In a highly interesting and descriptive SAP Consolidation Process, Tao Zhang, who works for Benteler Group, discusses the SAP consolidation process. His article focuses on the challenges and potential benefits, approaching the issue from the company’s perspective.
As I see it, the biggest challenges facing SAP system environment consolidation projects in the medium term aren’t so much the need to meet company requirements (namely the actual consolidation of the SAP systems) but the need to implement all the measures that will ensure the successful operation and further development of a consolidated system. In other words, it becomes critical to establish processes that will institutionalize the system’s continuous development. Otherwise, the projects and system adaptations carried out after consolidation will be subject to paralysis and failure.
Zhang’s article doesn’t disclose how SAP Change and Transport Management is supposed to function after consolidation. However, the problems associated with having to make competing changes on system components due to simultaneous projects or a company’s change requirements are substantially exacerbated by such a project. This is particularly true in customer environments where, typically, configuration management of the SAP customer landscape is not practiced.
Starting with Simple Protective Measures
Initially at least, simple protective measures can achieve a certain effect. This is one way to protect company templates and achieve a reasonable degree of harmony among the business processes implemented in SAP environments.
Configuration Management, Impact Management, and Change and Transport Management
However, to ultimately protect investments made in consolidated systems and harmonized business processes, one must address the need for suitable change and transport management processes and consistent comprehensive SAP configuration management. Moreover, the latter should include the objects related to process documentation, the documentation in general, and test management.
SAP Solution Manager Isn’t Enough
SAP, in order to satisfy such requirements, normally refers one to the Solution Manager. Based on my experience in the aforementioned SAP system environments, Solution Manager will be overwhelmed by the complexity of competing, simultaneous demands associated with company requirements related to change and multiple-project management. Instead what it needs are additional approaches that incorporate institutionalized change and transport management, configuration management and impact analysis, which should occur as early as possible in the development cycle.