The everyday duty of IS/IT organizations -especially SAP Competency Centers- is to deliver regularly innovation and new features to the business, according to the requirements, budget and priorities. But is also to maintain in operational conditions the existing solutions.
SAP recommends to deliver 2 major releases per year and minor releases on a monthly or weekly basis, depending on the maturity and stability of your solution. This is directly inspired by the editor’s own release strategy of Enhancement Packages and Support Packages Stacks.
As any technical or functional project, an EhP or SPS implementation project has to be budgeted, prepared and planned accordingly to mitigate the risks and delays, but above all the preceding to avoid potentially negative effects on live processes and solutions.
Scope & Effort Analyzer (SEA) is an innovative tool designed for those people who have to manage maintenance events on their SAP systems and need to get a clear understanding of the change impact as well as the test scope and related effort. It has recently been shipped with SAP Solution Manager 7.1 SP11 (March 2014) and helps to predict the major cost and effort drivers of maintenance projects without the need to physically deploy any software packages. We highly recommend it to be used in an early planning phase of each and every software upadate project.
The analysis results covers two parts :
- Adaptations and development management: identification of affected custom code and modifications, required adjustments in the SAP system, since software updates comes with updates or deletions of SAP standard objects. Detailed effort estimation for custom code and modification adjustments.
- Test management: Identification of required test scope, test planning, recommendations for creation of missing test cases and execution of manual tests. Detailed effort estimation for regression tests and recommendations based on test scope optimization
It relies on Usage and Procedure Logging (UPL), a new functionality available in any ABAP based system as of SAP NetWeaver 7.01 SP10 or equivalents. UPL is used to log all called and executed ABAP units (procedures) like programs, function modules down to classes, methods and subroutines or smart forms without any performance impact. UPL will give you 100% coverage of your solution usage. This also includes the detection of dynamically called ABAP elements. UPL is the technology to close existing gaps in the SAP workload statistics, which only captures static calls as opposed to static and dynamic calls.
In other terms, with the help of UPL technique it is now possible to calculate the impact to custom code, modifications and business processes taking into consideration of the real system usage.
The Maintenance Optimizer scenario automatically calculates the update vector (that’s a detailed list of all technical support and/or enhancement packages to reach the target product version or stack). Scope and Effort Analyzer calculates all SAP ABAP objects which are either deleted, changed (updated version) or newly delivered with this software update. This ABAP object list or Bill of Material (BOM) is the central element to calculate the impact on your SAP system even without a physical installation of those packages.
In addition to this, semi-dynamic TBOM generation and the automated generation of SAP Module oriented blueprints are two additional source of value. These features ensure to identify the impact on your business processes / transaction codes with the objective to outline the test scope and recommendations how to reduce the test effort with help of Test Scope Optimization (TSO) functionality. This is achieved through a program-based optimization of the number of changed objects by business process and the test effort of associated test cases.
Testimonial and success story: the French customer Coliposte (Groupe La Poste) is one of the very first world references for the usage of SEA. With the help of our consultants they have achieved in a remarkably short time the implementation of this new tool in the context of their EhP7 for SAP ERP adoption project.
David Bizien, the CIO for Financial Department of Coliposte explains in the following video how SEA helped him :
- Forecasting the overall effort and budget for the EhP7 upgrade project
- Focusing on the most critical impacts
- Identifying the required skills and competencies for adaptations and developments
- Booking and mobilizing the appropriate resources for testing
- Taking into account the team planning constraints
This interview was recorded at SAPPHIRE NOW 2014 in Orlando.
If you wish to learn more about this secured (no code or sensitive information exposed outside your company) and very comprehensive(covers both SAP standard and customer-specific objects) but nevertheless free of charge tool (usage included as part of your SAP Enterprise Support contract), feel free to post questions here or to visit SAP Marketplace.
To be very synthetic, Scope & Effort Analyzer is the ultimate tool to secure your SAP maintenance or evolution projects !