In the modern business ecosystem, where data fuels operations, decisions, and strategies, the successful transformation and migration of data from legacy systems to SAP’s integrated environment is crucial in maintaining a competitive advantage across the market.

By navigating the intricate landscape of enterprise data migration and management, SAP Data Migration emerges as a game-changing process that steers organizations toward seamless digital transformation and improved efficiency across their entire technical landscape.

This article takes a closer look at the SAP Data Migration process and its key requirements, capabilities, and support tools for users, as well as where our team of expert SAP consultants can help.

Read on to learn more!

What is Data Migration in SAP?

Data migration in SAP refers to transferring data between file formats, computer storage types, or intelligent software systems. Efficient data management and migration is a crucial consideration for any SAP system implementation, integration, or upgrade, as it helps free up human resources from tedious manual tasks and gives them more time to complete value-added activities.

The primary purpose of data migration in SAP involves data extraction, transformation, and migration from one system or file format to another. Still, it also facilitates better data quality for the exchanged information and ensures the data aligns with underlying business processes.

Here are the main requirements for data migration in the SAP S/4HANA Cloud:

  • Provide a comprehensive migration solution that requires no additional programming
  • Create and map data structures between the source system and the target systems
  • Migrate data from SAP and non-SAP software systems to SAP S/4HANA
  • Customize and integrate relevant data migration objects across data sources and systems
  • Reduce the human effort required to conduct testing and migrate data into SAP
  • Minimize system downtime to maintain productivity and efficiency within the new system

Understanding the Main Steps of SAP Data Migration

Here’s a quick look at the main steps of data migration in the SAP S/4HANA landscape:

  1. Extraction

In the first step of the data migration process, users will gather all the relevant business data to migrate to the target SAP system based on “relevancy rules,” or criteria like business value filters, dates, scope filters, and more.

Relevancy rules vary from object to object and are typically used to gain access to in-scope records for a particular migration object or satisfy the conditions to move source data to a new system. Once the data is collected and the relevancy rules have been outlined, users will create staging tables with relevant migration objects and their associated segment names and relevancy rules.

  1. Transformation

The transformation step is arguably the most critical step in the SAP Data Migration process, as it allows users to transform the relevant data extracted in the previous phase into a format that meets the requirements of the target system, such as structural design or process setup.

This step leverages additional business logic, mapping, and source fields, including:

  • Default: This field assigns a default value to the chosen data field
  • Logical: This field applies condition-based rules to the chosen data field
  • Copy: This field allows for one-to-one mapping of data from the source to the target field
  • Cross Reference (XRef): This field assigns cross-reference tables to each data value to convert the source value into a format that aligns with the target value
  1. Preload Validation

The preload validation process is completed after the initial data has been transformed but before the newly transformed data is loaded into target fields and systems. These validations help users ensure data loaded into the new system meets system requirements and configurations, reducing the amount of retraced steps later in the process.

There are three main types of preload validations performed in the SAP system, including:

  • Format: Performed to confirm validation checks for data formats, like date fields, pattern checks, and length checks for all the relevant data
  • Configuration check: Used to ensure necessary configuration requirements are maintained, and the system can load product master data and other relevant fields into the correct area of the system
  • Mandatory: Leveraged to validate if the system and business mandatory fields are populated with relevant business data or not
  1. Data Loading

This step involves loading the data into the target SAP system using predefined load methodologies that meet business requirements. The data can be loaded into the target system by leveraging an in-built SAP tool, like the SAP Data Migration Cockpit, SAP LSMW, SAP BODS, or an integrated ETL tool.

  1. Postload Validation

The last step of the SAP Data Migration process is completed to ensure the data is loaded correctly into the target SAP system and can be validated in t-codes and tables.

The post-load validation will generate three different results for the migrated data:

  • Postload Pass: Reports that all records were successfully loaded with no errors
  • Postload Fail: Reports that some records failed and provide the error log for the failed records to conduct further analysis
  • Postload Change: Reports that some field-level values were compared between source data and target data to ensure values were not changed or converted during the load process

Support Tools for SAP Data Migration Scenarios

Here are a few additional support tools for navigating SAP S/4HANA data migration:

Extract, Transform, Load (ETL)

ETL-based replication in SAP S/4HANA leverages SAP Data Services to migrate data from a non-SAP source system to the target SAP HANA database. The ETL tool enables business users to access and view data at the Application layer and define specific data flows within SAP Data Services, improving overall connections between SAP and non-SAP systems.

Legacy System Migration Workbench (LSMW)

The Legacy System Migration Workbench supports the transfer of data from non-SAP systems to SAP systems as either a one-time transfer or a recurring one. The LSMW tool also facilitates data migration and conversion into the legacy system through batch input processing, direct input processing, and inbound IDoc processing.

Batch Data Conversion (BDC)

Batch data conversion involves transferring data from the source system to the target system using a batch input program that can be executed through a call transaction method or a session method.

With BDC functionality, users can transfer many data entries from a legacy system to an SAP system and automate manual data transfer processes across the organization. In the BDC method, only the data related to a specific transaction is transferred into the correct data format, and the data can only be transferred from the legacy system to the SAP system, but not vice versa.

SAP S/4HANA Migration Cockpit

The SAP S/4HANA Migration Cockpit leverages pre-configured migration content, mapping, and templates for each migration object modeler to migrate data from specific SAP source systems to the SAP S/4HANA system.

The Data Migration Cockpit is designed for an initial data load, like SAP implementation scenarios. Still, it is not configured to maintain data synchronization between systems, facilitate a continuous data flow, or establish a specific implementation scenario in SAP S/4HANA. This way, users can gain greater insight into their relevant source and target structures and fields to identify and transfer the relevant data to SAP S/4HANA.

How Can We Help?

Whether you need help outlining new implementation scenarios in your S/4HANA Migration Cockpit, additional support navigating the direct transfer of business-critical data from legacy systems to a new SAP S/4HANA system, or just an extra hand using staging tables to model your migration objects, Surety Systems is here to help.

Our senior-level, US-based SAP consultant team has the technical skills and functional know-how to handle all your SAP project needs, from implementations to integrations, upgrades, enhancements, and everything in between.

Getting Started with Us

Interested in learning how the SAP S/4HANA Data Migration Cockpit and other data transformation tools can improve interoperability between SAP systems or where our SAP consulting services can fit in your organization?

Contact us today to get started!