Accenture viewed a migration to SAP Business Suite on HANA as a key step on its digital road map—an opportunity to deliver value to the business and to ultimately enable a strong foundation for long-term performance and new capabilities via SAP S/4HANA.
For these reasons, Accenture embarked on the next step of its strategic road map—migrating its Finance and HR instance to SAP Business Suite on HANA. This suite is built on SAP’s advanced in-memory platform, SAP HANA. In determining the implementation approach to SAP S/4HANA, there were two key options—“migrate” or “greenfield.” Accenture chose to migrate considering its highly optimized existing platform and standardized business processes. When an organization’s current business processes and configuration cannot meet its future business needs and its current environment consists of diverse platforms, a “greenfield” or reimplementation approach may be better. Ultimately, Accenture completed its vision and migrated to SAP S/4HANA.
Business challenges and solutions
Accenture’s global IT organization teamed with Finance to define Accenture’s finance vision, needs and challenges and to assess how SAP S/4HANA can address them and provide business value. This initial assessment gave the team preliminary findings of the value of the migration that Finance and IT then proceeded to prove out.
Proof of concept
Using the initial findings, the Finance and IT team set up an SAP S/4HANA proof of concept. Three key objectives were set to: 1) determine whether the migrations would provide the desired value, 2) gain an understanding of the technical challenges and 3) determine the cost.
A team consisting of Accenture’s global IT and Finance organizations, Accenture Technology and Consulting, and SAP Services came together to perform the proof of concept. The team defined test business use cases based on key business value levers of speed, agility, analytics and future enterprise system capabilities. With the use cases prepared, conducting the proof of concept was next.
Working with a masked copy of Accenture’s production system, the team set up a proof of concept system in an Accenture Innovation Center for SAP Solutions, performed an upgrade to the latest enhancement package and migrated the database to SAP HANA. The team then ran the Accenture SAP HANA profiler toolset to identify and apply ABAP programming optimizations, and installed SAP S/4HANA. The final steps were to perform Accenture regression testing. The proof of concept was completed in three months, rapidly enabling Accenture to evaluate the results.
The proof of concept demonstrated significant value to Accenture and aligned with Accenture’s digital agenda. As expected, the migration to SAP S/4HANA did uncover challenges that needed to be remediated for the actual migration. The overall findings of the proof of concept were used to complete Accenture’s detailed planning for the business case and migration.
Using speed, agility, analytics and future enterprise system capabilities as the criteria for value, the team confirmed that SAP Business Suite on HANA with a future upgrade to SAP S/4HANA and a parallel implementation of SAP Business Warehouse (BW) on HANA was the best scenario for Accenture. The team developed a full business case that included strategic value levers, essential requirements and optional scope items. The business case also included the following implementation plan components:
- An integrated program plan depicting timeline options with associated prerequisites and dependencies
- Budget analysis, including one-time implementation and ongoing run costs for solution options
- Resource/role and headcount projections
- Major risks and mitigations
The implementation of SAP Business Suite on HANA took six months. Project governance was performed by a weekly operating committee and a steering committee that met monthly and included leaders from all the participating organizations. The team used Accenture’s methods, assets and tools to increase the reliability, quality, speed and predictability of the delivery work. Business disruption due to the SAP Business Suite on HANA migration was minimized by separating functional changes into a previous deployment.
Accenture’s dynamic business environment demands frequent delivery of incremental business capabilities. The program team needed to weigh incremental risk and value of delivering the upgrade against continued delivery of incremental business capability. Careful risk assessment, early go/no-go decisions, and contingency plans provided the supporting facts to perform a concurrent go-live of SAP HANA alongside business change. With enhanced stabilization and hypercare support, the overall solution was brought live on time and with full business continuity. In the first month, full business volume was executed ahead of schedule, and without major defects. Within the same quarter, the solution accelerated finance close processes by two days.
As SAP’s leading partner and largest implementer of SAP HANA-based solutions and applications globally, Accenture was able to leverage a range of unique, proprietary approaches and tools to accelerate migration to SAP HANA and reduce the risks, which have been added in the meantime to the Accenture myConcerto platform for driving enterprise transformation. The Accenture SAP HANA profiler, for example, significantly reduced manual effort to ensure a successful and more efficient migration. The team also used SAP’s ABAP test cockpit tools for remediation and automated testing capabilities to reduce project efforts. Applying tools, accelerators, lessons learned, best practices, a dedicated team and standardized processes through Accenture myConcerto in pre- and post-migration activities can significantly reduce the time and risk compared with a traditional migration approach.