How can SAP customers benefit from DevOps? Operation of SAP systems and subsequent development processes are more on the conservative side. Downtimes of SAP systems can have catastrophic consequences. Stability and well-defined processes are crucial, and experiments are rare.
Nevertheless, DevOps is gaining importance in the SAP community. User groups are reacting to the demand of customers for training and education, and numerous tool providers and consultants are more than happy to bring DevOps into the SAP mix.
As is often the case, successful implementations of DevOps consist of various components: changing corporate culture, revamping the organization, providing training and education as well as establishing sustainable processes and strategies. All of this has to be adjusted to fit with SAP landscapes.
The SAP realm itself is quickly changing, too. Relying on strategies that worked in the traditional and well-known Abap world could be fatal for companies. There’s no guarantee that they will work in the new world of Abap, Java, customizations, Fiori components and the SAP Cloud Platform (SCP), after all.
DevOps needs a proper concept
Leveraging DevOps therefore needs a proper concept. For example, teams have to be interdisciplinary, as combining different experiences and know-how yields greater results.
For DevOps to work, developer knowledge has to be combined with the input of departments, user experience design, front-end expertise and enterprise information management know-how. Of course, companies also need experts for new technologies, like IoT, edge computing and SaaS.
Highly automated end-to-end testing of business core processes is essential. Clearly communicated goals and tasks ensure that there are no nasty side effects and testing remains manageable.
However, just because goals should be clearly communicated doesn’t mean that teams have to be trapped in monotone processes. High levels of freedom mean reduced efforts and increased agility if agile infrastructure, like IaaS or containers, is provided.
This concept allows developers to listen to feedback and incorporate suggestions into the development lifecycle. Small improvements can be made almost instantly after receiving customer feedback. Especially the frontend and the user experience profit from this agile concept. Companies consequently experience competitive advantages because they are able to adapt to a changing market with minimal resources.
Agility badly needed for S/4 migrations
DevOps’ agility also comes in handy when migrating from ERP/ECC 6.0 to S/4 Hana. For example, possibilities to optimize the frontend increase drastically, meeting the high demands of users.
Sometimes, changes have to be implemented into both the existing ECC system and the S/4 landscape. To avoid unmanageable efforts, the concept of DevOps is essential. Under these circumstances, additions and improvements can be quickly implemented into existing processes.
Consequently, developers continuously optimize and improve S/4, realizing competitive advantages even faster. This means that migration investments do not only pay off in the long run, but also short-term and mid-term goals can be achieved. This reduces the initial obstacles many companies face when deciding on S/4 Hana.