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Implementing an enhanced archiving strategy and capability has enabled Accenture to retain data, address system performance and reduce costs. “Accenture’s archiving initiative created a holistic SAP archiving strategy for the company that covers each major business process area and meets Accenture’s data retention requirements for the business,” says Accenture’s Finance and Operations Executive Todd Harding. Moreover, for each major business process, Accenture has more than two years of headroom to meet performance and schedule service level agreements.
Managing the exponential growth of data volumes is an ongoing challenge for any organization, including Accenture. As Accenture has continued to grow, however, the internal IT organization is able to continue to meet the same service level agreements for the business as in the past. Going forward, an enhanced SAP archiving strategy helps Accenture to keep its single instance of SAP in step with the needs of its constantly evolving business and workforce of more than a quarter of a million.
As the amount of data companies must manage increases, organizations are looking to improve data management and system performance through SAP data archiving solutions. Data archiving, the process of relocating data that must remain accessible for business or legal reasons, was a challenge for Accenture, as its business of approximately 281,000 employees serving clients in 120 countries grows and evolves. To keep its global single instance of SAP in step with this business change and to scale for future growth, Accenture needed to enhance its initial SAP archiving strategy.
“As databases in organizations become large, they result in reduced system performance and increased total cost of ownership,” says Dan Kirner, executive director of Accenture’s SAP Strategy, Program and Operations. “Accenture recognized that these increasing data volumes were becoming more difficult to manage as part of our normal IT processing, and that the growth in data volumes posed a risk in the ability of our internal IT organization to meet service level agreements.”
Accenture needed to enhance its initial archiving solution to address system performance and reduce storage and administrative costs, while adhering to legal and compliance requirements.
Accenture’s internal IT team provided thought leadership on the solution together with Accenture’s North American lead for archiving. Members from internal IT around the globe teamed with business stakeholders to determine business requirements, sign off on functional designs and play an important role in testing.
“By involving business sponsors,” says Todd Harding, Accenture finance and operations executive, “we were all able to get the right business stakeholders involved to work closely with IT to create a solution that balanced the needs of the business to continue to be able to access critical data when needed, but that supported the need to reduce the data in the transaction processing system.”
In addition, the team rolled out a new SAP BW archiving solution. It moves older, infrequently used data to archive storage. While the SAP BW archiving solution was custom, we developed an SAP archiving solution through a combination of out-of-the-box SAP functionality and customization to account for more granular data archival. Once the SAP BW solution is upgraded to a newer version, Accenture’s internal IT organization will explore moving archived data to a lower-cost storage option.
The SAP archiving strategy optimizes system performance at levels appropriate for Accenture’s growing business. The solution is keeping data vital to key business areas readily available online for end users and archiving outdated data. It also results in faster searches, and eliminates exposure to data that is not frequently used. Improved performance in turn improves the user experience and the financial close as the volume of data to be processed is optimized.
By archiving data, Accenture has been able to improve performance and build contingency in its financial close, business reporting and online transaction processing. Along with improvements in configuration and code changes, with archiving, the batch cycle was reduced by 250 hours.
In addition, the archiving solution has reduced storage costs by more than 5 percent. Archived SAP data and data that is no long active or used on a day-to-day basis is stored onto another platform, which has allowed Accenture to avoid operational infrastructure costs related to premium storage—annual storage costs have reached a steady state, while data volumes increase.
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