Within an organization, it’s essential to have real-time information on the state of the business. Using an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system will make this process easier, as all users have a single system of record where they have easy access to valuable information and can process data seamlessly using coordinated workflows. However, it’s important to ensure your existing ERP system isn’t limiting your organization’s growth or business success.
When an organization is looking to refresh their legacy ERP system, they are faced with a crucial decision ̶ should they upgrade their existing system or implement a completely new system? Businesses must take a deep look at their current internal processes and business needs to determine the best course of action. To streamline any major system change, implementing an effective data archiving strategy is an important first step. Archiving data before a system change reduces the size of the legacy system and reduces the time and complexity of any future upgrade or new system implementation. If the archiving strategy also ensures business users are provided seamless access to archived data, organizations can apply the same data management strategy to the new system. This improves the return on investment from archiving with controlled data growth and consistent adherence to data retention requirements. With a sustainable plan to manage data in ERP systems, businesses can reap great rewards, including reducing the total cost of ownership of current and future systems, improving the ability to analyze business trends with efficient access to data, and improving the ability to respond quickly to audits and queries.
Reducing Total Cost of Ownership
An effective data archiving strategy is traditionally used to improve system performance but when it comes to moving ERP systems, it is an important way to reduce the size of the systems before any migration even begins. Utilizing information management technology to complete any data archiving tasks will improve the return on investment, enabling organizations to archive data quickly and consistently. Once archiving is complete, organizations will be able to reap the benefits such as faster backup before the migration, a quicker overall migration period and reduced downtime throughout the transition – all of which translates to abundant savings.
Efficient Access to Data
Typically, businesses have large amounts of pertinent information that must not only be stored, but also be easily accessible for inquiries years after it is complete. An effective information management strategy that incorporates archiving ensures that users have seamless access to historic data and documents, yet the cost of storing and accessing that data is dramatically reduced. Queries and reports that run against archived data run quickly and smoothly and do not slow down performance in the production system. Companies can therefore reserve valuable system processing power for mission critical business operations while simultaneously improving the time it takes to run complex reports. There are many instances in which data archiving makes inquiries more efficient, including analytics, legal or audit queries and operational reporting requirements.
- Analytics: It’s insightful and beneficial to the business to review trends against aggregated data, such as quarterly and year over year sales reports. Archiving historic data makes it easier to quickly gather the necessary information to monitor these trends whether it is over short or extremely long time periods.
- Legal or Audit queries: Responding to audit inquiries frequently requires extraction of large volumes of master data, transaction data, and/or documents, linked to specific business units or individuals. Organized, archived data allows businesses to flexibly respond to legal or audit queries, dramatically reducing the impact on the IT, legal and financial resources who are responsible for producing that information. With archived data, organizations can quickly identify and extract data according to the terms of the inquiry.
- Operational: Even for operational reporting requirements, archiving can help improve the speed of reporting on long term data. The key is to have tools that allow a seamless view of archived data alongside production data so business users do not have to run separate reports to access that data.
Enforcing Compliance Minimizes Risk
In many organizations, retention rules are in place but aren’t necessarily mapped to digital information in the system of record. Archiving ensures that data can be safely retained according to these policies and makes it possible to programmatically set up, review and report on retained data for internal and external audit purposes. Businesses would be wise to implement a data archiving strategy to enforce compliance, as accumulating information without a defined lifecycle exposes the organization to risk. In the case of personally identifiable or business pertinent but sensitive data, it can put the company at significant risk of threats from hackers and penalties against corporate executives.
For businesses moving to SAP HANA, archiving the majority of their historic, static data prior to transitioning to a high performance storage option allows businesses an overall faster migration, reduced downtime and increased ROI. It not only significantly reduces the size of the hardware required to run the new system, saving the organization millions of dollars, it also reduces the cost of maintaining and securing that data over time.
Maintenance for Business Suite on HANA applications will end in 2025. During the next ten years, all Business Suite systems will need to be upgraded or replaced. It’s imperative for businesses to take advantage of available solutions that will allow for efficient management of historic information before or during an impending move. Businesses must look at their ERP System and existing processes, and determine whether it would be beneficial to upgrade or undergo new system implementation.
Migrating to a new platform would provide a great opportunity to establish an efficient retention management process, both for upgrades and for new implementations. A comprehensive retention management solution combines both business-critical process data and documents into a controlled framework and implements standard lifecycle management policies so organizations can more quickly respond to audits and effectively manage the retention and end-of-life disposition of documents and data.
An effective data archiving strategy delivers great advantages to the business, seen in the monetary aspects, streamlined processes and enforced compliance. Once this strategy is in place, businesses can sustain those benefits even with future systems by regularly reviewing their business processes and ensuring that archiving is being done consistently so that the organization is able to meet compliance standards and maintain system performance and cost savings.
Dr. Werner Hopf is Dolphin’s CEO and Archiving Principal. He has more than 20 years of experience in the information technology industry and specializes in SAP Data Volume Management initiatives. Founded in 1995, Dolphin works exclusively within the SAP ecosystem. As the one partner that manages both data and processes, it leads the way in business performance improvement.
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