In supplying Munich, the service provider faces a particularly great challenge – after all, Munich has the highest population density in Germany. Providing such a large infrastructure requires IT of no small complexity to support the company’s business processes. Stadtwerke München relies on SAP solutions, among others, which are further developed and maintained by its subsidiary SWM Services GmbH. These processes are handled in a maintenance landscape separate from the development systems, a so-called “distributed SAP system landscape“.
A distributed SAP landscape is particularly important for the utility industry. Only by setting up additional development and test systems alongside the classic 3-system landscape (maintenance landscape) can the stricter documentation obligations within the scope of the unbundling requirements in the energy sector be realized and the security and stability of the productive system be guaranteed.
When operating such system landscapes, however, SAP Basis administration is confronted with a new challenge:
The parallel development systems must be regularly synchronized with the maintenance landscape. This process is very error-prone and time-consuming.
Complex Excel tables often have to be maintained to document exactly which changes were made where. This creates the risk that error corrections and interface changes are not taken into account when the new developments are rolled out and critical business processes are no longer available.
At Stadtwerke München, the SAP developers therefore needed a software tool that would synchronize the various SAP systems largely automatically and control the import of support packages.
In order to meet the special challenges of modern IT in the utility industry, the broad-based service provider has opted for SAP Change Management software from REALTECH. With SmartChange Synchronization Management, the utility company can now both meet the legal requirements of unbundling and prepare support package changes without jeopardizing the stability of the production systems and thus the availability of business processes.
The ability to synchronize the majority of objects via transport request reduces manual activities for reconciling development systems and maintenance landscape to a minimum, and application development gains significant efficiency.
To meet these requirements, the municipal utility decided to use SAP Change Management software from REALTECH. In a three-day workshop, the SmartChange software was installed and implemented for the SAP ECC and CRM applications.
Since then, the SAP developers have been considerably relieved: When a transport request is exported in the maintenance landscape, an automatic analysis of the object list takes place. At the same time, it is determined for each object whether it may be synchronized automatically via transport or whether manual synchronization must take place. This means that you can keep an eye on the status of the various development projects and system statuses at all times.
To synchronize the project development system, objects that are not critical can then be grouped together in synchronization transports and synchronized. For the objects to be synchronized manually, i.e., usually objects that have been changed on both the maintenance system and the project development system, SmartChange Synchronization Management simplifies the process by providing direct access to the familiar SAP standard tools for comparing object versions. By linking the solution to SmartChange Transport Management, Stadtwerke München also benefits from a seamless connection between the transport request and the object analysis view.
By using REALTECH’s software components, the regional utility was able to both meet the documentation requirements of unbundling and increase the efficiency of its maintenance and development processes. The automation of synchronization work gives IT developers new scope for the strategic further development of the application landscape. At the same time, the number of incidents has been reduced by more than half, significantly increasing the security and stability of production systems. Thanks to the rapid usability of the software and the simple installation, the investment has already paid off in full for SWM in the first year.
Stadtwerke München GmbH supplies the state capital of Munich and the surrounding region with electricity, natural gas, district heating, water and telecommunications solutions. In addition, Stadtwerke München operates one of the most modern public transport systems as well as 18 indoor and outdoor swimming facilities.
After the Support Packages went live, we have never had so few disruptions. With incidents reduced by more than half and 90% less manual effort, using SmartChange has already paid off within the first year.
Hans Wolferseder, Team Lead SAP Basis, Stadtwerke München (SWM Services GmbH)