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Chris Drake

Stability vs Innovation: A dual approach has a place in the modern SAP team

Chris Drake | October 3, 2017

It’s interesting to observe how different organizations handle innovation in different ways. For some, innovation is infrequent and for others, innovation is ongoing and seemingly never ending.

Stability

For example, over the last 12 months, I have seen some organizations adopting 3rd party support, acknowledging that their current SAP application versions are exactly what the business requires for the foreseeable future. They forego updates and direct SAP support allowing in-house customization to be given priority and a bigger budget, or simply providing budget for other priorities.

For the most part, B2B organizations experience less drive for innovation, while B2C organizations are experiencing the pressure of a fast-paced digital front end forcing the back end to speed up to help keep up with the fast pace of their consumer expectations. Typically, these organizations are running a major release program delivering substantial chunks of change infrequently.

While there are a few innovative B2B organizations pioneering with the rest, for the most part B2B organizations focus primarily on stability.

Innovation

We have noticed among our B2C organization customers (think banks, utilities, consumer goods, retailers) innovation is a higher priority for them than is stability for the others. They have been rapid adopters of agile methodologies and regular takers of the latest SAP innovations.

To match their own innovation with consumer expectations the business is putting pressure on B2C IT teams to deliver much more change more frequently, typically following a CI/CD approach where relatively small amounts of working software are delivered rather than the large planned release.

Dual approach

However, we are seeing a common theme amongst customers who are adopting an agile or a CI/CD delivery method. That is, running both methods in parallel: large planned release projects which utilise the big bang approach to deliver products and continuous integration of smaller, agile developed amounts of change.

This is because in many cases, delivering bits and pieces of a project is not viable. So, not surprisingly, many organizations, having adopted an agile methodology, find themselves operating with this dual approach.

Whether using a single or multi development track, the key rules to managing a dual approach still applies:

  1. Developers need to be aware of developments occurring in parallel specifically between the agile and project tracks.
  2. Agile changes delivered to productions need to be included in the project delivery to ensure objects are not downgraded during the project go-live.

Both rules are automatically managed with the correct Rev-Trac configuration and so for more information about the types of delivery methods useful for your organization, feel free to contact us at [email protected]

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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