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The CIO’s Dilemma: Navigating Digital Transformation without Disrupting Your Organization

The possibilities of digital transformation are exciting and full of promise to usher an organization into the modern age. But many CIOs (and their bosses) have already spent years and millions of dollars enhancing their ERP landscape. The challenge of getting senior executives to sign off on new initiatives to migrate ECC to S/4 HANA, or BW/BO to HANA, or Oracle EBS to Oracle Cloud after the millions spent on legacy systems is very real.


Senior executives are notoriously skeptical of spending big money on infrastructure upgrades, even though most understand that just as physical machinery needs maintenance and eventually replacement, so does software. They see IT as a cost, not a profit center, and costs must be controlled.

But, standing still is not an option either. The pace of change is accelerating, and the competition is not asleep. Every organization wants to reduce costs, improve performance and enable business by implementing new software features before the competition. ‘In memory’ technologies such as HANA and moving the IT operation to the cloud has such profound potential that it is risky to wait.

What’s more, SAP has announced the end of support for ECC in 2025 and all new feature and product development is being done in S/4 HANA, not ECC.

But how does the CIO even begin this process? There’s managing the risk, disruption and cost as well as figuring out how to demonstrate that HANA can meet the organization’s needs and executing migration and decommission legacy systems.

These realities are daunting but not impossible to manage. We humbly submit the Genesis10 solution, which we call ‘Assess, Prove and Transform’ (APT for short) as an effective, cost-conscious, lower risk methodology to a desired future state that allows your company to transform its IT operation and landscape to enable the user community to exploit the capabilities of digital transformation.

How to Begin – ASSESS


  • Greenfield, Bluefield, Brownfield?
  • Private cloud vs public cloud? Which cloud platform? Which vendor? AWS, Azure, NEC-Iron Mountain, etc.?
  • Phased approach or Big Bang? If a phased approach is chosen, which modules go first and does a hybrid solution become necessary?
  • How much pre-migration housekeeping and code clean-up is required? Keep old interfaces or develop new ones? What about consolidations and acquisitions?

So many decisions. A wrong one will have a deleterious effect on your transformation costing the organization time and money.

While daunting, there is a relatively low-cost and no-risk approach to begin investigating and planning for a HANA migration. It starts with an assessment.

Several years ago, assessments were standard practice when considering migrations. Often, 2-3 senior consultants would go to the client site and over a couple of months they would document the current as-is state of the customer’s instance and issue a set of documents that the client could use for planning and early decision-making.

It’s hard to imagine a successful migration to a new system and new platform without an assessment, yet this approach suffers from a lack of standardization and can be subjective depending on the skill and opinions of the consultants. The costs could top $100k for small-to- medium-size business, and up to a $1 million or more for very large organizations.

Today, we have automated software tools that can do a lot of that work. These tools will take a subset of the client’s data traffic and run that data through an analysis engine to produce a library of statistics. These stats reveal what is currently happening inside end-to-end data flows and uncover bottlenecks in data traffic, performance issues, outage root causes and other problems. The analysis results become the basis of business case documents such as project options, project plans, timelines, resource requirements, licensing costs, risk factors, etc. that are necessary for digital transformation.

With these tools any subjectivity or biases from the consultants is largely taken out of the equation, since the tool spits out facts, not opinions.

There is no risk to this first step as no changes are made to the system, and it is relatively low cost. In terms of the millions that will be spent on migrations and implementations, investing a relatively small dollar amount for a proper assessment is a necessary investment on the road to a digital transformation that has a high ROI. 

Next week the discussion will continue when we delve into the first of the two remaining components of the Genesis10 solution: Prove. Part 3 will look at the final component: Transform.


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