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Are you ready to move to more continuous SAP delivery?

I have been doing quite a lot of demos and workshops recently where potential customers keep asking me the exact same question:

I have been doing quite a lot of demos and workshops recently where potential customers keep asking me the exact same question:

“How frequently do your existing customers deliver SAP change to Production?”

It’s an interesting question, one that has also made me realize not only just how much things have changed in the 10 years or so that I have worked with SAP, but also how change release cycles have almost done a complete about face since when I started.

Looking back 5-10 years when I was doing various BAU C&RM roles for a large consulting SI – there was a clear strategy at almost all of the customers I worked with to move from weekly releases of SAP Change to less frequent monthly, and in some case even quarterly, releases.

The reasons at the time were fairly obvious. Delivering SAP Change on a weekly or even monthly basis simply did not really give adequate time for proper regression testing, and that combined with time-consuming manual human-error processes (which often introduced their own separate issues), often resulted in production instability which had a negative impact on business operations.

Moving to monthly or quarterly releases cycles enabled a far more rigid, structured process in which things were not so rushed.

On the downside, imagine trying to tell a business community that was used to getting their Change Requests on a weekly basis that they might now have to wait several months for their SAP change. I am glad that wasn’t my job!

And that’s the thing. The changes I am talking about were not even massive changes to SAP.

I am talking about relatively small SAP changes needed to keep the business ticking over – changes that typically involved no more than a few days actual development or functional effort.

Any larger complex business requirements were delivered as projects, often with a 1+ year time to market.

Speaking to some of our existing and newer customers here at Basis Technologies these last few weeks, I have discovered that almost all of them are now doing the exact opposite.

Instead of reducing the number of releases, they are now moving back to a cycle of much more frequent weekly releases of BAU fixes and small changes, and perhaps more significantly, breaking their project requirements down into chunks and delivering 3 or 4 times releases a year, rather than that historical big-bang approach where everything went live at the same time at the end of an extended 1 – 1.5 year project cycle.

Achieve Continuous SAP Delivery

The reasons for SAP customers wanting switch back to more regular releases are as blindingly obvious as the reasons for moving to less frequent releases a few years ago.

Nowadays, a lot of them are facing competition from other companies that have already moved to more continuous SAP delivery that is having a notable impact on the markets in which they operate work.

Even worse, some of them are now competing against disruptive new start competitors that aren’t blinkered by all those legacy ways of working and thinking, and that are radically changing the entire way their industry works, almost in the blink of an eye.

Nowadays there are tools and methodologies that can avoid many of yesteryears challenges in delivering SAP Change quickly.

I think it was Bob Dylan that sang about the times a-changin’.

Is your SAP-run business a-changin’ with them?

If you are interested in seeing some of the functionality that ActiveControl offers to help safely shorten your Build, Test and Release cycles, then you can watch this webinar that guides you through 4 ways you can achieve continuous delivery and speed up your build and release process.

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