DevOps and SAP ERP: Is it Possible?

questionI’ve been briefing analysts these last few weeks, primarily those in the ALM, DevOps or ITSM practice areas. It’s an exercise I really enjoy. Not only does it offer an opportunity to find out what is top of mind for analysts (i.e. customers) but it also helps validate our approach to businesses and organizations.

Every now and then I get a question or a comment that validates everything. Today I got two.

ERP as the system of record

The first comment was about DevOps and the ERP systems of record. How can DevOps (i.e. agile, high velocity, high volume change) be introduced and the ERP system remain stable?

What a great observation.

But this is exactly what SAP IT teams are being asked to do. Incorporate DevOps into their SAP ERP support and development practices and keep production system stability.

So how do SAP IT teams pull it off? How do they accelerate high volumes of change without creating system instability?

Well, the teams we work with have put in Rev-Trac, RSC’s SAP change control automation platform. For these teams, Rev-Trac automates and eliminates the burden of governance, facilitates DevOps practice and provides the acceleration required to meet business transformation objectives.

It doesn’t matter where you look or what you read on the subject, DevOps and automation go hand in hand. The further an SAP IT team moves towards the DevOps goal, the more automated a set of systems and processes needs to be.

So yes, DevOps and ERP can reconcile but without automation, governance and stability will more than likely be sacrificed for speed.

Using the risk profile of a change to accelerate

The next question focused on risk categorization. Can more changes be moved to production if risk profiles were better managed?

It was as if the analyst had read the next page in my slide deck. The answer was a categorical yes.

We have seen this exact method employed by a large retail customer with amazing and immediate success. By categorizing and profiling changes according to risk, SAP IT teams can run different types of changes down different process tracks. Some fast and some slower.

Why should a low-risk change go through the same rigor as a high-risk change? And, why should change types that always receive approvals 100 per cent of the time need any approvals at all?

Managing change by risk profiles can quickly and effectively provide immediate acceleration without jeopardizing production stability in any way. Manage low-risk changes quickly and higher-risk changes more carefully. However, risk profiled acceleration without automation is difficult.

Categorizing changes manually and ensuring each is in the correct process path will introduce high manual governance overheads and defeat the purpose. Here again, we see where a change control automation platform, like Rev-Trac, enforcing and automating the management of risk profiled acceleration, enables these kinds of strategies to be implemented and to succeed.

If you are embarking on an SAP DevOps journey or are looking for simple ways to accelerate your transformation, don’t hesitate to contact us at info@xrsc.com.

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