Dieter SteigerDieter Steiger SAP Business Process Change Analyzer – Does It Analyze Business Processes?

11/18/2008 by Dieter Steiger

Accompanied by considerable fanfare, SAP co-CEO Leo Apotheker introduced an SAP Solution Manager module called the SAP Business Process Change Analyzer (SAP BPCA) at this year’s TechEd in Berlin. So, what’s behind it? Can the Business Process Change Analyzer fulfill the expectations that its name suggests?

The fact that SAP has even introduced the BPCA seems to indicate the value it has assigned to impact analysis. Impact analysis is, of course, a topic that has been addressed in various articles in the beteo blog.
Unfortunately SAP and its “Business Process” Change Analyzer, in contrast to beteo, deal exclusively with the technical analysis of transactions and programs. So, anyone who expects SAP’s analytical offering to include the overlying logical areas will be in for a long wait.

I have so far been unable to precisely analyze the technology behind the SAP BPCA. However, one can already make certain technological assumptions based on the available screenshots. It appears that BPCA is based on a run-time analysis, which makes it impossible to conduct impact analysis directly in the corresponding production environment. The result, in my assessment, is that only corresponding predefined scenarios can be analyzed with BPCA. Honestly, who today wants to restrict themselves to such procedures when performing analysis?

The question we must ask is why SAP didn’t turn to “standard” analysis tools like LiveCompare from Intellicorp, Panaya from Panaya Inc., RBE from IBIS or CIT for SAP from HP. These are based on “smarter” approaches to impact analysis and impact management, and their merits have been proven through real-world usage.

Summary: SAP Business Process Change Analyzer (SAP BPCA)

Once again, on paper SAP’s BPCA satisfies most of the items found on typical request for proposal (RFP) checklists pertaining to impact analysis. However, upon closer scrutiny many higher expectations that customers have regarding a bona-fide business process change analyzer have not been met.

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3 Responses

  • 1
    Chris Trueman:

    BPCA uses a recording of transaction execution to determine the ‘in-use’ objects. The recording is done by turning on trace – a diagnostic/debugging feature that’s been in SAP for ever so far as I know.

    Given the two sets of objects (in-use and changing) it’s easy to assess the impact. You just look for the intesection between the two sets.

    However, there are real problems with this approach. In no particular order:

    * trace is used very sparingly because of the load it puts on a system. I think it’s extremely unlikely that you’ll turn on trace for a representative set of users long enough to build up a reliable profile of the in-use objects.

    * you need a representative in-use objects set before you can begin the analysis. Assembling that will probably take longer than your traditional manual approach of test everything.

    * trace on anything but production is going to give you a false sense of security that your ‘in-use’ object set is accurate.

    * every SAP environment is dynamic which means you have to maintain the recording of in-use objects.

    In fact you can do this sort of analysis today without waiting for BPCA. The changing object set can be downloaded from SAP’s service desk and you can turn on trace anytime you like.

    For sure, since I’m the CTO of IntelliCorp I’m sure you expect me to say that LiveCompare’s intelligent impact analysis is the superior solution. That being said, on the evidence that’s available, BPCA does not support credible Change Impact Analysis.

  • 2
    Harry Scott:

    I have been browsing a few of your posts and have enjoyed it. Keep it up

  • 3
    SAP – costs too high by up to 30%! /// beteo:

    […] developed in-house (only ABAP, naturally) in the SAP Solution Manager. In our opinion, however, impact analyses of SAP customization would be more useful. After all, it is well known that customization comprises […]