4 Risks to Avoid When Implementing SAP Central Finance

November 23, 2020 Kevin Gulley

The rush is on as more and more enterprises are moving to implement SAP Central Finance, and for good reason. Seen as a key first step in their migration towards SAP S/4HANA, Central Finance allows businesses to connect their distributed system landscape to a centralized SAP S/4HANA Finance system, creating a powerful, unified reporting structure that delivers value in the short-term, while providing a foundation for the on-going migration towards a full S/4HANA implementation over time.  


Without careful planning and an understanding of how to avoid common mistakes, however, the move to Central Finance can represent significant risks.  Here are four risks to be aware of and how to avoid them.


Converting Transaction Data from SAP and Non-SAP Sources to Central Finance 

According to Yuanda Li, a Solutions Architect at Syniti, the goal with Central Finance is to put your business in a position where there is “near real-time” replication of all appropriate documents and transactions into Central Finance regardless of the source system they are coming from.  Li explains, “With large enterprises, there can be multiple, disparate source systems like Oracle, Microsoft Dynamics, existing SAP environments or home grown systems that all need to be connected to Central Finance through careful planning and execution.  Properly understanding and effectively structuring these data connections is the first step in a successful CFin implementation.”  

Things to take into consideration when looking at bringing over transaction data include:

  • Relevancy: Which data is the correct and relevant transactional data to bring across from each source system

  • Performance: What’s the volume of data to expect and the pace of transactions, what’s the infrastructure of existing data centers of source system(s) and target system

  • Data replication: what’s the  technical option for near real time replication between source system and target system. requirements

  • Transaction Integration: Similarity or difference of source systems and target system and the effort to align financial processes with the CFin solution.

  • Master Data Integration: how to migrate and integrate related Master Data 


Identifying and preparing for these issues early on will reduce risks as the project progresses.



Getting the SAP Central Finance Data Mappings Right

At its core, the move to SAP Central Finance is a complex data mapping and synchronization project.  The primary effort centers around the ability to transform the data from the source systems, prepare it, and configure it to synchronize with the Central Finance structure and architecture.  Additionally, all efforts should take into consideration the need to keep transactions synchronized / replicated back to the source systems as appropriate.



Learn More:  Watch the Video to Learn How Syniti’s Central Finance Migration Accelerator Works



According to Li, there are a couple of critical aspects to succeeding in this effort.  The first is making sure that the appropriate business and the technical team members are engaged and working together.  “Getting the right resources on board is important, especially across a distributed enterprise,” says Li.  “Defining which team members need to be involved to define what data is needed and why it is needed, is a cornerstone effort for the transformation and replication process.”


Secondarily, having a solution to take advantage of, like Syniti’s Central Finance Advanced Data Migration Accelerator, can be a game changer when it comes to speeding the project along. “Being able to take advantage of a platform that not only has multiple, pre-defined maps that can be leveraged, but also has the flexibility to work with hundreds of source systems as necessary can significantly speed up the mapping effort while lowering your risks,” explains Li.


Ignore Data Quality at Your Peril

While bringing in data from multiple sources to a single, unified financial platform, it is no time to ignore data quality.  “If you are looking to consolidate customer or vendor records across the enterprise, you need to take advantage of a methodology to clean, enrich and consolidate records and keep them consistent,” says Li.  


Your Central Finance migration plan should take into account a data quality and data stewardship effort to ensure your data is as accurate and valuable as possible.  This approach requires collaboration between business and IT users, along with a technology solution that allows them to identify, access and address data quality issues with centralized reporting and remediation workflow capabilities.  According to Li, “Spending the time to focus on data quality will pay dividends in reducing costly data errors and the staff time required to address them.”


Be Prepared to Remediate Data Errors

No matter how well you prepare for the conversion, mapping and quality of your data, there will be inevitable errors that appear once you go live.  Since we are talking about your financial data, this is not something that can simply be ignored.  Putting the work in to ensure these errors are identified, flagged and quickly corrected will make the enterprise feel that the Central Finance migration was a piece of cake.  According to Li, there are several efforts that can make the difference:

  • Understanding the specifics of your data and developing key data definitions that will be used enterprise wide

  • Identifying the team members responsible for different types of data remediation

  • During the deployment process, test different aspects of your data synchronization as you go

  • Establish the framework in the Syniti Knowledge Platform to flag potential errors and notify the correct people so they can address the issue


At the end of the day, the migration to SAP Central Finance is about creating value for your enterprise.  By addressing these project risks ahead of time and capturing all your efforts in a central solution like Syniti’s Advanced Data Migration Central Finance Accelerator, you are future-proofing your business.  Not only will you have a dynamic, enterprise-wide financial reporting solution and a single source of truth, you will be able to build upon your efforts as a jumping off point for future S/4HANA migration initiatives.  

About the Author

Kevin Gulley

Kevin Gulley is the Global Head of Product Marketing at Syniti and has been blogging about the business benefits of cutting edge enterprise technology for closing in on 20 years.

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