In this series of blogs, Michal Harezlak and I would like to outline a comprehensive framework for improving your organization’s adoption 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 Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) and supporting SAP best practices and finally, to explain how Solution Manager contributes to the IT operating model.
Here is the complete list of the topics we will review:
Part 1: How and why? Adoption of SAP Solution Manager.
Part 2: Solution Design and documentation of solution (THIS BLOG)
Part 3: Innovation Management
Part 4: Solution Configuration and Template Management
Part 5: Test Management
Part 6: Change Request Management
Part 7: Incident and Problem Management
Part 8: Technical Operations
Part 9: Business Process Operations
Part 10: Maintenance, Upgrade Management
Part 11: Improvement of solution
Part 12: IT Reporting
Enabling the Successful Adoption of Solution Manager
Before we jump into details on how to create an ALM adoption roadmap, I would like to highlight how building successful ALM capabilities and taking full advantage of solution manager as whole is only possible with the Organizational Change Management Plan and ASAP 7.2 prescribed deliverables. While we are not going to go into details as each of the topics of enablement is complex, I would like to give the reader a high level overview what I consider to be pillars of ALM.
To drive the Enterprise Adoption of Solution Manager, it is important to identify the main actors who will contribute to the adoption of Application Lifecycle Management. As part of the Organizational Change Management this team building exercise will serve to identify the Solution Manager stakeholders.
Next, the definition, documentation, and communication of project standards to ensure consistent use of methods and tools for the project and post production support. This is a crucial step to be undertaken prior to creating the Solution Manager project.
Figure 1: Solution Design Focus Topics
Hereafter are some of the more important components for project standards:
Naming Conventions: Projects, Logical Components, Documents, Status Values, etc.
Project Management Standards:
- Status Values: Project Status and Document Status Values.
- Document Types.
- Document Management process
- Quality control process for deliverables.
- Blueprint workshop approach.
Next, the Adoption Plan must be tailored to the needs of the customer. For those organizations that are new to SAP and Solution Manager, it is important to expand on the dimensions of the ALM methodology to facilitate the Solution Design. In Figure 2 below, I am showing the Pillars of Application Lifecycle Management which I have created based on a recent ALM consulting engagement. It shows a comprehensive approach to the enterprise deployment of Solution Manager, structured as 6 pillars which must be satisfied in order to support your organizations‘ adoption of Solution Manager.
Figure 2: Pillars of Application Lifecycle Management
ALM Delivery Management
- Oversee demand and supply for ALM functionalities with projects.
- Corporate Buy-in and adoption
- Governance Model and Stakeholder Alignment
- Risk mitigation
- Balanced Scorecard
- Solution Architecture
- Delivery of ALM functionalities
- Integration validation
- Risk mitigation
Center of Expertise
- Core team of experts overseeing the usage of ALM components by phase
- Support to project
Organization Change Management
- Knowledge Transfer Strategy and Tool development
- Roles and people capabilities
- Staffing plan and enablement
SAP Landscape Environment
- Landscape design
- Landscape models
- Landscape recommendations
- Impact on Business Roadmap
Business Process Architecture & Management in SAP Solution Manager
- Process Documentation
- Process Repository and hierarchy
- Process reengineering
- Project types
- Process Rollout
- Process Roll-in governance
Once these pillars have been understood by the organization and each of its 6 components have been documented, you may now proceed with Solution Design.
With that said, first let’s talk about the Business Configuration conceptual part of ALM. As shown below, business configuration includes:
- Solution Design and documentation of solution
- Innovation Management
- Solution Configuration and Template Management
- Test Management
Figure 3. Business Configuration in context of ALM
Let’s now look at the first part, Solution Design.
In Application Lifecycle Management, Solution Design is at the crossroads of several work streams involving the Business and IT alike. Solution Design can be characterized by the creation and comprehensive definition of the project in Solution Manager. Secondly, there are the Project Preparation aspects of the Solution Design as mandates by the ASAP7.2 Implementation Methodology. Figure 4 below, depicts some of the ASAP mandated deliverables supporting Solution Design. For a complete breakdown of the solution design components, please refer to the ASAP project preparation and blueprinting phases.
Also in Solution Design, the business process cycle starts where the BPx expert applies the defined needs and requirements to planning the to-be processes, based on solutions that have been collected. According to this plan, the business process expert will later designs the process flow, and models the process and all of its steps.
Figure 4: Solution Design considerations in ASAP7.2
Solution Manager 7.1 affords us with many useful functionalities to support Solution Design. We will review these in detail within the Innovation Management section of our blog.
Importance of Document Management
• Document Management is an important ALM feature supporting Project Management function. The implementation of good document management practices will benefit the project in many ways:
• Improves the conduct of business in an orderly, efficient and accountable manner.
• Supports compliance with Quality Assurance standards.
• It protects the interests of the Company and the stakeholders in the project
• It significantly reduces the chance of cost blow-outs, caused by working with superseded documents.
• It delivers savings in time and resources thorough the use of a common system that is used by the entire project team with efficient search and retrieval functionality.
Figure 5: Solution Documentation & Implementation
Rationale for Document Management
The adoption of a best practice system for the management of documents that enables full auditing of documents from creation to approval is an important project management function.
Figure 6: Rational for Document Management
Documentation of the Solution
Documentation is the basis for many SAP Solution Manager Features. There are three fundamental kinds of documentation stored within Solution Manager. They are:
- Technical Landscape Documentation,
- Business Process Documentation and
- Custom Code Documentation
The Technical landscape documentation is covered by the basic configuration of SAP Solution Manager in its minimum required level. The documentation comprises of the availability of system data of all productive systems in the System Landscape Directory and the availability of one or more solution landscapes which contain the productive systems as logical components. Complete technical landscape documentation is essential for using other SAP Solution Manager functions like System Monitoring, Diagnostics or Change Request Management.
Business Process documentation comprises of the availability of the core business processes in the Business Blueprint and imported into the Solution Directory. Documented core business processes in the Business Blueprint can be leveraged throughout the entire software lice-cycle. This increases the value of internal communication as there is always a relation to business processes, for example the relevance of a requirement to your processes.
The third kind of documentation is the documentation of modifications. Custom Code documentation comprises of a short description of the development and its related development objects, for example programs in the customer name space. This documentation is especially important for the following reasons: First, modifications are not subject to SAP quality checks. Secondly, they can be lost in an upgrade when implemented improperly.
Defining your Documentation Strategy
Solution Manager has been designed to simplify solution documentation tasks and to create a positive overall experience for users. Thoroughly understanding of your company’s goals of users and stakeholders and designing the solution documentation practices with those goals in mind are the best approaches to successfully delivering enterprise solutions that will satisfy all Solution Manager constituents.
In setting your Document Management Strategy, it is preferable to consider prior documentation practices. This can be done by answering the following questions:
- Is there a methodology in place for managing documentation?
- Is the company facing any document management problems?
- How will project documents move through draft->complete/approved stages?
- Should approved documents be locked for changes?
- Are there any audit requirements such as electronic signature/digital signature?
- Do you have a solution documentation to align business and IT?
- Is there a standardized documentation to accelerate internal IT support?
- Do you use standard documentation for collaboration with SAP?
- Do you use Reverse Business Engineering software to determine your processes in your SAP solutions?
- Are your core business processes documented in a standard manner following the SAP recommendations?
- Is there a process in place to keep documentation up to date?
- Are all critical operation procedures described in detail so that these tasks can be delegated to another person?
- Is the solution and system documentation part of the handover to operations?
The Document Management lifecycle can be defined in terms of the following:
• Definition of requirement for Document. This is sometimes called “deliverables” for Document Management
• Document Creation
• Review and Approval by Document Management team
• Distribution of Document as an approved working copy
• Subsequent document revision
• Re-distribution of revised document to the original distribution matrix
• Disposal or archival of superseded document
SAP Solution Manager provides the complete framework that encourages the adoption of good document management standards.
Who should be concerned about the project Documentation Strategy?
Solution documentation is an important aspect of your implementation project. The project documents stored in Solution Manager will be essential to the realization part of the project. Thereafter, they will be important during the run and optimization phases of the ALM lifecycle.
From experience, the project constituents whom have the most influence into the Solution Documentation are the PMO organization, the Project Managers, Functional Consultants, Managers of Functional groups and Business Analysts working in SAP CoE.