SAP UK and Ireland User Group (UKISUG) has published research indicating that significant majorities of SAP customers experience difficulties with data management that hinder business process automation (BPA) and migrations to enterprise resource planning (ERP) system S/4 Hana.

The survey, which brought together respondents from 116 members, was published before the Analytics Symposium the 5th April 2022.

It found that 61% of organizations face data management challenges that slow business process automation, while two-thirds say data issues hinder migrations from SAP ECC 6.0 to S/4 Hana.

Paul Cooper, Chairman of UKISUG, said in a statement: “Many organizations see the move to SAP S/4 Hana or their broader digital transformation as an opportunity to further automate their business processes. Yet, as our survey shows, data management challenges are holding back progress.

“When moving to SAP S/4 Hana, organizations need to consider whether they need their previous transactional data on the new system. For many, this could lead them to reformat their current ERP data or use data retention solutions. Data quality is also a very important consideration, as organizations will fail to get the most out of S/4 Hana implementation if their existing data has not been cleaned first.

In an interview with Computer Weekly, he added, “Data can be forgotten once SAP is running. But getting value from that data is very important. Also, when moving to S/4, data is paramount. What data are you going to leave behind? Do you have a robust archiving process in place to ease your transition once you are online? »

The survey found that more than three-quarters (76%) said their business intelligence and data analysis needs have increased over the past 12 months. When respondents were asked about their most pressing business intelligence needs, data accuracy and consistency (26%), dashboards/visualization (23%) and data governance (18%) were the most frequently cited.

“Many organizations see the move to SAP S/4 Hana or their broader digital transformation as an opportunity to further automate their business processes. Yet, as our survey shows, data management challenges are slowing progress”

Paul Cooper, UKISUG

The vast majority (92%) of organizations surveyed said they have or plan to have a data strategy. Of these, 46% said it was developed in-house, 42% said it was done with a partner, and 12% said they develop their data strategy with SAP.

Cooper assumed that those working directly with SAP would have the most complicated programs, associated with mergers and acquisitions, and equally strategic. “Usually you would go to your [existing] partner. It’s an interesting space. Some niche vendors have grown in the market and specialize in S/4 data journey,” he said.

Many organizations surveyed highlighted a lack of skills (41%) and technology (41%) preventing them from effectively using all of their data. More than half (57%) of organizations said they use or plan to use SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC), which is a SaaS (software as a service) business intelligence platform. Built on that of the supplier Hana Cloud PlatformSAC enables data analysts and other professionals to plan, visualize data, and perform predictive analytics in a cloud-based environment.

The survey highlighted other specific issues for SAP customers, with 69% facing the issue of data delivery in their environment across multiple platforms and 64% saying they are concerned about data distribution issues. accuracy and consistency of data.

“Increasingly, when it comes to data, the challenge is less how much you have, but rather what you can do with it. SAP systems are a treasure trove of operational and customer knowledge, so it’s vital that organizations invest in the necessary skills and technology,” Cooper said in the release.