For a carve-out of this scale to work, a lot of different pieces of the puzzle had to be set in place. [shutterstock: 796560889, metamorworks]
Parador was sold by the Huels Group to Nord Holding in 2016. Until then, Parador had been a separate company code within the Huels Group's complex SAP system landscape, so a carve-out was necessary. Parador was supported by cbs.
The aim of the project was to provide employees with a 1:1 copy of the previous SAP systems so that they could continue working without interruption. cbs leveraged its standard cbs Enterprise Transformer tool to remove all Parador-related business objects from the Huels Group’s SAP systems with precision. The tight schedule of just under six months and the defined budget were both adhered to.
Since its foundation in 1977, Parador has developed into a successful manufacturer of systems for floor and wall design. The brand manufacturer’s product range includes laminate floors, parquet and elastic flooring, which are manufactured at its German headquarters and at the company’s Austrian site.
In 2016, Parador was sold by its previous owner, the Huels Group, to Nord Holding. The company traditionally invests in mid-sized growth companies such as Parador, which is positioned in its segments as a supplier with its own brand.
After the sale: an independent market player
To enable Parador to operate independently on the market following its sale to Nord Holding, the company had to be separated from the Huels Group in all areas – from telephony to IT right through to business processes. This also applied to the SAP systems since Parador was a separate company code in the Huels Group’s system, with its own processes and many interfaces to partners, dealers, forwarders, and others. The carve-out from the SAP system was one of the most important sub-projects following the sale of the company.
“After the project, everything had to work the same as it did before […]”
Günter Winkler, IT manager at Parador, explains: “Our goal was to separate Parador from the Huels Group within the framework of the SAP system landscape. We concentrated on three SAP systems, which could be transformed with the least possible effort within the given time frame and budget constraints. After the project, everything had to work the same as it did before, but independently of Huels.”
The project was challenging. For one thing, Parador had been integrated into a complex SAP system landscape that had developed at the Huels Group over many years and included many customer-specific tables and reports. What’s more, the target schedule and budget specified by the former owner were also ambitious for system landscape optimization on this scale, with the project having to be completed in less than six months.
Moreover, multiple players were involved in the project. In addition to Parador, the Huels Group and a data center service provider that will host Parador’s IT systems in the future participated.
Following analysis of various SAP consultancies, Parador decided to partner with cbs. The cbs concept matched the company’s requirements. “From the very beginning, we felt we were on the same page,” reports IT manager Winkler.
cbs consultants typically have end-to-end SAP knowledge, which enables them to contribute business management, methodological and technical skills to the transformation of the process and SAP system landscapes.
User-friendly, minimally invasive project approach
In a first step, the scope of the SLO project was defined in collaboration with everyone involved. Of the five SAP systems in which Parador was integrated as a separate company code at Huels (ERP, LE, BW, SRM, and HCM), three were to be transferred to Parador’s future landscape: ERP, LE (Logistic Execution), and BW (Business Warehouse).
“The approach was to remove Parador’s data and business objects from the existing systems with precision and transfer them to the company’s new systems.”
The second key step focused on finding the right transformation process: Variant 1 (“clone and delete”) entailed copying the entire Huels system and then deleting all the data that did not belong to Parador. Variant 2 (“copy and migrate”) involved creating an empty system copy and migrating only Parador’s data to it. In SAP BW, the project partners opted for variant 1. In ERP and LE, however, they chose variant 2. There were two reasons for this decision: On the one hand, with a data volume of more than two terabytes, the source ERP system at Huels proved to be too large for “clone and delete”. On the other, the Huels Group did not want its sensitive data to be copied wholesale.
The approach was to remove Parador’s data and business objects from the existing systems with precision and transfer them to the company’s new systems. The carve-out of the estimated 600 gigabytes of data was expected to be completed over one weekend, using a minimally invasive approach. During the cross-process migration, a number of critical factors had to be considered, such as the greater-than-average range of applications used by Huels, the complex dataset, and variant configuration. cbs was able to tackle these challenges with its customer-oriented approach and decades of experience.
Customer-specific transformation with Enterprise Transformer
To complete the transformation processes at Parador efficiently and cost-effectively, the specialized cbs Enterprise Transformer (ET) software was deployed from the outset. ET not only enables SAP enterprise platforms to be standardized reliably, the tool also supports customer-specific transformations. These involve transforming tables, reports, and processes that do not conform 1:1 to the SAP standard software. In addition, cbs ET includes best-practice transformations for all existing SAP system change scenarios.
Using ET, cbs first carried out a detailed analysis of all business objects using the selection criteria “company code” and “plant”. This yielded the exact scope of the project, which comprised around 100 business objects. The project scope was then defined in greater detail during several target workshops involving all participants.
Because of Huels’s growing SAP system landscape, migrating the data from SAP ERP and LE proved to be complex. Since only Parador’s data was to be migrated from the source to the target systems with the relevant SAP modules, these had to be carved out of the Huels system first. Initial selection runs did not deliver the desired data quality, so multiple test cycles were performed to improve this.
“Although some of these functions were quite complex, this gave key users insight into whether the data was correct.”
All business objects were migrated in full during each test. To achieve this, the data was selected in the source systems using export programs. The transformed data was then created in the target system using an import program. Potential selection errors were corrected after each test in the ET so that the subsequent tests improved continuously. The tests were carried out with Z-transactions and, to a lesser extent, with SAP standard transactions that called up the Parador-specific functions and reports. Although some of these functions were quite complex, this gave key users insight into whether the data was correct. After the user acceptance tests had been completed, the data quality was good enough for go-live.
All processes up and running
After just six months, the big day arrived: On a Friday evening, after Parador employees had completed their work in the Huels SAP system landscape, more than 600 gigabytes of data were migrated. By the following Sunday evening, the new systems were already up and running. The cross-system conversion had taken just under 36 hours. On Monday morning, employees could continue working on their receipts and orders exactly where they had left off the previous Friday.
Parador is now working successfully in its new SAP ERP, LE, and BW systems, using the familiar processes and its own data. IT manager Günther Winkler sums up the initiative: “The project went well. We not only met the planned deadline, but also kept within budget. The cooperation between the four parties Huels, Parador, data center provider, and cbs also did an excellent job.”