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      4 min read

      What is an SAP automation platform? The Pinewood Derby story

      My son, currently nine years old, is an active Cub Scout and we’re coming up on one of the most popular Cub Scout yearly events, the Pinewood Derby. For anyone not familiar with the Pinewood Derby, it is a competition where the scouts are given a small block of wood along with four little plastic wheels and are given the opportunity to design a car that will be raced against other scouts. Over the course of a couple weeks they have to saw and sand the wood block to their design, paint and decorate it, drill in weights to the allowed weight limit and prep the little tires and axles (really just nails) for the least amount of friction possible. 

      Race day is often taken very seriously with precise scales for weight, last minute adjustments, strict rules on who can handle the cars and then the excitement of watching the race. Overall it's a great learning experience that is enjoyed by both the scouts and the parents, with some parents even getting a little too involved in the build process as the enjoyment overwhelms them as well!

      Lessons from a woodshed

      As for myself, I’ve always loved woodworking but up to this point in my life have not found the time to fully embrace the hobby. My workshop, if you want to call it that, is really just a pile of tools in the corner of my garage, primarily used for fixing things around the house and not so much for designing and building things. So when it comes to proper woodworking for this Pinewood Derby car, I’d love to have things like a bandsaw, a belt sander, a proper drill press and so much more. 

      Of course, purchasing all of these things solely for the Pinewood Derby is not realistic. So the thought crossed my mind, maybe I should just pick up just one of those new tools, like a drill press. But reality is, what good is a drill press going to do me the rest of the year? On the other hand, if I was to fully embrace woodworking and have a full workshop, I could think beyond the annual Pinewood Derby and build things all day, every day. 

      I’d only be limited to my imagination as to what I could design and make. Isn’t the same true when it comes to technical SAP automation? Incidentally, I wrote a separate blog about what Skydiving taught me about automation. But for now, back to woodworking…

      The drill presses of SAP automation

      There are a handful of solutions out in the market that are ‘point solutions’. They are the drill press of the greater workshop. They do one thing really well, but only get used a handful of times a year. Just as if I was to take on woodworking as a hobby, I need to consider the full workshop, not just a drill press. 

      When your organization is ready to embrace technical SAP automation (and trust me, it’s time) the idea is to look at the full ‘workshop’, not just point solutions. Consider a platform that can automate the full stack, from the VM/cloud layer, through the operating system, within the database and into the SAP application layer. Like my need for a drill press a couple times a year, you may have a similar need to automate something like a system refresh a couple times a year. And just like my drill press, that system refresh automation needs to be one of the many tools in my workshop.

      Build and design whatever you want!

      Of course, you shouldn’t limit yourself to what comes ‘out of the box’. Like a true woodworking craftsman, I want to be able to build and design whatever I want. The same holds true in an SAP automation platform. Every SAP landscape is unique and being able to build and design the specific requirements you and your organization have is important.

      Final Words

      So as I spend my weekend with my son preparing his Pinewood Derby car, I challenge you to consider what kinds of things you could automate within SAP if you weren’t limited to a point solution but had a full ‘workshop’ platform to build with. 

      To see the Avantra automation platform and the prebuilt, ready to go automation library, check out our latest Avantra 23.1 release blog or request a personalized demo with me, or one of our automation experts.