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chris_drake
Explorer
After months of planning and project delivery, the first phase of the SAP S/4HANA migration is in sight, and the focus now shifts to what happens next. Business doesn’t stop because you are migrating to SAP S/4HANA.

Yet, a migration to the new environment is not a simple locate as-is. It’s a significant project that can compromise resources, time, budget, and business continuity. Automated change management is crucial to overcome the challenges.

In this blog, the final one of the series, “A seamless SAP S/4HANA journey – navigating the necessary changes”, you will learn:

  • Why adopt an automated tool for change management

  • How to select an appropriate tool for change management

  • Why automating SAP change is critical to keeping your dual SAP environments in sync

  • How an automated change management tool can smooth your SAP S/4HANA migration




Sailing to SAP S/4HANA success – automated change management steers the way 


 

Relying primarily on manual change management processes to facilitate the management of parallel SAP environments can result in accidental shutdowns and overblown project budgets. Automated change management provides the structure to manage SAP change across multiple SAP environments and systems.

Automated change management for your SAP S/4HANA migration


Whether you launch SAP S/4HANA in a phased approach or go for a big bang approach, the process will likely consist of migrating thousands of transports into a productive system. It's a daunting thought considering the time investment and risk when undertaking such a massive change.Automated change management mitigates these risks and significantly reduces the time and effort involved in the process.


Automated change management mitigates these risks and significantly reduces the time and effort involved in the process.

There are several things to consider when looking at an automated change management tool to accelerate and minimize the risk of your SAP S/4HANA migration, including:

  • Does it simplify the building of a release with easy-to-use functionality

  • Are safety checks and risk management functions built-in to manage individual changes and deploy releases

  • Can you pre-define enforced workflows to ensure the quality of transports ready for production


SAP S/4HANA migration: A phased approach


Go-lives don't always happen with a big bang approach. This is crucial to acknowledge when considering an SAP S/4HANA migration.


Legacy systems can be productively be used for months or even years before they are shut off. Dual maintenance of your ECC and your SAP S/4HANA systems must become a business-as-usual practice to avoid system downgrades or costly outages that impact business continuity.

Automation allows you to run your legacy and SAP S/4HANA systems in sync until the final cutover is complete. With the appropriate automated change management tool, support for dual maintenance is more efficient minimizing interruptions to business during a phased approach.

For example, a capability to set up a pre-defined workflow to clone all changes introduced into legacy systems and send them to the SAP S/4HANA team for consideration accelerates reapplication into the new environment. An automatic retrofit approach almost becomes an unconscious practice, allowing the two systems to work harmoniously until the final cutover is complete.

Organizations that adopt a phased approach to go-live must manage multiple releases and phases concurrently. Dependencies between phases can cause problems. What you don't want to happen is changes deployed in one phase which are dependent on changes in the following phase. Or unintended parallel development on common objects.

To maintain production system stability and avoid harming your business, you need a change management tool that:

  1. Incorporates release management capabilities so that SAP application owners can see and validate the entire contents of a release

  2. Makes developers aware of cross-phase dependencies

  3. Detects when users are impacting common objects and alerts team leads or application owners so they can manage the parallel development across multiple phases preventing accidental downgrading or out-of-sequence transports and migrations


Automated change management after the cutover to SAP S/4HANA


With the cutover a success, SAP S/4HANA is open for productive usage across your organization. Yet, it's not the time to take it easy. Most of the heavy lifting is done, but the project isn't over. Now the hyper care phase of the transition begins.

If there is one thing that is true in the SAP world, the only constant is change. You've got to optimize your system for current and future needs. As with any SAP systems, business changes and maintenance work still need managing when SAP S/4HANA is up and running. Plenty of SAP changes and platform enhancements will also be implemented after your SAP S/4HANA migration. You'll have to make these changes quickly and safely without interrupting project work or introducing new business functionality.

An enforceable, automated change management tool can significantly accelerate upgrades, business as usual (BAU) changes or deployment of new projects while maintaining production system stability. Automating your SAP change management processes eliminates risky manual practices and provides transparency into your workflow. Every change can be tracked and documented, enabling you to deploy higher quality updates and enhancements that don't threaten production.

Risk free transports

When users engage with SAP S/4HANA, bugs and feature gaps inevitably arise. It is crucial to deliver technical changes at the speed of business without sacrificing the safety of critical systems. At the same time, you'll need to incorporate safety measures into your workflow processes to prevent the introduction of new bugs.

Resolving issues requires an SAP change; automated change management is the process for simplifying the change process. A capable automated change and release management solution streamlines the process, migrating the change from request to production with minimal risk of costly downtime. An ability to pre-define workflows enforces an optimal change process and ensures that only safe, compatible changes make it to production.

Build a unified DevOps toolchain

If your change management workflow is like many organizations, many touch points involve numerous people and ABAP and non-ABAP technologies. With multiple team members working on the same object or transport, the potential for confusion or conflict is huge.

To overcome the challenge, integrate all technologies into a unified DevOps toolchain with one source of truth for all SAP technical changes. An innovative change management tool that can act as an orchestration engine delivers exceptional value post go-live.......

For example, built-in safety checks for object dependencies or out-of-sequence transports minimize the chance of change breaking in production by ensuring only the correct version of the object is applied. While an automated approval process that sends all changes to the appropriate people or teams for approval guarantees verified, risk-free transports ready for deployment into production.

This is a win-win for organizations. The time for transports to migrate to production is substantially reduced, allowing you to divert resources and funds to support innovation for a competitive advantage and not just maintain your SAP S/4HANA system.

Bottom Line: Automation drives your SAP S/4HANA migration


An automated change management solution streamlines your migration to SAP S/4HANA and keeps your systems operational post go-live. BAU changes and projects are deployed faster and safer, allowing you to maintain your new environment with minimal risk of downtime.

An SAP S/4HANA migration doesn't have to be complicated. Automating your SAP change processes with an appropriate change management tool can help lower the risk and accelerate your migration to SAP S/4HANA.

To navigate a successful digital and business transformation to SAP S/4HANA, check out the other blogs in this 5-part series: