Nothing gives me a warmer feeling inside when I am doing a pre-sales demo or kicking off a new ActiveControl implementation, and somebody from the client team asks
“Does ActiveControl do this?”….
……and it already does.
Often I am asked about functionality that has been in our toolset for many years. Sometimes it is functionality that we have added more recently and which have prompted our older customers to upgrade to the latest version.
Here is a list of the eight “Does ActiveControl do…..” questions that I hear the most.
Let’s face it, if all SAP changes were transportable, a lot of the challenges around delivering SAP change – and indeed keeping system landscapes consistent – would disappear in an instant.
But unfortunately, there are lots of occasions when SAP development or functional teams have to log directly into an SAP system to do something. For example, to perform pre/post processing on BW changes. Or perhaps to perform object activation in PO systems.
Here at Basis Technologies, we call such non-transportable changes ‘Manual Steps’. ActiveControl has been able to manage them for years, both in terms of enabling users to document such manual steps (and who will perform them in which systems), but also ensuring they are done at the correct time and in the correct sequence with the SAP transport being deployed.
2….Cross System Dependencies?
Non-transportable activities not getting done at the correct time isn’t the only common cause of avoidable import errors as transports are deployed through an SAP landscape.
Cross system dependencies – for example when a BW transport is dependent on an ECC transport – can also often result in unnecessary import errors and transports having to be re-imported because such dependencies were forgotten about.
Again, this is something ActiveControl has handled for many years. In fact, its Release Orchestration takes it even further, by automating the entire process.
Let’s say you are delivering a change that consists of (i) an ECC transport and (ii) a BW transport that is dependent on it – and (iii) some pre-processing that has to be done by a BW consultant prior to the BW transport being imported.
Release Orchestration allows you to kick off the import of the entire change (when it has been approved of course), confident that the order in which things will get done is (i) then (iii) then (ii). Nobody has to email the BW consultant to ask them to do their pre-processing, it happens automatically. And when the BW consultant has finished working their pre-transport magic, the BW transport then gets imported automatically without the Basis team needing to get involved.
3….Build List Report?
Now let’s say you are not just moving a simple 2 transport change. Let’s say you are moving 1000 transports as part of a big SAP project that has been worked on for months by an army of SAP developers and functional consultants.
In many SAP organizations, a Change and Release Manager would be responsible for preparing a sequenced list of all the transports and non-transportable changes that make up that project. They will probably spend hours – if not days – manually generating a spreadsheet build list and then validating it with STMS import histories and the project team to ensure that everything is perfectly sequenced and that nothing is forgotten.
In my previous experiences, something still gets forgotten about more often than not. A developer or functional team member forgot about a transport dependency or that something had to be done directly in the system before or after a particular transport. Or the Change and Release Manager made a mistake themselves.
Suddenly unexpected RC8s start happening during the cutover – and somebody further up the food-chain starts shouting – and after a lot of scrambling around, invariably late at night or at the weekend when these sorts of larger project deployments occur – a developer or functional consultant holds up their hand that they overlooked something.
The ActiveControl Build List Report takes away all that human risk of error – by providing a fully-automated sequenced list of all transports and non-transportable changes being delivered as part of a release – and even better, also predicting when your project team will be needed to support each transport and perform any manual tasks based on the deployment times into the previous system in the landscape.
You can read more about the ActiveControl Build List Report here.
4….Deep Impact Analysis?
Wouldn’t it be great if everybody delivering your SAP changes worked in the same time zone and in the same geographical location, and knew what everybody else was working on in the SAP system, down to an object level?
Yes, and it would also be great if my lottery numbers came up this weekend.
But unfortunately neither of these things are likely to happen, and instead, SAP developers and functional teams working for different internal and external organizations are often delivering interrelated changes to Production.
For example, Developer A might be delivering a new custom program, which refers to an underlying function module that is being delivered by Developer B. And that function module depends on a custom table that is being delivered in another change by Developer C.
If you don’t deploy that Table before the function module, you will end up with return code errors. The same goes if you deployed the custom program before the function module.
The ShiftLeft Deep Impact Assessment analyzer helps ensure that that such unmet lower level object dependencies don’t cause you costly, time-consuming testing failures and production issues, by automatically warning you before you approve or import changes into systems.
This is a newer part of our DevOps toolset that I suspect some of our existing ActiveControl customers don’t even know about – and indeed has evolved a lot over the last year since some of our customers began to use it.
If you are interested in seeing how Deep Impact Assessment, or indeed any of the other features I have talked about could help improve your SAP change processes, please do get in touch or read the product information below.
Download the ActiveControl feature sheet for more information.