Revelation Software Concepts: Changing Most Complex SAP Environments

Revelation Software Concepts (RSC) focuses on delivering its certified SAP change and release management automation software and post-implementation consulting services so that customers may benefit from tailored configurations suited to their SAP environment and development methodologies. Unlike other change control automation vendors, RSC looks after SAP installations only. This single-environment approach has enabled RSC to become the dominant supplier of third-party change control solutions in the SAP arena. Rev-Trac installations can be found on every continent, and Rev-Trac users can be found in almost every corner of the globe.

The expert team at RSC is led by David Drake. In 1997, David formed RSC as a privately funded company. His express purpose was to develop and support RSC’s flagship product, Rev-Trac® SAP change and release management automation software. Now, in version 7.0, Rev-Trac has consistently reflected David’s original vision of a highly automated and integrated solution that simplifies SAP change control for customers globally.

Rev-Trac is an out-of-the-box, certified change and release management automation software for SAP installations of any size

David remains well-versed in all areas of SAP, S/4 HANA, and the ABAP Programming language as well as a variety of programming languages on multiple operating systems.

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Rev-Trac
Rev-Trac SAP change and release management automation software automates change control and accelerates IT’s ability to meet business-requested changes so companies can be nimble and leverage competitive opportunities quickly. Rev-Trac’s unique ability to track cross-system and intra-system development highlights parallel development and potential production system conflict issues in a format that makes continuous delivery and a multiple team agile development approach possible within an SAP development environment. Rev-Trac’s approach to SAP change process enforcement and conflict management through its Overtake and Overwrite Protection System (OOPS) capabilities dramatically reduces the risk of downtime due to improperly migrated changes.

Managing change control in SAP is complex and a significant challenge for many organizations. On average, a medium-sized SAP customer is likely to have more than 4,000 changes per year to their solutions. Customers often have multiple SAP production environments (e.g. SAP ERP, SAP BI, SAP CRM, SAP APO, etc.). Each of these is likely to have its own development, test, and quality assurance systems creating a complex web of changes that, without proper change control, is prone to error.

Rev-Trac provides an automated change request management and deployment framework to facilitate the management of SAP and non-SAP changes across both project and support production landscapes, including those based on SAP S/4 HANA. A single management console allows change teams to track and assess the impact of changes across the SAP landscape, thereby reducing risk in the development process.

Rev-Trac enforces new change to a Rev-Trac Request, allowing the object(s) being developed or changed to be locked to that request (preventing or facilitating careful management of parallel development), enforcing documentation references and attachments (compliance/governance) throughout the request lifecycle, and providing an auditable workflow for approving the automatic deployment of the change (SAP Transport) into specific downstream systems associated with the source of the change. All of this is configurable to meet specific project and/or change control process requirements.

Rev-Trac manages changes in some of the most complex SAP environments with around 150 installations monitoring some 4,857 systems globally. Rev-Trac integrates with most key third-party SAP ALM solutions found in large enterprise environments.
Rev-Trac is Certified for Integration with SAP NetWeaver on SAP HANA and has also achieved Certification by ServiceNow for its integration app.

What makes Rev-Trac unique?
Unlike other third-party software vendors in the change control automation software space, RSC is 100% focused on Simplifying SAP Change Control.

Rev-Trac is an out-of-the-box, certified change and release management automation software for SAP installations of any size, but it is particularly well-suited for those with the highest level of complexity, including those of N and N+1 configurations. From a technical standpoint, in addition to its well-established process enforcement approach and Overtake and Overwrite Protection System (OOPS) that detects and blocks collisions before they occur, what sets Rev-Trac apart is its open integration approach, advanced release management features and flexible configuration. Just as important, Rev-Trac is easy to use and can be up and in productive use within weeks – even in the largest of global companies.
Benefits to the Clients
The cost of managing enterprise level software change to any large organization is massive, and this is especially true for organizations running SAP. It’s not just the development or configuration of the change that is costly; it’s the overhead cost to manage that change, and the cost to the business if something goes wrong i.e. the change breaks something and production goes down.

Rev-Trac customers repeatedly cite the significant reduction in costs post Rev-Trac implementation through increased control and automation. Often this is achieved through effective orchestration of change that can be tracked as it moves from development, through to integration, testing and finally into production. Perhaps most important is the ability to anticipate the impact of change across multiple projects and multiple SAP means of transport. This allows development teams to do parallel development, which is a critical requirement if an organization plans to implement continuous development or agile methodologies.

One of the latest integrations has been with ServiceNow ITSM. This contains the ability to trace back issues in an audit, something that has yet to be implemented in any of the other integrations. This was achieved due to the new APIs that RSC has made available, and it will be interesting to see how many other partners refresh their offerings using the APIs.

RSC’s SAP change and release management automation software users include companies in the top 1 – 5 of verticals such as energy, oil and gas, snack foods, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, air space and defence, beverage, consumer electronics, and retail.

RSC has always tightly integrated its products with SAP because the software is ABAP-based, the native SAP programming language, but RSC has extended its value through API integrations into some non-SAP applications and a range of other third party SAP ALM tool sets. This delivers two customer benefits. The first is that customers can expect RSC products to work out-of-the-box with SAP. The second is that as SAP introduces new non-ABAP applications, RSC can quickly integrate support for them into its products.

Integration with SAP is only one part of RSC. RSC developed a range of APIs when building its Web Use Interface. These have now been exposed to both customers and partners who want to add integrations with other products. This has meant that RSC has been able to extend the number of third-party products with which it is integrated to include ServiceNow ITSM, HP Quality Center, BMC Remedy Change Management, Virtual Forge Code Profiler, and IntelliCorp LiveCompare Intelligent Impact Analysis. For customers looking to orchestrate everything IT, this is an important consideration.

“Staying on top of the technology is not an exact science. In many situations, it is more important for RSC to stay on top of the technology levels that its customer base currently uses and to interact and engage with them to support our internal technology roadmap,” says David.

That said, RSC’s team members have high levels of creativity and are individuals that naturally seek out the latest and greatest methods, product enhancements, toolsets, and industry trends. RSC employs people who are naturally inquisitive and who enjoy keeping updated with the latest technology inside and outside the office. It is who they are, ingrained within their DNA, and staying on top of technology is fun.

As a team, RSC analyzes and assesses information feeds on technology updates from onsite consultants, sales teams, and customer support personnel, as well as accessing technology forums, blogs, and media publications. RSC encourages open communication at all levels and across teams, and are quick to promote and action new ideas that are going to be beneficial to its future products and customer base. RSC’s technical team thrives within an environment where invention and challenge are the core factors of their daily work.

Roadmap
With enterprise development trends moving towards continuous delivery (to keep up with its digital IT strategy) and enterprises looking to orchestrate everything IT, the chief focus for RSC ongoing will be to continue to develop software to facilitate these trends and assist enterprise IT teams in meeting these goals.

Roadmap Directions
RSC provides two software updates a year to its customers, normally in March and September. These are delivered as point releases to the current major version of the software. The last major version was released in 2015 as Rev-Trac 7.0, with the first major enhancements (SPS01) announced in November 2016.

The major focus of the Rev-Trac product suite will be to continue to increase integrations, automation, and company partnerships. RSC expects that there will also be new capabilities exposed by the APIs. Other key features customers are likely to see included are support for emerging orchestration and CICD requirements, and a focus on DevOps automation and information management.