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How IT leaders can improve business agility by accelerating change in SAP

Businesses need to be agile to stay ahead—but the slow pace of change in SAP can be a bottleneck. Our new ebook explores how IT leaders can accelerate change and improve time to market.

Whatever industry you operate in, change is happening faster and faster. Your business’s ability to respond will be the deciding factor in whether you successfully outmaneuver the competition or get disrupted by your peers. 

Technology leaders play an important role in empowering the business to keep up with the pace of change. Vistaprint is a strong example, with its leadership team spearheading an agile transformation that has reduced lead time in some value streams by up to 90%, and slashed its concept to cash lifecycle.

At the other end of the spectrum, you have the likes of Levi Strauss, which saw a failed SAP refresh result in a $192.5M charge against earnings – limiting the business’s ability to invest in innovation.

The question is then, as an IT leader overseeing the SAP landscape, what can you do to ensure your organization can respond swiftly to change? 

Work with SAP, not against it

For most SAP customers, it forms the backbone of the enterprise, where critical work gets done. It’s vital to the business, but its unique architecture can make it extremely slow to change and update. When the business wants you to move fast, SAP can feel like the enemy, rather than the enabling platform it’s meant to be. 

But delivering change in SAP needn’t be a daily battle. There are several ways to work around SAP’s peculiarities to deliver change faster – without adding risk. We explore them in our ebook, 7 Things the SAP CIO Can Do to Improve Time to Market, but here are three for starters:

#1 Accelerate approvals (without increasing risk)

When a large SAP landscape sees thousands of changes each week, proper documentation, approval and impact assessment processes are crucial. But while these processes help reduce the risk of changes breaking vital systems, they can slow change down considerably (and add a significant cost if you’re paying SAP consultants by the day).

You can’t safely remove any of these processes without incurring greater risk. But with the right automation in place, you can accelerate them and deliver change faster.

#2 Maximize the efficiency of your team

When any change is made in SAP, someone needs to manually move it first to a QA environment, and then into Pre-Production and Production. But if your teams work remotely, or if you don’t have many basis admins available, it can be difficult to keep this process flowing smoothly.

By giving your team the tools to automate SAP transport deployment, you can reduce the manual burden on your basis admins, move changes through your SAP development environment faster, and rapidly bring new features to functional users.

#3 Understand what change really costs

If you only measure the impact of SAP changes when they reach production, you’re unlikely to see just how long change really takes in your environment.

After all, the likelihood of a change making its way from Dev to Production unscathed is near zero. Changes will be sent back for rework, sometimes more than once, before they make it into the hands of user.

Iteration is inevitable during development, but if you can’t see and measure it, you could be missing out on easy opportunities to improve development processes and accelerate the pace of change in your SAP environment.

There are many more ways to support business agility in SAP

We’ve discussed some of the reasons for slow change delivery in SAP—and how you can counter them. But if you’re truly looking to enable business agility, there are many more things you can do to speed up delivery of change in SAP environments.

We explore seven ways SAP CIOs can reduce time to market in our new ebook. In it, you’ll learn more about how you can accelerate your Requirement-to-Deploy workflows and empower your business to outmaneuver the competition.

Download the ebook: 7 Things the SAP CIO Can Do to Improve Time to Market.

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