Saving Time and Money By Eschewing Manual System Copy

By Tijl Vuyk, Redwood Software



When it comes to repetitive and mundane tasks, it’s easy to get bored and frustrated.  And when you’re bored and frustrated, it’s easy to make errors.  Which is tolerated in some contexts—say, folding laundry or mowing the lawn—but not when performing critical business processes, like SAP® system copy.  Whether a business is replicating its system for disaster recovery, verifying new customization, refreshing new test environments, or testing SAP upgrades, system copy is essential to any business employing SAP.

For such an important job, a company shouldn’t leave anything to chance.  But if “chance” is manual copy, then an overwhelming number of businesses are doing exactly that.  In a recent study we commissioned with IZEN Marketing, we discovered that over 92 percent of the nearly 100 businesses surveyed use five or more employees to run SAP system copy manually, with some companies using a staff of 20 or more to get the job done.  That’s 20 people who could get bored and frustrated and make errors—and it’s twenty people who your company spent money to recruit, train, and manage.  With the enormous pressure IT departments face to offer company support 24/7, and budgets growing ever tighter, there is little room for personnel inefficiencies—and yet the inefficiencies don’t end there.

Not only does manual SAP system copy require a large number of people, it requires that they be taken away from their other duties for several days: 61 percent of those surveyed claimed that it takes five days to run the process manually, and 35 percent said the process takes even longer.  With 56 percent of responding companies running system copy quarterly, and 25 percent running the process biannually, companies lose literally hundreds of man-hours a year on a manual process.  Based on an average employee’s daily working wage , most enterprises lose around $81,000 per year performing system copy manually . Organizations that invest particularly large amounts of human resources to the exercise can, in fact, lose up to $942,000 annually.

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler” - Einstein


He was right.  It’s now possible to wave goodbye to the fiendish, disparate and complicated processes involved in manual system copy, because there are simple automation solutions out there that can tie up the entire process, end-to-end, under one ubiquitous platform. Not only does business process automation save time and money, but it also eliminates the headaches caused by inevitable errors that come with manual system copy. 

With simple configuration, enterprises can automate system copy. This way, a single machine can perform around the clock in a fraction of the time previously required.  If the system encounters a step where manual intervention or approval is required, email notifications at that point in the process will call attention to the issue in that moment—not in an hour’s time. IT departments can also have complete visibility of the status of the automation process on their iPhones® or iPads®. 

Changing Directions


Critical as SAP system copy is, most enterprises seem intent on sticking with the inefficient and sometimes inaccurate status quo—or worse, they’re aware that the process is inefficient and inaccurate, so they de-prioritize it until it’s too late.  It’s in a company’s best interests to make sure the process is undertaken more frequently in an efficient and automated manner—but it requires something of a cultural shift in the industry.  Some people are simply afraid of change; some don’t see beyond the initial cost of implementing a new system.  But once companies finally understand that automating system copy and other business processes can eliminate the traditional barriers that have held enterprises back in the past, they can begin to more effectively allocate their resources, and more efficiently and reliably perform these tasks.  Automation is empowering—and automating something as critical as system copy is one of the most valuable decisions an enterprise can make. 


Author BioTijl Vuyk has had more than 24 years of experience making IT and business processes support measurable and practical success. He founded Redwood Software in 1993 and, as the Chief Executive Officer; Tijl sets the company's vision and worldwide business strategy. Under his stewardship, Redwood has become the world's leader in enterprise business and IT process automation.

1 Based on $549 per day  Calculation: (Average people involved with process) x (Average man hours spent undertaking SAP system copy) x (average number of times the process is undertaken in a year) x (average daily wage) = average amount of money spent on running SAP system copy per year

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Bill has been a member of the technology and publishing industries for more than 25 years and brings extensive expertise to the roles of CEO, CIO, and Executive Editor. Most recently, Bill was COO and Co-Founder of and the parent company PSN Inc. Previously, Bill held the position of CTO of both Wiseads New Media and