In the course of digitalization, companies are managing an increasing numbers of digital documents in a variety of file formats. These can include invoices, orders, order confirmations, applications as well as emails and information from portals. Digitalization is therefore leading to a reduction in media discontinuities within business processes, but is a driver for increasing volumes of data at the same time. These have to be managed appropriately and stored on an audit-proof basis in order to fulfil the requirements of the legislator.
Companies that organize their business processes using ERP systems such as SAP want to make the most of such systems. A high number of digital documents can overload the system, however, and thereby lead to a poorer performance, which in turn results in more time being spent on processing. This is where digital document storage and archiving is required in order to appropriately manage and archive documentation which is no longer required for the day-to-day business. SAP provides an integrated document storage solution for this purpose.
There is a crucial catch, however: Once the data has been archived, it can no longer be made available in SAP without further action. Users still have read access, but the archived documents cannot be reloaded if you want to continue working with them. Another disadvantage is the system performance, which can be affected adversely by large volumes of data. For users of SAP S/4HANA, the in-memory database is also associated with high costs which arise on a regular basis.
Archiving software as an alternative to storing data in SAP
External archiving systems that can be fully integrated into SAP are an alternative. In this case, the data that is not currently required is completely outsourced from SAP, but is still available. In SAP, the document storage can also be configured so that the documents can be stored and viewed directly in the correct SAP transaction.
The use of archiving solutions has clear advantages compared with the data storage in SAP:
1. Audit-proof storage
Over time, the requirements of the legislator have become increasingly strict. On the one hand, it is necessary to store documents on an audit-proof basis so as to comply with the written and unwritten principles of proper accounting (GoB) as well as the internal company requirements. On the other hand, it is also necessary to comply with the data protection requirements. With a software solution, data protection-compliant digital archiving is guaranteed as long as it supports the SAP Information Lifecycle Management (ILM). In this respect, documents are managed automatically and erased, for example, after a previously defined period of time and according to specific conditions. This provides optimal support for storing documents in compliance with the sensitive data protection requirements regarding business documents, because every change, whether erasure, blocking or filing, can be tracked transparently.
2. Reducing the burden on the SAP system
By outsourcing the data from the ERP system that you no longer require for your day-to-day business, the burden on SAP is significantly reduced. This allows you to make optimum use of the system capacity, and a good performance is guaranteed. Incidentally, reducing the burden on SAP will be worth its weight in gold, not least with the migration to SAP S/4HANA.
3. Seamless integration of processes
With document archiving software, you aren’t only able to archive data and documents, you can also integrate them easily into existing processes. When archiving invoices, for example, linking with documents that originated outside SAP, such as service reports or project documents for instance, does not pose any problem. This means that all the documents required for a work process are directly available and redundancies are avoided, as all specialist departments have access to the same data sources. At the same time, this increases the transparency of the entire business transaction.
4. Straightforward search
By linking data from SAP and other systems, it is possible to search for data using the Archive Client – also outside of SAP. Media discontinuities in the document management are therefore avoided, as you can focus on just one system.
Another dimension of data linking with SAP is also covered, however: Not only can the archive be used for the SAP ERP system, it can also be used for many other systems and therefore manage all the documents worthy of archiving – for example, from CRM, from contractual management or from email archiving. The actual advantage, however, isn’t just the usability of the archive for other systems, but also the possibility to search other systems directly from the SAP user interface and to search across several systems from the web client. This puts an end to the hassle of switching back and forth between different systems, and saves you valuable time that you can use for your day-to-day business rather than searching for documents. Transparency is also created throughout the entire process, as all the linked documents can be assigned to a process directly. New processes can be set up easily and content can be managed in this way.
5. Investment security due to SAP certification
A good software package for the digital storage of SAP documents should be certified by SAP. Only in this way can you be certain that the solution will still be compatible with your ERP system in the future and will remain in use. The regular renewal of the SAP certification is therefore essential.
Audit-proof archiving of documents with EASY Archiving for SAP Solutions
With EASY Archiving for SAP Solutions, EASY SOFTWARE offers a solution for the audit-proof archiving of documents that can be integrated seamlessly into existing processes and significantly reduces the burden on the ERP system. The product is naturally certified for SAP® Solutions and the certifications are renewed regularly. This concerns both new SAP systems and changes to the integrated components of the EASY solution. This guarantees the investment security.
Would you like to learn more about the possibilities of digital document archiving and the integration of the stored data and documents into your business processes? In our whitepaper, you will learn more about audit-proof archiving, the other benefits that an archiving software package offers, and how to deal with data storage challenges.