Sponsored Content

Sponsored content is a special advertising section provided by IT vendors. It features educational content and interactive media aligned to the topics of this web site.

Home > Best Practices in SAP Migration

Automation and SAP S/4HANA

One of the most overused buzzwords regarding enterprise IT is digital transformation. There is no doubt that virtually every organization wants to get the most out of its IT investment, take advantage of new cloud-first design approaches and emerging AI and machine learning tools, and generally just modernize their IT environment to accelerate time to value for new projects.

For organizations reliant on legacy SAP applications such as R/3 or SAP Business Suite, any modernization will rely on a migration to SAP HANA and SAP S/4HANA, which could put a tremendous strain on existing IT resources given the vast number of administrative resources required to manage both initial migration and Day 2 operations in an increasingly complex IT environment. In any case, the pressure is there: Enterprises must modernize their IT environment to maintain their competitive edge and gain the agility needed to support new business initiatives.

A powerful SAP migration tool that is growing in popularity is automation, a trend backed by a recent SAPinsider survey that found 39% of SAP installations are currently using automation for at least part of their SAP S/4HANA migration.1 Let’s look at some of the reasons why automation is such an important part of migration.

First, the migration itself is a process with many moving parts that can consume virtually all of an organization’s existing resources and staff time. Since the vast majority of SAP S/4HANA migrations involve replatforming either to the cloud or on-premises systems and virtual machines, migration entails creating and configuring the new target infrastructure; replication of data from development, quality, production and other user environments to SAP S/4HANA environments; testing and validation of the new configuration; and finally, once everything checks out, redirecting production workloads to the new environment. Although it seems straightforward, performing these steps manually can be error-prone and always takes more time and resources than expected, causing delays and inconsistencies across platforms and potentially leading to unplanned downtime.

Automating these migration tasks not only accelerates the process, but more important, it frees up valuable IT resources to focus on value creation rather than tasks like disk configuration and database copy. For many legacy SAP IT teams, the entire migration process seems so daunting that adding another layer—even one of automation—seems like adding more complexity. The way to overcome this inertia is to view automation not as an all-in-one proposition but a set of tools that can be applied to specific areas that produce immediate benefits and gradually evolve until automation is used throughout the entire IT landscape.

As with the cloud migration that began a decade ago, enterprises should start with the low-hanging fruit, adding automation in a staged approach that includes both line-of-business (LOB) and IT teams. This can help foster better collaboration while accelerating the SAP S/4HANA migration. It can also change the culture of the organization from silos of information to teams working together to align how business processes can be improved once SAP S/4HANA is in place.

Tomago Aluminium Improves SAP Environment Performance, Security with Red Hat and IBM

Learn how Tomago Aluminium, Australia’s largest aluminum smelter adopted IBM hardware, managed through Red Hat Enterprise Linux, to help the company improve security for its data and systems.

Download Now

Post-migration automation candidates include many traditionally hands-on tasks such as applying patches, database refreshes, managing backups and system copies, and shifting workloads between development and production environments, all functions that are time consuming and add little value to the bottom line. Automation can also help enforce desired configurations, maintain a baseline that is compliant with corporate policies and, again, free up valuable IT resources to focus on higher value activities.

Automation can thus empower the workforce to do more in the same amount of time, rather than cause employees to worry that automation is targeted at reducing the workforce and eliminating jobs. Automation optimizes processes to ensure that SAP S/4HANA is ready for end users and reduces the day-to-day burden on IT and LOB teams so they can increase their productivity, spending less time monitoring consoles to see if a backup completed.

As part of its SAP partnership, Red Hat has developed a practice centered on accelerating SAP S/4HANA migration, built around the Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform. Ansible provides a foundation for building and running automation services at scale, as well as all the tools needed to streamline an SAP S/4HANA migration, and then automates operation of both IT and SAP environments with tools like live kernel patching and in-place upgrades.

Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform helps automate tasks at all levels, from servers, VMs and containers to operating systems, applications and security. It provides tools that can connect existing processes to the SAP digital core through a common language, YAML, which is human readable and self-documenting so that anyone can quickly understand how automations interact with the rest of the environment.

Red Hat can help accelerate the SAP S/4HANA migration, increase overall SAP environment reliability, and deploy automation across the entire organization to help increase the value of IT and the business’s bottom line.

Click here to learn more about how Red Hat can help automate SAP S/4HANA migrations.

1Integrating Process Automation and SAP S/4HANA,” SAPinsider, June 2020    

Data Management
Business Analytics
Content Management