How Dunelm reduced major production issues through automation with Basis Technologies
Embracing change with confidence
Dunelm is the #1 homewares retailer in the UK offering over 30,000 product lines both online and across more than 170 physical stores. Their SAP landscape consists of both cloud-hosted and on-premise R/3 systems with ECC, EWM, and BW modules. Each module has five development systems comprised of sandbox, development, QA, pre-production, and production with multi-track development for many projects. As the company grew, it became increasingly difficult to manage this complex landscape, especially with numerous external resources.
Powering innovation with Basis Technologies
Dunelm has employed SAP software for more than 12 years but during that time their systems had become difficult to maintain due to a high level of customization, a historical reliance on external development resources and an overall lack of governance and control.
The challenge was compounded by a complex multi-track development environment in which a number of different teams work independently on concurrent projects.
As a result, the business was frequently disrupted by major production incidents, delivery of innovation was delayed and Dunelm’s SAP team was under increasing pressure to better support the company’s growth by delivering SAP projects to the business more quickly and safely.
Dunelm’s SAP systems were perceived internally as limiting competitiveness due to frequent incidents in production systems and an inability to quickly deliver innovation to the business.
In order to address these issues, Dunelm’s SAP team had to contend with a highly customized landscape, complex multi-track development, multiple external development teams and a historical lack of governance.
A redesign of their SAP change and release process, including the introduction of automation for the first time, was seen as key part of the response to this challenge.
ActiveControl from Basis Technologies was the chosen automation solution, to support an SAP transformation project and future change management processes.
ActiveControl has delivered a “vast” improvement in the governance of SAP change processes, along with a corresponding increase in development quality and a more agile, flexible delivery of innovation that can support Dunelm’s continued growth.
ActiveControl’s powerful automation features have enabled Dunelm to significantly improve the quality of their SAP development, contributing to a dramatic reduction in major production incidents in just a few months.
Its advanced analyzers can automatically enforce more than sixty risk, quality and impact checks, ensuring that changes cannot be moved out of a system (whether dev, QA or pre-prod) until they’re truly ready.
In addition, ActiveControl automatically manages both object dependencies and deployment sequencing. This has enabled Dunelm to further increase quality and accelerate change in their ECC landscape by eliminating the use of spreadsheets — a slow and error-prone way of working — from the SAP release management process.
Changes can now progress automatically through Dunelm’s ECC landscape but will do so only when they should, with everything they need to work correctly.
ActiveControl’s approval system also supports the new governance policies that have been put in place at Dunelm to decrease risk to SAP production systems. Users of the tool can be assigned different functional permissions to ensure that only those with an appropriate level of authority can approve a change, a decision typically based on the output of ActiveControl’s automated analyzers
ActiveControl provides a platform that will support Dunelm as they adopt new approaches like DevOps within their SAP environment, offering numerous out-of-the-box integrations with tools like JIRA, ServiceNow, GitLab and Azure DevOps. It gives them the means to ensure that SAP becomes increasingly closely integrated with other IT functions as teams move to a more cross-functional model.