Thrusting skywards in the heart of Melbourne is 357 Collins Street, a commercial building that is in the throes of refurbishment. The project is being carried out by publicly listed Australand, one of Australia’s leading diversified property groups. The 357 Collins Street project, which will see the 24-level building refurbished to an A-grade office with lower floor retail space, is routine work for Australand’s commercial and industrial division, one of three divisions of the company.
In addition to Melbourne, Australand has operations in Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide. Along with its commercial and industrial division, the 600-employee business has residential and investment
divisions, the latter with 70 properties worth $A2.2 billion at the end of 2011. “It’s a complex business involving numerous trading entities”, says Murthy, which requires a robust system that can support and grow with the business.
Not so routine for the property developer was a major refurbishment of its IT systems, which involved switching from an existing ERP platform to SAP.® As Australand’s business grew, its existing IT systems became increasingly fragmented and unstable, so the decision was made to move to SAP. At the heart of that undertaking was a complex data conversion effort lasting 14 months.
Migration to the new platform would have been relatively straight-forward — as straightforward as ERP projects can be — but this one had complications. “When we first started on this project we realized it wasn’t going to be straightforward because there were multiple sources of data — it wasn’t a straight conversion from our existing Timberline ERP system to SAP,” recalls Anand Murty, Business Solutions Manager at Australand.
The beauty of Syniti’s migration platform is that you enter all your business rules and transformation rules once and then you can keep re- peating the transformations — you don’t have to go back and revisit the business rules. That allowed us to do five rounds of data conversion testing with very little effort.
“There was scope to also include our CRM system and Cognos reporting system, which contained a lot of additional data that had to be migrated,” said Anand.
Ben Samuel, Design and Data Migration Lead at Australand, could see greater potential for problems from the perspective of actually migrating the data to the new SAP system, rather than the implementation of the new SAP system itself.
“The scope of a migration project is measured by how many legacy systems you
need to tap into,” Samuel says. “The more sources you have to pull data from the more complex it becomes, and we had more than 20 legacy sources.” In those circumstances, the demands on the data conversion team are greater than on that of the ERP consultants. Maximising the chance of a smooth migration calls for finding practitioners skilled at both migration, as well as system configuration and implementation. The project’s scope was within the usual range undertaken by Syniti, but one element of the job, integration of SAP RE-FX with SAP CRM, was unique
Australand uses SAP CRM to drive its residential sales, and it was essential that SAP RE-FX and CRM work together. But that had never been done before, so we were blazing a new trail,” reflected Murty.
Alongside Samuel, Syniti assigned one of its senior consultants to take charge of the data migration project, working with a handful of other Australand staff. The quality of data the Syniti experts had to work with was “mixed”. The most challenging were Timberline’s core records of as many as 600 Australand projects, only about half of which were current. That data had to be extracted, then validated and cleaned, redundant records culled, and what remained, reformatted for usage in SAP.
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- Advanced data migration from legacy ERP system to SAP achieved in a timely manner
- Syniti repeatable approach enables multiple dry runs before system go-live
- Graphical view of migrated data identifies formatting issues early in the migration process for improved data quality
The skills of Synit’s experts helped ensure that our go-live was smooth and without many migration issues.”
Why Syniti was Selected
Syniti has a proven track record of delivering advanced data migrations. For Samuel, a 10-year SAP veteran, the key to a successful migration is in getting the business rules right. He says Syniti’s strength was its familiarity with SAP.
“It was crucial that the Syniti consultants understood SAP because if they felt a business rule was not making sense they could challenge it, and say, ‘are you sure about that, because we have done it differently on other projects’”, says Samuel. ”The skills of Synit’s experts helped ensure that our go-live was smooth and without many migration issues.”
In addition to its SAP expertise, Samuel credits Syniti data reconstruction abilities, and focus on ensuring the project met its milestones, for its success.
As it turned out for Australand, an effective team was brought together and the process went as smoothly as they could have hoped for. The effectiveness of the chosen data migration solution, and expert consulting services provided by Syniti contributed towards the successful data migration and in turn the implementation of the overall SAP system at Australand.
Murthy says Syniti’s data migration platform was also key to project success, making it simple to do multiple data conversion dry runs. “The beauty of Syniti’s migration platform is that you enter all your business rules and transformation rules once and then you can keep repeating the transformations — you don’t have to go back and revisit the business rules. That allowed us to do five rounds of data conversion testing with very little effort.”
Murthy rates the company’s SAP implementation as one of the most highly successful projects he’s been involved with. “Having the right data in the right format is as critical as having the right system in place, and this was one of the most effective ERP implementations I’ve been a part of,” Murthy says.