Archive for Blog

SOLD A DIVISION? HOW TO DIVEST YOUR SAP DATA! Our Expertise in SAP Landscape Transformation (LT)

You saw the announcement on Bloomberg! Wall Street is applauding the news as the stock ticks upwards! Everyone is excited, but now the head-scratching work begins – how do I break out my SAP system and separate the divested data?

Divestitures are commonplace. What is not so common and often complex is how to manage the data according to the terms of the divestiture. The TSA (The Severance Agreement) typically defines what stays and what goes. A primary driver around the right approach and effort is the sensitivity of the data – what data do you want the acquiring company to see.

Helping some of SAP’s largest customers with divestitures we provide knowledge, expertise, and assurance that your divestiture happens in your timeframe.

The various approaches to divesting your SAP include:
• Carve-Out
• Clone and Go
• Transfer
• Data Masking

A carve-out is the most common approach for a divestiture. When you leave on Friday the divested company and related data is there. On Monday when you return, it’s gone; there is no trace of the divested company except an audit trail.

One example of a carve-out project we successfully completed on time while guaranteeing the results. A high-tech company had to delete all traces of the divested business. The carve-out included configuration, master data, and transactional data.

SAP Landscape Transformation (LT) is the perfect tool for this type of project. In this situation the data was organized at the Company Code level – the most straightforward approach ensuring a successful outcome on a tight timeline.

Not all divestitures are this straightforward, requiring more planning and effort. If the divested business was organized either above or below the company code, expect additional complexity, effort, and duration. For example, the business is organized across Profit Centers, Business Areas, Plants, or by global Business Segments, these models are inherently more complex.

Another business case, a global chemical company sold off a division to a competitor. The TSA required that ALL related data must be removed from the existing system. The selling company did not want their competitor accessing any trade or operational secrets.

However, after reviewing their landscape, data schema, and business processes it was determined the data was commingled at lower levels. For example, sales orders, deliveries, and invoices contained line items from the divested and retained business units guaranteeing a 100% deletion of all the data was not realistic or reasonable, e.g., deleting line items causes the header data to go out of balance with historical values such as amount, pricing, freight cost, weight, and more.

The line item details were needed to support the header information for compliance, audit, tax, and financial reporting purposes. After the TSA was revised several times, they engaged us to help finalize the agreement.

We met with the stakeholders including CIOs, CFOs, and attorneys for both companies and advised them on the realistic options, timeline, effort, and assurances based on our system analysis and comparable results we provided for other clients.

Our solution combined the best of LT’s capabilities plus some creative expertise of our own to deliver the system. The solution included plant reallocations i.e. change of ownership of plant from one company to another, deletions, and data masking to ensure all data was removed and confidentiality was not compromised.

The other options; Clone and Go, Transfer, and Data Masking, are dependent upon the nature of the divestiture. We have advised and guided some of SAP’s largest customers on the options and the right Roadmap on divesting, harmonizing, reorganizing, and consolidating their SAP environments – and we guarantee your transformation results!

Our clients have used our experience and capabilities to drive transformation projects, assessments, SAP Landscape Optimization (SLO) and Landscape Transformation (LT) workshops and training sessions.

If you want clarity, confidence, and assurance on how you can successfully transform your SAP Landscape, contact, Warren Norris at 972.679.5183 or warren@titanconsulting.net to arrange a call to help you with your SAP Landscape Transformation.

BIG DATA FORCES BIG DECISIONS! How to Tame Your Data Management Beast!

Data is exponentially increasing every day! According to EMC, the amount of data is doubling every year. By the year 2020, there will be an estimated 44 ZB; a zettabyte is 1021 bytes.

Put another way, in the year 2013, a stack of tablets containing the world’s data would stretch two-thirds of the way from the earth to the moon, about 160,000 miles. By the year 2020, the tablets containing this data would stretch to the moon and back 6.6 times or approximately 1.6 million miles.

How do you take charge of your data management beast? Or will you treat it like the US government treats the deficit and kick the can down the road?

Designing and implementing an enterprise data management strategy, also referred to as Information Lifecycle Management (ILM), is a tricky problem. In many companies, this problem does not get the priority it deserves. Excess and ill-managed data cost you time and money. Think about this the next time you perform a client copy or worst; you can’t perform the client copy because it takes too long.

In the past, archiving was the answer. In some cases, archiving is still in your data management tool belt, but most likely, it is only one of many strategies and approaches to managing data.

One question many companies can’t answer – “What is the value of my data?”

Here are some quick facts:

  1. On average, only 15% of your data – all data – has value or is used
  2. 1/3 of your data is temporary data – such as log files
  3. Estimated cost of in-memory data is approximately 1 million dollars over three years

Here are three simple steps to help you assess and manage the value of your enterprise data:

  • Update Your Enterprise Application Inventory List
  • Forecast Your Data Growth
  • Synchronize Your Plans With Your Applications Roadmap – Especially HANA

Update Your Enterprise Application Inventory List

A portfolio of applications should already exist. Assess how each application fits into your Data Management strategy. This is usually quickly assessed based on owners, users, usage, and how digital business processes are impacting this application.

The outcome of this assessment becomes an input to your data management policies. You may be surprised by the overlap of applications and the hidden costs of redundant data that exists and becomes a quiet cost-driver – excess and redundant data does cost you time and money.

Forecast Your Data Growth

For your Enterprise Applications, forecast your data growth, consider how digital processes will impact these legacy processes. Adjust your forecasts for modern technologies such as IoT, Analytics, In-memory platforms, and the related impact on the stack.

In a recent article, we proposed guidelines on how to segment your data between Hot, Warm, and Cold data. See the recommendations from this article titled “WHAT TEMPERATURE IS YOUR DATA? Planning for your HANA Upgrade!

Synchronize Your Plans With Your Applications Roadmap – Especially HANA

How often do you hear the phrase,” I will buy more storage!” Do you buy a bigger house when your garage is full of old clothes and furniture? No, you clean it up, get rid of unwanted stuff that does not add value and takes up space.

Why would you continue to buy more storage when your data volume is larger? You still need to perform some housekeeping – archiving activities – and get rid of the unworn items. Performing the design and implementation of a more complex enterprise data scheme is more costly and takes more time to get results.

If HANA is part of your Roadmap and it should be, it is important to put a strategy and plan in place to rationalize your data. You pay a premium for in-memory storage and carrying excess data increases your investment and lowers your ROI – more data, higher cost, less value, lower ROI.

Check the facts from above; you use only 15% of your data. Implementing a Data Management Strategy consisting of data tiering and periodic housekeeping will help you run more efficiently and economically.

Ask your hosting or cloud partner how they manage this for you. The answer you hear is they will implement your strategy or adopt their standard practice – who knows your data better than you?

Big Data does create cost, performance, and management issues for you. At a minimum, implement an archiving strategy and execute it. If you do not have an archiving or Data Management Strategy in place or need an experienced team to review your strategy, contact Blake Snider, blake@titanconsulting.net, 469.835.5358; or your Titan Consulting Sales Director.

IS YOUR SUPPLY CHAIN “DIGITIZED”? Tips on How to “Do It!”

Digitization is all around us. Business leaders are talking about “Digitization”, and “The Amazon Effect”, Disruption and Adaption – what is it and how do I get there?

To get these answers, I sat down with David Malenfant, Director for Texas Christian University’s (TCU) Center for Supply Chain Innovation at the Neeley School of Business. Dave is a Supply Chain Thought Leader who has acquired over 25 years of experience driving change and performance improvement across the global supply chain.

It Just Happens!
One question that comes up in every supply chain conversation is defining the digital supply chain. In Dave’s words, “the digital supply chain is a device-to-device connection that limits or eliminates human touch!”

One CSCO executive enthusiastically describes it as “it just happens!”

A simple example, Uber is a digital supply chain. The only time a human is involved is the moment the driver picks you up to take you to your destination. All other activities: demand, supply, logistics, payment, customer rating, are digitized – device-to-device automation.

More automation in the supply chain results in better accuracy in the processes of planning, forecasting, procurement, and consumption of materials and services.

At a holistic level, the value of digitization is to support the coupling of the demand chain to the supply chain. Digitization is the driver of “the perfect transaction, every time!”. The “perfect transaction” is where the demand chain – your customer’s demand signal, i.e., sales order – triggers the right supply chain activities to buy, make, and ship. Such that the product ordered is delivered on-time, for the quantity requested, at the agreed upon price.

In dealing with the ”Amazon Effect,” your supply chain needs to run in real-time and use technology to provide customers with the services they expect. This is relevant for omnichannel sales and omnichannel logistics.

In the discussion of the digital supply chain, the more automation, the better the performance, lower costs, better customer satisfaction and greater confidence in the metrics.

Where do you start?
“Start with what you do best!” is Dave’s advice. The dilemma for many companies is where to start? Historically, the place to start is with the low-hanging fruit. This approach has proven its challenges, long implementation timeframes, lack of ownership, and the ramifications of fixing broken business processes.

Your scorecard should tell you what processes you are “good-at.” For example, if on-time delivery is where you are your best, then how will digitization improve your scorecard. The place to start for deliveries might be digital signatures on delivery. Proof-of-Delivery (POD) is a function that generates many customer issues. Having a digital POD easily accessible can improve your delivery scorecard, reduce complaints, and increase on-time payments.

Scorecarding is a digital best practice, measuring the ‘facts’ or ‘truth’ about your business processes. Ensure that you capture the right metrics – the value of data generated by digitization is worth the investment and keeps you on the path of continuous improvement.

Frame or Re-Frame Your Digital Supply Chain?
What if you don’t know where to start? Wait-and-see is not a winning strategy! Too many excuses are made about Amazon, Walmart, or whoever the competition is not able to win with their current strategy – it defies industry norms. If I was Fresh Market, Sysco, or anyone in the food service industry, I would revisit my digital supply chain. Now that Amazon is in the food service business, wait-and-see is a bad decision!

One industry leader continues to staff their customer service center as a differentiator insisting that their customers expect this level of service. Unfortunately, this is a cost driver in the supply chain and adds little value to their product and services.

Their margins are shrinking, and their leadership role is dwindling.

The real reason? They were afraid to change. It would affect jobs; the way people view their jobs and roles. Newsflash – jobs and roles have always changed. How many people are in your typing pool today? You may need to re-frame your questions and objectives for what you expect from digitization.

If you are not certain where to start, Dave’s recommendation is to, “assess digitization by focusing on people, processes, and technology”. This classic assessment model identifies opportunities, organizational resistance, gaps, metrics, risks, and tools. With this justification in hand, the roadmap to supply chain digitization is a matter of value, focus, and priority.

Check out our recent article “Why Some Mobility Projects Succeed And Some Don’t?”  for real life stories.

Where are you in your digital supply chain journey. Do you need help digitizing and automating what you do best? Or do you need thought leadership on how to map your path to a digital supply chain?

Contact Joseph Lamb, joseph@titanconsulting.net, or call him at 972-743-2872; or contact your Titan Consulting Director. You can also see additional information on Titan Software at Titan Consulting, www.titanconsulting.net.

DETAILED ACCOUNTING GUIDELINES For Handling ASC 842 and IFRS 16

ASC 842 and IFRS 16 have an enormous impact on the Financial Statements for most publicly-traded companies. The estimated impact of leases affected by the new regulations is $3.3 TRILLION. Moving the leases onto the books requires planning, process and organization change, and systems. For many companies, this effort is more arduous than SOX or IFRS 15 – Revenue Recognition.

In a nutshell, as of January 2019, operating leases will need to be carried on the books. They are carried as an asset and liability at present value and creates some new accounting, master data, transaction, and reporting requirements.

For companies using SAP, there are options, but the roadmap is not clear on how to assess, plan and migrate the leases. We share some of the details of these massive changes that could impact your approach to your ASC 842 and IFRS 16 Project.

There are 3 questions that we are asked the most about the new regulations:
1. How is this model different from traditional lease accounting?
2. How do I plan and prepare for my SAP Lease Accounting project?
3. What impact does this have on SAP Lease Accounting?

The first question is pretty easy to address. The demonstration is for ASC 842, but IFRS 16 closely parallels the calculation:

An operating lease for a piece of equipment. The terms are:
• $100,000 over a 5-year period, $20,000 per year, no down payment or pre-payment clause.
• 6% capital rate, the borrowing rate.
• Right of Use (RoU) asset, therefore, the asset and liability are capitalized.

Create a new Asset Class – “Right of Use” class. Amortize the Present Value of the Asset over 5 years – the term of the lease. All values are USD.

The Present Value of the Asset is determined to be $84,250 (USD) at the time of inception.

The transactions that are generated annually are:
• Depreciation: The asset is depreciated via straight-line method over the five years, $16,850 per year.
• Lease Payments: $20,000 per year in lease payments
• Interest: Calculated at 6%

 

The transactions are posted as follows:

Lease Liability – Year 1 Year 2
DR: Lease Liability $14,945 $15,842
DR: Interest Exp. $5,055 $4,158
CR: Cash $20,000 $20,000

 

Asset Depreciation – Year 1 Year 2
DR: Lease Depr. $16,850 $16,850
CR: Lease Accum. Depr. $16,850 $16,850

In years 3-5, the same journal entries will occur until the asset and liability are netted to zero.

Quick Tips for Planning for your Project?
• Determine Valuation Levels – Low Value and Short-Term leases.
• Collect Lease Data – Categorize and Segment your Leases – in-process, service fees, multi-level leases, terms, and extensions.
• Build Lease Administration Model.
• Streamline your Business Processes – Vendors/Lessors.
• Lease Administration, Asset Accounting.
• Assess Impact on Financial Statements.

Our advice?
• Do not make this a mad sprint to the finish line like IFRS 15 – Revenue Recognition!
• Talk to Management to get the plan and project moving.
• Talk to your Auditors – they may have some good insights!
• Assess your SAP Systems approach.
• Think about who needs to be on this Lease Management team.

The effort to convert your current operating leases could be a monumental task and time is running out. Do you need help evaluating the impact and options of these new regulations? Our Advisory Services team can assess your Lease Accounting requirements and recommend safe and efficient methods for adapting to ASC 842 and IFRS 16.

For help, contact Warren Norris, warren@titanconsulting.net, 972.679.5183; or, contact your Titan Consulting Director. You can also see additional information on our Advisory Services page at www.titanconsulting.net.

IMPACT OF ASC 842, IFRS 16 ON SAP FIXED ASSETS AND LEASE MANAGEMENT: What Do These Changes Mean to You?

Are you ready for ASC 842 affecting Lease Accounting in the US? How about IFRS 16 to handle your new Lease Accounting requirements abroad? Many companies are still in the investigation and planning phase.

In a recent QBR with one of our AMS customers, we asked if they were ready to adopt the new standards for ASC 842 and IFRS 16; we know it will impact our support teams. The controller shrugged and responded, “we’re waiting for direction from Corporate!”

We were alarmed!

They are a global manufacturer with thousands of assets worth millions in operating leases for equipment, forklifts, automobiles, and other devices. These assets are affected by the new reporting regulations. The conversion effort is a herculean task!

To summarize for those not familiar with the new lease accounting standards:
• The standards are for ASC 842 and IFRS 16 and are effective January 2019.
• Businesses worldwide are required to bring most leases on their balance sheet as obligations and liabilities by January of 2019.

The impact of the regulations affects the Financial Statements, Systems, Procedures, Asset and Lease Reporting, and Change Management. The date is coming quickly, and a recent survey indicated that the majority of companies have low-confidence if they had to convert today.

By comparison, many companies are struggling with the revenue recognition changes, IFRS 15, and with this as a backdrop may struggle to meet the effectivity dates for IFRS 16.

Who does this effect?
Any public company that has property and operating leases for property, equipment, vehicles, and possibly devices, for example. Companies like Walgreens, CVS, McDonald’s, Verizon, AT&T, CDW, and Xerox are affected by this regulation. Walgreens alone has over 33,000 properties worth 100’s of millions of dollars. This has an enormous impact on the balance sheet!

What must happen?
The lease portion of the contract needs to be set up on the balance sheet as an asset and an offsetting liability. The analysis of the operating lease follows these conditions:
• Do you have the right to use the property – Right of Use (RoU)
• Does SAP Lease Accounting address the requirements?
• The first thing to consider, “Are you the lessor or the lessee?”

What are my options with SAP?
If you are the lessee of equipment, automobiles, or devices which is a large portion of our audience, you have a few options. Of course, it depends upon which release of SAP you use.

Generally,
• ECC – requires either a 3rd party solution or customized integration to Fixed Assets and Lease Accounting.
• S/4 HANA 1709 on-premise – has Lease Accounting, but will need either 3rd party integration or customization.
• S/4 1802 cloud edition (CEE) – According to the release notes, the Lease Accounting module addresses ASC 842 and IFRS 16.

There are a few 3rd party solutions on the market. Nakisa is SAP’s certified solution for integration to ECC and S/4 HANA.

If you are the lessor of the property, you will need to use SAP Real Estate (REFX). We will address the REFX components in a separate article.

What else is different about the new regulations?
The use of present value (PV) of future cash flows. The present value of the asset and liability is recorded on the books rather than at historical cost. For example, if you have a contractual payment of $50,000 over five years, the present value of the cash payments, assume $45,000, is the recorded value.

What impact does this have on your SAP Financials System?
1 – New Lease GL Accounts for Assets and Liabilities
2 – New Asset Class for Right of Use Assets – RoU Assets
3 – The migration and restatement of the financial statements.

What are some of the ‘Aha’s with the migration?
To start, collecting the detailed information could be significant. Each lease that qualifies under the new regulations will require the interest rate, payment schedule, termination and extension clauses, and statements validating the right of use. In some situations, if this information is captured, it is retained in multiple locations or departments and at best on spreadsheets.

Also, the payment for each lease needs to separate the equipment and services components. The service component of a lease is not capitalized. For example, payment for an equipment lease may include a service component. The service component is an operating expense and excluded from the new asset and liability.

Is there a Change Management Impact?
From a business change management perspective, ASC 842 and IFRS 16 will have a massive impact on your Lease, Accounting, and Operations teams. Does your current CAPEX approval process include leases in the process? Does the process capture the information to record the asset and liability at present value? For many companies we spoke to, operating leases are not included in the CAPEX approval process.

Fortunately, in the US, the FASB (Financial Accounting Standards Board) has relieved some of the reporting requirements for prior reporting periods. FASB is now saying that prior period restatement is not a requirement.

Even though this is no longer a requirement, many CFO’s and investors will want to see the comparative impact of the balance sheet and P&L.

See our Detailed Accounting Guidelines for handling ASC 842 and IFRS 16.

The effort to convert your current operating leases could be a monumental task and time is running out. Do you need help evaluating the impact and options of these new regulations? Our Advisory Services team can assess your Lease Accounting requirements and recommend safe and efficient methods for adapting to ASC 842 and IFRS 16. For help, contact Warren Norris, warren@titanconsulting.net, 972.679.5183; or, contact your Titan Consulting Director. You can also see additional information on our Advisory Services page at www.titanconsulting.net.

IS THERE ANY BETTER FEELING THAN THE ONE YOU GET FROM HELPING SOMEONE? Helping our Neighbors in Houston, Puerto Rico, and Mexico!

September, we heard about one natural disaster after another. Harvey flooded Houston, then Irma knocked out the Caribbean and Florida, fires engulfed parts of California, and a 7.1 monster earthquake rocked Central Mexico.

We all know someone that was affected by one or more of these catastrophic events. For many of us, our lives have returned to normal. In these disaster zones, the nightmare continues.

How can you help?

In October, “unleash the power of together®” was on full display in The Charity Room at this year’s SAPinsights Conference in Irving, TX. The SAPinsights team raised the bar because the goal of 300 Care Packages to help the victims of these natural disasters was achieved on the first day.

Attendees from Texas and throughout the US and Mexico helped collect and wrap Care Packages. The feeling of gratitude and charity was contagious. One grateful attendee from Houston put more than one Care Package together. These packages consisted of personal care items, diapers, or t-shirts.

She recounted the horror, tragedy, and miracles that captured the nation’s attention for weeks. While she was not affected, her neighbor’s house is still unlivable but was able to evacuate and get to a safe place before the storm’s fury hit. She was in a state of shock as she watched helplessly as the cameras inside of her house captured the slow rise of water overwhelming the house until the camera was knocked out.

Ashley Luttrell, Rachel McIntosh, and Shomari Taylor were the organizers of this year’s SAPinsight charity event. Ashley expressed deep gratitude for Titan Consulting’s continuous support to SAPinsight by sponsoring the charity event. “Titan is a great sponsor and the type of company that we appreciate as a Texas neighbor!” Ashley said.

The SAPinsight and ASUG Chapter meeting has passed, but you can still help with your contributions. We have embraced Houston Texans Defensive End, JJ Watt’s Houston Flood Relief Fund  which has now raised over $37,000,000, but families still need your help!

Thank you to all those who participated in the SAPinsight Charity Room event!

SECURITY, TESTING, GOVERNANCE PROBLEMS WEIGHING YOU DOWN? Titan’s SAP Fractional Consulting Takes the Weight Off!

Is your open architecture, compliance, and disruption getting too complex for your IT teams? The powerpoint looked easy, but getting all the work done is not.

You have core infrastructure and administrative activities that your basis team performs, but do they have the time or skill set to perform all the tasks when needed? If it doesn’t get done, it can get expensive and messy.

Titan’s Fractional Consulting Services can alleviate the stress, worry, and frustration of these tasks not getting done or done on-time. These technical tasks and activities don’t take up a lot of time – a few hours here, a few hours there. But when you add up the hours, it requires planning, unique skill sets, and often performed at the expense of core, mission-critical tasks.

Our fractional consulting services are short-term engagements for specific or targeted purposes and results. For example, one client needed help upgrading their security protocols, SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and TSL (Transport Layer Security).

Software vendors like SAP and Salesforce use these security protocols. The certificates expire on a certain date and require updating. The updates occur infrequently, and for a manager or administrator, it may be a secondary priority even though it is of high importance. If you do not perform these tasks often, it takes much longer than the few hours it takes for an experienced person.

We brought in a Senior Consultant and performed these updates along with some other clean up tasks in a couple of days. For them, it is so much easier to bring in an experienced consultant to get this done and out of the way – less stress, guarantee results.

Another client survived an internal audit, and the report disclosed numerous violations in their user roles. The audit report required immediate remediation for elevated risk violations in 60 days. Most consulting service providers and consultants will not pursue a short-term, high-intensity project due to risk and difficulty in finding the right consultant.

At Titan, we recognize that these are typical events that occur in your business and we have a solution to help you – that is what we do, help our clients solve problems.

Our solution, we brought in a Senior GRC and Security Roles Consultant that helped remediate the high-risk violations. He worked remotely for two weeks, full-time, and tackled the biggest issues. Then for the next four weeks, he was used part-time as an advisor, counselor, and hands-on fixer.

The client met the 60-day deadline demanded by the auditors which helped in the eyes of Executives and IT Management.

Fractional services are not used for just emergency situations, but that is where many clients need them. We also perform short-term planning and working sessions. Test Data Migration is a growing concern and effort for many clients. As ERP landscapes evolve in complexity and volume, putting together a timely, cost/value test environment becomes a challenge.

It is not uncommon for a manager to spend weeks or months cleaning up orphan transports in the Test/Quality environment. Getting your TDMS strategy aligned is another area that can streamline your RUN phase of operations.

One client was feeling this pressure after a few mishaps that resulted in some unexpected downtime due to incomplete testing data – yes it happens to other companies too. They realized that they had to improve their TDMS practices; spending weeks to prepare for a weekend shutdown was not an efficient way to support the business.

We prepared a 2-day workshop to identify where improvement opportunities existed. Topics evaluated during the workshop include:
• Current landscape with an overlay of critical business processes,
• Current TDMS Tools,
• TDMS Governance Policies and Practices,
• Benchmarking Activities and Effort,
• Current Metrics and Expectations.

The result of the workshop identifies the strengths and weaknesses of the current model. Also, a list and timeline of opportunities and investments such as TDMS tools, critical test scenarios, and opportunities for improvement and cost reduction. The next phase of the workshop is to implement the recommendations and develop new benchmarks.

Where do fractional consulting services work effectively to reduce risk, worry, and frustration?

Our clients tell us that our Fractional Consulting Services take the weight off and help:
• Offload complicated, high-risk tasks,
• Complete infrequent but critical activities, and
• Supplementing service level tasks when the backlog is too great!

If you are interested in learning how Titan’s Fractional Consulting Services can streamline your operations, help you get more work done, or drive changes in your current processes, contact Warren Norris, warren@titanconsulting.net, 972.679.5183; or, contact your Titan Consulting Director. You can also see additional information on our Advisory Services page at www.titanconsulting.net.

WHAT TEMPERATURE IS YOUR DATA? Planning for your HANA Upgrade!

2017 was the year of planning for SAP HANA. Will 2018 be known as The Year of The HANA Upgrade?

SAP has done an exceptional job of incentivizing customers and sales reps to migrate to the latest suite of SAP applications – most notably S/4 HANA, HANA, and BW4/HANA. Which application is a top priority for you to upgrade, ERP or EDW – Enterprise Data Warehouse?

What are some of SAP’s clients saying about their road to HANA? Are they realizing the business benefits of migrating to a HANA-based platform? The expectation is that HANA will deliver process and performance improvements that speed up transaction processing and reporting.

Simply, HANA is about performance and data volume. Because of poor data management policies, some customers are not getting the performance. Is this HANA’s fault?

The data volume issues we saw are grouped into three categories:
• Database size and transaction volume
• Reporting, and
• Data Usage

ILM, Information Lifecycle Management is a major benefit of migrating to HANA. However, many customers either do not have an ILM model or their practices are not current.

First, what is ILM? ILM is the segmenting or tiering of data based on criteria such as usage, relevance, compliance, and others. You usually hear this referred to as Hot, Warm, and Cold data.

Since HANA uses in-memory storage and a premium is paid for this storage, it is in your best interest to segment your data to pay only for what you need.

One recent adopter had a 15 TB DB. Can HANA handle this efficiently? Maybe, maybe not, according to our sources, it depends on how the data is managed. Before the upgrade, we recommended that they archive their data. Archiving is another form of tiering, making the archived data cold or off-line.

This customer did not archive their data and the result – slower than expected reporting and transaction processing. After the upgrade, reporting efficiency and duration did improve, but not as expected. SAP suggests that you will get up to an 80+% improvement due to the HANA and S/4 simplified data scheme. They were only getting a 30% improvement.

Data analysis and preparation should be performed before the upgrade. Define your data according to the three tiers. Do this analysis and it could dramatically impact your HANA sizing exercise; Enterprise HANA, BW4/HANA, or S/4 HANA.

The exercise can take between 2-days to 2-weeks. We recommend including stakeholders from both business and IT in the workshops. However, a deep dive into some data statistics on volume, frequency, and type can streamline the analysis. The criteria to assess your data is common, the approach and results are unique to each customer and industry.

Each customer, business, and environment evaluates their data differently.

Using this criterion, segment the data into Hot, Warm, and Cold. Typically, Hot and Cold data is easy to define. The grey area is with Warm data. And this definition may change based on the business function and processes; financial data has a different scoring or weight than operational data.

Hot data, or Tier 1 data, is recently acquired data relevant for months or years. Hot data benefits from the HANA in-memory computing and capabilities. This is the data that HANA manages best for performance and speed.

Warm data, or Tier 2 data, compressed, but disk-based rather than in memory, but needs to shift from warm to hot in short order.

Cold data, or Tier 3 data, is lower cost and value data and commonly extracted using Vora or Hadoop, for example. This data is stored off-line with lower cost platforms.

Once you have performed this exercise prior to the upgrade, take periodic snapshots to see if your assumptions on the criterion has changed.

Recent articles spoke of the importance of archiving. Start with the archiving strategy you have in place and evolve it towards ILM Best Practices.

If you do not have an ILM strategy in place or need an experienced team to review your strategy or upgrade plan, contact Mark Vasinda, mvasinda@titanconsulting.net, 972.977.3100; or your Titan Consulting Sales Director.

10 MINUTES, 10 HOURS OR 10 YEARS – IN JAIL? How SAP GRC Reduces the Cost and Risk of Compliance!

Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) was invoked more than 15 years ago. It seems like yesterday when Enron and many other reckless companies cooked their books.

The goal of SOX was to restore confidence and close loopholes that allowed companies to defraud investors. The regulatory impact of compliance on companies is considered a major concern according to a recent survey of C-level executives. The Cost of Compliance and risk on these companies has increased exponentially and digitization will substantiate this trend.

Section 404 of the regulation is one of the most arduous to implement. It requires companies to perform extensive internal control tests and include the results in the audit report. However, over the past 15 years, most companies have attacked this approach using standalone tools that target the various controls.

The current trend is to combine your governance and controls requirements and build synergistic solutions. SAP GRC accomplishes this integration and lowers your cost of compliance and reduces your risk.

Another significant trend is to combine management objectives of business performance, compliance, and value / cost control.

There are many areas of risk, but one certain violation of controls, risk for fraud, deception, and loss is user access. The four primary functions of User Controls in SAP GRC are:
• Access Risk Analysis (ARA),
• Business Role Management (BRM),
• Access Request Management (ARM), and
• Emergency Access Management (EAM).

Where should you start?

Audits or the notification of an audit is the catalyst for many businesses to tighten up their controls. When audits trigger your actions, we see ARA or Access Risk Analysis as the starting point.

For instance, one of our clients resolved their Access Controls challenges with SAP GRC. This $1 billion USD manufacturing company resided in the portfolio of a private equity group for many years. As a privately-held company, access controls weren’t aggressively enforced. Management’s goal was to grow the company for future sale. Controls were a secondary objective for management and to ensure major breaches did not occur.

Then they were sold to a publicly-traded global company that had governance and risk controls as a measurable objective of management. They had a controls program in place co-sponsored by the CEO, CFO, and CISO and were rolling it out to the newly acquired entity.

The first time they ran ARA for the new business there were over 4,000,000 conflicts. The divisions management had to abate these conflicts or suffer the consequences. The task fell squarely on the shoulders of the division controller and IT Director.

It took two months of reviewing the conflicts and either remediating or mitigating them. In today’s manufacturing and economic environment, you will never remove all conflicts due to:
• Lean Manufacturing Environment,
• Overlap of Primary and Secondary Responsibilities,
• Cost and Risk Analysis.
After the focused effort, the conflicts were reduced by 75%.

Some of the challenges that occur in lean companies are False Positives. A false positive typically happens when secondary roles are assigned; for example, a user can receive goods and put them away. This is common in smaller warehouses and lean plants.

In these situations, you need to ensure that remediation occurs and is reviewed and signed off by the appropriate approval levels and internal audit. This may be as simple as running a weekly report or performing random sampling of conflicted areas.

Even in the best governance practices, there will always be conflicts. The balancing of conflicts and risk is the art and science of a well-designed GRC environment. Attention to the business roles, part of BRM, is the activity where you weigh the cost/risk of the roles.

A function that streamlines a burdensome workload and provides great benefits is Access Request Management (ARM).

I don’t have enough time to do all of this compliance work!” is a common complaint we hear from controllers and plant managers. By leveraging the ARM functionality, you automate the role creation process and it saves you time and frustration.

One IT Director we work with loves this functionality.

Now, when a new employee is hired, the hiring manager submits an electronic request for the new employee or contractor. The GRC system builds all the necessary user ids, roles, and authorizations – no human intervention other than to review the audit report.

Where should you start is a common quandary. We recommend a diagnostic that targets areas of risk in your processes. The diagnostic will highlight the low hanging fruit: risks, rules, opportunities, and effort to remediate or mitigate.

If you need assistance getting your Cost of Compliance under control, Titan Consulting is here to advise and guide you. Contact David Geaslen at 832.422.3251, or david@titanconsulting.net; or contact your Titan Sales Director.

YOUR SAP WAREHOUSE MANAGEMENT (WM) AUTOMATION PROJECT!

The CFO was nervous! Operations were panicking! How big was this inventory write-off going to be?

Year-end bonuses were in jeopardy and stakeholder’s jobs could be lost!

Paul was brought in to fix the Warehouse Automation Project. He was the leader they needed for this project: he should have led the project in the first place! He was bright, fair, respected, and had worked in the company for 20 years – management and operations trusted his judgment.

The inventory shortage problem surfaced when they started doing their quarterly cycle-counts at their Southwest warehouses. The smallest differences were around 10%, with some locations having as much as a 30% gap: the quantities in the bins did not agree with their SAP system.

What happened?

The warehouse automation project started a few years ago when the manufacturing company wanted to automate their North American warehouses. The solution was to harmonize and automate the primary warehouse processes:
• Receiving and Putaway;
• Inventory, Bin and Location Methodology;
• Pick, Pack, and Ship;
• Internal Warehouse Movements and Processes.

A team was formed to evaluate the warehouse locations, current practices, and finally choose a WM Automation software package.

It was like opening Pandora’s Box. No two locations had the same layout, work practices, and procedures.

The project team chose a bolt-on package, and the investment was less than they had expected. The team elected to move forward and customize the mobile software rather than harmonize the SAP WM process. The emphasis was on laying out the screens on the mobile platform in a WYSIWYG format. The problem, you can’t harmonize business processes just through a common screen layout – Mistake #1.

The software did what it was supposed to do, build a flexible, easy-to-use front-end, but the software companies consultants didn’t know SAP. But they gave their best effort to integrate the data. Mistake #2!

When items were taken out of inventory to fulfill a Sales Order, it was done manually. The inventory was relieved from stock after the truck had left. The updates were only performed periodically throughout the day. No one trusted the numbers in the system. Mistake #3.

When the next order that selected those items couldn’t find them, the warehouse handlers fulfilled the orders from other bins and locations. It was with good intention, but with horrible results. The warehouse teams chalked it up to business as usual, but no one could begin to imagine the snowball effect on the inventory counts.

Paul and his new team brought in a partner with expertise on mobile applications and SAP. They had tough choices to make. Where would they start? The immediate goal was put trust back into the process, or their problems would continue to mount. Their priorities:
1. Harmonize the warehouse processes so that the system reflected the physical
2. Automate the good processes they had
3. Integrate the front end mobile app with back-end SAP.

During their investigation, the SAP WM system, while not optimal, was performing as designed and configured. The primary culprit was the mobile software. It did not send correct information back to WM.

Paul had to rip the bandage off and start all over! No one liked the decision, but when the steering committee evaluated the alternatives, this made the most sense.

The key takeaway and lesson learned from this experience – UI/UX is important, but only one part of the solution. A pretty screen without tight integration is a recipe for lost bonuses and jobs as well as late nights and overbudget projects.

Titan Consulting and their Titan Software’s Warehouse Management solution, easyShip® addresses all the checkboxes for your mobile warehouse environment on SAP.
• Updates back-end integration and synchronization with Warehouse and Inventory Management View real-time          integration.
• View real-time stock in the warehouse by product and by bin.
• Perform transfer order picking with quantity updates.
• Perform transfer order putaways with bin confirmation.
• And more features that streamline operations and control inventory.

What you’ll find in the easyShip® Management app:
• HTML5 technology to design the ultimate UI/UX work experience.
• Warehouse Cockpit: Review the workflow for the day.
• Shipping Calendar: Assists you in scheduling time and resources.
• Full Device Integration: Lets you get the most out of your device.

Paul and his team have many months of work to do before they can untangle their Warehouse Automation Project, but they now have a clear path to the right solution.

We will continue updating you with Paul’s progress with this project in the next few months. If in the meantime, you have challenges in your Warehouse Automation Project or you are planning a new project and need assistance, Titan Consulting is here to advise and guide you on the right mobile and warehouse automation strategy for your company. Contact David Geaslen at 832.422.3251, or david@titanconsulting.net; or contact your Titan Sales Director.