In the previous blog in this series, we discussed the ‘systems thinking’ aspects of integrated quality management. Here, we explore the ‘Second Way’ of DevOps, amplifying feedback loops. Key roles in Quality Management, in collaboration with Control Centers, drive continuous improvement by proactive monitoring based on a single source of truth. This is achieved through the standardization and automation of solution operations, established by the Quality Manager for Integration Validation, and optimized by the Quality Manager for Business Continuity.

High availability, reliability, and performance of enterprise solutions at justifiable costs necessitates standardized IT operations processes, automation of key activities within them, a proactive approach, and transparency on the operational status of the productive solution. Enter, the Quality Manager for Business Continuity.

The Quality Manager for Business Continuity is charged with the implementation and continuous improvement of application operations as well as business process operations. Transparency to the business processes being implemented is enabled by a collaboration between implementation and operations teams on solution documentation. That means not only a handover, but collaboratively sharing the knowledge about the solution and how to support it, and embedding the knowledge where it will be needed.

Solution documentation is comprised not only of technical and functional specifications, but also application operations guidance on performance and capacity thresholds of, for example, custom developments. Additionally, valuable context and insight into the business impact of performance degradation or failures is provided by documentation of an end-to-end business process across the system landscape including transactions, interfaces, and background jobs on the critical path. These, combined with the technical and business KPIs identified during the earlier Integration Validation activities, enable the Quality Manager for Business Continuity to see to it that operations teams are trained, equipped and instrumented for efficient, effective operations.

The Quality Manager for Business Continuity drives efficiency by implementing SAP standards, which combine proven methods, automation and a proactive approach to solution operations. That includes solution monitoring, end-to-end root cause analysis, as well as strategies for managing, background/batch processing, data volume growth and data consistency. Proactive monitoring and alerting is a key capability to amplify feedback loops by identifying performance trends that might lead to business disruptions. To perform these activities, the Quality Manager sets up an Operations Control Center (OCC).

While the ICC helps you build SAP like a factory by validating operational quality, the OCC helps you run SAP like a factory, by optimizing it. Building upon the solution documentation with KPis, exception management, and error handling procedures instrumented in the monitoring and alerting infrastructure at the OCC, the Quality Manager for Business Continuity is able to establish a baseline for continuous improvement.

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With minimal staff, the OCC tracks operational key figures, such as system availability and business performance. This enables the operations team to stay informed on landscape issues and proactively prevent problems before they impact business users. Thereby, shortening the feedback cycles from user-to-IT-operations, to OCC-to-IT-operations. Even when exceptions and errors do arise, business user impact is minimized by the ability to quickly diagnose problems using the root-cause analysis methods and capabilities of SAP Solution Manager. In this way, integrated quality management brings together implementation and operations teams to ensure that what goes live stays live.

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