A technical upgrade only brings the software up to the latest version without activating or implementing any new functionalities the way a functional upgrade would do. Both types of upgrades make IT professionals nervous, especially if core processes have been modified. You cannot test for impacts on every single transaction or business process while applying an upgrade, so careful controls are crucial for ensuring business continuity when applying an upgrade.
With the right controls in place (such as those for which Rev-Trac is well known) you can eliminate or at least ameliorate the often justified “upgrade anxiety” of IT teams looking at either type of upgrade. An example of such a control is the Rev-Trac locking system, which extends SAP’s native locking mechanism in useful ways.
Rev-Trac enhanced its locking system mainly to prevent inadvertent parallel development of software objects or configurations, in order to minimize the risk of migrating transports that affect the same object or configuration settings in an incorrect sequence. Rev-Trac locking plays a valuable part by promoting communication and collaboration between developers making independent changes to the same objects or areas in production support and upgrade streams.
In use, Rev-Trac’s locking alarms notify developers and configurers that their changes may have repercussions within as well as outside their own stream. This promotes cross-stream collaboration and helps multiple developers or teams to keep their changes in alignment. It serves a similar, crucial coordinating function during upgrades too, as objects are modified by the upgrade package.
Working in tandem with enforcement, the Rev-Trac locking system also ensures all transports carrying successive iterations of the same object are attached to a single Rev-Trac request that can then be treated as a logical unit of change for implementation, sequencing and reporting purposes.
Automating and consistently enforcing SAP change control tasks and processes eliminates problems that cost your budget hard dollars while they reduce the risk of unnecessary downtime. The discipline and controls that Rev-Trac delivers are particularly relevant to managing concurrent changes in separate streams when you upgrade an SAP solution. Introducing a pre-migration sequence check of a group of transports provides a means to preemptively address sequence issues before they occur.
At RSC, we have had customers that experienced conflicts between multiple development streams implement Rev-Trac for this specific purpose alone, and only later discover Rev-Trac’s full power and flexibility for overall SAP change control and process automation across active ALM investments.
Together with Rev-Trac’s OOPS and other enforcement features, the Rev-Trac locking system minimizes or even eliminates sequencing errors and prevents accidental migration of untested changes, by enforcing object and configuration locks across SAP landscapes. Such enhanced controls can become crucial safeguards for smooth, no-anxiety upgrades, especially on complex SAP infrastructures.
I’ll discuss other features and processes relating to SAP upgrades in future posts.