Skip to Content

In this series of blogs Alain Dumas and I would like to outline comprehensive framework for assessing and improving your organization’s use of SAP Solution Manager. We would like to present to you how to realize quick wins by identifying potential Solution Manager functionalities which your team may not yet be using to its fullest. We will examine the overall functionalities contained within Solution Manager and map them  to a concept of Best Practice Processes and supporting Best Practice Processes and finally, to explain how Solution Manager contributes to the IT operating model. Here is the complete list of the topics we will review:

  • How and why? Adpotion of SAP Solution Manager
  • Business Configuration
  • Solution Design and documentation of solution
  • Innovation Management
  • Solution Configuration and Template Management
  • Test Management
  • Business Continuity
  • Change Request Management
  • Incident and Problem Management
  • Technical Operations
  • Business Process Operations
  • Maintenance, Upgrade Management
  • Improvement of solution
  • IT Reporting

image

Figure 1 ALM and SAP Best Practice enabled by Solution Manager

Why should you care about adoption of Solution Manager?

The business perception of value is rarely  focused on tools and technology or even ALM, even as these contribute in large part to the success of SAP solution operations.   Instead, our experience shows that SAP customers value operational  qualities such as:

  • High availability and continuity of business processes
  • Fast and efficient user support
  • Fast and successful realization of new business requirements

According to our experience high usage of the SAP Solution Manager translates operational efficiencies into business value and improves the above mentioned qualities:

  • Solution availability correlates to higher usage of the SolMan. (More mature CCCs and COEs reported availability of 98% or better, to a greater extent which is 28 percentage points higher availability than the entire respondent base.)
  • Usage of SolMan Diagnostics increases with maturity in incident management.
  • Successful change control correlates to higher usage of the SolMan, which is 4 percentage points fewer changes outside the normal change process.

In his Related Blog “Why is ALM so important?” Marc Thier explores some additional aspects of ALM.  Additionally there is a section on SDN that explores Business Value of ALM.

How to plan your adoption of Solution Manager?

image

Figure 2 How to build Solution Manager Adoption roadmap

Initiate

Presentation on executive level explaining why and what you are going to do.

  • Present approach – this is presentation of what is covered in this chapter, including why do we care about solution manager adoption
  • Introduce sol man, ALM and best practice, use the materials from this blogs, good place to start is the SDN ALM.
  • Collect IT management pain points, examples are, “we always spend $2M on analyzing our custom code before upgrade”, “and our project documentation gets out of date the minute we finish writing it”.
  • Collect team goals for the next years, examples “Improved SLAs to business”, “implementation of new Change management process based on ITIL”
  • Understand the portfolio of projects that your organization will undertake in next coming years

Interviews

Workshops including subject matter experts knowledgeable in  ALM, Solution Manager and related best practices

  • This section describes a meta approach, content for the interviews, including sample questions will be described in consecutive blogs, for example ALM: Requirements, Best practice with SolMan: Solution Design and documentation of solution incl. custom code.
  • Understand as-is processes in particular ALM area and tool that currently support it (example: Testing).
  • Use knowledge from kickoff about pain points, strategy and project portfolio to direct conversation
  • Identify improvement potentials

Analyze

Follow up working session to analyze interview finding and crate roadmap

  • Consolidation of findings from the interview phase
  • Analyze AS-IS situation in all areas outlined by framework.
  • Discover what Solution Manager Capabilities can be applied to improve your IT operations
  • Prioritize high potential and quick win capabilities.
  • Create SolMan roadmap

 image

Figure 3 Sample roadmap

 

 

image

Figure 4 Sample Quick wins and high potentials

Roadmap presentation

  • Validate prioritization of Solution Manager Scenarios
  • Roadmap recommendations for Solution Manager Utilization
  • Detailed description of identified scenarios
  • Discussion
  • Next steps
To report this post you need to login first.

9 Comments

You must be Logged on to comment or reply to a post.

  1. saraswatichandra Srivastava
    As we all know and very much aware that The SAP Solution Manager supports you throughout the entire lifecycle of your solutions, from the Business Blueprint thru configuration to production operation. It provides central access to tools methods and preconfigured content, that you can use during the evaluation, implementation, and productive operation of your systems.apart from this-
      All phases of the implementation project (Business Blueprint, Configuration) are performed centrally in the Solution-Manager system.
    Central project documentation repository in the Solution Manager
    Integrated Project Administration allows you to manage planning schedules, human resources and other project data.
    Cheers
    Chandra
    (0) 
  2. Markus Doehr
    …but for our environment it still seems, that the amount of time necessary to implement it in all its glory will *highly* outperform the outcome/value of it. It’s still too big and too complex for small/medium size companies. Your mileage may vary.
    (0) 
    1. Michal Harezlak Post author
      Thank you Markus,
      I agree. The challenge is not only for small and medium business. Large Enterprise also finds it difficult to take advantage of the tool-set. If I was to point to the fundamental challenge, I would say that most IT departments do not see themselves as a Business Unit. We want to improve Finance, Sales, Marketing and Operations Business processes but really we look at Business of IT(Application Lifecycle Management) and ask: What is that we could do better? Are there tools that will improve our productivity? Why do requirements documents are stored in a file system and disconnected from design? Why do BASIS guy logs into each instance separately to monitor the system. Why do we complain that we have too much Custom Code and we do not know how to change it and if it is even used? There are tools that could be deployed with effort of few days … BUT there must be organization and culture in place that embraces the change and wants to improve. What me and Alain will talk about is the breakdown of the ALM “ERP” AKA SolMan and how you can understand when you can gain quick and relatively inexpensively. So we are looking for your feedback if you think this will work!
      Thanks again!
      (0) 
      1. Markus Doehr
        The business unit “IT” was and is always seen as a cost factor, not as a business unit, despite the department maybe seing itself as such.

        Talking about tools: if e. g. SMSY and MOPZ is the way to go, then all I can say is “thanks, but no thanks”. It usually takes longer to set up and configure systems appropriately than the actual maintenance you want to do.

        I’m not sure what you mean with “inexpensive” but as soon as you start thinking about connecting systems to SolMan and applying necessary Addons and agents, creating roles and permissions on the target systems we’re just there where I don’t want to go. Exactly that technical setup is killing everything (and yes, been there, done that) – it’s just *NOT* a one-time setup and it’s *NOT* setup-by-wizard, it’s just not, not in a grown environment.

        I understand the intentions well, I would highly appreciate something to help us in our daily work but it has to be SIMPLE.

        SIMPLE in sense of setup and maintenance. I do NOT WANT a full blown ABAP/Java system with a dozen components on ABAP and several dozen on Java, five users for three different RFCs, “agent” components on the target systems (ST-PI, ST-A/PI), diagnostic agent and all that stuff. It’s a *TOTAL OVERKILL*. As long as this huge overkill environment is necessary to answer just those questions you posted I also say: “Thank you, but no thank you. We stick with what we have”.

        Sometimes it does not make (business) sense to replace something that works, just because you think you can.

        And again, mileage may vary, no offense given.


        Markus

        (0) 
        1. Michal Harezlak Post author
          Thanks Markus, I truly appreciate your feedback and the time you took to express it. It shows you care and you are passionate. The point I wanted to make, is that IT department has its own set of business process and capacities and this is a starting point for improvement and a business case, looking end to end view. I absolute agree with you most of the time it makes no sense to replace something that works. However if you start thinking about benefits of a Platform Approach for you Business Process than  sometimes it makes sense to replace something that work with something that might be equally good but is part of integrated solution, like our ERP is. For example you need documentation of business process document to asses true impact of deployed new functionality or even to makes sense of Business Process Monitoring results or root cause analyses.  The rule of thumb is that 90% of an average IT budget is used for consolidation, maintenance and operations of a company’s solution. That leaves only 10% for innovation and for the improvement of business success. I think that improving IT operations with productive tools would help all IT departments to move away from being cost center to a business partner who enables innovations and operates efficiently.
          I understand you point about simplicity, I know our product management is listening and takes note of the feedback. If SolMan is not simple enough for our customers to use we need to work on it.
          This first installment outlines an approach that should help you to figure out what SolMan capabilities are quick wins and high value and how to plan your roadmap.  I hope the following blogs will make better specific examples.
          Again thanks for the discussion
          PS
          From my experience when it comes to execution of a roadmap customer get a lot of value when enlisting help from SAP Services. 
          http://service.sap.com/alm-services
          They can choose from.
          SAP Tutor for SAP Solution Manager Customers — Efficient knowledge transfer to your employee
          SAP Solution Manager helps you to minimize your end-user training costs after an upgrade with an interactive method of online learning.
          SAP Solution Manager Starter Pack — On-site Setup and Training for the SAP Solution Manager
          The SAP Solution Manager Starter Pack is an on-site service, applicable when you need direct assistance with the basic configuration and use of the SAP Solution Manager.
          Consulting Services for the SAP Solution Manager — Get SAP Solution Manager ready for daily usage
          With the Consulting Services for SAP Solution Manager SAP Consulting is covering today’s customer/projects/consultants needs with regards to SAP Solution Manager. The Services will help to install, configure and train SAP Solution Manager to get users ready for daily usage. This way SAP implementation projects, operations functions as well as support desk setup can be supported. The Consulting Services are a shared initiative from Technology Consulting and Solution Consulting.

          Expert Guided Implementation Sessions — New methodology for remote delivery of training, doing and expert on demand
          Expert Guided Implementation Sessions offer an optimized, short-term setup service for the configuration of baseline functionality of SAP Solution Manager Scenarios.

          (0) 
        2. Michal Harezlak Post author
          Thanks Markus, I truly appreciate your feedback and the time you took to express it. It shows you care and you are passionate. The point I wanted to make, is that IT department has its own set of business process and capacities and this is a starting point for improvement and a business case, looking end to end view. I absolute agree with you most of the time it makes no sense to replace something that works. However if you start thinking about benefits of a Platform Approach for you Business Process than  sometimes it makes sense to replace something that work with something that might be equally good but is part of integrated solution, like our ERP is. For example you need documentation of business process document to asses true impact of deployed new functionality or even to makes sense of Business Process Monitoring results or root cause analyses.  The rule of thumb is that 90% of an average IT budget is used for consolidation, maintenance and operations of a company’s solution. That leaves only 10% for innovation and for the improvement of business success. I think that improving IT operations with productive tools would help all IT departments to move away from being cost center to a business partner who enables innovations and operates efficiently.
          I understand you point about simplicity, I know our product management is listening and takes note of the feedback. If SolMan is not simple enough for our customers to use we need to work on it.
          This first installment outlines an approach that should help you to figure out what SolMan capabilities are quick wins and high value and how to plan your roadmap.  I hope the following blogs will make better specific examples.
          Again thanks for the discussion
          PS
          From my experience when it comes to execution of a roadmap customer get a lot of value when enlisting help from SAP Services. 
          http://service.sap.com/alm-services
          They can choose from.
          SAP Tutor for SAP Solution Manager Customers — Efficient knowledge transfer to your employee
          SAP Solution Manager helps you to minimize your end-user training costs after an upgrade with an interactive method of online learning.
          SAP Solution Manager Starter Pack — On-site Setup and Training for the SAP Solution Manager
          The SAP Solution Manager Starter Pack is an on-site service, applicable when you need direct assistance with the basic configuration and use of the SAP Solution Manager.
          Consulting Services for the SAP Solution Manager — Get SAP Solution Manager ready for daily usage
          With the Consulting Services for SAP Solution Manager SAP Consulting is covering today’s customer/projects/consultants needs with regards to SAP Solution Manager. The Services will help to install, configure and train SAP Solution Manager to get users ready for daily usage. This way SAP implementation projects, operations functions as well as support desk setup can be supported. The Consulting Services are a shared initiative from Technology Consulting and Solution Consulting.

          Expert Guided Implementation Sessions — New methodology for remote delivery of training, doing and expert on demand
          Expert Guided Implementation Sessions offer an optimized, short-term setup service for the configuration of baseline functionality of SAP Solution Manager Scenarios.

          (0) 
          1. Markus Doehr
            Hi Michael,

            thank you for taking the time to answer me, I really appreciate this discussion.

            What I really never understood is:

            All the configuration, the BP master data, organizational data, users etc. – everything is in the ERP. Why do I have to more or less *duplicate* that information into another system in order to be able to monitor a business process – if we are talking about ALM *ERP*??

            Today we have reports and even workflows who more or less monitor the important business processes, including the organizational units behind it because HR in integrated. So if e. g. a credit note is to be applied, there’s a workflow in place, which inclues SD and FI and where there are more or less automatic reports built which send out emails or workflows to keep track. The system knows because of the HR integration, who’s on vacation, that someone is absent and acts appropriately, redirects to an available person.

            If I take this out of the system an put this into SolMan I have to double the effort, I have to recreate the organizational structure (PPOMA_CRM), I have a new system where I need to create an maintain users and permission and I have to educate all the people, that they must now logon for this BP to another second system now to monitor their business – and this in 9 different languages in 12 countries distributed over the world.

            No matter how much I turn and twist it, I don’t see the avantage opposed to what we have today where everything necessary is in place – in the ERP.

            I could compare that with Microsoft Outlook. Imagine if someone would tell you that you can write mails with it but all of a sudden you have to start another program (Microsoft Taks/Appointment) to make appointments and tasks. They can be done “nicer” there but you also have to make sure, the same users are there and they all did use that program to make their appointments and set up their tasks there.

            Taking a business monitoring out of ERP is tearing an existing (monitor) integration apart, not the other way around; and this is no matter, how nice and colorful the new solution appears to the end user.

            Another example:
            We are about to do an upgrade to EHP5 soon. We scheduled a 2-day-appointment to do an integration test, 2 days, where all the main BPs are tested and evaluated in an integrated manner. That’s how we always did it and how it worked for us, without SOLAR02 and eCATT, without a second system where information is duplicated.

            If you are able to do such an integrational test by setting up SolMan and ALM in 20 mandays for the whole system and for all the BPs we test manually in those 9 languages and country specific configurations, so we could use SolMan for EHP6, I’m up for it. Honestly, I doubt that. And even if it would be technically possible, till EHP6 is availble BPs may have changed and those changes would need to be reflected back to the SolMan in one way or the other – which is, undoubtfully, additional work. Who does that?

            And concerning the SolMan Support-/Implementation Services: Yes, we had them. We were using SolMan since version 2.2. The more functionality was put in it over time and the more complex it became with increasing versions, we subsequently switched away from SolMan, starting with the helpdesk, then change management and finally we switched also back to our conventional project management. Reason? As a basis person I’m not disposed to mess with CRM configurations in order to keep the helpdesk and change management running, I just don’t. Things changed/broke after updates/SP installations and it was a pain to get them back on track, a humugous number of hours was put in/wasted. Today we use tools that integrate into web and email easily, without much efforts and we have more functionality available, than we would ever have with SolMan.

            And the bottom line is: We will not earn a single EURO more money, if we implement this. It’s nice and nifty and we will then also proudly be part of the “We-do-play-buzzword-bonanza-on-powerpoint”-crowd (talking about KPI, TCO etc.). Unfortunately this is, in my eyes, all we would get – effectively. If you think differently, convince me 🙂


            Markus

            (0) 
  3. Alexandra Weber
    Thanks Alain and Michal for reminding us on how the IT owned tool for application management, Solution Manager, can bring closer the Business Process and IT model closer together. 

    As we continue to look at the value management as mentioned below in some comments, we plan in strategic and operational modes of project and try to balance them together as close as we can.  For that, we need solution-like tools to orchestrate our framework and multi-dimensional deliverables.

    Business Governance drives the IT, and IT enables the business.  It is in everyone’s best interest if BPM and methodologies are in place with process-centric technologies that are easy to govern in some of the following areas:

    1. Business Process Map (KPI/PPI), RACI, Performance, Goals/Objectives.

    2. Continuous measure of “As-Is” and its maturity or opportunities for improvement.

    3. Governance in defining the higher value in driving processes, programs and projects.

    4. Prioritize processes and test models for major improvements and innovation without disturbing the existing model in place.

    As we adopt and redesign our IT processes with aim to lower the TCO and to improve innovation and performance.

    We realize that stronger business governance with Enterprise Service Architecture Framework approach is mandatory if continuous non-disruptive production environmnet which continues to evlolve and grow bigger.

    Thank you for helping us in shifting our focus and recognizing the best practices for business transformation and its governance where these outlined deliverables make the difference.

    (0) 
    1. Michal Harezlak Post author
      Good Point Alexandra and thank you for contributing. I truly believe that IT should be looked at from holistic end to end view and ALM is IT operating model that contains most of the IT processes. Thanks again.
      (0) 

Leave a Reply