Don’t tell our developers… it’s a sentence I’ve heard numerous times from Basis Technologies customers over the years.
It usually happens around Day 3 of an ActiveControl implementation and always at the point we begin configuring and testing BackOut, the unique (and patented) feature that enables SAP customers to quickly revert a system to a working previous state.
Nobody – or at least not most of the Basis teams and Service Delivery / Project Managers that I typically work with – wants their Development colleagues to know about BackOut.
So what is ActiveControl ‘BackOut’?
Let me set the scene. We’ve all been there at some point – a change is applied to the SAP Production system and then the phone starts ringing – users are calling the Helpdesk complaining that something in the system is wrong. They can’t complete their normal day-to-day activities and as more and more of these calls come in, it starts to dawn that there may be something very wrong with the system.
A flurry of activity later and a major incident is declared. It looks like the change that was recently applied to Production is causing a big problem.
System downtime is not only costly (check out this IDC survey here), but can also result in bad press and poor customer experience. And so far, I don’t think I have ever met anyone who doesn’t have a fear of the ‘Major Incident’!
The traditional solution to get your system back up and running is to identify the issue, develop a fix and move it through your SAP landscape as an emergency change. These emergency changes take time and resource to manage, after all, the last thing we want is for the fix to create more problems in the Production system!
ActiveControl’s BackOut feature ensures that you don’t have hours of expensive business downtime. With the simple click of a button, it enables an administrator to revert an SAP change that has been recently imported into Production and caused a problem – both workbench and customizing. Within minutes customers can quickly get their Production system back to how it was before the problematic change caused a P1 incident ticket. I bet your Major Incident team would love that idea.
One of our customers – a large multinational oil company – told us a few years ago that every hour of SAP Production downtime cost them more than USD 1 million. And that using BackOut just once had paid for the annual subscription license cost of ActiveControl many times over.
Essentially, BackOut gives our customers an insurance policy. The ability to quickly get their business back up and running when something goes badly wrong.
Of course, BackOut is not an alternative to good old-fashioned unit and user acceptance testing. Which is why many of our customers don’t want us to tell their development and functional teams about this life-saving functionality during ActiveControl training (shush, we don’t want them to get complacent….).
“This feature would have been really helpful with an issue we had last month.” the SAP customer I am working with told me yesterday when I showed them BackOut.
“But don’t tell our developers about it,” they whispered quietly.