a few fundamentals to help you gear up and be ready. Please note in this
first post we are putting the focus on master data migration. For example: Item / Inventory
or Customer / Supplier master data etc.
In its most simple and common form master data migration is the process during which data
from an old system are reviewed, cleaned and prepared by a person or a team of persons
into appropriate import formats, using predefined import templates which SAPB1 can use.
Usually it also means someone or a team of people will be spending a whole lot of quality
time with Excel.
It has to be said that the complexity of a data migration is regularly miscalculated. The
scale or effort involved is dependent on many factors. Here are a few of the most important
factors to always take into careful consideration when planning the project.
Key data migration considerations:
- Capability of the legacy system
E.g. does it have easy export capability to export legacy data in a file format which can easily
be used for data preparation e.g. export to delimited text files or Excel formats. And is there
someone available, knowledgeable and capable on the legacy system to perform required
data extracts. Test and validate this as early on during the project as possible allowing time
to address any issues which might arise.
- Structural differences of systems
Are there major differences in how data is structured between the legacy system and SAPB1
which could result in timely data re-formatting or ‘massaging?
- Volume of data
Exactly how much data has to be prepared and migrated?
- Quality of the data
To what degree should a data clean-up be performed? Often times migrating to SAPB1 is a
good opportunity to purge legacy data from redundant or duplicate records and to clean
and tidy data. It is important to allocate time and effort from appropriate users, who are
familiar enough with the related business process and data in order to oversee such an undertaking.
- Single or multiple data sources and the resulting merging requirements?
Sometimes legacy data could be contained in multiple legacy systems. For example, a legacy
accounting and CRM system could both contain parts of Business Partner records. This
information may have to be merged into a single record which contains complete
information before this data is imported into SAPB1. Complexity and effort of such an
exercise can vary drastically and is ideally assessed as early on in the project as possible.
- Complexity of mapping and data transformation requirements.
It is common that certain information from the legacy system may have to be mapped and
or transformed to the appropriate, corresponding values in the new SAPB1 system. E.g.
default Tax codes or GL Accounts referenced in Business Partner or Item data may look
different between the old and new system and require mapping and/or transformation.
- Excel proficiency
How capable are the team working with Excel? Often times Excel proficiency translates to
less effort and more accuracy with data preparation.
- Resources available
For example. Do you have the appropriate data users available to take ownership and
oversee the preparation and migration of the various data sets? And what level of resource
or availability do they have to dedicate themselves to the task at hand? More often than not
customers run their business with pretty lean teams already. So people are usually busy
enough with their day jobs as it stands and can easily be overwhelmed by an avalanche of
Early birds run smoother.
Taking all of the above into consideration you might still wonder… How do we make a
data migration exercise run smoothly and with the least amount of stress and disruption?
We believe the answer is simple and straightforward: Get in early in the game! Start as soon as
possible, manage the process and work on it continuously and diligently throughout the
We will be back with more thoughts on data migration. Talk to us about your specific
needs and requirements. We always look forward to helping you and your team.