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Mitigating Migration Complexities with Mission-critical Experience

Senior Solution Engineer
Friday, August 23, 2019 in Cloud, Events, SAP

Migrating your mission-critical SAP applications to the cloud is a complex challenge. Security, performance, scalability, and stability are just a few of the top concerns, and deficits in any of these areas can cause major issues. Moving to the cloud requires meticulous planning and near-perfect execution to eliminate major hurdles and minimize downtime. A few hours of downtime could cost your company millions of dollars; substandard performance on the cloud could cause major inefficiencies; delays in reporting delivery could mean not having the timely data required for critical business decisions.

So how do you relieve this pressure? One of the best ways to minimize these hurdles and challenges is properly defining and building your project’s technical team. The best-suited hands on your project will be incredibly effective at meeting timelines, mitigating risk, and escalating and alleviating issues. Making sure that you have the right people for your project can have a significant impact on project costs and timelines.

A Closer Look at SAP Project Experience

SAP projects have various types, with cloud migration being just one of many defined focus areas. Accordingly, it’s key to find a technical team with the specific skills you need.

Throughout the lifecycle of any SAP project, the Basis Administrator may or may not have gained experience with other SAP projects. Longevity doesn’t necessarily mean having the right qualifications or requisite experience for the project. For instance, someone with 10 years of experience supporting an existing environment may not have any migration experience at all. It cannot be stressed enough how much that matters. The pace is different, the team dynamic is different, and the required skills are – you guessed it – different.

In my career, I worked with an SAP BusinessObjects (BOBJ) technical expert whom had an impressive resume. Years of experience installing, implementing, and managing SAP BOBJ environments. However, the one thing that he hadn’t yet accomplished? Migrating a BOBJ system to the cloud. We were able to efficiently migrate more than 20 other SAP systems, but the delay in this project was getting the BOBJ migration completed successfully. The project missed deadlines and experienced cost overruns because we did not have the right skillset on board.

All of which is to say, if costs and timelines matter to you, then it’s incredibly important to find the right experience for your project.

Finding the Right SAP Product Experience

In addition to considering the type of your SAP projects, it’s also important to consider your SAP products. Most Basis Administrators I have come across are broadly proficient in ABAP-based systems. However, you may require additional skills depending on the SAP solutions you use. ABAP systems, Java systems, and BOBJ systems each have traits that require specialized proficiency. Even though these types of systems may make up only a small portion of your overall SAP solution, finding the skills needed for implementation or migration can prevent future issues and should factor into the way you build your team.

Rounding out the Skill Sets

Great technical project team members will have learned to collaborate deeply with network, data center, and storage teams. Technical SAP expertise doesn’t guarantee knowledge of infrastructure components, so consider a team member who can determine when different skill sets are required; someone who understands all the technical components well enough to know who is needed and when they are needed is vital to long-term success.

Another consideration is where your potential team members were previously employed. Larger companies tend to have resources dedicated to narrower sets of tasks; smaller companies tend to allow for a broader scope of technical responsibilities. Consider this when building out your team, that both types of resources – those with breadth and those with depth – will be of immense value to your project.

Overall, technical expertise, experience, and longevity in the industry may not necessarily point to someone who has the experience you need or is capable of effectively participating in a cloud migration.

Define Expectations and Responsibilities Early

Talk to 10 different SAP leads and you’ll find 10 different lists of tasks that qualify as “SAP Basis.” Be clear during the interview and negotiation processes about your expectations. Develop a RACI type chart (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed) for specific tasks to review during negotiations.

Future task assignment conflicts can be easily avoided with a detailed RACI chart, though the level of detail may depend on your tolerance for risk. For example, including “basic Windows management” is probably too vague, but including “extend disk” may be too detailed, given the total possible number of OS tasks.

Attending Dell Technologies World? Us too.

There are many factors that contribute to the success or failure of an SAP project: strategy, approach, planning, resources, scope, stakeholder support, business support, skillset, and team dynamics. Having suitable team members on board increases your chance of success. It’s critical to think through how each team member will contribute to the project. Prioritize your requirements – you may have to give up some of the key attributes to fit your budget, for example. Or you may have to adjust your timelines, which will, in turn, affect the cost and ultimately the success of your project. Consider learning from the missteps of others, or from experts who manage migrations on a daily basis.

If you are going to be at Dell Technologies World this year, plan to attend Virtustream’s expert session on this topic or visit our booth to learn more. The session takes place at the following times:

  • Monday, Apr 29, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM in Toscana 3702
  • Wednesday, May 1, 8:30 AM – 9:30 AM in Galileo 901

We’ll dig further into the tips, tricks, and technical strategies that can help simplify your enterprise cloud journey, decrease time to implementation, and maximize your innovation opportunity going forward across both the private and public cloud landscapes.

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