What is the difference between documentary and operative SAP change management?

by Malte Klassen

From time to time I talk to IT managers who tell me that they already operate a change management software and make use of an SAP® transport manager. With the former, they are usually talking about a product that is distributed by the respective manufacturer as a service desk or help desk. The transport management software being used is sometimes a commercial product, but is more often than an individually scripted solution - and both options are technically not integrated into the upstream service desk or help desk software. SAP® transports are created manually with particular rules (usually ticket numbers or similar in the short text description or transport attributes), transport IDs and imported systems are entered manually in the ticket of the upstream help desk or service desk.
Sometimes it is thought about to connect the particular SAP® transport manager with an interface to the upstream help/service desk software. At first sight this can sound fascinating, but in the overall scheme such a procedure almost always goes wrong.
This approach lacks the entire operative change management layer. In contrast to the documentary change management depicted above, which is intended to support the requirements of revision calculations (which is sometimes successful). So, the role of operative change management is far more wide-reaching and important.
Operative change management controls SAP® system tracks across each developer’s/customizer’s individual tasks, gives release/change managers and testers transparent access to relevant information and allows for efficient approvals (e.g. functional/technical acceptance or even rejections) of the various roles on different levels of the object hierarchy. Furthermore, the information generated with each task is collected automatically (or dealt with promptly by hand) and adherence to development standards is guaranteed.

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