Michael Pytel on Solution Manager 7.1, testing, BPCA & TBOMs (Q&A transcript)
I recently moderated a web forum with NIMBL‘s Michael Pytel on SAP Solution Manager 7.1 support for test management and change impact analysis. Michael took questions on the accuracy of BPCA, using static vs. dynamic TBOMs, new features for BPCA and TBOMs, and other topics.
For the full Q&A, you can view the questions and Michael’s responses in the IT Forum, or read excerpts from the transcript of the Q&A below.
Amy Thistle (moderator): Welcome to today’s Forum on SAP Solution Manager 7.1, BPCA, and TBOMs with consultant and speaker Michael Pytel.
In this one-hour Q&A, post your questions for NIMBL‘s Michael Pytel on how 7.1’s Business Process Change Analyzer (BPCA) and Technical Bill of Materials (TBOMs) can help drive better test management and change impact analysis.
Thanks, Michael, for joining us today! Looks like our audience, as usual, is ready to go… so I’ll hand this over to you!
Kir Chern: Hi Michael,
1. What is the difference between BPCA and CDMC (Custom Development Management Cockpit)?
2. How accurate is the tool? I presume one has to put in significant effort to reap the benefits.
3. How does the tool (BPCA) compare to non-SAP offerings such as Panaya, etc.?
Thank you and regards,
Kir Chern, Loh
Michael Pytel: Kir Chern — Thank you for joining the conversation! BPCA will help you analyze what transaction codes/reports will be affected by a change event (transport, EHP activation, etc.). This includes both standard and custom objects. CDMC goes a step further and helps you analyze all custom objects (BAPIs, Enhancements, Tables, etc.), where they are used, and when they were last used. And finally, CDMC will help you perform a “clearing,” which helps you remove the unused code. BPCA’s real value is determining the transaction codes and reports to be tested during major releases, support packages, or EHP activation.
Ah, good question re: accuracy. BPCA is only as good as your Technical Bill of Materials recording. If you created TBOM recordings for every variation of transaction — then you are covered. This is where the TBOM Admin page in the Test Management Workcenter can help. Do you have TBOMs for all transactions within a project/solution?
I’m not an expert at Panaya — but they have a good reputation and filled a specific gap in the marketplace. I think they are a good fit for organizations that are not ready to document their business processes and want a quick/dirty report of what will change. Although their results may not be as accurate as a Dynamic TBOM since it’s just doing a where used and not recording how your users actually use the transaction. Think of their solution like running a Static TBOM recording.
tgirouard: Hi Michael,
How long does it take an average customer to create TBOMs for every variation of used transactions/reports? Do customers struggle with where to start?
Michael Pytel: I’m not going to say “it depends” — promise!
If you have manual test scripts for all your transactions, then the TBOM process will go quickly. We also try t
o coordinate TBOM recordings with major release cycles, etc. If you’re going to have your testing team run an integration test — it’s only a few extra steps to have them generate the TBOM as well.
So for your question — if you have manual test cases for everything, 30mins a transaction/report. If you don’t — then people have to find data, run the transaction once, run the TBOM, etc. So you’re looking at 45-60mins a transaction.
Scary! I know! But the effort pays off when your company is no longer executing blind testing of all objects. You’ll only be testing what’s affected.
kurtliu: In BPCA, when I select “Delivery Transports from SAP” and do a search on Transport Request, what do the search results show? Does it show all the support packs you have loaded in SPAM as new packages?
Does it go to SAP service marketplace and get all the new support packs like maintenance optimizer does?
If not, does that mean I have to first download all the new support packs and copy them to EP/in and load into SPAM?
Michael Pytel: Hi Kurtiu!
Correct, when you select “Delivery Transports from SAP”, input the system to be analyzed, and search — you are able to select previously imported support packages. If you want to analyze support packages before actually installing them, use the option ‘Maintenance Optimizer Upgrade’ to check the content of your download basket. Very cool feature.
BPCA does not go to the Service Marketplace — it calls Maintenance Optimizer and looks at what you have selected and approved. There is no need to apply first. Here’s a screenshot: twitpic.com/9vp9vv/full
I hope this helps!
matthew_harmon: Is there a difference between BPCA and Change Impact Analysis?
Can this functionality be used to determine what objects will be impacted based on the import of SAP notes to a system?
Will this identify what will need to be tested? What are the pre-requisites (i.e., a Solution Manager setup)?
What can be done if we do not currently have a solution established?
Is BPCA accessed through Solution Manager workcenters, and if so, which workcenter?
Michael Pytel: Hello Matthew!
I think you have the same question several people do. The impact analysis of changes is BPCA. A change can be a support package, a single transport, groups of transports, or an enhancement package activation. BPCA compares the objects in those objects with the Technical Bill of Materials you created as part of your business process repository in a project or solution.
You can use BPCA for SAP Notes. The process would go…
Download SAP Note via SNOTE, implement and note the transport number. Goto the Test Management Workcenter in Solution Manager 7.1 and select BP Change Analyzer. Input the system, client, transport number and run the analysis against a project or solution with your company’s transactions/reports (TBOMS).
Will this identify what needs to be tested? Exactly! This is the value add — targeted testing of only the objects to be affected.
Prereqs? Solution Manager Setup (SOLMAN_SETUP) must be run to completion for all systems to be analyzed/involved (Dev, QA, Prod). This includes System Prep, Basic Config, and Managed System Config.
How is BPCA accessed? Via transaction SOLMAN_WORKCENTER and then Test Management. Make sure you have the correct roles assigned for the workcenters. You
can find the Solution Manager 7.1 Security guide here:
websmp109.sap-ag.de/~form/sapnet?_SHORTK… > Operations > Security Guide
matthew_harmon: Hi Michael,
Thanks for the explanation. That sparked another question. We currently do not have a project that represents our current solution. We are planning on running SoDocA to get us to a structure of scenarios, processes, and transactions. Just to confirm, the steps we would need to take are run SoDocA, generate a structure (project), then import the notes in question, and run BPCA against that project to determine what objects will be impacted.
Does this also take into account things such as bolt-ons such as AutoSys?
Michael Pytel: Hey Matthew — you have the process almost down. And it sounds easier in two sentences than it really is. 🙂
1. Use the Solution Manager security guide I posted here to get the correct access to your team. 🙂 No SAP_ALL!
2. Run your SoDocA analysis.
3. Write back all processes/transactions/reports to a project.
4. Structure your transactions/reports in processes that make sense.
5. Use the TBOM worklist to assign TBOM recordings to your team.
6. Get your TBOMs done.
7. Then run BPCA over the transport for the SAP Note and compare against your project.
If AutoSys is an ABAP add-on and is actually installed in ERP — then yes. Create your TBOMs for the autosys progra
ms and it’s covered.
mza: Hi Michael,
What do I miss in using Static instead of Dynamic TBOM (with some practical examples), and how big is the risk in only using Static TBOM in practice?
Michael Pytel: MZA! Thank you for joining! Good questions.
First, SAP’s official recommendation is to use Dynamic recordings since this records how you actually run the transaction in all its variations (user exits, customizations, etc.).
A Static recording basically does a where used on the transaction but would be limited to the objects used by starting the transaction. It would not record the objects called while actually using the transaction. Some more detail can be found here:
In terms of risk — it’s high since you are not capturing how your users actually use the tcode. Is it a good place to start and then target specific tcodes for dynamic TBOM recording? Sure. That’s an option if your risk tolerance is a little higher and you want to have targeted testing today.
mza: Thank you for the reply on static/dynamic TBOMs. For my understanding, could one example that the static TBOM would not catch be a userexit on a field? If the example is wrong, could you please provide another? Thank you.
Michael Pytel: You are correct — Static TBOM would not catch a user exit based on data entered into a specific field. It would not catch custom search helps you’ve added either.
: Hi Michael, How do I use the TBOM Item Criticality?
Michael Pytel: Mza – You can use this feature to provide a weighting on TBOMs. Most of my projects are focused on getting TBOMs recorded and BPCA working. So I haven’t had much opportunity to work on this feature. Here’s a link to more information on weighting and the criticality:
I hope this helps…
danielnorstrom: Hi Michael,
We would like to integrate TBOMs and ChaRM. Do you have any experience? Pros/Cons? Do you know if there is a best practice or some lessons learned that I can download from somewhere?
Michael Pytel: I think there is a clear reason to integrate BPCA and ChaRM. In fact, when we work with customers — we help integrate BPCA (and specifically TBOM recording) into the change management process. For example, we need to update TBOM recordings as a program change is moved thru the landscape. The actual running of BPCA is included as a prerequisite step before the change is approved. Example:
1. Submit CR.
2. Run BPCA analysis to identify affected objects.
3. Generate test plan from object list.
4. Execute test plan.
5. Change manager verifies results and approves the change.
I did check the Solution Manager RKTs (service.sap.com/rkt-solman) and they don’t have anything specific to BPCA and ChaRM. Sounds like a good request to SAP. 🙂
FYI: My team and I learn about all these topics using the SolMan RKTs. And our internal lab. 🙂
Alex: Hi Michael, Which is the best tool for testing SAP? Any big references? Thanks.
Michael Pytel: The best testing tool — almost a personal question! Some people love Excel test plans. Others swear by HP QC or IBM Rational. My vote — use what you already own. Solution Manager Test Workbench.
You can autocreate a test plan directly from BPCA analysis! See the screenshot: twitpic.com/9vpke3/full
After you generate the plan, assign the packages to team members and you’ve got a great testing tool! With workflow for test assignment notification — say what?! Yes, you already own it.
Ole B. Madsen: Is there an easy way to generate static or dynamic TBOMs for all transactions assigned to your business process structure, e.g., like a report that you can run?
Michael Pytel: Ole B Madsen — Age-old question my friend. It’s a lot of work to generate Dynamic TBOMs. You can auto generate static TBOMs in bulk but it’s not the preferred method.
SAP does provide support in SAP Test Acceleration & Optimization to generate TBOMs using your automated test scripts. The idea is you kill two birds with one stone. Build your test script and play it back while generating the TBOM.
Check out this link for more information on using QTP or eCATTs to generate TBOMs: wiki.sdn.sap.com/wiki/display/SM/Busines…
I think the best tool to get Dynamic TBOMs done is the TBOM Worklist. Assign them out and report weekly on progress.
Doug Snyder: Hi Michael: In 7.1, is it possible to create static TBOMs in a batch job?
Michael Pytel: Doug — Here you go! Some light reading:
angelperez: Hi Michael. What new features will be added for BPCA and TBOMs in the sort time? Thanks!
Michael Pytel: Angel Perez — Good question! I think the two newest features are the ability to analyze the contents of a Maintenance Optimizer download basket. For example, compare the objects to be applied to a system before they are actually installed. And the next best improvement is the ability to analyze EHP Business Function Activation. Since EHP business functions are a one-way street (you can’t turn them off up to EHP5) — I think customers will like this feature so they know exactly what will be affected.
Hope all is well. Thank you for posting!
David Molush: I thought that the Switch Framework would allow such functionality to be turned off. Once it’s on it’s on. But is this on by default?
Michael Pytel: David — Correct. Up to EHP4 for sure. Maybe even EHP5. Once you activate an enhancement package business function — it’s on for good. With EHP6, they are introducing business functions that can be reversed — but only those added in EHP6.
mpettinella05: What is the typical time frame that you have seen at other customers to get BPCA fully implemented and ready for use? Assuming we need to populate our business processes/content into SolMan and then go through the TBOM process, etc. Are there any tools or service offerings from SAP that will help accelerate the process to get BPCA up and running?
Michael Pytel: The typical time frame depends on how mature your business process repository is in your project or solution. Lots of customers don’t have their business processes (transactions) documented so they are in the same boat. Here’s a high-level process flow:
1. Run Solution Documentation Assistant to discover your transaction codes and reports in use today on ERP/CRM/SCM/BW, etc.
2. Leverage the RBE rules as part of Enterprise Support to kick start your business process documentation.
3. Get your tcodes assigned to a process in a project in SOLAR01/SOLAR02.
4. Generate static TBOMS to start and then target high use transactions for Dynamic TBOMs.
5. Start using BPCA.
I lead a session at SAPPHIRE 2012 that walks you thru the process. I will post a copy in the forum.
B Himpler: Hello Michael – Thank you for your time today.
We having been using SolMan Test Workbench very successfully for the past couple years. We currently have SAP Standard Support. Can we use BPCA analysis functionality and autocreate test plans? Also, can we use the TBOM functionality if we do not have Enterprise Support?
Michael Pytel: Good question. I don’t work for SAP — but I think you are covered. You can find the official word over here: service.sap.com/solman-baseline
The Solution Manager product managers
always ask me to tell customers “check with your account rep” – but I would start with the above link.
Kiran: Hi Michael, I heard you at an ASUG event last year where you did a presentation on BPCA and TBOMs. Do you have the presentation posted up anywhere online? I would like to review it again.
Michael Pytel: Kiran — Thank you for joining. I just spoke to the editors and I can only post here if it’s on the ASUG website. I’m searching now and will post a link when I find it. I will also post to my Twitter account @michaelpytel.
Hopefully see you at another conference! SAP Projects 2012 in Vegas? I’m running a hands-on lab for BPCA and Test Workbench!
Amy Thistle (moderator): Thanks to all who joined us in the Forum today. Some great discussion here! A full summary of all the questions will be available in the next few days here in the IT Forum and in Insider Learning Network’s IT Group.
Although this Forum is now closed, you can post your own questions at any time in the IT Forum. Simply log in to Insider Learning Network, go to the IT Forum, and select the “New Thread” button at the top of the page.
And for more on Solution Manager 7.1…
On June 28, you can join Michael Pytel for a full webinar on 7.1 and T
echnical Operations — “Driving business process excellence with Technical Operations in Solution Manager 7.1” — brought to you by my colleagues at SAPexperts.
Register for Michael’s June 28 webinar today and tune in to learn how Technical Operations in Solution Manager 7.1 expands your capability beyond CCMS to proactively monitor SAP components. Michael will also present on planning for a Technical Operations implementation, and how other customers have implemented Technical Operations.
And start planning now for our annual Managing Your SAP Projects event October 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada, with 8 tracks, including sessions dedicated to project management tools and accelerators. Be sure to join us and your peers for best practices, tools, and methodologies for managing your SAP projects.
Follow @iln4SAP for updates on upcoming Q&As and other events.
Thanks again for joining us today!