After decades of customizations to their ERP system to support changing business models and incorporate major acquisitions, the client was ready to get back to basics and ’run simple’. When they started their transformation, they quickly realized the custom solutions they had spent 30 years building and adapting did not easily translate to a modern day ERP.

Premier’s initial two-day data assessment quickly identified and quantified the challenges ahead. Thousands of Customer and Vendors were duplicated across various business units. Data was split across multiple systems and was often inconsistent or invalid. None of it was in the right format for SAP. Leveraging facts discovered during the assessment, a plan was developed to address the complex data issues and take data migration off the critical path.

“I was absolutely blown away... Outstanding demonstration of velocity and completeness!”

– IT Director

Client Challenges

There were many obstacles standing in the way of a successful data migration. One hundred years of business growth and inconsistent data governance had to be unraveled and streamlined.

  • Separate legacy sold-to, ship-to, invoicing, ordering, and supplier addresses needed to be harmonized, consolidated, cleansed and re-structured to fit the SAP Business Partner and Partner Function structure.
  • Customer and Vendor information needed to be combined and reconciled across multiple legacy systems. Discrepancies between systems needed to be identified and resolved.
  • Thousands of Customers and Vendors needed to be harmonized between business units, with unexpected variances highlighted and resolved.
  • Duplicated Customer and Vendors needed to be identified, combined and restructured to simplify and streamline the data prior to loading the data to SAP.
  • All harmonization and restructuring activities needed to be highly automated while still allowing the business to drive key decisions.
  • Harmonization decisions needed to flow through downstream conversions and allow traceability back to the separate legacy Customers and Vendors.
  • USPS address standardization needed to be applied to surviving Customer and Vendor street addresses.
  • Contact information, which was broken across multiple legacy systems, needed to be tied together and data integrity issues addressed. Contact information and site usage (ship-to, sold-to, remit-to, etc.) had to be intelligently merged across duplicate addresses.

The Applaud® Advantage

Three key components of Premier International’s Applaud solution helped the client navigate their data migration:

  1. Premier’s data migration consultants: Premier’s services group averages more than six years of experience working with Applaud, exclusively on data migration projects.
  2. Premier’s methodology: Premier’s EPACTL approach to data migration projects is different than traditional ETL approaches and helps ensure the project stays on track. This methodology decreases overall implementation time and reduces the risk of the migration.
  3. Premier’s data migration software, Applaud®: Applaud was built from the ground up to address the challenges that occur on data migration projects, allowing the team to accomplish all data needs using one integrated product.

The Applaud® Solution

Premier’s team leveraged the Applaud® software to build a sophisticated reporting process to identify duplicate candidates for client review. After being reviewed by the client, this same document was fed back into the conversion process to drive the de-duplication process.

Premier’s solution identified and corrected for a 20% Customer Address redundancy rate and a 70% Vendor Address redundancy rate. Contact information, shipping instructions, and credit notes were successfully merged underneath the surviving Business Partner as part of the migration to SAP.

As part of consolidation, survivorship rules were applied to the relationships between legacy addresses, ensuring each Business Partner created for SAP inherited the Function Assignments from the non-surviving legacy addresses. For instance, when a legacy ordering address survived over an invoicing address, the single Business Partner migrated to SAP was assigned both invoicing and ordering roles.

Premier successfully trimmed a complex web of Customer and Vendor relationships across multiple systems into a cleaner, simpler Business Partner and Function Assignment structure. The conversion process identified a 14% redundancy rate within legacy Ship-To assignments and an additional 18% redundancy rate across vendor invoicing addresses. This meant that the function assignments converted into SAP were cleaner, fewer, and simpler than originally thought, reducing risk from the load.

Since the Applaud® tool uses EPACTL best practices (Extract, Profile, Analyze, Cleanse, Transform, and Load), it was possible to reconcile this dramatic transformation back to the legacy systems.

Premier reported how every legacy address function tied to a converted SAP partner function, illustrating how survivorship was applied and showing where data was merged. This reconciliation identified a small amount of legacy data exceptions which did not follow standard conventions. This exercise helped the client to tighten their conversion requirements and ultimately automate virtually all their partner data conversions – while still allowing the business to drive those key decisions.

The Bottom Line

As part of their SAP S/4HANA implementation, the client achieved their goals:

  • Optimized the Customer and Vendor management experience
  • Improved customer relations
  • Streamlined the shipping process
  • Capitalized on material ordering and pricing by better understanding their spend

These goals all hinged on getting to a single source of truth, removing redundancy within the data, and trusting that nothing was lost during the migration to SAP. Premier and Applaud helped the organization understand the reality of their current data landscape and make informed decisions around how best to achieve these goals, with the business involved every step of the way. By having the foresight to invest in the data as part of the process, the client was able to quickly start capitalizing on their implementation.

Legacy Systems

  • Infor XA, Homegrown ERP

Target System


Key Challenges

  • Business Partner Structuring
  • Business Function Harmonization
  • Address Standardization

Key Results