Chris Drake

How to better your release management processes

Chris Drake | January 11, 2019

Explanation of Rev-Trac's change control processes

Today, in the final blog of the SAP change management journey series, I will look at release management and the critical elements to achieve successful outcomes during the deploy phase of SAP application delivery.

Here I will discuss the importance for the control of, and visibility into multiple SAP changes as your organization prepares for production deployment.

SAP IT teams are under constant pressure to deliver more change, more frequently with less risk.

Making it essential to leverage tools for assessing readiness and quality of changes with predictable outcomes for release deployment to production.

This ensures the quality of the build is consistent across all phases of the delivery process.

Planned releases maximize uptime

The foundation of a DevOps initiative is change control automation, implemented through a fully integrated and enforced SAP change and release management process.

During the build phase, it is important that SAP IT team members use automation to eliminate tedious and simple but time-consuming tasks and, keep systems synchronized.

At the same time, developers apply appropriate toolsets to ensure that technical dependencies and manual tasks are prepared for and submitted as part of the change as it progresses across the landscape.

To minimize disruptions to the production system, this needs to be leveraged and guaranteed during the deployment phase.

Production assurance teams and release managers need the right toolsets for visibility into the progress of a build.

This allows them to carefully plan the deployment of the release, preventing massive disruption to the production system.

Critical toolsets for successfully deploying a change are:

  • Release management
  • Go-live orchestration

Reduce risk. Optimize releases.

Whatever your release schedule – daily, monthly, quarterly etc. – it is crucial that the release managers have visibility into the proposed release.

This allows for the quick identification of any risks such as unplanned changes, those changes which may delay the releases or changes which have dependencies in a later release.

Release managers need to be able to easily add and remove changes depending on the nature of the release and the Change Advisory Board’s decision regarding suitability for production.

Also, your SAP IT team has to be able to delay changes to a different release or promote changes that may hold dependencies.

Key to this are toolsets which alert release managers to sequencing or dependency issues with the release’s current content.

Built-in safety checks should prevent untested changes accidentally being sent to production.

Predictable outcomes for release deployment

Once the Change Advisory Board and the release manager approves a release for production, the Basis team then plans for deployment.

To ensure smooth release management it is essential that the Basis team understands the entire scope of the release including necessary object version sequencing, dependencies and manual tasks which need to be performed.

The best toolsets automate the transport sequence and include the manual steps within the transport list.

This comprehensive list of imports and human tasks is based on the developer’s contribution during the build phase, considering what has been accepted for the release.

The Basis team should know when the import is likely to start and at which point resources will be required to perform the manual tasks.

As the tasks are signed off as complete the imports should automatically continue.

This allows your organisation to plan your production outage window and minimise downtime. While on-call support staff are kept in the loop regarding the scheduling of a specific manual task.

How does Rev-Trac help to improve

release management processes?

Rev-Trac – an SAP change automation platform from Revelation Software Concepts – integrates release management and go-live orchestration capabilities to deliver faster, better and safer SAP applications and enhancements.

Our Release Management Workbench enables a Change Advisory Board to interactively assess the risk of a release and its content while monitoring the readiness of the changes within the release.

The Release Management Workbench’s drag and drop functionality allows release managers to quickly and easily make changes to the content of a release.

Once approved, the Go-Live orchestrator can be executed directly from the release with a nominated start time.

Rev-Trac automatically calculates the expected migration import time and the expected time to perform the manual tasks.

This allows the Basis team to nominate on-call resources to perform the manual tasks at a specific time.

Settings which developers put in place during the build phase can be honoured, ensuring expected migration failures are ignored.

Only unexpected return codes are reported, providing flexibility for how the system will respond.

With the ability to report across the build phase and right through to deployment, Rev-Trac automatically ensures that SAP IT teams are working toward a safe, controlled and perfectly choreographed go-live.

Become skilled at SAP change management

For more information download our eBook, ‘Mske SAP change control manageable’ here. To discuss how automation can transform SAP application delivery through enhanced release management capabilities, feel free to reach out to our 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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