How we help SAP IS-U companies

reduce production defects and increase testing agility

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Companies running SAP’s Utilities Industry Solutions (IS-U) have a particularly difficult challenge in getting good test data. Data Sync Manager (DSM) for Utilities offers an effective and efficient solution, and provides the flexibility and power that all IS-U customers require.

SAP IS-U customers face an uphill battle when trying to get accurate test data. Both IS-U and CRM environments tend to increase quickly, with a large amount of data relating to business partners, installations, premises, point of deliveries and other technical master data.

The challenge for SAP IS-U companies 

Production data also changes quickly in the Utilities industry, both because of new transactions taking place, and new functionality coming through in releases, as companies try to stay competitive in a mature market and keep up-to-date with industry compliance requirements.

The data model for IS-U is very different from standard ERP. With production systems containing literally millions of customers, it is impossible to keep several full copies of production in the non-production landscape. This provides a massive challenge around enabling functional analysts, testers, trainers and consultants to access the data they need to support the production system.
 

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High costs and risks to sensitive data

Doing full system copies for testing and training environments is costly – both in storage space and time to create copies. Also, the sensitive nature of the customer information stored means the environment needs to be scrambled or masked. Some companies have extended standard tables with additional fields to cover potentially sensitive customer data, including information on customer vulnerabilities to be considered when staff visit premises. With the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) being enforced from May 2018, this problem becomes much more serious. Companies often don’t have capacity to refresh their non-production data as frequently as they should. This results in inefficient testing, and detection of defects too late in the testing cycle or even during production, with time-consuming correction and reworking.

 

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So, what’s the solution?

EPI-USE Labs’ Data Sync Manager for Utilities allows you to create a lean testing environment with a subset of business partners and all their related data, so a full history of the accounts. You can then add additional data on demand by copying data for specific accounts as and when needed. Typically, less than 10% of the size of the production system is needed.

The bigger benefit is having the real data available as and when it is needed. So the testing mimics what would happen in Production, even in development and early testing systems.

Imagine being able to replicate an issue for a specific contract in minutes, with no need to copy the other customers from the production system. No system downtime, no large space requirements and no effect on other users of the test client.

For the majority of testing and training requirements, all the necessary data can be derived from an Installation, Contract or Contract Account, also picking up the Business Partner, Premise, Devices, Equipment, etc. and all their related transactional data. Full consistency across the wider finance module is not necessary in the vast majority of cases. So meter reading, data exchange flows, billing documents, print documents, etc. can all be copied exactly as they occurred on the source.

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How we help you

  • Use EPI-USE Labs’ IS-Utility experts to “restart/ refresh” your test system landscape.
  • Once you have a new system landscape, you can refresh it using Client Sync, or you can continue to use Refresh as a Service (RaaS) from EPI-USE Labs
  • Empower your business users to copy data on demand to replicate Production scenarios and provision testing data-sets that match the scope of the changes being delivered

EPI-USE Labs understands the challenges and bring a wealth of experience in providing data management solutions for SAP. DSM for Utilities offers an effective and efficient solution, and provides the flexibility and power that all IS-U customers require.
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What about Dev-Ops?

For companies striving to embrace DevOps, the agility of the testing landscape for SAP IS-U becomes a frustrating barrier.
For production support, having outdated data makes it difficult to replicate scenarios with standard SAP functionalities, resulting in testing in production with elevated permissions, or production open for changes due to the urgency of fixing the issue before the business is adversely affected.

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Who we have helped

The challenges we had before we implemented Data Sync Manager were around the reliability and quality of our test data - it had not been refreshed for several years and had been manually manipulated to suit certain scenarios.


See how DSM helped Innogy

Ian Naylor, Innogy Business Systems

EPI-USE Labs’ DSM came through with flying colours and was a clear leader. One key differentiator was the EPI-USE Labs’ team we worked with locally who were able to respond in real time to any issues we raised.


Shaun Code, AGL’s Head of Enterprise IT Operations