What is an SAP Divestiture?
When most people hear the word “divestiture,” they immediately think about economic or financial portfolios. Specifically, a divestiture is the act of reducing your holdings of an asset class for ethical, financial, or political objectives, or because of the sale of an existing business unit.
Not surprisingly, an SAP divestiture is very similar where you separate some data in your system due to the sale of a division, or when a reorganization of your SAP system is necessary to comply with government regulations. Luckily for us, SAP data is generally associated with organizational units, and the data can be “carved out” using those events as selection criteria.
The remainder of this article describes my top tips for divesting the data in your SAP systems.
My number one tip is to be flexible and accommodating. I’ve seen deals collapse and timelines shift. It’s really a matter of course. You must be flexible because projects stall, especially if a buyer falls through, and it could take some time to find a new one. It’s also common for the data carve-out requirements to change, too. Yes, change is constant, but you must be flexible enough to roll with it.
Data Security, Privacy and Audit Considerations
My second tip is to discover the scope of your data landscape as early as possible. SAP master data is most exposed when it’s a) extended to both organizational units that are being carved out and b) used by organizations who are not part of the carve-out process, too. Also, more complex transactional data below the organization unit may also be required. Consequently, you may need to divest more data than your first impressions. For example, carving out FI documents by company code is an easier and cleaner process than carving by a combination of company code and profit center.
Similarly, don’t delete divested data from the source system! Deleting data from “Production” is not advisable and may invalidate your SAP support agreement. Also, many countries have government regulations that require you to protect data for a period of time for auditing purposes. If the “leftover data” is keeping you up at night, consider archiving it to ensure you still have access, if needed.
Data Testing and User Training
Positive and negative testing should be performed, regardless of whether it’s the buying or selling company. Positive testing ensures necessary data has been included, while negative testing safeguards that no data outside of the divestiture scope was transferred. administrators should conduct a technical smoke test prior to the release for testing. Also don’t overthink the data testing process. Use existing test plans and standard tcodes like SE16, SE16H and TAANA. Create new data and change existing data. Run custom reports or transactions to be sure the custom objects are accurate. Also, don’t forget to run critical processes like month-end closing, payroll, etc. If a critical process does not work in the new target system, it is imperative the issue be resolved before even thinking of going live.
My final advice for testing is to budget time in the project plan if user training is required. In many instances, new users will be unfamiliar with the SAP experience, or system processes change entirely. For example, I have seen buyer companies discontinue using SAP CRM, and therefore users had to be trained in an entirely new customer creation process than before.
Be strategic when scheduling the final Production system build. Schedule the cutover during the weekend when the business can typically handle an outage as it finishes transacting in one system and starts transacting in the new one. If you are divesting multiple systems or if the system is very large, you may want to consider a holiday weekend to gain an extra day. It may not make you very popular with your team, but the extra day could determine if the project is successful. In addition, do not schedule the cutover for the last weekend of the month. Allow time for the newly live system to stabilize before rushing into a month-end or year-end financial closing. Do not jump into that on Day One of the new Production system!
Interfaces, Third-party Tools and BI
My final tip is to pay consideration to items stored outside of your SAP Production database when divesting. These could include solutions like a content repository or HR tools. Determine which interfaces are needed and consult with your third-party vendors on how to configure them in the new system.
Incidentally, there are two data-loading options when also using
Finally, consideration must be given to non-SAP items, such as networking, hosting, VPN, and email changes as well. Email addresses, for example, will likely be different for employees that move with the buying company to the new system and must be updated in the new SAP production database.
SAP divestitures happen for several reasons. The most common is the sale of a division, or system reorganization due to a compliance requirement. These projects are generally complex, but can be very successful with the right approach, appropriate technology, and requisite expertise. With Qlik Gold Client, we can build a three-tiered data landscape and divest your SAP data in as little as 10 weeks. For an experienced team, please reach out to me ([email protected]) for a discussion or demo of how Gold Client can suit your SAP divestiture needs.