By automating SAP Patching, Advizex saved this customer 60 days a year.

by | 23 Apr, 2021 | Case Study

Solution: Automation
Field: Manufacturing

Success Story Snapshot:

  • Because of a manual SAP patching process, the customer experienced monthly loss in time, productivity and employee satisfaction.
  • Advizex conducted a complimentary LEAN Value Analysis Workshop to uncover the work time, wait time, details and data, looking for solutions.
  • Automating their SAP patching process saves about 60 days‚ worth of IT admin time a year.

The Customer.

With offices in 70+ countries, this large manufacturing company truly serves a global community. They’re guided by innovation and continuously looking for ways to improve their products, operations, and customer service. Prior to this engagement, Advizex helped the customer with a storage array project.

“Two years ago, we were sitting around a table with the customer brainstorming ways to optimize their operations. There were several lightweight tasks taking time away from talented people. Too much firefighting. Too much rule-based repetition. These things take margin away from the organization. Automation brought it back.”

LEAN Value Analysis.

Like so many organizations, this customer heavily relies on SAP. The customer knew there was a problem. Three to four days a month, two people had to manually implement patches for the systems running SAP software. This meant they put their jobs on hold to take care of the patches. Often this happened nights and weekends, and during the patching, systems were down.

Advizex conducted a LEAN Value Stream Analysis-Process Workshop, a free workshop designed to look at operations holistically. It’s a data-centered approach that identifies automation opportunities. When implemented, automation has numerous benefits:

  • Fix communication gaps
  • Minimize amount of manual work
  • Decrease wait time between tasks
  • Reduce multiple hand-offs
  • Save time and money
  • Ensure the tools implemented are optimal for achieving business goals
  • Deliver value to the service consumer

The Automation Fear Factor.

IT professionals often worry that automation will replace people. The truth is that it frees people from having to take care of mundane, administrative processes. With this returned time, IT professionals are able to focus on more sophisticated work. In this case, the customer had automated parts of the SAP patching process before engaging Advizex. We were able to build on what they’d done. This project was planned and executed in full collaboration with the in-house IT department.

Success through Automation.

In addition to saving five workdays a month, 60 days a year, the customer saved what we call hidden time:

  • Context switching is when people shift their attention from daily work to patching responsibilities. Their ability to return to daily work and train of thought takes time, and this lag has very real consequences.
  • A weekend patch process that required multiple resources to work on weekends no longer requires them. That saves time plus improves employee satisfaction.
  • When patching happens, other initiatives get bumped, which can impact the perceived IT throughput.
  • Patching of non-production environments can now be scheduled automatically during non-business hours, allowing all environments to remain online during business hours. This allows other teams utilizing dev and test SAP environments to work without disruptions, improving satisfaction and efficiency.

The customer’s SAP patching process was well understood, which is a helpful starting point when automating. Now that it’s in place, the SAP validation workflow can be re-used for other initiatives such as disaster recovery testing and app recovery from virtualization host failover.

One of our favorite sayings at Advizex is if you’re not sure where to start automating, just start somewhere.

“For this particular customer, we reduced their time spent by 92%. That’s a lot of time returned to the IT organization to work on other projects, which is a big deal.”

The Advizex Team

Key team members include:

  • Courtney Kopf, Account Executive
  • Joe Clarke, Presales Engineer
  • Joseph Mixon, Automation Practice Architect