Whether you’re a Global 500 organization or a business running a single SAP application environment with one development system, how you manage change has a massive impact on your SAP operations.
More for less, and faster than ever before is the mantra of businesses in the middle of a massive expansion or just shifting into a growth phase. And this applies to your back-end systems – including SAP – not only your front-end applications and services.
Maintaining momentum is a challenge, regardless of size or industry. Companies have traditionally used a vast selection of technologies and processes such as spreadsheets, ITSM solutions, project management and development tools across an SAP application’s lifecycle.
The problem is that the tools are more often operated in silos – connecting these systems, from an enterprise IT perspective has not commonly been a focus. Organizations have too many (siloed) stakeholders with particular purposes and objectives. Test managers concentrate on verifying the code performs as expected, while the development team leads want to deliver rapid, low-risk SAP change. At the same time, operation teams are nervous about what is coming into their production environment.
For some businesses, it can quickly spiral out of control with project delays and time lags, data handling errors, and costly unscheduled downtime. In this scenario, at the foundation, there is no single source of truth for the development and maintenance of SAP applications from conception to end of life.
Organizations who eliminate silos and integrate technologies and processes to control end-to-end delivery of SAP change that operate at the speed of business, and quickly realize the actual value of their applications.
Laying a strong foundation for a single source of truth – a fully integrated and unified toolchain to manage SAP change for an application’s entire lifecycle – is a no-brainer for these companies.
So, what we can learn from their experience?
- Adopt an SAP DevOps approach to application development
SAP DevOps is widely seen as the answer for organizations that need to deliver SAP change faster than ever before with significantly lower cost.
This wasn’t always the case. In the past companies struggled to understand what SAP DevOps means or looks like in an SAP environment. Many questioned – and still do today – if DevOps is even possible in a world where the level of complexity required an approach which emphasized planning and documentation to control risk and cost through staged delivery.[SM1]
But as the compelling benefits of DevOps became clear, many companies began to adopt the more fluid approach. And for some who have not yet made the shift, it has become top of mind.
What is DevOps for SAP?
An SAP DevOps strategy improves efficiencies by eliminating organizational silos bringing development and operational professionals together to collaborate across an application or service’s lifestyle.
A culture is created where high-quality software is delivered faster and more safely in a world where business requirements are continually changing. With siloed activities eliminated, newly formed process/product owner teams can work smarter, making smaller changes more frequently, and freeing up resources to focus on innovation for competitive advantage.
- Create a single source of truth
The elimination of siloed tools and processes to enable the accelerated delivery of SAP change across an application’s lifecycle is a core tenant of SAP DevOps.
There is no doubt, if you are considering deploying a DevOps approach, then you are thinking about integrating automated SAP technologies into a single unified platform enabling continuous delivery of change.
The concept of integration is all about decentralizing authorization and centralizing information to create a single delivery mechanism that supports SAP DevOps initiatives. Consolidation establishes a reliable and auditable single source of truth for all SAP change with details related to any ITSM tickets, testing and results, and code review in a central location.
This approach allows the process/product owner teams to work on their respective tasks, and at the same time, quickly access information relating to SAP change from one location.
How can it work?
Companies have adopted ITSM and agile project management tools to transform and simplify application development in response to rapid changes in both business and consumer demand.
For example, many businesses around the world rely on Jira to plan, track and release software. Here at Rev-Trac, we have built an integration with Jira so SAP using organizations can work the way they want.
The integration gives Jira teams the capability to plan and control the build and delivery of SAP changes. Error-prone manual tasks and duplication of records between Jira and Rev-Trac are eliminated, allowing businesses to make the most of their infrastructure investment.
Jira tasks are automatically updated as SAP transports progress from Dev through QA to production, reflecting what is happening within SAP systems to achieve a well-governed change control process.
- All you need is automation and orchestration
Automation is a crucial first step in delivering more frequent and rapid SAP change and achieving DevOps goals. Of course, accelerating SAP change also increases the need to integrate with third-party applications like ITSM solutions such as ServiceNow and Cherwell, project/task tracking tools like Jira, automated testing platforms and code review technologies.
A fully automated, unified platform integrating ALM tools increases the likelihood of DevOps success by enabling more frequent and reliable SAP change at significantly lower costs while keeping responsible parties in control and informed.
With this in mind, an SAP change automation and orchestration engine is a critical part of any DevOps undertaking. An efficient orchestration engine facilitates the design and implementation of customer-defined workflows allowing users to create a DevOps process from the need for a change through to go-live.
These workflows – which integrate automated ALM tools into the process – can be as simple or sophisticated as a business requires. SAP IT teams define the SAP application delivery process, enforce documentation requirements and empower approvers for each step as you not only roll-out DevOps but also maintain an application across its lifecycle.
How Rev-Trac helps?
Rev-Trac Platinum is an automated SAP change management platform that helps you deliver faster, safer and better application using technology specifically built for SAP.
The solution integrates bi-directionally with ALM tools such as ServiceNow, SAP’s native Service Desk, Tricentis Tosca, and SAP ABAP Test Cockpit to establish a single source of truth for SAP change.
Integrating Rev-Trac Platinum with other technologies results in significantly improved visibility, giving you control over SAP change progression. Data is automatically replicated to a Rev-Trac request (and vice versa), keeping solutions up to date and eliminating manual input errors on both sides of the integration.
The bottom line
Transforming how you deliver SAP change to improve the performance of SAP systems and deliver real business value can be challenging. But a shift in culture, processes and integration can lead to massive rewards.
Organizations who decentralize authorization and centralize information with a single source of truth are seeing the results: enhanced collaboration, realize of SAP DevOps, elimination of manual and data duplication, and less unscheduled disruptions to business.
For more information on how integration can generate a competitive advantage, and accelerate DevOps objectives, get in contact with one of our SAP change management experts.