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We’ve watched with interest as concern at the CIO level grows steadily about SAP change control approaches. This concern tracks directly back to the costs of managing application changes within Enterprise IT applications and the trend for increasing complexity around SAP infrastructures.

Mixed technologies and interconnected SAP solutions greatly increase SAP system flexibility but complexity brings its own problems. In particular, it makes system change control more difficult and increases risk to system stability, especially when manual processes are used.

SAP change control automation technology decisions, although often below the CIO’s radar, are among the one’s a CIO aught to at the very least, understand.   It’s one thing to know you need to control the added risk that comes with greater complexity, but if you also are mandated to reduce costs, your headaches multiply. The price of a given automation solution is the most visible cost, but it’s the hidden costs of making the wrong decision, or no decision, that CIOs and CFOs would benefit from understanding.

In my next series of posts, as I talk about deriving a realistic SAP change control automation ROI, I’ll share some recent research that quantifies in numbers the value Rev-Trac delivers. The real-world figures will help you project ROI both in hard dollars and in the more elusive but equally important “soft” dollars that represent things like process efficiency gains and PRD stability improvement.

Let’s start with how complex things have become.  Many Rev-Trac users are large, global brands but, to simplify here, we’ll use data from typical Rev-Trac users at a medium sized (5000-9999 employees) SAP user organization over a 12-month period:

  • 54,523 Unique Approvals
  • 152 Unique Approvers
  • 15-20 Unique Processes
  • 4,489 Transports; and
  • 32,620 Transport Migrations

That change level generates 80,000-plus manual tasks a year, not including documentation tasks – an impossible workload for any reasonable size of IT staff. Clearly, such a company needs to automate.

In the coming posts, we’ll explore potential ROI for midsize companies in terms of both hard and soft dollars. If you’re at a midsize company, the main issue concerns how you execute. So I’ll discuss hard and soft dollar benefits for:

  1. Automation + Open Integration
  2. Discipline + Flexibility
  3. In-built Safety + Compliance
  4. Cost to Implement + Ease of Use

Degree of automation, enforceability, ease of configuration and use, and cost/time to implement can make or break any SAP change control automation technology project. By drilling down to tangible hard and soft potential ROI benefits, you can help everyone from PMO to CEO dodge user frustration, save wasted time and effort, and use hard to come by budget money more effectively.

Next month, I’ll show how to quantify automation benefits.  Next I’ll tackle topics 2 and 3 together, and then finish with topic 4.

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