The launch of Consolidator: The safer, faster way to SAP system consolidation
We’ve recently launched a new automation tool to help our clients manage their SAP systems. It’s called Consolidator, and it provides the means to merge multiple instances of SAP more safely, quickly and cost-effectively than ever. ‘But what does that have to do with Agile or DevOps?’, I hear you cry. Well, more than perhaps you might think at first glance, but the genesis of Consolidator came from talking to our clients about SAP landscape transformation. We found that many of them had been through a conversation that went something like this:
Client: ‘Reducing the number of SAP instances we’re running would be a great idea. It’ll allow us to [choose from many business benefits, such as increasing speed to market / reducing inventory through global supply chain management / easier movement of business from one location to another / effective co-ordination of change across business units / leveraging better purchasing terms]. Plus we’ll reduce IT costs, free up resources and make maintenance easier. It’s a win-win!’
Internal SAP team/System Integrator: ‘OK, sounds good. It’s a complex project though. We estimate it will take at least 14 months and cost $3.5 million.’
Client: ‘OK, then maybe not.’
One of those clients asked us to try and solve this problem by finding a way to reduce the ‘14 months’ and ‘$3.5 million’. Here at Basis Technologies we love a challenge, so we set to it.
The first thing to recognize was that there’s no doubt SAP system consolidation is a very complex problem, and time does need to be taken to get it right. Even for a single merge, reconciliation of all the differences between your systems can be a monumental task. We might be talking about tens of thousands of custom repository objects (all the code, classes, programs, function modules, tables, etc.), and hundreds of thousands of lines of configuration.
The scale of the task tends to require major resourcing. And your key team members, who really understand how the technical system works and integrates with the business, may be swamped comparing the two systems and coming up with resolutions to the differences.
Then there’s consideration of risk. How can you check that nothing gets missed when dealing with such a large task? Testing’s going to take a long time and the manual nature of the merge process means you’re bound to find errors. How can you maintain the confidence of the business in the merged solution as bugs crop up?
It’s maybe not surprising that the business cases for such projects can collapse early on under the weight of cost and risk considerations.
Despite all of this complexity and its associated impact, our client still needed a solution. They were confident that there were savings and business value that could be unlocked, but needed a way to get them there safely and cost-effectively.
It seemed to us that, as so often, automation would be the key. If we could automate at least part of the SAP system merge process it would become much faster and the potential for errors would be drastically reduced, reducing cost on both counts.
Consolidator is the end result, drawing on nearly twenty years of SAP expertise within the Basis Technologies team and leveraging our existing (successful and highly effective) technology to automate the ‘technical merge’ of two SAP ECC systems.
Consolidator automatically compares the huge volumes of custom code, dictionary objects and configuration between the systems, and highlights the differences.
This means an organization can assess the size of the problem they are looking at before getting started, and helps identify which parts of the systems have the largest volumes of conflicts - vital for efficient resource planning. The automatic comparison reduces risk by ensuring that nothing gets missed, allowing your experts to cut out the noise and focus on the key clashes between the two systems.
Once the key differences have been highlighted Consolidator provides a list of decisions to make about how conflicts should be handled. When the choices are made, everything is automatically updated as required and combined on a single target system.
There’s very little need for manual intervention prior to the testing phase, which also takes less time thanks to the improvements in quality delivered by automation of the merge process. Not only that, but your test plan can be more efficient from the outset thanks to the automated analysis provided by Consolidator. We’re back to win-win!
In our very first ‘real world’ test of Consolidator with a client we saw a regression test pass rate of over 95%, making them able to move forward with confidence.
Just in case though, there’s also a comprehensively automated log of all changes, so pinning down and solving any issues that do sneak through becomes easier than ever.
We’re really excited about the options that Consolidator will bring to organizations that need to rationalize their SAP estate, whether because they want to support a digital transformation, get ready for HANA, or simply save some money.
To learn more, take a look at the product web page: