Migrating to SAP HANA is a long road. There are however countless advantages SAP HANA brings to the table, which I won’t list at length here, that makes it a very attractive proposition.

This type of technical transformation is never quick or cheap– SAP HANA is no exception. As it stands, many companies are either put off by the timescale, or cost, of migration to the platform at the outset. For those that do, there is a need for even moderate efficiencies in the migration process to yield massive savings over the course of the project.

But before we get to the cost saving, let’s tackle the elephant in the room first – why does moving to SAP HANA take so long?

Enhancement Packs, Support Packs and you

The chances are you aren’t up to date on your SAP enhancement or support packs. This is OK and very few companies are – the effort required to manage EHPs and the large scale changes they can bring to your SAP systems, require a lot of preparation and testing before being implemented. Given SAP’s central and mission critical position on most businesses, IT and business teams alike often decide that unless it is broken, there is no need to “fix it”.

This has become a problem for companies exploring the journey to implementing SAP HANA – as there is a need to be on EHP7 before moving to the SAP HANA platform can be made. Therefore, these companies have two options:

  • Embark upon the enhancement/support pack implementation path. Dependent on the current version, this process can take up to two years to complete (factoring in the code redevelopment and testing that needs to be done at each stage to maintain business stability). As each company is different and SAP by its nature is somewhat bespoke, there are few easy shortcuts here
  • Start from scratch. Rip out your entire system and begin building afresh on SAP HANA – however the cost of doing this on top of the already steep cost of HANA itself means this option is available to very few

HANA is built in stages

Given the above options… the vast majority choose to upgrade over the long term towards SAP HANA. You’re going to test one bit (the updating and redevelopment of code for example) to make sure it’s good, then move on to the next – this is called a cycle. The sheer volume of these cycles is the biggest factor that determines how quickly (and cheaply) migration can be done. This makes the time each cycle takes (whilst maintaining quality) the biggest issue.

If cycles can be done even just 10% faster – over the long term, that cost saving becomes quite large. However, the risk must be balanced – inaccuracy early on can lead to major delays later in the process. As each project is bespoke, you’ll want your consultants to become experts on your IT environment and how it needs to function quickly in order to get good results.

The bottom line

Once enterprises get to SAP HANA, they are able to unleash a lot of potential. With HANA, the option of making incremental changes to get most of the benefits for your enterprise becomes easier, and far quicker. Therefore, the more you can mechanize mundane process the more time can be spent capitalising upon SAP HANA – it’s an exciting tool to work with.

But it must be built upon a solid foundation, and mechanized processes must be robust and your testing partner needs to thoroughly understand your setup as well as business processes to ensure success. Unfortunately the repetitive nature getting into the best position for SAP HANA and then implementing it requires a lot of testing and by approaching testing in a modern fashion to ensure it is targeted, efficient and mechanised will yield big rewards. Working with the right team, this won’t take too much time for them to do, as they will bring their own expertise to the table – ensuring testing is done right, the first time.