Any SAP support system complex enough to benefit from an N, N+1 strategy will introduce additional complexity-related risks to manual change control systems. In particular, risks associated with transport synchronization, retrofits, collision management and team coordination, all of which may all become extremely difficult and can create instabilities.
Because complexity has increased organically over time due to such factors as multiple applications, additional technologies and greater change volume, you may find manual change control methods when adding N, N+1 architecture to be unacceptably costly and put PRD stability at risk.
SAP has addressed some of these challenges. Together, ChaRM and CTS+ are a good first step toward full automation. They show that SAP recognizes the challenge to managing change in large SAP environments and they work well enough when an organization has relatively low volumes of change or does not require too much process flexibility or complete, audit-ready compliance documentation.
But in fluid market conditions or with very complex SAP environments, to minimize risk and cost you need comprehensive automation. It must be capable of rapid, nimble responses to business-side requests and must handle multiple projects gracefully while remaining responsive to other high-priority business and technical requirements, and maintaining the daily support change stream.
More and more of our Rev-Trac customers are taking advantage of improvement to their change control process made possible by functionality that can significantly reduce retrofit effort.
Here’s why this is important.
To ensure production system stability, any support changes made in the N (BAU) track in parallel to the N+1 (project) track, will need to be reapplied into the N+1 track. Depending on the BAU volume and the period between releases, this could be extensive. In fact, one Rev-Trac customer mentioned this was a 600 developer day effort per release and another mentioned it was around 3,000 hours. In addition, with such a volume, it is likely some will be missed and potentially overwritten when the release goes live. A Rev-Trac customer actually mentioned this was estimated at 10% of the BAU effort.
If much of the risk and effort can be eliminated, immediately the process is significantly simplified and the associated costs substantially reduced. The production system is more stable and 300 – 600 developer days are released for new work – instead of reworking existing work.
The processes and tasks needed to manage the increased risks of complex SAP environments can make it difficult to respond to user requests in a timely way and at a reasonable and sustainable cost. If your organization uses a once-typical mix of hybrid, ‘home-grown’ applications and manual processes that are not intrinsically integrated into the SAP framework, when your IT environment grows larger or more complex, you will inevitably encounter difficulties. Costs can mount quickly and in unpredictable ways.
An SAP change control software like Rev-Trac allows SAP IT organizations to bring all changes under control, managing each with repeatable change control processes that maximize automation, enforce all relevant compliance or best-practices policies, and maintain complete auditability at minimum risk and lowest cost.