It’s cold outside. Freezing in fact.
This morning, I sat shivering in my car after scraping the ice from the windows.
As I drove to the office, peering through the frost I’d cleared, my mind wandered on to the subject of change freeze windows.
It’s around this time of year that many businesses running SAP decide to lock down their systems to protect critical business processes and ensure stability. This seasonal period is feared by many IT operations managers. There’s a crazy rush to perform any last minute changes before a lockout period of 4-6 weeks where the ability to fix problems is limited by reduced IT support coverage over the holiday season – even though the demand on systems is much higher.
‘Tis the season to spend, spend, spend.
Take a retailer running SAP for example, the Christmas change freeze window has a double significance in their ‘peak’ period. Couple an avalanche of last-minute Christmas shopping and January sales with an inability to quickly fix system problems. One bad SAP change could be catastrophic to the business – at the most critical time of year. Putting a freeze on your SAP changes is a way of managing risk, by making fewer – or no – changes unless absolutely necessary.
But what if you really do need to make a change to your SAP system during a change freeze window?
What if there were a way to temporarily ‘defrost’ your change freeze – safely make changes – and then reinstate the freeze afterwards.
There are a few presents under the ActiveControl Christmas tree that really help with this challenge.
Integrated Analysis Checks – ActiveControl automatically interrogates the content of SAP Transports and identifies high-risk objects, object dependencies
These checks ensure that all changes are comprehensively reviewed before they are deployed meaning that the risk and impact to SAP systems is significantly reduced.
Workflow Approval – ActiveControl enables e-mail approval of SAP changes and automated deployment. Once a change is approved into a system, the imports can be automatically processed. This removes the need to manually email the Basis team to process imports and significantly reduces the scope for errors as they are automatically sequenced. The status is also automatically emailed to the change owners, giving them immediate awareness.
This all means that your CEO doesn’t need to leave his Christmas dinner and your Basis team doesn’t need to rush home from the pub – the release can be fully automated.
Back Out – The biggest present of them all! Despite best efforts to correctly manage changes into SAP systems, there is always the risk that a transport might be accidentally, or wrongly imported, often resulting in system downtime or expensive and time-consuming rework.
ActiveControl enables you to Back Out changes from your production system in one step – meaning that if that one change does take down your production system – it can be re-instated in seconds rather than hours or even days. At this time of year when resources are limited, this added insurance policy provides a critical safety net for your operational SAP systems.
If you would like to find out more about the technical details behind these features, why not grab yourself a mince pie, thaw out by the fire, and watch our online videos – then contact us in the New Year to find out how you could make next year’s change freeze a little less frosty.