The medical technology company Ottobock, located in Lower Saxony, had been using the interface system SAP XI 7.0. But the days of that system were numbered: SAP discontinued maintenance for the solution effective at the end of 2017. A new interface landscape was therefore required.
"SAP is no longer offering maintenance for our current interface system XI 7.0 starting in 2018. This meant we had to migrate our interfaces in a timely manner," says Steffen Rehse, IT Department Manager at Ottobock, describing the initial situation. "Recently we had increasingly noted that the current system was reaching its limits. We were no longer able to install some new support or enhancement packages for our SAP ERP, and new functional requirements for the system could not be met any more," Rehse continues. This meant the company had to operate its systems without the latest bug fixes and functional improvements – a risk for the IT systems and competitiveness.
IT management at Ottobock in conjunction with the Sycor experts decided to migrate the 192 interfaces to SAP PO 7.5. This system is fit for the future, offering new adapters and better security patches than the previous version. A special highlight: The integrated graphical modeling tool. It represents processes schematically so that every user can see at first glance what function the interface fulfils. The Sycor experts set up a three-stage system landscape in accordance with best practices for the project implementation. Then they brought all the interfaces up to date. "Aside from the large number of interfaces, the number of different communication protocols represented a major challenge in this project. Our team had to work in AS2, FTP, File, HTTP, JDBC, and RFC among others," explains Gerhard Heinzerling, Project Manager at Sycor. The range of data structures – VDA, ANSI X12, SOAP, and more – was another challenge for the Sycor team. "There was also great internal pressure on this project, since many important subsequent projects such as upgrading the ERP system depended on the migration," Rehse adds. "Implementing the project on schedule was therefore essential."
"We are very satisfied with the migration. Operating SAP XI 7.0 and SAP PO 7.5 in parallel went smoothly and without any significant incidents. We owe this, among other things, to our partners and the specialist departments who tested the new system extensively and in a timely manner. This allowed us to correct errors in advance. In the end, we were able to deactivate the legacy systems without it having any impact."
Steffen Rehse, IT Department Manager, Ottobock
Special attention was paid to accurate documentation of the new interfaces during the migration. "Comprehensible documentation is crucial in a project of this size. It forms the basis for anyone who has to work with these interfaces in the future. After all, this project involved all of the company's core processes," Heinzerling emphasizes. Thus the Sycor team prepared a standard document with all important information for each interface. "We are very satisfied with the migration. Operating SAP XI 7.0 and SAP PO 7.5 in parallel went smoothly without noteworthy incidents. We owe this among other things to our partners and the specialist departments who tested the new system extensively and in a timely manner. This allowed us to correct errors in advance. In the end, deactivating the legacy systems went entirely unnoticed," Rehse says in conclusion.