Rick Porter

What are the 3 hidden overhead costs of managing SAP change?

Rick Porter | May 10, 2019

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Maintaining and enhancing SAP enterprise application can be challenging with hidden costs often derailing projects. Some costs such as time and resources are known and can be factored in.

However, hidden costs can quickly spiral out of control and flatline the delivery of faster, safer and better quality applications and services.

In the SAP world, this can be the overhead costs of managing change across your landscape. Change management is crucial in developing and deploying SAP applications and enhancements. Mastering SAP change management ensures changes are tracked and well controlled to maintain quality and system integrity is preserved.

Yet in our experience, we rarely come across an SAP IT team who really understand the overhead cost. It’s seldom acknowledged and almost never calculated.

This is the first post in a series where I’ll explore these hidden costs and provide insight into how SAP change can be better managed to reduce expenses and improve outcomes.

Defining uncalculated and hidden

So, what are these hidden costs and where do they come from?

From what we have seen – after more than 20 years in the SAP change management industry – these costs come from multiple areas.

Managing transport lists and migration activities, change controls control board meeting time, process approval efforts, governance and policing, documentation, reapplication tasks and production system issues. All, if overlooked, can derail the development, enhancement and maintenance of SAP applications.

The overhead costs of managing SAP change can be categorized into:

  • Process management costs
  • Change management costs
  • Failure to efficiently manage process and change activities

Process management

Change is moved from a business request through to production via a predetermined process. The process includes a series of steps and/or approvals.

Our research indicates that more than 80 per cent of all SAP enterprise application change is managed using five or fewer unique processes. The number of processes your team develops, and how many steps in each determines the cost of managing change.

Change management

Managing change – including process management – is closely associated with controlling the technical aspects of the change. This includes: basis transport management activities, transport management, testing etc.

Costs vary depending on the volume of change managed and the degree of control required.

Low quality. High risk of failure

The objective of both process management and change management is to better control the quality of changes being delivered to production and reduce hidden costs.

Failing to effectively meet the challenge can result in production system issues such as unscheduled downtime, an application to become unavailable or not work correctly. Any of which can cost your business  thousands of dollars per hour to millions of dollars.

Value of automated SAP change
management in reducing hidden costs

Automating SAP change management processes eliminates error-prone manual tasks and accelerates change without putting pressure on your budget.

To realize the benefits of automation, you need to define the tasks and activities required in each step of your process and change management strategies. This will give you insight into the overhead cost of managing change across your SAP landscape.

Armed with this insight, you can begin to estimate the value of SAP change management automation in achieving greater efficiencies and reduced costs.

Look out for the next post, where I will focus on process management and the associated hidden costs.

If you have a question, contact one of our experts.

Rick Porter

Rick joined Rev-Trac in 2001 – as employee number one – when it was still in a start-up phase. Rick leads the efforts to establish the Rev-Trac solutions as the market leading automated SAP change management technology. He’s overseen an innovative channel and partner strategy which has expanded into Europe, the United States, United Kingdom, South America and South Africa. As VP of business development, Rick is responsible for leading Rev-Trac into a new era.
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