Building a Business Case for SAP DevOps Automation
A common issue among teams who are interested in bringing DevOps and automation to SAP is the need to get others in the business on board.
If DevOps is a new concept to your organization, it may require some internal selling to persuade senior decision-makers it’s a good idea. They may not be very familiar with the reality of SAP change processes either, which makes it more challenging to make a case they’ll find compelling.
To help you put together a persuasive case, we ran a webinar on Building a Case for SAP DevOps Automation. It’s available to watch on demand, but I’ve put together a this post as a quick taster of the key points we covered.
Making the case for DevOps automation
DevOps isn’t just about IT; it’s a wider transformation that may involve different parts of the business. Driving cross-functional change like this can be difficult, but a solid, evidence-based business case will greatly increase your chances of getting approval and organizational buy-in.
So how do you create a business case for SAP DevOps automation?
Firstly, it’s important to connect your request to tangible business needs, as this will help you build a stronger case. You should consider how you can link SAP issues to the challenges your business is facing, as well as any ongoing strategic initiatives – and explain how the benefits of change will outweigh the costs.
The business case will be different for every organization, but let’s look at some of the things that you should consider as part of your proposal.
Define the goal in business terms
A good business case will always start with the business needs. Identify which business priorities and strategies need support from IT, and then look at how adopting DevOps for SAP will help your organization achieve those business goals.
For example, you could focus on external threats. If your industry is facing digital disruption and new competitors are emerging, you may need to be able to update your e-commerce systems rapidly. However, dependencies between your e-commerce system and your SAP backend may mean you can’t do this at the pace required.
In this scenario, your business case would show how embracing DevOps automation in SAP will speed up work that is currently slow and manual, allowing the business to keep up with the changing market.
Once you’ve analyzed your business goals and how SAP DevOps automation can help you achieve them, the next step is to look at how to frame this for your business.
Choose the right framing for your business
Businesses and individuals care about different things and have different priorities. That’s why it makes sense to frame your business case for SAP DevOps automation around business pain points, rather than software engineering processes.
If your customers are frustrated waiting too long for new features because you can only release updates every six months, for example, you can use this as the business hook to show how DevOps automation can help.
Ask the decision-maker to imagine how things would improve if the business was able to release valuable new features on a daily basis. If they can picture this, it’ll be easier to make the case for moving away from a waterfall approach towards a Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) model where you’re able to release new code daily.
Alternatively, you could frame your business case in terms of how DevOps automation can help the organization achieve its financial goals. In that case, you might show how automating manual activity can speed up development - lowering costs and delivering more value faster.
A third option is to focus on reducing business risk. If you’re using lots of different applications in your tech stack, it may be time-consuming to manually sync and align data between them all, increasing the chance of errors. Your business case could show how integrating ITSM and backlog management with SAP could minimize those risks, as well as saving time and money.
Once you’ve decided how you’ll frame your business case for SAP DevOps automation, it’s time to establish the baseline you’ll measure improvements from.
Establish a baseline
Every business case needs a baseline: a summary of the current situation against which the proposed improvements can be predicted and measured. To create your baseline, find data that has a strong correlation to the way you’ve framed the business case.
If you’ve framed it around increasing the frequency of releases, for example, it would make sense to share your current deployment frequency and show how automation will improve it. This kind of evidence-based approach will really help your business case.
Now you’ve set the scene and shared your baseline, the next step is to define expected outcomes.
Define expected outcomes
In your business case for SAP DevOps automation, it’s important to share the expected outcomes, ensuring these are framed in both business terms and engineering benefits, as appropriate.
There are four main categories of outcomes that you should cover:
- Observable: These are soft outcomes that can be articulated but not measured, such as team collaboration or job satisfaction.
- Measurable: These are outcomes that can be measured but where the effect of DevOps itself is not easily calculated. For example, releasing changes faster will improve your e-commerce capabilities and you’ll gain a bigger market share. But it’s hard to calculate how much of that market share can be attributed to DevOps automation.
- Quantifiable: These outcomes are important as you predict the measurable improvements you will see from adopting DevOps. You can use external data and other case studies to help.
- Financial: Financial outcomes are the most important ones to include. How can you measure the return on investment (ROI) from DevOps automation? Be sure to include how much it would cost the business if you did nothing, as this is a powerful part of your business case.
Now you’ve defined your expected outcomes, let’s move on to the final stage of building your business case: adding support.
Support your case with evidence
Real-world evidence of the benefits will make your case significantly more compelling, increasing the chances of approval. So it pays to spend time identifying proof points that you can reference.
We’ve published a number of SAP DevOps automation case studies with quantified benefits, which you can reference in your business case. You can find them on our customer success stories page.
A few final tips on making a successful business case
I’ve given you a lot to think about when creating your business case for SAP DevOps automation, but I’d like to leave you with a few final tips:
- Present your business case in an appropriate format for your audience
- Consider what language will resonate with your audience
- Use a logical structure so you present the information effectively
- Be ready for objections and address them in your proposal
- Emphasize affordability and highlight the cost of doing nothing
Find out more about building a business case for SAP DevOps automation
If you’d like to know more about building a business case, you can watch our free on-demand webinar Building a Case for DevOps Automation.
Alternatively, get in touch to discuss how we can help you bring DevOps automation into your SAP environment.