Agile & DevOps

Integrating SAP with Mainstream Software Delivery Tools

Our new eBook “Streamlining Software Development with SAP Tool Chain Integration” is out now. In this blog post, we discuss the challenge of integrating SAP delivery with standard software delivery tools and propose a solution.

We live in a fast-moving and unpredictable world. Nowhere is that truer than in software development. To meet the challenge, there’s been a shift in recent years towards quicker and more responsive software delivery techniques.

Agile methodologies have dispensed with the fantasy that large projects are perfectly predictable. Software delivery has been accelerated through a focus on frequent, small releases throughout the software delivery life cycle (SDLC). At the same time, the approach has enabled development to be more responsive to change in the organization and the markets it operates in.

Meanwhile, DevOps practices have closed the gap between the development and operations teams, to enable closer cooperation and faster delivery of high-quality software.

Integration Streamlines Software Delivery

The shift in working practices has been made possible by integrating tool chains to enable automated workflows between them. For example, testing can be triggered automatically at key milestones in the development process and software can be released automatically on approval.

In both cases, integration eliminates any delay caused by human intervention. The potential for human error is reduced, improving quality. Integration also provides visibility of the whole development process in one place, so teams can quickly understand progress against the schedule, and where the next priorities are.

The SAP Tooling Challenge

Unfortunately, business-critical systems managed within SAP are often siloed from the other development projects across the organization. SAP has traditionally been something of a “black box”, with its own standards and working practices. Standard tools used for Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) processes, such as Jira, ServiceNow, and Jenkins, cannot connect to SAP.

The result is that important change cannot be managed and delivered uniformly across SAP and non-SAP applications.

This increases complexity, risk, and delay. Complexity arises because the tools used outside SAP only have a partial view of what’s going on inside the SAP development project. It’s possible for someone to update the tools manually, but it’s hard to have confidence that the data is timely and complete. Workarounds are needed to bridge between the tools used outside SAP and those used inside SAP development. Projects that span both SAP and non-SAP code are especially complex to manage.

Risk increases because manual updates introduce a high chance of errors and lost information. There’s also a gap in governance. Automation tools can be used to enforce testing outside SAP, for example, but not within SAP if the tool chain is not integrated. Change may be documented in spreadsheets or emails, making it much harder to find than it would be in a central repository.

Because SAP projects can’t work with the same automation tools used elsewhere, delay is inevitable. Manual intervention and the use of a separate tool chain bring about delay and can frustrate efforts to adopt agile and DevOps practices for SAP environments. Many business-critical and value-added business updates touch SAP, so the business can only move as fast as its SAP development will allow.

Enabling Integration with SAP

There is a better way. SAP tool chain integration is possible, thanks to ActiveControl, DevOps automation for SAP from Basis Technologies. It provides a platform for creating a automated end-to-end SAP development process that enables the delivery of better software.

ActiveControl gives you the means to integrate a wide range of popular tools into a highly automated SAP change control process. Popular choices for direct integration include Jira, ServiceNow and Jenkins, but ActiveControl’s API library provides access to a host of other options. For example, they can connect to middleware platforms like SAP PI and MuleSoft.

The result is a faster, more efficient way to deliver application change into SAP, along with the rest of your IT landscape.

Streamlining Projects Across the IT Landscape

Integrating tool chains does more than just allow critical or value-add changes to be made quickly, however. It also enables larger projects to be developed faster with higher quality and less risk – for example, migrating to S/4HANA.

A move to S/4HANA will always require current ECC systems to be maintained while new S/4HANA systems are built. But in ‘brownfield’ scenarios an additional step is required. ECC and S/4HANA are not the same, so code in the original systems on which the new landscape is based must be adapted to fit with the technical architecture of S/4. By integrating SAP environments with external tools such as smartRetrofit from smartShift Technologies, teams can automate this ECC to S/4HANA code remediation process. This removes significant bottlenecks as S/4HANA systems are built – and potentially run – alongside legacy environments.

A large consumer goods manufacturer used Basis Technologies’ ActiveControl to do just that. They wanted to run a phased migration project so the new S/4HANA systems could begin delivering business value as soon as possible.

ActiveControl’s out-of-the-box integration with smartRetrofit enabled them to streamline the process and remediate code on-demand when changes made in ECC needed to be adapted to S/4HANA.

Download the eBook

To find out more about what’s possible, download our new eBook “Streamlining Software Development with SAP Toolchain Integration”. It reveals how you can integrate SAP-specific tools with each other, and with the wider software delivery process. Discover how tool chain integration helps with use cases such as requirements management, SAP quality control, distributed development, documentation management, and testing.

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