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Introducing ActiveControl 8.2: Powering DevOps for SAP and S/4HANA transition

The newest version of our DevOps automation software provides more SAP automation features than ever.

“Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose”, goes the old saying. Or roughly translated, “the more things change, the more things stay the same.”

The world of SAP is definitely changing – pressure from the business is transforming what’s expected of many IT teams, and technology just keeps on pushing forward – but in this brave new world there are still plenty of age-old questions that have to be dealt with. How can we keep our SAP systems up-to-date? How can we deliver change more quickly without risk? How can we spend less on SAP? How can we manage external partners more effectively? And so on, and so on.

This balancing act is why dialogue with our customers is so important to us here at Basis Technologies. As we plan the development of our regular product updates we always try to consider the whole picture, asking ourselves how we can add features that not only support all the ‘shiny new stuff’, but also what would improve the day-to-day user experience.

We’ve recently reached the latest stage of this journey with the release of ActiveControl 8.2, the new version of our pioneering SAP DevOps automation software, so in this blog I’m going to run through some of the key features and why they’re included.

Let’s start with a summary. Highlights of ActiveControl 8.2 include:

  • A new level of automated impact analysis, powered by a significant upgrade to the Test Impact Radar analyzer;
  • More support for ‘dual maintenance’ during S/4HANA transition thanks to integration with smartRetrofit from smartShift Technologies;
  • Deeper integration with Eclipse ABAP Development Tools, for cloud-based application development;
  • More enhancements to the popular Web UI, including the ability to track development performance via Microsoft PowerBI dashboards;
  • Extensions to some of our most popular automated analyzers.
  • A variety of updates based on user feedback that make ActiveControl easier to use and more versatile than ever.

Let’s take a closer look at some of these updates.

Enhanced Impact Analysis

‘Don’t break production’ is a core mantra for most of our customers. ‘We don’t have enough time to do everything’ is another common complaint. ActiveControl’s Test Impact Radar – part of a suite of over sixty automated analyzers – has been helping teams to keep production systems safe and work more efficiently for years, and now we’ve made it even more powerful.

Test Impact Radar uses existing test scripts and to identify transactions, programs, test scripts and business processes that might be impacted by a change, so that testing can be planned and executed more efficiently.

In ActiveControl 8.2, Test Impact Radar also supports the analysis of customizing changes, enabling a complete view of all functions impacted by a release, and reports against Production Usage Statistics, so that you can judge the severity of every impact and prioritize accordingly. Importantly, a new Test Script Gap Analysis function allows Test Impact Radar to highlight objects that may be impacted by a change but are not included in existing test scripts.

This powerful new capability makes testing more efficient, more effective and less expensive. That means value-adding change can be delivered to the business faster, with less risk. In some situations, the new power of Test Impact Radar will even eliminate the need for standalone impact analysis tools, reducing complexity and saving money.

smartShift Integration for S/4HANA transition

Regardless of how you approach the transition to S/4HANA, there is likely to be a prolonged period when you need to maintain concurrent ECC and S/4HANA landscapes that support the same business functions. The challenge of keeping them in synch is known as ‘dual maintenance’ because relevant changes must be maintained twice.

ActiveControl’s sophisticated dual maintenance features already support selective, automated merge and deployment of transports across ECC and S/4 systems, allow bespoke approval workflows via a powerful Rules Engine, and provide the means to identify code that must be updated to work successfully on S/4. Now, with the introduction of a new integration with smartRetrofit from smartShift Technologies, the process of code remediation can also be automated.

The ActiveControl merge process fully integrates with smartRetrofit to ensure that all code objects (new or existing, requiring remediation or not) are correctly identified, processed and updated in the target S/4 system.

With the means to implement a automated code remediation process alongside selective cross-landscape merges and coordinated deployments, ActiveControl 8.2 supports a faster, more efficient dual maintenance process that reduces the cost of S/4HANA transition, minimizes risk, and means that you can be in a position to reap the benefits of S/4HANA faster than would otherwise be possible.

Supporting Cloud-based Development

An increasing amount of cloud-based development is occurring, particularly via the SAP Cloud Platform and for Fiori apps. Now that developers can code in ABAP in the cloud using ABAP Development Tools and the Eclipse IDE, it’s important that a single, consistent deployment pipeline can be used to deliver all changes from different sources to production.

ActiveControl 8.2 improves the integration with Eclipse ABAP Development Tools via an enhanced plugin. This supports cloud-based development by allowing ABAP development carried out in Eclipse to be automatically registered into ActiveControl, and provides integrated conflict and risk analysis for full control and visibility.

Enhanced Usability and Powerful Metrics

ActiveControl’s Web UI provides users with a more user-friendly and accessible interface, than the SAP GUI and Windows client versions. As such, we’ve continually extended the capabilities of the Web UI in recent ActiveControl releases to increase customer convenience and enable easier adoption of the product. Version 8.2 is no exception.

ActiveControl 8.2 features a variety of Web UI enhancements – including the ability to create Transports of Copies and more powerful filtering of transport lists – that support faster, easier approvals, greater collaboration and more streamlined dev/test rework cycle.

The enhanced Web UI offers more support for Continuous Improvement of your development and delivery processes – an important part of DevOps. Data on more than thirty-five key metrics can now be presented in the Web UI via easy-to-understand Microsoft PowerBI dashboards, providing a consistent central view that can be used as a basis for performance benchmarking.

(Given the content of this post, it’s also worth noting that the Web UI makes it much easier to adopt new versions of ActiveControl, since new client applications don’t have to be installed locally on every user’s computer.)

Enhanced DevOps analyzers

ActiveControl’s suite of automated analyzers is one of the product’s defining features. It delivers huge benefits to many customers, and continues to grow in value as DevOps and the associated concept of ‘shift left’ become more widespread.

But as with every feature, there’s always room for improvement, which is why we’ve listened to our users and enhanced a number of analyzers in ActiveControl 8.2, including Conflict Analysis, CTS+ Conflict Analysis and Custom Field checks.

These updates enable even more efficient, repeatable automated workflows, further reduce manual effort and associated errors, and reduce the risk of issues and downtime.

And there’s more

In addition to these key updates, ActiveControl 8.2 provides a variety of other improvements including an enhanced ‘Transport & Task Activity / Audit’ report, a new Backout event, a new way to mass-update Custom Fields, and SAPGUI 7.60 Support.

Last but not least, finding time to safely install the new version won’t be a problem. The ease and simplicity of ActiveControl’s installation process mean that the upgrade can typically be completed in just a few days.

ActiveControl 8.2 is available now. If you’d like to find out more about what it can offer, request a free demo.

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