Technologies & Products

8 ActiveControl features that our customers love (and make their lives a lot easier) – Part II

A few weeks ago I posted eight of the popular features of ActiveControl that help enable our customers to deliver change quicker and safer.  Things like Manual Steps to ensure consistent, timely execution of all those non-transportable changes that need to be done directly in an SAP system and Deep Impact Analysis to ensure that missing lower level dependent objects do not cause avoidable import errors as changes get deployed through the landscape.

However – and as a few eagle-eyed people have already pointed out – I actually only posted four features a few weeks ago.

So here are the other four “Does ActiveControl do…….” questions that I often get asked about in demos and at the start of new implementations.

5…..Automatic Transport Naming

I am one of those people that like all the food tins in the kitchen cupboard to be nicely lined up, with all the labels pointing outwards. In my eyes, it’s a lot tidier and makes things easier later on. Perhaps I was an auditor in a previous life.

This is probably also why I –  and indeed a lot of our customers – love ActiveControl’s automated transport naming capability. It allows them to automatically generate each new transport’s description based on the information metadata that has been recorded against the associated Business Task and Transport Form.

Suddenly every transport has a consistent naming format that adheres to the defined convention, and more importantly, a ticket reference to relate the transport back to later on. I guarantee that people who like their food tin labels facing outwards (and also QA teams and auditors) will love it…..

(Answer: SAP Customer 1 (and me))

6…..SCC1 Automation

Do you have multiple Development clients? Is your SAP team having to manually SCC1 its changes over to the unit test client for every client dependent transport? Or are they are supposed to be doing it, but are sometimes forgetting and your Development clients are becoming inconsistent?

A lot of our customers have been telling us that this inconsistency is a problem – and indeed that it’s not very efficient to have their SAP team doing manual SCC1 to move their changes to other clients.

So we added an automated SCC1 capability into ActiveControl last year.

7…..Future Import Scheduling

ActiveControl Schedules have always allowed our customers to automate the import of transports to their SAP systems at the required frequency. For example, to automate imports to QA every 15 minutes. Or every Thursday at 18:00 to Production. Or perhaps once a month to Training systems. Basically whatever fits the individual customer’s deployment requirements across their SAP estate.

But one thing ActiveControl didn’t have until recently – and we were getting asked for quite a lot – was future import scheduling. The ability to approve a SAP Change for Production on a Wednesday, but not importing it until Saturday at 9 AM, outside of the normal Thursday 6 PM import schedule mentioned in the above example.

Again we listened to customer feedback and added it to ActiveControl 6.25, and it’s something that is quickly becoming popular when customers want to ensure that a particular SAP change doesn’t get imported until a particular time in the future to avoid possible detrimental impacts on the business or SAP system.

8…..Automated Approvals

The seven features that I have previously mentioned are all features that our DevOps toolset already has.

Automated Approvals on the other hand, is something the Basis Technologies’ Development team is currently beavering away on.

So what do I mean by Automated Approvals? And why would an SAP customer want an approval to be automated when surely the whole point of having the approval point in the first place, is to force somebody to make a conscious decision that an SAP change can be moved further through the landscape.

Well here’s the rub. A lot of approvals in an SAP-run organization are nothing more than a rubber-stamping exercise, both for ActiveControl and non-ActiveControl customers.

For non-ActiveControl customers, the approval is generally based on the approver’s domain knowledge and/or best-endeavours understanding of the change and whether it might cause an issue.

For ActiveControl customers, the approval is based on the gamut of automated ShiftLeft analysis checks that tell the approver whether there will be an issue or not. For example, if there is an inactive object that will prevent the transport being released. Or if the transport contains coding, security or performance issues. Or a sequencing issue that will cause an object version overtake or overwrite. Or even a lower level dependent object that is not yet in the target source, as is possible with the Deep Impact Analysis that I mentioned in Part 1 of this post.

For ActiveControl customers, the new Automated Approvals capability will provide the ability for changes to stop for approval only if the change fail the automated analysis checks in place. This will avoid this kind of change becoming an approval bottleneck for changes that have no issues.

Automated ‘exception-based’ Approvals is a feature that I am very excited about, and I suspect it is going to be another really popular feature within ActiveControl, based on the number of times I have seen eyes light up when I mention it to existing customers. It should be available in ActiveControl later in 2017. Watch this space.

So there you have it – I have summarised 8 features that our customers love in ActiveControl. There are many more – and indeed one in particular which is a lesser known feature of standard SAP that is becoming increasingly popular amongst our customers. Expect something from me on SAP Transport of Copies in the very near future!

To learn more about ActiveControl, download the feature sheet

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