Chris Drake

Shifting left to easily reduce SAP change risk

Chris Drake | September 28, 2021

What’s one of the more critical success criteria for SAP DevOps? If you answered, ‘shifting left’, you are on the path to successfully achieve your DevOps objectives.

Yet, what does the concept of ‘shifting left’ mean? Can it really help reduce SAP change risk, which is considerable in today’s SAP environments?

Shifting left is a concept that encourages as much information and awareness to be discovered as early as possible in the development cycle.

That is everything from design to writing code, and testing happens early in the process. As a result, bugs get discovered earlier, application capabilities meet the needs of the business, and aspects of security, integration and capability are resolved earlier on.

Ultimately, you can reduce SAP change risk considerably, and SAP IT teams can deliver high-quality SAP change at the speed of business. The key is understanding which objects programmers are working on and ensuring that the risk is considered and controlled accordingly.

So, how can Rev-Trac – an automated SAP change management platform – reduce SAP change risk introduced by technical objects on a day-to-day basis?

Critical and Sensitive Objects

Many organizations have processes or tables that are critical or quite sensitive to their daily business.

Sometimes it’s necessary to put additional steps, higher levels of control or authorized approvals in place to allow these objects to be worked on and progress through an SAP landscape and reduce SAP change risk.

With Rev-Trac, customers can define objects or object ranges that must be subject to higher levels of compliance. This is enforced when programmers modify these defined sensitive objects.

Parallel Development Workbench

One of the riskiest ventures in SAP application development is when two programmers work on the same object in parallel. This exposes your organization to incorrect transport sequencing and potential downgrades of the Production instance.

Traditional SAP locking can help to reduce SAP change risk, but once the transport is released, the pace and urgency of each change can further
complicate the sequence of deployment.

Using SAP Transport of Copies (TOCs) for testing is an alternative approach to better manage parallel development and reduce SAP change risk.

This works by continuing the lock until the change is ready for deployment to Production. However, this impacts all objects contained in the transport. This is challenging when emergency adjustments are required on individual objects.

In contrast, Rev-Trac’s Advanced Locking system allows the lock to remain on the object until the change has arrived in Production.

The Parallel Development Workbench then controls which objects can be developed in parallel at an individual object level.

As it works at an individual object level, it does not compromise all objects within a transport or change.

Overtakes

Once Parallel Development has been approved, transports require the correct sequence to be managed because:

  1. Unwanted object modifications can be introduced inadvertently to a subsequent environment; and
  2. Out of sequence migrations can often result in a downgrade occurring at a later stage.

Rev-Trac’s Overtake and Overwrite Protection System (OOPS) provides several warnings of potential issues. An Overtake (out of sequence) is a
precursor of a potential Overwrite (downgrade). An Overwrite cannot occur unless an Overtake has been approved.

The OOPS warnings put awareness and real-time control in the hands of users working on a change request, giving them the option to take on additional risk.

CISS (Code Impact Scoring System)

CISS analyses the codebase in an upward direction, discovering any programs or transactions, and therefore process that a modified object could impact.

The feature:

  1. Provides insight into the impact that might not have been realized and could be riskier than anticipated
  2. Gives an understanding of which transactions, programs, or processes should be the focus of testing.

CISS provides real-time insight into the larger impact of the modifications to SAP objects. As a result, the risk can be understood and managed.

The bottom line — Reduce SAP change risk now!

Users of an automated SAP change management system must be provided with appropriate risk management and risk mitigation tools.

This ensures they are not only made aware of the risks in making SAP changes, but also have suitable controls to manage and monitor the risks.

Rev-Trac’s advanced functionalities assist in shifting left, alerting users before an issue is introduced or ensuring they are aware of the risks as early as possible.

For more information on how to reduce SAP change risk, please contact one of 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.
See all articles by Chris Drake