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Champions are forged on the practice field and in the training room long before they are crowned on the field

The noise is deafening as the two teams enter the field in front of a crowd of over 100,000 screaming fans. This is it; after today only one team will remain – a new world champion!

It’s a great story.  But as everybody knows, champions are forged on the practice field and in the training room long before they are crowned on the field.  Training doesn’t get the same attention as the game and it isn’t always glorious, but sometimes the truth hides in plane sight.  If you want to win, you have to put in the time, sweat, blood and tears to get there.


The same holds in business.  Everybody talks about the latest breakthrough innovations; everybody lauds the ‘rainmakers’ who close the big deals.  But success in business, like success in sports, is often earned in those parts of the game that are overlooked by casual observers.  Upgrades, efficiencies, proactively managing custom code objects – this is where success in business often starts.


Case in point – Brazilian steel manufacture Usiminas.


Usiminas has a production capacity of 9.5 million tons per year and 2010 revenues of $17.2billion.  They are engaged in every step of the steel production chain with operations spread across four lines of business: mining, steel, steel processing and capital goods.  In 2012, the company upgraded three of their core SAP ERP systems from SAP R/3 4.7 to SAP ERP 6.0. After the upgrade, Usiminas realized it needed to identify custom code redundancies and return to SAP standard where possible.  Usiminas viewed the upgrade project as an opportunity to simplify their solutions and increase operational efficiencies while ensuring they were getting the most out of their SAP investments.  To achieve these goals, Usiminas turned to SAP Active Global Support (SAP AGS) delivered SAP Enterprise Support for help.

In order to prepare for the upgrade, Usiminas first needed to have a clear picture and a solid understanding of their current system usage.  Specifically, they needed to know which custom code objects were in use, which had not been used in while, and which were duplicates.  With this knowledge, the company would be able to tell which custom code objects needed to be addressed for the upcoming upgrade.


Usiminas used the custom development management cockpit (CDMC) for this analysis, a tool that are offered in SAP’s custom code management. The CDMC collects custom code usage statistics and stores them in SAP Solution Manager, a tool that is central for helping companies run the application lifecycle and run SAP centric solutions like a factory.  Afterwards, Usiminas used the CDMC to perform a clearing analysis to check for object usage. 


Once the redundant objects were identified, Usiminas was able to use an upgrade change impact analysis to compare custom code objects in their system  with the objects of an upgraded system to see how potential changes impacted the company’s IT landscape.  Through the CDMC, the company was also able to find custom code objects by using the clone finder tool, which identifies objects that are very similar or identical to one another. Taking the clone results with the CDMC usage analysis, Usiminas was able to identify not only several clones but also clones that were not being used – these would be targeted for elimination.

 

In addition to analyzing their custom code footprint, Usiminas used solution documentation assistant to execute a reverse business process documentation (RBPD) analysis.  This tool is available with SAP Solution Manager 7.1. RBPD creates a blueprint of business processes while providing transparency into business process usage and the custom code footprint of users.  Using these tools helped Usiminas build a platform of standardization and adopt SAP application lifecycle management (SAP ALM).

By implementing SAP Enterprise Support and SAP Solution Manager 7.1 tools and methodologies, Usiminas now has a clearer strategy and direction for reducing impacts on existing business processes for future upgrade projects.

Helpful Links:

Usiminas’ white paper

SAP Enterprise Support

Custom Code Management

Custom Development Management Cockpit (CDMC)

SAP Solution Manager

Reverse business process documentation

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