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How to Keep SAP Professionals From Leaving During the Great Resignation

One of the more unanticipated consequences of the pandemic has been a massive shuffling of talent across nearly every industry. Firms are being forced to refocus their priorities and ideas around how work gets done at their organizations and are offering more compelling opportunities for workers across the globe.

The “Great Resignation” as it’s been dubbed has affected many companies and left them with the pressing challenge of hiring and retaining quality talent. While firms continue to embrace digital transformation, they’re simultaneously facing an exodus of resources. In fact, 46% of professionals anticipate moving jobs in the next six months according to a recent report. The same report shows that nearly three-quarters (73%) of employers are currently recruiting. So, while you’re seeking to hire experienced talent to help with critical projects and drive an organization’s success, other firms might actively be trying to recruit your talent away.

With the risk of losing experienced, knowledgeable employees growing, how can you insulate your organization from the potential risks?

Losing good talent can cost more than you think

For many organizations who rely on SAP, most of their change and release processes tend to be manual. It’s not just one or two parts, nearly the entire process of building the code, moving the transports between systems, checking the code and transports for errors, moving them back to developers for rework, moving them back down the pipeline and eventually into production (not to mention all the other countless steps in the process) are all typically done by a person who has to perform these tasks manually. Not to mention updating the countless spreadsheets and email threads regarding what’s happening.

This presents a significant challenge when even one of your team members leaves the organization. Not only do you lose the valuable skills and experience they had, but you lose all their knowledge and experience of the specific processes, workflows, and approvals you’ve spent months or even years tweaking.

You can try to alleviate this as much as possible by documenting the most important workflows before they leave, but even if you are able to do that, it will still take a significant amount of time for their replacement to learn these processes and even longer for them to become as efficient at them as their predecessor. In the meantime, business-critical changes to SAP systems will be delayed while the new team member gets acclimated.

This onboarding period not only leads to inefficiency and delays, it also increases the risk to your SAP systems. One of the biggest problems with manually driven processes to begin with is the fact that they are quite prone to human errors. This problem is likely to only get worse while the new resource is getting up to speed on the workflows.

Protect against knowledge loss with SAP automation

The best way to protect against losing all this valuable knowledge when experienced employees leave is by implementing an automation tool like ActiveControl into your SAP landscape. Aside from helping improve the speed and quality of delivering SAP change, automation also offers the ability to codify these manual approvals and processes.

By creating a tool-based workflow, nothing is left to chance. There’s no need for somebody to remember the process – as it is centrally preserved within the tool – and everybody in the SAP organization is ‘forced’ to follow it.

So instead of running into an issue where someone must remember who a finance change needs to go to for approval, ActiveControl ensures those changes automatically go to the right person every time. What’s more, ActiveControl can automatically move that transport to the next step in the pipeline, even into Production, as soon as it’s approved.

As another example, you could configure ActiveControl to have standard changes automatically skip Change Approval Board (CAB) approval if they don’t need them, provided they contain the specified objects allowed in standard changes.

Codified workflows are also helpful for ensuring transports meet specific requirements. Analyzers within ActiveControl can ensure that steps in the overall process are followed without having to rely on a specific person to get them done or even remember that they’re supposed to happen in the first place.

For example, if you have established that certain transports should follow a specific naming convention, when that process is automated, the transports are automatically checked to make sure they’re following the specified convention and you don’t have to rely on anyone to check every transport has the proper name.

Another example of an automated analyzer would be if you require approvals from different people throughout the process, ActiveControl can ensure the same person does not perform two approvals at different points enforcing separation of duty.

These codified workflows can even extend directly to developers. Once configured, you can require that each developer perform a list of checks (which they should be doing already) before they release transports to QA. Many of these tests can even be automated including code inspection or enforcing peer review within the approval workflow.

The truth is that there is no one-size-fits-all SAP change management workflow. Each organization will have its own complex and unique processes based on the specific needs of the business. These often vary across landscapes and even within landscapes. These processes have been built and modified over years and having all these processes codified and centralized insulates you from the risk of losing that knowledge.

One other thing to consider is how much easier this will make audit and compliance reporting. With all these processes automated and documented within a single source of truth, generating audit reports becomes a matter of a few clicks. You no longer have to rely on human memory to ensure all the processes were tracked and documented correctly.

Automation improves employee retention and reduces hiring pressures

SAPinsider recently released a report where 40% of IT executives surveyed listed hiring and retaining talent as their second biggest challenge for 2022. Automation can go a long way to improving employee retention and reducing the pressure to hire new talent.

Employee satisfaction is often closely tied to the pressure and stress workers feel from the demands of their jobs. In today’s fast-paced software environment, many IT professionals are under pressure to deliver software faster, so much so that some feel they must sacrifice quality to do so.

As mentioned earlier, ActiveControl enables SAP teams to deliver high quality software at industry-leading speeds. This can directly improve job satisfaction in a few key ways:

  • Less time spent on tedious tasks
  • Ability to focus on exceptions and allow majority of changes to flow through the designed process much of it automatically
  • Greater ownership of business value and objectives

With so many cumbersome manual tasks involved in developing and delivering software for SAP, it’s easy to get frustrated by the mundane day-to-day grind. If many of those tasks become automated, team members can then shift their focus to more strategic, more valuable tasks. This not only helps improve job satisfaction and encourage them to stay, but it also provides tremendous value for the business.

One other key factor in improving job satisfaction through automation is that it enables teams to adopt agile and DevOps methodologies. In a traditional waterfall development approach, large projects are delivered a few times a year, often with several errors that lead to expensive downtime. This can, unsurprisingly, put a dent in team morale. With agile, teams are delivering much smaller, high-quality projects, every few weeks (or even every day in some cases). It’s not hard to understand why team members would feel higher satisfaction when continually delivering valuable changes.

Something else to consider is that leveraging the latest advanced ways of working and best-in-breed software could also be a draw for new talent that you do need to hire.

Conclusion

There are a range of challenges facing companies today and one of the most pressing is the threat of employees leaving for a better opportunity at the same time you’re trying to expand your team. Having proven SAP DevOps automation in place can help shield organizations from the risks of losing experienced employees and even help you retain, hire, and train new talent.

Connect with us today to learn more about implementing ActiveControl at your organization.

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