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Selling SAP Data Archiving to your business....

Selling SAP Data Archiving to your business....

Every transaction executed in SAP, every output generated, every document saved creates data. Companies having large volumes of data typically have an advantage over the ones where the right data is not available. But every data has an associated time value. Smart and efficient organizations track and manage data across the data life cycle and make conscious decision to 'unplug' this data once it reaches its shelf life.

The challenge however lies in executing any such data management exercise. Data in organizations is administered by system administrators; however the real owners of data are business.  It is human nature to retain data for future reference and use. This is very evident with ever growing size of our mailbox, growing size of the storage on our personal devices and much more. So the biggest challenge is to find an answer to the question- 'what if I need data?' Selling data management- whether it's in the form of deletion, archiving, moving to offline storage, is the biggest challenge organizations face. Businesses typically don't see any evident benefit associated with such an initiative but for system administrators, this is a clear case of direct and quick benefits.

Let's see what can be a good 'selling strategy' when such conflicting interests are at stake.

Quantified Benefits- Faster system performance and savings on expensive SANs are the biggest benefits associated with data archiving.  The real challenge is to quantify these benefits in advance. Although an accurate figure can never be guaranteed, however a high level estimate can always be arrived at. Improvement in system performance can definitely strike a chord with business.  A quick demo in test environment by executing some reports, after data is removed, can help win confidence.

Archiving is NOT Data Deletion- The most common misconception is that archiving is equivalent to data deletion. As part of data archiving, some data can be deleted, but data which is important and meaningful is not deleted but only archived and hence can be mostly retrieved back. Setting this expectation at the onset is extremely important.

Business as Partners - Data archiving can never be an IT initiative alone. One of the key success factors is to engage business at the start itself. Having people who understand the data, its usage, linkage to business flow, in the project team would not only help mitigate any risks associated with data archiving but would also help in ensuring seamless integration with other business initiatives.

Phased Approach- Archiving in an organization can never be a 'step function'. Archiving is a journey and cannot be completed with a single project. To get buy-in from business it's important to first target the low hanging benefits.  This will go a long way in establishing credibility of the solution.  Typically, organizations prefer to first archive/delete the technical data (like system logs, IDOCs) before moving on to the more business facing data.

Archiving today is much more than traditional archiving- System enabled retention policy definition, automatic data destruction, e-Discovery and Legal holds are some of the standard features available in data archiving solutions today.  For the most part, business would have seamless access to archived data. The other standard features go a long way in increasing the overall efficiency of organization at large. It is important to articulate these facts clearly to the right audience.

SAP data archiving is not only about savings in space but more importantly about enhancing end user experience through improved system performance. Organizations should understand that no solution is perfect, however within the realm of known constraints, SAP data archiving always makes for a profitable business case. 



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