By Bill Rojas, SAP Digital
In the high-pressure world of software development, deadlines are set and schedules organized by expert project managers. Teams of developers, often made up of contractors, are expected to adhere to delivery milestones to meet project goals, whether for a new implementation or for smaller projects driven by continuous business improvement. In theory, everything goes like clockwork. In truth, however, it’s rarely that straightforward. And this is the issue addressed by Software Asset Management, the latest offering on SAPStore.com.
The name Software Asset Management actually says it all: the application introduces a new approach to controlling business change requests in development projects. In doing so, Software Asset Management helps project managers properly allocate resources, create reality-based estimated completion dates for work items, and set expectations based on empirical information. I like the way Stefan Keuker of RBG Software puts it: “We help you take away the emotion and the politics. If you say, ‘we need seven people on this project and it will be complete by September,’ you can back up that statement. You can objectively justify the expense and the timeline, and respond to all the tough questions.”
If you’re a project manager, you know exactly what he’s talking about.
Lack of transparency = project risk
The fact is that most software landscapes today comprise an amalgam of custom-developed software repository objects, with little transparency of technical objects and their meaning in the context of business processes. Even a dedicated IT staff, much less a team of contractors, can barely understand the relationships and interconnectivity in a software stack. Thus, every time a change is made – however well-planned and well-intentioned – there’s a serious risk of wreaking havoc on system performance. And for project managers, there’s a serious risk of chronic insomnia.
Software Asset Management is essentially a software development lifecycle (SDLC) workflow application that gives project managers a structured approach to work breakdown, from business requirement to software building blocks across technologies. A system-guided flow of implementation work items across delivery teams and resources enables accurate capacity planning. When business priorities change, the application makes it much easier to adjust. Further, the application creates a register of technical objects providing contextual information, including development requests, solution documentation, and an audit trail of deployment across the system landscape.
Project control = cost savings
The result is tighter-managed projects and improved cost control through better use of resources, business continuity, and on-time project delivery. A well-documented software environment adds up to cost savings through reduced maintenance and support. And all of this adds up to a better night’s sleep for the project manager
I asked Stefan to tell me what inspired him to invent the product. Like many entrepreneurs, he himself had experienced the pain: in this case, of spreadsheet-based project planning and failed attempts to demonstrate why, for example, meeting a mandated timeline wasn’t possible. In 2014, he was working as a contractor with Pick n Pay, a major supermarket chain in South Africa, running into exactly this kind of problem.
With broad experience in software development and in particular, project lifecycle management tools, Stefan was sure he could come up with an application to help himself and his counterparts simplify their lives. He convinced the IT management team at Pick n Pay to invest in application development. Pick n Pay gave him three months to do it.
Now, Pick n Pay is RBG’s marquee customer success. “Software Asset Management gives us full control of our software build process. It provides us invaluable insights into bespoke software assets that result from build and their related cost,” according to Adriaan Fourie at Pick n Pay. “We avoid incompatible changes to existing solutions and thus provide better IT services for our business.”
Software Asset Management is certified for SAP NetWeaver 7.40 and SAP HANA, and runs with SAP Solution Manager. However, it is platform agnostic and can be configured for Java or ABAP – whatever works for you.