Change Management in SAP Cloud ALM
Change Management is one key feature of any ALM(Application Lifecycle Management). That is the reason , Change Request Management (ChaRM) is the most widely used functionality of SAP SOLMAN. SAP Cloud ALM being the next go to tool for application lifecycle management, even recommended by SAP, I take this opportunity to write this blog about change management in SAP Cloud ALM.
Before we go into the change management of SAP Cloud ALM, let’s try to understand the Change Enablement over Change Control.
Change Control: It more about controlling the change process, it is little strict process and not very flexible. It has more checks and guidelines to be followed.
Change Enablement: It is about enabling the change to happen. It is not as strict as change control and is more flexible as compared to change control. It utilizes the best practice to build a change process tailored to your individual needs.
So change control and change enablement goes hand in hand and change control is still possible will working on change enablement. So we need to understand that these two terminologies are not opposite to each other, but they are just two different terms for the same things. That is how it goes hand in hand.
The focus of SAP Cloud ALM is on agility with incremental enhancements and continuous feature delivery based on deployment on demand.
Before getting into what features we have in change management in SAP Cloud ALM, let’s discuss what are the features, we as a customer are/were looking for (considering the functionalities and features available in SAP Solution Manager).
Some of those features are:
- Conditional Checks/Consistency Checks(successfully imported in prod)
- Status dependent selective import
- CSOL(Cross System Object Lock)
- DGP(Downgrade Protection)
- Transport of Copies (ToC)
- Import All feature in project
- Urgent Changes
- Normal Changes
- Phase Driven Changes
- Continual Cycles
- Release Cycles
Let’s try to understand more about few of the above mentioned functionalities, which we have in SAP Solution Manager and what we have in SAP Cloud ALM:
Change Cycle Concept: We all are very much aware about this topic in SAP Solution Manager but this has been partially implemented in SAP Cloud ALM in the form of release cycles. As release cycle is also a type of change cycle in ALM.
Import All feature: We have an option of “Project Import All” in SAP Solution Manager and the same feature is there in SAP Cloud ALM as “Deploy multiple features to Production”.
Selective Import: Selective import is a feature in SAP Solution Manager which helps us to import selective transport requests. The same feature is present in SAP Cloud ALM with terminology “Single Deploy of Features”.
Batch Import: Similar to batch import in SAP Solution Manager, SAP Cloud ALM is planning to have time based import feature. Please check if this has been released or not, as SAP had plans of releasing this feature by early 2023 or mid of 2023.
Custom Fields: Custom fields in SAP Solution Manager help us to mention additional information related to change documents in CHARM. Similar to custom fields, SAP Cloud ALM has introduced “Tags and References” in SAP Cloud ALM, which are more user friendly and more convenient. It was also expected to be release by Q1 or Q2 of 2023. Please check, if this functionality has been released by SAP.
Apart from the above mentioned functionalities, Access control, DGP, CSOL, ToC, conditional workflow, other transaction types are expected to be rolled out by mid of 2023 or Q1 of 2024.
Change Cycle Concept in SAP Cloud ALM:
Continual Deployment: It is available in SAP Cloud ALM. It has a pre-requisite that you need to have a project on which you are working and then we can have deployment on demand.
Phase Driven Deployment: When we go to phase driven deployment, they already have deployment plans available in SAP Cloud ALM and those deployment plans consists of several releases. SAP has planned to have phases per releases. and is expected to be rolled out by mid 2023 or early 2024.
Release Management: The dependencies between releases within deployment plan and this deployment plan can be assigned to several projects and several projects needs to stick to same releases till end. That’s about release deployment, it is still under build and it is very similar to phase driven deployment where one will have full control over the deployment.
Types of Changes in SAP Cloud ALM:
As we know we have different types of change documents in SAP Solution Manager like Normal Change, Urgent Change, General Change, Admin Change etc. SAP Cloud ALM has more simplistic view on the type of changes.
Let’s try to under stand it with an example as shown in below diagram:
So in SAP Solution Manager, after a requirement comes, we go ahead and create a request for change and based on the requirement we select the scope which can be a normal change, urgent change, admin change, etc. In SAP Cloud ALM, a requirement is categorized whether it is a feature or it is a correction or a combination. Then it is converted into user stories and project tasks based on the requirement. In both SAP Solution Manager and SAP Cloud ALM, the transport management is integrated with the change management.
Flow of changes in SAP Cloud ALM:
This is a very straight forward flow of changes in SAP Cloud ALM. SAP is planning to provide some flexibility in this workflow and provide us an additional workflow at “In Testing”, where we will have option for both “Successful Testing” and “Testing Failed”.
SAP is planning to integrate APIs as well with change management process to bring in more automation. With this we can easily embed sub-workflows created via SAP Workflow Management.
Let’s talk about three most talked functionality in Change Management i.e. DGP, ToC and CSOL in SAP Cloud ALM.
Downgrade Protection (DGP): It will have check on deployment plan and deployment plan can serve several projects. It is still maturing and SAP may come up with some better version of it in early 2024.
TOC(Transport of Copies): This functionality is already available in SAP Cloud ALM but as of now we need to create it manually. SAP is planning to automate it based on the status of the change document.
Cross System Object Lock: (CSOL): It will have check based on the deployment plan to serve several parallel projects. SAP may roll it out in early 2024.
Authorization Concept of Change Management in SAP Cloud ALM
The authorization concept in SAP Cloud ALM is bit more simpler as they have less roles in change management as compared to solution manager. The focus roles in SAP Cloud ALM are:
- Requestor: It creates a requirement directly in SAP Cloud ALM. It can be any team member.
- Change Manager: It categorizes, manages and monitors features. Change manager is also domain responsible for the change.
- Developer: Developer is the one who will be implementing the change and hand over to the test stage.
- Tester: A tester will test the change, sets status in the change document as per the testing.
- Deployment Manager: Deployment manager is the one who will take care of the software logistics.
SAP is still looking for provision of more roles collection and has planned to create custom roles. As custom roles are not possible as of now in change management in SAP Cloud ALM.
Custom Fields in SAP Cloud ALM
SAP Cloud ALM has come up with a simple approach here. SAP Cloud ALM provides “Tags” for custom fields in change management. It is easy and simple to tag and categorize. SAP Cloud ALM provides references also where we can easily create a reference with an external ticketing tool.
The Change management in SAP Cloud ALM is evolving day by day and still there is lot to come up. The version of change management that SAP Cloud ALM has come up till no is very minimal. Lets call it “Light” version.
Change Management Light:
- Incremental enhancements
- Continual Cycle for continuous feature Deployment
- Feature traceability
The next set of features that SAP is planning to bring to make change management a “Basic” version in SAP Cloud ALM are:
- Time Based Import
- Phase Cycles
- Workflow adjustment
- Technical Security functionalities (DGP,ToC)
With time, SAP Cloud ALM will reach the advanced level also and it will incorporate functionalities to fulfil the needs of customers to maximum. They are:
- CSOL(Cross System Object Lock)
- APIs for partner enhancements.
- Digital Signatures
- Custom Roles
- Template Protection and many more.
Thank you and let’s look forward to Change Management in SAP Cloud ALM. Cheers !!!