Although enhancing usage of existing areas of the E-Business Suite will typically be characterised by projects of smaller scope when compared to an implementation many of the challenges that organisations face during an implementation are also felt during enhancement; indeed, enhancement introduces additional challenges of its own.
Just as with implementation, enhancements must manage many configurations; although this now becomes a mix of new configurations and changes to existing. One of the first challenges of enhancement is to fully understand the existing setup to identify which areas will be affected by the scope of the new changes, to analyse these to determine what needs to change and what should remain constant – to ensure the aims of the enhancement are met but without any negative effect on existing functionality.
Another complexity of enhancement is how to document the change. There are two competing, contradictory requirements. The first is the need is to document the specific enhancement changes in isolation so that the project team is able to effectively manage them on each environment. The second is the need to maintain overall documentation for the environment. A single document cannot provide both of these perspectives concurrently so enhancement projects often require more duplication of effort in documentation. Of course, this also increases the possibility that things become out of sync.
The tracking of changing during an enhancement project can be more challenging than implementation. For an implementation essentially all non-seeded configuration is new; for enhancement the changes are being managed where other configurations already exist. The potential to miss a changed configuration when applying to another environment through poor documentation etc. is increased.
As with implementation baselines enable organisations to capture existing setups identifying any change specific to the enhancement significantly reducing the risk of any change being missed. Additional baselines support the project as it progresses providing tight control over any change made, both planned and unplanned, allowing the project team to manage the process efficiently and react proactively to any unexpected change.
ConfigSnapshot plans allow preparation of the set up prior to its deployment to an initial environment eliminating the need to manually document the required setups. Direct integration with Excel makes it simple to upload/download plan data. Records can be selectively loaded from an environment for any changes to existing data and manually added to or quickly copied within the plan to streamline preparation. Direct reporting of the plan data allows it to be checked and refined easily.
Comparison enables teams to ensure all planned configuration has been correctly deployed to the environment and is accurately moved to each subsequent environment throughout the project lifecycle.
ConfigSnapshot migration allows most data to be automatically loaded from the plan to each target environment. Importantly ConfigSnapshot will dynamically determine whether records must be inserted, updated or, where supported, deleted from the target environment; this allows teams to focus on ensuring the data in the plan reflects the requirement rather than what specific actions must be taken in each environment as this may differ slightly based on the particular way the environment is currently configured. This can dramatically reduce the time to deploy setup as well as increasing its accuracy. Comparison between the environment and the plan confirms data has migrated successfully.
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"ConfigSnapshot solves the fundamental issue technology looks to address, which is to make a process easier. By allowing us to quickly create standard setup documentation and solve setup issues, we save time and resource hours."
Director IT Solution Delivery, Industry: Designer, manufacturer, integrator and installer of complete material handling automation solutions