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Automation as a Driver of Innovation: With DevOps into the SAP Future

2025 - the deadline for S/4 Hana migrations hangs over CIOs like a sword of Damocles. And how can they cope with the complexity? The answer: automation. The right strategy reduces costs and promotes innovation.
Achim Töper, Basis Technologies
December 5, 2019
DevOps column
This text has been automatically translated from German to English.

When it comes to digitization efforts in their companies, CIOs are more skeptical than they were a year ago. Although, according to the DSAG Investment Report 2019, a large number of respondents are planning to convert their Business Suite to S/4 Hana, in practice this step is not proceeding as quickly as expected - completed projects are not yet to be found in large numbers.

But why is that? Why are so many companies hesitant? It's not as if SAP customers don't recognize the benefits - lean end-to-end processes, faster innovation.

On the contrary: according to a survey of DSAG members, five percent would like to tackle the S/4 Hana migration this year, just under 40 percent in the next three years, and another 30 percent after that.

All other companies have not yet made a decision. According to that survey, the rate of realized projects is stagnating at only three percent, which could be due to implementation projects that have begun taking longer than originally planned, companies having misjudged the effort involved, or opting for brownfield implementations that require a longer changeover period due to their complexity.

In fact, current studies show that brownfield migration is more widespread than "greenfield" implementation. The latter is recommended by SAP; in the future, the release frequency is to be significantly increased for S/4 Hana as an "innovation system".

Regardless of which migration path companies choose: In the event that they need to run ECC and S/4 Hana in parallel, dual maintenance support is necessary.

In order to cope with the increasing complexity, especially in the case of a two-track migration, as well as ever shorter innovation cycles, companies must first build up know-how, according to DSAG technology board member Steffen Pietsch.

You need to be able to quickly implement changes to existing systems and processes, as well as automate change deployment across the board.

This in turn makes security checks and dependency checks at configuration and code level as well as extensive monitoring essential. A need that is already reflected in practice today.

This was one of the central wishes of SAP users at the DSAG Technology Days in the spring: more automation and integration.

Automation in change and release management not only makes it possible to increase quality, it also speeds up deployment processes and eliminates many technical problems before the actual quality assurance stage - which threatens to become a bottleneck due to the complexity of SAP environments with their countless dependencies.

This calls for complementary measures such as support by automated regression tests, which cover practically the entire productive environment and therefore deliver realistic results.

In addition, wherever possible, it is recommended to automate progressive testing of new code to ensure that potential bugs can be identified and fixed at the earliest possible stage.

The more complex an SAP landscape, the more difficult it is to adequately address this complexity. In order to achieve the fastest possible software delivery and to ensure "stable conditions" in the environments, automation and complete integration of transport and content as well as functional tests are keys to efficiency.

Consistent use of Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery (CD) during development and delivery allows changes to be continuously integrated into new software versions.

Ideally, the frequency of innovation in the S/4 Hana context then turns out to be problem-free - and this even in the brownfield approach.

Achim Töper, Basis Technologies

Achim Töper has in-depth knowledge of SAP and DevOps, which enables him to present innovative solutions and demonstrate total solutions for existing customer scenarios in his work at Basis Technologies.With an in-depth knowledge of SAP and DevOps, Achim Toeper presents innovative solutions and successfully develops overall solutions for existing customer scenarios at Basis Technologies.

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Working on the SAP basis is crucial for successful S/4 conversion. 

This gives the Competence Center strategic importance for existing SAP customers. Regardless of the S/4 Hana operating model, topics such as Automation, Monitoring, Security, Application Lifecycle Management and Data Management the basis for S/4 operations.

For the second time, E3 magazine is organizing a summit for the SAP community in Salzburg to provide comprehensive information on all aspects of S/4 Hana groundwork. All information about the event can be found here:

SAP Competence Center Summit 2024


Event Room, FourSide Hotel Salzburg,
At the exhibition center 2,
A-5020 Salzburg

Event date

June 5 and 6, 2024

Regular ticket:

€ 590 excl. VAT


Event Room, Hotel Hilton Heidelberg,
Kurfürstenanlage 1,
69115 Heidelberg

Event date

28 and 29 February 2024


Regular ticket
EUR 590 excl. VAT
The organizer is the E3 magazine of the publishing house AG. The presentations will be accompanied by an exhibition of selected SAP partners. The ticket price includes the attendance of all lectures of the Steampunk and BTP Summit 2024, the visit of the exhibition area, the participation in the evening event as well as the catering during the official program. The lecture program and the list of exhibitors and sponsors (SAP partners) will be published on this website in due time.