One of the main things that drives us here at Basis Technologies is helping our customers solve critical business challenges in their SAP landscapes. We’ve spent over 20 years developing SAP-specific software such as ActiveControl, our DevOps automation tool, to help SAP teams speed up delivery, improve productivity and mitigate risk. I have recently been working closely with four customers, each with unique and significant reasons they decided to adopt SAP change control automation. I thought I’d use this opportunity to share these customer stories and what they’ve been able to accomplish with a modern approach to SAP development and delivery.
John Deere has been providing advanced agricultural products and services for over 180 years. In 2019, their Global IT team adopted an Agile Operating Model (AOM) across their IT environment with a focus on delivering value to customers faster. Unfortunately, slow, inefficient, manually-driven SAP change management processes were keeping their SAP landscape from joining the larger agile and DevOps model.
A key challenge was integrating SAP with the DevOps tools already in use across the company. The company realized they would need automation to enable agile success but also to align SAP more closely with standardized tooling and processes to further increase speed, mitigate risk, and enhance visibility.
John Deere worked closely with the Basis Technologies team to build an advanced workflow that enabled ActiveControl and John Deere’s ITSM to work together within a fully automated, end-to-end delivery pipeline.
Building this integrated, event-driven change process saved John Deere significant time and resources in delivering SAP changes. Less than one year after implementing ActiveControl they saw a 32% decrease in developer cycle time and a reduction of more than 1300 hours of developer overhead in managing change. A modern, automated approach to SAP change meant less manual effort, improved productivity and faster delivery of value to customers.
Global Food & Beverage Company
Like many global organizations, SAP powers several of this company’s critical backend systems including procurement, manufacturing, supply chain, and more. The company operates a complex SAP landscape and found delivering change was a slow, tedious, and error-prone process.
These problems were compounded as the company made a number of acquisitions over the past decade adding almost 10 companies to their portfolio. These firms brought more complex SAP landscapes with them and integrating them quickly with the company’s own SAP landscape was making things even more complicated.
They soon realized a major challenge: their current change management processes were holding them back and in order to keep pace with this growth, they would have to implement an agile methodology. Part of this agile transformation included adopting tools like ServiceNow to help manage the customer requests. ActiveControl enabled them to integrate ServiceNow with their SAP systems to manage change more efficiently across an increasingly complex SAP landscape.
Adopting SAP automation brought significant benefits for the company. They soon realized they could deliver innovation and customer value more quickly by reducing the manual effort required for changes – all without sacrificing quality. They also especially like the audit and compliance support the tool offers. Because every SAP change is automatically tracked, generating necessary reports comes with the click of a button. Ultimately the company expects to save over 200 days of manual effort in transport management per year.
Major Global Fashion Retailer
This company has some of the world’s most recognizable brands and operates thousands of physical stores alongside dedicated ecommerce platforms in dozens of countries. The challenge they faced was aligning their quarterly SAP release cycle to the rest of their IT environment’s agile two-week development sprints.
The uniqueness of the challenge came from the company’s transition from a single SAP development team to more than 70 agile SAP product teams working in parallel to deliver change in line with the company-wide agile strategy. Replacing their existing SAP change control solution with ActiveControl enabled them to support an agile three-week release cycle that significantly improved their time to delivery.
One of the company’s Solution Architects mentioned that potentially the biggest win with this new solution was giving each of their highly-granular development teams much more ownership over their workflows. They were able to make better decisions and have more autonomy in delivering their projects.
This was especially helpful once they determined a more specific release cadence for SAP. While the rest of the IT team was deploying every two weeks, the SAP team found that a three-week cadence was better suited for their workflows, giving them enough time to develop and test each change to reduce production issues. The transparency and wide range of in-depth checks and balances provided by ActiveControl made this workflow a reality.
The ability to release SAP changes into production every three weeks instead of four times a year significantly improved time to value for the company. They were able to adapt their SAP environment at the speed which the business required, while minimizing downtime and business disruption, enabling them to outpace their competitors.
Leading Construction Services Company
One of the key challenges this company faced in their SAP environment was supporting innovation and agility without compromising stability. SAP powers many of their most critical systems including operations, finance, and payroll and their manual, spreadsheet-driven processes were introducing errors to Production which resulted in costly and unacceptable disruptions to the business.
Innovation is a driving principle for the company and is a key component of their ability to deliver value to their customers. They realized they needed a way to deliver updates and changes to their SAP systems as quickly and safely as in the rest of their IT landscape. Implementing ActiveControl enabled them to automate their manual change delivery processes and eliminate the use of spreadsheets.
The more than 70 in-depth, out-of-the-box analyzers available in ActiveControl gave the company the confidence to begin deploying SAP changes as soon as they’re ready and reduced production issues by over 80%. Additionally, ActiveControl gave the company a single source of truth for all SAP changes which was particularly beneficial due to their widely distributed teams.
For a company driven by a desire for innovation, ActiveControl was a natural fit. It allowed them to eliminate manual, error-prone SAP change and release processes, and the risk associated with them, while offering greater control, visibility, and collaboration across their teams.
I think the company’s IT Manager said it best: “I really enjoy using ActiveControl because it’s making the whole team’s life easy. Mistakes in SAP have a big impact, so the safety we can offer to the company with ActiveControl is a really big outcome…I would definitely recommend ActiveControl to any company looking for more control in their SAP landscape.”
If your company is facing challenges similar to the ones mentioned above, or something else related to effectively managing and adapting SAP systems, why not connect with us today and see how we can help?