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Introducing ActiveControl 8.50: More efficient, automated SAP software delivery pipelines

New application release orchestration features provide more ways to maintain, adapt and modernize SAP systems.

Sometimes the real power of software exists in the sheer volume of accumulated capability on offer – from big ticket items to really specific features – and the myriad ways it can be put together to address different needs and preferences.

ActiveControl, Basis Technologies’ DevOps automation software, has existed for more than 20 years in one form or another, so there’s certainly a huge amount it can do. But we know there’s still more we can add to help SAP teams deliver change, innovation and business value faster and more effectively, so we’re always listening to feedback from ActiveControl users and striving to respond.

Which is why we’re pleased to announce General Availability of the latest evolution of the product, ActiveControl 8.50.

Version 8.50 introduces a range of features – many based on direct user feedback – that enable users to create more customized SAP change and release workflows and more efficient, automated SAP software delivery pipelines.

Key highlights of the release include:

  • New and enhanced analyzers to support risk reduction and ‘shift left’
  • Updates to the powerful Rules Engine, and enhanced approval automation, for more speed and productivity
  • Business Task relationships and dynamic custom dropdowns for more precise requirements management
  • New tool chain integration options, including connection to external document management systems
  • New Web UI capabilities for an improved user experience

New and enhanced analyzers

ActiveControl’s analyzers are one of the fundamental building blocks of safe, automated delivery of SAP change, whether you’re operating an automated DevOps pipeline, a high-frequency agile approach, or simply trying to eliminate technical errors from your existing deployment process. Which is why they’re used by just about every ActiveControl customer.

In response to feedback from those users, we’ve added a new ‘SAP level’ analyzer to version 8.50 to help identify common issues like corrupted data/cofiles and deleted transports, and instances where transports contain many objects that are likely to impact deployment time. There are now more than 70 analyzers available as part of ActiveControl.

We’ve also updated the capability of some existing analyzers, notably the popular Deep Impact Analysis tool, which now provides even more detailed dependency analysis than ever.

Enhanced approvals

Approvals can be a major change and release bottleneck and tend to be highly business-specific, so ActiveControl 8.50 provides the means to automate even more of the process.

A significant update to ActiveControl’s powerful Rules Engine allows testers to be automatically populated when a Business Task (ActiveControl’s representation of a requirement) is created, avoiding manual effort – potentially significant across high transport volumes – and supporting compliance by ensuring that the correct tester is assigned at every control point. A new Rules Engine Approvals Report provides a transparent, auditable view of all approvers configured in ActiveControl.

Manual effort has also been removed from ActiveControl’s automatic approvals capability (commonly used when deploying from Dev to QA systems, for example), which can now be attempted any number of times should the results of automated analysis cause approvals to fail. This additional level of automation also opens up new possibilities for workflows where approvals are triggered by external tools.

Automated import schedules can now be set up at 1-minute intervals to accelerate CI/CD pipelines and minimize the delay before testing can begin.

Requirements management

Speaking of customized workflows, ActiveControl 8.50 contains a couple of important updates in the area of requirements management.

For the first time, dependencies can be defined between two or more Business Tasks – ie. at the requirement, rather than transport, level. That means you can ensure connected functional changes (e.g. multiple agile User Stories related to the same Epic) are always deployed together at the correct time, even when there’s no technical relationship between them.

New dynamic drop-downs make custom fields much easier to manage and reduce potential for error by using data from another field to limit the list of options available; in doing so they also provide a way to support different agile workflows more effectively by enabling creation of custom change hierarchies (e.g. Release -> Sprint -> User Story -> Transports).

Tool chain integration

Tool chain integration – whether you’re connecting SAP development to an ITSM tool or building a cross-application CI/CD pipeline – continues to grow in importance among Basis Technologies’ customers, so we’ve added more capability in version 8.50.

It’s now possible to integrate ActiveControl with external document management tools like Opentext or Sharepoint, allowing all change-related documentation to be stored in a single, standardized repository. (On a related document-management note, we’ve also created a file size limit option for users that do store their documents within ActiveControl.

In addition, ActiveControl’s out-of-the-box integrations with both ServiceNow – currently the most widely adopted option – and SAP ChaRM have also both been optimized in response to customer feedback, to offer more seamless bi-directional capabilities that further reduce the need for users to manually update information across two (or more) tools.

User interface enhancements

There’s no doubt ActiveControl’s browser-based Web UI is the most popular option for most users today, who appreciate its easier to use, more approachable interface and the way it’s use accelerates the ActiveControl upgrade process.

That’s why we’re constantly improving what’s on offer, with more features being introduced in every new ActiveControl release. 8.50 is no exception, featuring updates such as a new Import Dashboard, import ETAs and the ability to filter screens to more easily locate the SAP change that you need to work on.

There’s no need to wait

If you’re already an ActiveControl user, upgrading to version 8.50 will often be possible in just a few days (though for large SAP estates it may take a bit longer). Even new installations can be implemented in as little as one week, so there’s no reason to delay.

ActiveControl 8.50 is available now. If you’d like to find out more about what it can offer, our team of experts are ready to take you through a free demo.

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