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Jose Cabrita10:52 AM on May 15, 20244 min read

Change Management in Cloud ALM - Different, but better?

Welcome back to another Cloud ALM blog! In this post, we’ll delve into how SAP Cloud ALM not only accelerates the delivery process but also ensures the reliability of orchestrating upgrades and changes through structured release plans, enhancing agility and efficiency across operations.

The Change Control Management solution in SAP Cloud ALM provides a structured approach to managing and controlling changes across your SAP landscapes; suitable for both cloud and hybrid environments. This is an integral part of the Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) tailored for managing the complexities and dynamics of modern SAP solutions, including SAP S/4HANA Cloud, SAP SuccessFactors and more.

This functionality in SAP Cloud ALM has been designed to accelerate the delivery process by orchestrating transport mechanisms in the SAP Environment (in simple terms - this allows for the management of both SAP ABAP and non-ABAP transports/changes!). It also brings reliability when orchestrating upgrades and changes based on releases, where the deployment follows a structured plan to ensure these changes are implemented across the landscapes in an agile way to improve the way how organisation run their businesses.

Enabling a Change and Deployment tool in your project increases the transparency via built-in traceability, allowing you to keep track of the deployment of changes through the landscape. Currently, from a Feature transaction (see below) you can have visibility of a 3-Tier landscape (Development, Quality Assurance and Production), however, SAP is planning to deploy a 4-Tier Landscape visibility in the future from this transaction.

Document and manage change that will be deployed to Production

A Feature in SAP Cloud ALM is an entity to document changes in your project, and it can be used as a vehicle to deploy functionality throughout your SAP landscape, orchestrating different transport containers for various software components (think of it like a lorry transporting different types of goods). This enables traceability, where you can get a history of changes made on this transaction. 

The workflow of a Feature

The workflow is key to managing the change lifecycle as it helps standardise change processes in any organisation, which ensures that all changes, regardless of their nature or scope are handled systematically (like it has been defined in the past with ChaRM in SAP Solution Manager). Therefore, the workflow provides a structure that reduces errors and improves the efficiency of the whole change process.

Now, when it comes to the workflow of a feature, this is currently fixed, focusing in multiple values, such as: 

  • In Specification: Describe what the change is all about.
  • Not Planned: Indicates that the feature has been postponed.
  • In Implementation: The build process starts and you can create or assign transports at this stage.
  • In Testing: Indicates that the change is ready for testing in the QAS System.
  • Ready for Production: This signifies that the testing has been completed and the change is ready for production deployment.
  • Deployed: Confirms that the changes have been deployed in Production.

Change Control Management - Workflow of a Feature

Despite having a fix workflow for this transaction, the design is flexible and allows users to go back to an 'In Implementation' stage in case changes need to be added, so every change can be covered in a single Feature, which removes any dependency. Something useful to mention is that SAP is also planning to include integration with the Workflow Management, where users can include sub-workflows that allow organisations to customise this status roadmap.

Roles

For the Change and Deployment management function, there are two new roles that can help to add more control to this process:

  • Change Manager: Approves Features for Production deployment.
  • Deployment Manager: Deploys transports into Test and Production systems. This role comes with two templates, which can help separate the deployment of Transport Requests between Test and Production systems if required.

Deployment Integration

With SAP Cloud ALM, there is now integration with the SAP Transport Management System, which can help facilitate the deployment of changes across the whole landscape. This integration includes: 

  • Change and Transport System (CTS): this function is being designed to cover S/4HANA On-Premise and S/4HANA Cloud Private Edition (there are certain requirements for the ST-PI and ST-A/PI components from the managed systems to cover this functionality). 
  • Cloud Transport Management System (CTMS): This covers Public Cloud components focusing mainly about SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP), however, SAP is planning to cover other products in the future that can onboard additional products such as SuccessFactors, Ariba and so on.
  • Adaptation Transport Organiser (ATO): This is used for S/4HANA Public edition, however, this feature covers traceability and the Quality Approval process for now.

Change Control Management - Deployment Integration-1

These new updates released for the Change Control Management are designed to support the integration and deployment for cloud and hybrid environments, which provides visibility and governance rather than having to manage the transports themselves. Therefore, using SAP Cloud ALM to deploy the project implementation in your SAP systems will ensure alignment with broader ALM process and objectives - and of course, provide you with an auditable and much needed, centralised control platform. 

Please checkout our Cloud ALM Readiness Check for a full evaluation of how ready for Cloud ALM you really are.

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