It was Thursday afternoon, home stretch of TechEd Las Vegas, and I was thinking more about a good night’s sleep than Solution Manager, but the scheduling gods converged. I seized the chance to do a freewheeling video and podcast shoot with two of the four “SolMan Bros” (Sol Bros” for short), as well as special guests David Hull of Walt Disney and Marc Thier, SVP of ALM for SAP and, more importantly for our purposes here, one of SAP’s SolMan wizards.
I haven’t produced the podcast yet – when I do, I’ll add it to this post, but for now, you can check out the video, which reacts to the upcoming version of Solution Manager (7.1) and looks back at SolMan takeaways from TechEd. There’s also a good round robin on the resources these SolMan masters recommend. The video ran a bit long because Tony suprised me with a question on SolMan certification at the end, but I kept that part in since it seemed like an important angle.
I’ll include a time stamp with summaries below the video so you can skip to the point you want as needed.
Before I embed the video, a quick review: The Sol Bros are:
(Jim also provided some SolMan coverage from Berlin – notably his podcast with fellow SAP Mentor Phil Kisloff).
Our previous “SolBros” podcasts:
.50 Marc Thier – SolMan 7.1 is a very significant enhancement: the main messages are: openness to SAP, openness to other IT Management tools, a lot of investments to improve and extend Solution Manager to all customers, not just large customers, but also to those in the midmarket, and a full IT service management suite that tightly integrates with application lifecycle management.
1:46 David Hull – I came to TechEd looking for improvements in key areas, and I think that’s going to be improved in the next release. We’ve been working on end-to-end monitoring, and it looks like we won’t have to look into other tools for that because Solution Manager 7.1 is going to deliver that for us. Also, when it comes to delivering value to senior executives, the dashboarding capabilities should be a powerful tool to show the actual value of SolMan to those peopel who need to be behind it and supporting it.
2:50 Tony de Thomasis – on starting his own SolMan consultancy: I believe ALM has a real possibility to save customers support money. Over the last six months, we’ve done landscape reviews for 12 customers, and the story is always the same: there are real pain points that can be addressed by Solution Manager capabilities.
One such example: one customer we went to was running 20,000 batch jobs a month, but 7,000 were failing and had to be rerun. We were able to save them a ton of CPU by not having to rerun the jobs. Other customers have Portals and might need some extended diagnostics to evaluate their Portals performance. Sometimes it comes down to automating tasks in a large landscape. There’s something for everybody, it’s just a matter of identifying the issue.
4:35 Jon – themes from the companion podcast: the amount of resources available on SolMan are impressive, but the gap between SolMan competency and the average SAP customers’ know-how is vast. That gap needs to be closed – what are each person’s tips for better SolMan know-how?
Tony: You have to use SCN to your advantage, have a look at the Mentor Monday webcasts, the Expert Guided Implementations, the services you are entitled to under Enterprise Support. Exploit the value of your licensing agreements.
Mark: I can’t stress enough the Expert Guided Implementations (Google Docs link) – we have gotten great feedback on that. We’ve had 2,000 participants in 2009 until now. There are always 20-30 sessions in the marketplace queue. You get access directly with experts, and we can scale it – 20 or 30 customers at a time.
David: What would benefit a lot of customers is to come up with their top ten pain points in the ALM area and see what their needs are, and start knocking them out one by one. Look at what SAP can offer you in each area, in many cases, SolMan can address them via one of the SolMan tools.
7:09 Tony asks Jon on the value of SAP certification for SolMan experts. Jon: SAP certification can be useful but SolMan functionality is ahead of the certification at this point. Blue chip customer references are still more important than certification. In our work with the C5 and our talks with SAP, we’ll certainly push for more hardcore SolMan certification you can trust that going forward.
Tony: that would be a big help to customers. If they could rate the staff on the SI deploying SolMan, and trust in the certification, that would help a lot. When I come into a customer that has a struggling SolMan implementation, it’s a fine line between fixing it and reinstalling. A trusted certification to evaluate SI consultants in this area would be a huge asset.