Chris Drake

The SAP change management journey – ensuring production ready changes

Chris Drake | December 20, 2018

Today, I continue looking at how businesses can master SAP change management to achieve successful outcomes during the various phases of application delivery. Here I will explore the requirement for automation, safety controls and collaboration during the build phase.

To master SAP change management, IT teams need to deliver more, higher quality changes at a rapid rate. Making it essential for development, test and documentation teams to leverage toolsets to ensure applications or enhancements are ready for deployment to production.

Automate to accelerate high quality SAP change

During the build phase, it is crucial that IT teams use automation to eliminate tedious and simple but time-consuming tasks and, to keep systems synchronized.

Communication, notifications, safety checks and deployment to subsequent test environments need to be automated to transform SAP application delivery. Staff working on common objects need to be notified and a pre-defined process should control the progression of change delivery.

Integrating the development and testing phases to facilitate an end-to-end process ensures more change, more quickly without breaking production.

Built-in safety checks prevent human error

When large organisations embark on transforming SAP application delivery, it is inevitable that changes impact common objects and dependencies.

To ensure the highest possible quality, developers need to be aware of other in-flight changes, with required safety checks including:

  • Parallel development warnings
    • ensure developers are aware of in-flight parallel development on common objects from the moment a change is made
    • approval for parallel development needs to be the responsibility of a team leader whom understands the risk and the urgency for in-flight changes
  • Impact assessment
    • a clear understanding of transactions and their use during the build phase allows developers and testers to determine test requirements and reveal the impact of the change to the business
  • Dependency analysis
    • developers should be alerted to in-flight dependent objects early in the build. This enables changes to be grouped for testing and deployment to production within the same release, avoiding unscheduled systems downtime
  • Downgrade protection and migration sequencing
    • automatic checks for downgrade protection and migration sequencing ensure the staging of releases in test environments provide a consistent baseline transport sequence for deployment to production.

All safety checks should be built into an automated SAP change management process to prevent human error and guarantee software is delivered faster and more safely in response to business demands.

Break down the siloes

Collaboration is critical to a successful build. It creates a culture where traditional silos are broken down and developers, testers and documentation resources work together as one to ensure the best possible build for the business.

In a collaborative environment, everyone involved with delivering an SAP change communicate specifically about their change, making it easier to manage parallel in-flight development. Advanced warning early in the build phase helps to maintain the integrity and stability of the production system.

Open communication and collaboration can be enhanced with Agile boards and sprint management toolsets. Such solutions provide SAP IT teams with visibility into the progress of a build and make everyone aware of where assistance can be given or requested.

How does Rev-Trac help?

Rev-Trac – an SAP change management automation platform – facilitates an end-to-end process for the build phase, integrating development and testing environments.

The solution helps organizations to increase the volume and the velocity of SAP change without risk to production through:

  • automated workflow and notifications – updates about required task and automatic management of SAP change control processes
  • early detection of impact, risk and parallel development – enable teams to pre-empt changes as they move to subsequent test environments in preparation for production deployment
  • sprint builder, Agile boards and burndown charts which provide the visibility to create gamified workloads, support Agile development and encourage collaboration
  • allowing easy grouping of dependent changes and those impacting common objects for predictable deployment of releases to the production environment
Next Blog– Deploy phase

In the next blog, I will discuss the critical elements for Mastering SAP Change Management during the deploy phase

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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