22 February 2018 / Blog
SAP Process Optimization: Transforming the Application Change Process
By: Tejal Munagekar
Digital business transformation is becoming a ‘must-have’. By optimizing processes and leveraging SAP application functionality, businesses can achieve digital transformation goals while freeing up resources to focus on furthering innovation across the enterprise.
Digital transformation doesn't need to be a major overhaul - it can be incremental while providing immediate value to the business. Wherever your SAP application resides today, there are process optimization projects that will provide immediate value to the business - enabling teams to focus on the larger digital business transformation strategy. One such ‘quick fix’ is transforming the application change process.
Transforming the SAP Application Change Process
Tracking and staying current on program code changes related to ABAP programs can be challenging for most enterprises with complex SAP application deployments. In most cases, due to time constraints or limited resources - details on each modification or customization may not have been documented in adequate detail. More importantly, this program change documentation is most likely stored using third party software like Rev-Trac or ChaRM. Prior to initiating any changes in application functionality, development teams are required to:
- Analyze existing code
- Identify interdependencies
- Define the impact analysis
- Recommend a feasible solution to business analysts
This process involves increased resource requirements, higher potential for errors due to time constraints and longer lead times for critical changes to be released for the business.
THE VELOCITY APPROACH TO SAP APPLICATION CHANGE PROCESSES
There is a way to transform the way application change documentation is built and maintained with minimal overhead requirements, resource constraints, and time constraints.
At Velocity, our SAP experts use an approach that deploys ITIL-based change document templates within the ABAP programs that are being modified. This streamlines the process of documenting changes during the code modification, and, with automated template adoption, all historical code changes are traceable. One of our customers, Century Furniture, now uses this digitized approach to support their commitment to service excellence.
CUSTOMER SUCCESS STORY: CENTURY FURNITURE
Century Furniture, one of the world’s largest privately-owned manufacturers of high-end residential furniture, runs SAP to link company functions – from the purchase of raw materials, through the order and acknowledgment process, to scheduling, production, inventory management, and finally the invoicing and tracking of receivables. SAP provides rapid, comprehensive, up-to-the-minute information for management analysis and action, plus customer visibility of product availability and order tracking. Century was interested in optimizing their SAP application development process to increase the speed of new functionality required to meet evolving market conditions.
Previously, Century Furniture saved change documentation in shared folders or within incident management tools. To change this, Velocity led a digital transformation process with Century Furniture’s SAP development teams to design and implement ITIL-based document templates as an integrated part of their ABAP attachment process. Velocity assisted Century with building a knowledge repository by attaching these documents directly to ABAP programs with documentation links.
Implementing program specifications and change documentation enabled Century’s business analysts and developers to easily access relevant, valid information at the program level, thus reducing search efforts.
This refined, streamlined, process provides Century Furniture teams with document templates that include functional mapping of table fields and reference libraries to speed up development. Digitized templates have improved new functionality development, maintained change controls with version management, and have ‘always current’ documentation to help support Century’s team deliver continuous service excellence.
THE BENEFITS OF AUTOMATING YOUR APPLICATION CHANGE PROCESS
Flexibility: A key benefit of automating application change processes is that all objects created for digitized templates are transportable yet housed within the central development system. This prevents templates from being moved to other systems in the landscape and benefits business analysts and developers. Additionally, this process ensures that attached technical specifications cannot be moved to production, therefore restricting access for business users.
Accessibility: As critical changes are required in the future, automated processes enable SAP development teams to have immediate access to digitized information on interdependencies, impact etc.
Affordability: In addition, enterprises can also benefit from cost savings by eliminating the purchase of third party tools or applications used for tracking change documentation.
What is on your digital transformation agenda for 2018? Whether incremental digitization projects or a cloud migration, the time is now.
Contact an SAP expert to kick-start your Digital Transformation today.