Chris Drake

Continuous integration and SAP DevOps – where to start

Chris Drake | August 24, 2020

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If you are considering an SAP DevOps approach, then you are probably thinking about integrating automated SAP tools to fast track the journey.

It hasn’t always been the case. Just over 10 years ago, we integrated Rev-Trac with another SAP 3rd party tool to help organizations better manage change across SAP landscapes. The innovation, the time has shown, was ahead of market demand. It wasn’t on the radar of most organizations. Simplifying SAP change management was the focus for much of the decade.

Today, however with the spotlight on SAP DevOps, integration has become a buzzword. It dominates the conversation on anything related to SAP change management.

A DevOps toolchain for end-to-end delivery

A challenge for large SAP IT teams building tightly integrated DevOps backends is there are too many siloed stakeholders with separate areas of focus. Test managers concentrate on testing, while Dev team leads want to deliver more code quicker. Meanwhile, Ops teams are nervous about what is coming into their production environment.

Yet, what is common is the desire for their particular area of focus to be automated while reducing the risk of unscheduled downtime.

The result. The competing objectives cloud the decision in what tools to invest in that primarily work on the same value stream. Often the companies that are most successful at improving the value stream are smaller organizations that can assign individuals to control end-to-end delivery of change.

Decentralizing authorization and centralizing the information is critical to designing an excellent value stream delivery mechanism that supports SAP DevOps initiatives.

This approach allows users to work on their tasks in their respective environments. At the same time, people who need to see information relating to SAP change can easily access data from a central location.

In our experience, the conversations we are having with customers and prospects alike focus on DevOps toolchains and allowing the right tool to be called at the right time, every time.

Fast track your SAP DevOps journey

DevOps tool chain

You may have seen this DevOps toolchain in other blogs that tackle SAP change management ITSM tools integration and DevOps.  Rev-Trac integrates with other best-of-breed tools to provide the change management orchestration companies require to meet DevOps initiatives. This orchestration automation has been available to Rev-Trac customers for over a decade.

Rev-Trac’s powerful DevOps orchestration capabilities see it as the ultimate centerpiece for storing change and triggering automations related to an SAP change management process.

So how does this all work and what are the gains you might be thinking?

As I mentioned earlier, it is critical to decentralize authority and centralize information. Where to locate the information is the first decision organizations who adopt this process need to make. For Rev-Trac customers, the question usually is Rev-Trac or an ITSM tool.

The amount of SAP development vs non-SAP development typically determines the response. An organization with predominantly SAP change will find Rev-Trac a more natural location for centralization. However, an organization that has a majority of non-SAP development will generally gravitate towards ITSM toolsets as the place to centralize change.

Rev-Trac, of course, handles both scenarios very well.  The software acts purely as an orchestration engine (where the ITSM tool is the source of information), or as an auditable change management and orchestration tool (where Rev-Trac is the source of information).

Here are two examples that highlight Rev-Trac’s use as the source of information:

Case 1

If configured, a request in the ITSM tool automatically creates the Rev-Trac request (acting as an authorization for work to commence).  Developers collate the specification documentation and the transports required to deliver the change on the Rev-Trac request (centralizing the information).

All authorizations for the build of the change happen at the Rev-Trac level. Once the change is built and ready for deployment, Rev-Trac can wait on an approval in the ITSM toolset before deploying transports to production (decentralizing the authorization).

Case 2

With development underway, there will be a point in your process where you will need to perform QA testing. In this setup and under this scenario, Rev-Trac automatically calls your test automation tool. Rev-Trac alerts your test tool that there is a role to play in this change and provides it all the information it will need to run the correct test scripts.

After testing is complete, these results are automatically attached to the Rev-Trac request and sign off takes place based on the results of the test. In this instance, the authorization is controlled by a test result within the test tool (decentralizing the authority) while Rev-Trac captures the result (centralizing the information).

You can apply these approaches for centralizing information and decentralizing authorization to any section of the DevOps toolchain that contributes to an organization’s SAP change delivery.

If you have any questions or want more information, please contact one of our SAP change management experts.

Chris Drake

Chris first joined the company in 2007 on the front line in customer support. In the role, he gained a comprehensive knowledge of the concerns and priorities customers have from both a user and strategic decision-maker standpoints. Working in the field as an implementation consultant, Chris has a deep understanding of SAP and change management and the impact manual processes have on SAP systems stability.
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