In today’s often complex and distributed SAP environments, a robust and efficient change management process plays a critical role in DevOps and the successful delivery and maintenance of SAP applications. Consistent procedures and methods allow SAP IT teams to execute changes without disruption to daily operations, ensuring high-availability of SAP applications for significantly lower costs.
But the reality is frequently different. Present-day software development practices – including SAP – are highly automated. Organizations use a wide variety of ALM and DevOps tools across an SAP application’s lifecycle. Now, a company’s toolset can include ITSM solutions, project management and task tracking software, test automation and defect management technologies, and code and impact analysis solutions.
What are the challenges?
The problem is, too often, the ALM and DevOps tools are operated in silos and not seamlessly integrated with the delivery of change across SAP systems. Connecting these disparate tools and teams has not commonly been a focus from an enterprise IT viewpoint.
Without a single source of truth, there is no central source of truth for SAP change, and the information flow can be difficult to track. The lack of transparency into SAP change increases the audit effort as time and resources are wasted hunting down information. Critically, not all the necessary details – or perhaps incorrect details – about an SAP change are in the SAP systems or the third-party solutions.
For some organizations using legacy tools and systems, it can quickly spiral out of control, resulting in:
- Project delays and time lags
- Inadvertent progression of unapproved or untested changes
- Data handling errors
- Costly unscheduled downtime
Why can using separate SAP ALM tools be a nightmare?
Many organizations, for example, use ServiceNow to manage software development at an enterprise level. However, ServiceNow does not support the technical deployment of SAP changes – which begins in the Dev system and is promoted through the landscape following a predefined path. With traditional practices like emailed approvals and transport documentation kept up to date in Word or Excel, it is easy for the technical implementation and the (business) change request in ServiceNow to get out of sync with the realities in the SAP landscape.
How to resolve the issues!
Despite the challenges, it’s not unusual that organizations want to invest in tools for SAP projects or keep using legacy technologies across an SAP application’s lifecycle. However, it is imperative to choose the right solutions and approaches to enable your teams appropriately and empower them to navigate the complexities of their SAP environment.
Eliminating human interaction in the change management process is crucial to maximize production system uptime, reduce costs and quickly realize the (business) benefits of your SAP applications.
Automating change management allows your organization to replace inefficient and high-risk manual methods with consistent configurable and enforced processes to deliver rapid, safe SAP change.
Using Rev-Trac Platinum – an automated SAP change management platform – SAP IT teams can reduce the time to go-live without sacrificing quality or putting Production systems at risk. The software automation tool ensures audit-level procedures are adhered to, and applications can be deployed safely at the accelerated pace an organization needs.
In this age of SAP ecosystems consisting of disparate technologies, it is more important than ever to enhance the development and maintenance of SAP applications by connecting ALM toolsets.
And it’s becoming top of mind for business owners and IT team leaders with back-end SAP systems.
A connected SAP landscape provides the foundation for a successful business, organization or government department. By making automated data exchanges between ALM tools a reality, integration breaks down traditional development silos, reduces operational costs and supports the continuous delivery of SAP change across an application’s lifecycle.
Rev-Trac gives you the means to integrate your SAP systems with the ALM tools your organization uses for SAP-related tasks. Our solution integrates bi-directionally with best-of-breed solutions in key areas for maximized automation of SAP change management activities, including:
- ITSM – ServiceNow and Cherwell and others
- Project/Task tracking and agile development – Jira etc.
- Testing – Tricentis Tosca, Worksoft and MicroFocus and others
- Impact Analysis – Tricentis LiveCompare, Panaya etc.
- Code Review – Virtual Forge CodeProfiler, SAP’s native solutions — CodeInspector, ABAP Test Cockpit and others
How does Rev-Trac integrate with other toolsets?
The solution leverages REST APIs and web services for the integration to enable data exchange between connected applications. A REST API-lead approach makes integrations highly secure, straightforward and scalable. They are designed for communication regardless of the linked software’s size or capability and can handle many types of requests and send data in many different formats.
What Rev-Trac focuses on and excels at is SAP change management and process orchestration. The software’s creators Revelation Software Concepts (RSC) never ventured into other areas like automated testing or ITSM. Instead, RSC left those fields to companies who specialize in them.
This single-minded focus allowed RSC to build a powerful and deeply SAP-integrated change management platform that provides the orchestration and link for a robust, automated end-to-end DevOps toolchain. A fully unified platform — integrating ALM tools — increases the likelihood of SAP DevOps success and accelerates change across the lifecycle of an application.
Rev-Trac is the orchestration engine that facilitates the design and implementation of customer-defined workflows from the “requirement for a change” through to “deployment to Production”. These workflows can be as simple or complex as required. The goal is to define the organization, sequencing and handoffs of actions to execute SAP DevOps activities and maximize ROI on your technology investments.
A defined path can combine functionality for automating and accelerating SAP change and safe checking for the interdependency of technical objects performed during development and before migration. And it can ensure the successful migration of transports and allow for interaction with other tools for automatic triggering of testing, code reviews etc.
Some food for thought:
Continuous delivery is a core principle of DevOps. It’s also an approach that is very achievable for SAP users. Whatever your business objectives, ensuring that software is always ready to be deployed safely is crucial.
With Rev-Trac, you can safely automate almost all manual SAP transport, change and release migration and approval activity while sourcing and informing appropriately authorized approvers and enforcing segregation of duties.
However, that’s only half of the continuous delivery story. You also need to implement and deliver automated and more continuous SAP testing to achieve your objectives.
If the release and deployment steps are automated, but not the testing steps, testing becomes a bottleneck. On the other hand, if you have automated tools for unit, functional, or integration testing, but don’t have an automated SAP release and deployment process, then that is where the bottleneck occurs.
Here is a basic example of how a Rev-Trac, test automation integration can work:
Watch this Rev-Trac and Tricentis Tosca integration to learn how to automate regression testing on successful imports of changes to a test system. See Rev-Trac access and respond to the test results and automatically hand failures back to the development, while allowing successful changes to progress.
The bottom line!
Rev-Trac’s automation and enforcement capabilities give organizations an immediate advantage during DevOps process transformations. The software provides the orchestration to create an end-to-end DevOps toolchain which accelerates change across an SAP applications lifecycle.
The fully automated platform eliminates human data handling errors and integrates with ALM tools to ensure all the necessary steps are tracked and completed. Automating and enforcing SAP change management processes and tasks enables faster, safer go-lives and effective maintenance of SAP applications at lower costs.
For more information, please contact one of our SAP change management experts.