After working on SAP Solution Manager during more than 2 years I would like to share with you our experience. Your feedback as “Solmaner” or SAP Solution Manager customer is more than welcome to help us improving our service!

Our approach is based on the “no big bang” principle. Thus we built our SAP Solution Manager platform gradually, step by step.

We first rebuilt the technical foundation when migrating from the version 7.0 to 7.1. After the technical foundation was laid out, we focused on getting the functional foundation (business process documentation) ready to be able to offer more extensive services.

After the initial project, we proposed to our customers over time, the following services based on SAP Solution Manager  functionalities:

  • Technical Monitoring
    •   In general (interface enabled)
    • Specific scenario for Java performance (interfaced)
  • Incident Management
    • Incident creation from within SAP (interfaced)
    • Automated incident creation based on monitoring (interfaced

  • Custom Development Management Cockpit (CDMC)
  • Business Process Documentation
    • Solution Documentation Assistant
    • Business Process Change Analyzer/Test Scope Optimization
  • Change and Release Management (CHARM) (interfaced)

Technical Monitoring

The technical monitoring service gives you a lot of information about your SAP system health on regular basis via the EWA & SLRs reports and more. Other functionalities like Root cause analysis or DVM (Data Volume Management) give you also a good insight of your SAP systems status. I qualify it as the easiest service to promote as we didn’t have to do much to convince our customers about the added value it brings. It indeed increases the quality of the systems by alerting potential technical bottlenecks (security performance) and inefficiencies (performance, actual software levels) in an early stage.

Incident Management

Regarding the SAP Solution Manager incident management functionality we only use a part of it in the sense that the support messages are created from SAP satellite systems but registered automatically in a separate service management tool thanks to SAP Solution Manager. Our customers who requested this service deal with applications based only on SAP technology. We have another customer using our technical monitoring service but he doesn’t want  to use this service as he has different applications based on different technologies: SAP, JAVA, . Net etc.

Custom Development Management Cockpit (CDMC)

CDMC helps to manage and optimize the usage of custom development objects on the SAP ABAP stack.We used CDMC only twice in 2 years time during upgrades. Each time the analysis listed thousands of objects to go through to decide whether you remove them or you keep them: this is really time consuming. Besides our customer don’t find it user friendly. Thus we have to find a way to improve this service to have more customers using it.

Business Process Documentation

We spent most of our time developing our Business Process Documentation service. What we call Business Process Documentation in our service portfolio is a set of SAP Solution manger functionalities and concepts:

  • SODOCA
  • BPCA
  • TBOM
  • CBTA

I like to use these acronyms; it makes me look like a technical specialist while as Service Delivery Manager I rely on the technical consultants and SAP mentor of my team to set up the scenarios. Nevertheless I can give you the high level principles behind these acronyms:

  • SODOCA: SOlution DOCument Assistant it checks whether the business process structure you define is correct by identifying the omitted or the unused transactions.
  • BPCA: the Business Process Change Analyzer allows you to check the impact of your changes on the documented business processes. Then the Test Scope Optimization permits you to identify the most impacted businesses on which you should focus your tests. Later on we will use this functionality in combination with CHARM (ChAnge and Release Management).

  • TBOM: Technical Bills Of Material. TBOM’s (Technical Bills Of Material) are used by other functionality in SAP Solution Manager such as BPCA (Business Process Change Analyzer). The generation of TBOM’s is part of business process documentation.

  • CBTA : Component-Based Test Automation: record and play back test scripts approach without additional licenses fees.

We succeed to have a recurrent scenario on monthly release:

  • Identify the most impacted business processes by the changes (transport requests) with BPCA
  • Identify the business processes to test to cover 100% of test coverage with Test Scope Optimization

In the coming months we would like to use CBTA to execute the test scenarios related to the identified business processed via BPCA/Test Scope Optimization scenario. In this way we will be able to propose an end to end change process.We would like also to use CBTA to generate automatically the TBOMs (Technical Bills Of Material) to review our business process structure.

ChAnge and Release Management (CHARM)

We set up recently CHARM service but it not yet used in production. A SAP Solution Manager consultant was surprised that we didn’t start with CHARM implementation. In an IT organization where there are already standards defined you have to give solid arguments to introduce another tool that has the same functionalities than the existing tools. The real added value of CHARM that we highlight is the transport management for SAP changes. Indeed SAP changes are managed in one service management tool but the release managers use additional excel files to manage the SAP transport requests. With CHARM the end to end change management process is supported by one tool with the possibilities of using transport of copies . Like for the incident management part the only customers willing to use CHARM are the ones who deal with applications based only on SAP technology. I am wondering is there any company using CHARM to follow their non-SAP changes: if a reader is in this case I am eager to listen or read his/her story.

To conclude I believe that the real added value that SAP Solution Manager can bring to SAP operations is not sufficiently known. The fact that you have to implement a lot of OSS notes (at least in our case) to have one scenario working properly doesn’t encourage a wider usage of the SAP Solution Manager functionalities.

From the exchanges I have so far with people using SAP Solution Manager they use mostly CHARM and Project Management functionalities. I haven’t met anybody using BPCA/Test Scope Optimization or SODOCA and I met only one team who started using CBTA.

I am also wondering what is the real priority that SAP is giving to SAP Solution manager improvement now and for the coming years. This improvement can be done via a better communication about SAP Solution Manager capacities that are really underestimated.

Unfortunately, they are still lots of people out there with preconceived ideas about SAP Solution Manager based on the earlier releases of Solution  Manager (pre 7.1).People have to be aware that there is a huge gap between the version 7.0 and 7.1 and I hope with the version 7.2 planned  for the beginning of 2016 there will be more customers using SAP Solution Manager for the continuous improvement of their IT operations.

I am attending the SAP TECHED in Berlin November 11th-13th I hope meet out there a lot of solmaners:

EXP17550 Sharing an SAP Solution Manager 7.1 Implementation Experience Networking Session (30min)    Thu 2014/11/13 14:30 – 15:00Expert Lounge EL 2.1, Hall 2.2

I can’t finalize this article without paying tribute to SAP passionate Tom Cenens who is also a SAP mentor. In a team all team players are important as each of them brings his added value. We are all convinced that Tom is part of those people who motivate and help people to grow by sharing their passion and knowledge with respect and humility.

To report this post you need to login first.

10 Comments

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

  1. Tom Cenens

    Hi Theressa

    Thanks for sharing and thanks so much for the kind words 😳 .

    I’m grateful for the opportunity you offered me two years ago to become part of the SAP Solution Manager team and as you know I very much enjoy working together.

    A big part of the expert networking session at SAP TechED && Dcode will be based on our experience with SAP Solution Manager so I definitely advise SAP TechED && Dcode attendees to come check out the presentation and network with the both of us.

    Keep going strong!

    Best regards

    Tom

    (0) 
  2. Tammy Powlas

    Hi Theresa – nice blog!

    We use Incident Management a great deal.

    I like the transport of copies feature in ChaRM too. 

    Thank you for sharing.

    Tammy

    (0) 
  3. Raquel Pereira da Cunha

    Hi Theressa,

    Nice to see you blogging here! It was a pleasure for me to meet you in person at TechEd and have you attending my Expert Networking session last year. I will have one this year about ChaRM again, would love to discuss with you the challenges you had and the benefits you have already realized. But I will also attend the session EXP17550, so we can meet there.

    First of all I can say you had a great person working with you. I am sure Tom Cenens has added a lot of value in terms of knowledge and passion.

    I can’t agree more about the gap between 7.0 and 7.1, and that the benefits are not well known. I wrote a blog some time ago about the changes I was starting to see after 7.1 was released. At that moment there were few 7.1 installations. Now there are more than 10000 productive systems. But there are still many people not aware of its great capabilities.

    I have a question regarding the Incident Management part. You said:

    the support messages are created from SAP satellite systems but registered automatically in a separate service management tool thanks to SAP Solution Manager

    Do you use Solution Manager interfaced to a separated Service Management tool only to receive from the managed SAP systems and create them in the other tool? Do you maintain anything in the incidents created in SolMan after that? Does SolMan receive something back from the SM tool? Where do you take the reports from?

    Regarding the use of ChaRM for non-SAP, I have a customer who is using it daily, and one that use it not very often. In the first case, all changes are recorded in ChaRM, no matter if they are SAP or non-SAP. The general change transaction type was used as a base for the Z transaction types that I created (but some status and actions were customized and some BADIs were developed). There are cases where the change starts as a scope of a Request for Change, but also cases where they don’t need RfC (different types of change). Of course, as they are non-SAP related, there is no connection with transport management, so the “Send to test” and “Send to Prod” is just a manual status set by the responsible when the change is deployed. But they keep the same change management processes for all changes. It’s working very well.

    There are also customers using ITSM for the whole IT, with a Help Desk team working as 1st level processors in SolMan. I think the more customers learn about the power of SolMan and the advantages compared to other ITSM tools, the more they decide to use it.

    Best regards and see you in Berlin,

    Raquel

    (0) 
    1. Theresa Seck Post author

      Thank you Raquel for your interest and your interesting feedback.

      You are the first person informing me about the usage of CHARM for non SAP changes!

      It would be really a pleasure to see you again in Berlin.

      Please find hereunder my input regarding your questions:

      Do you use Solution Manager interfaced to a separated Service Management tool only to receive from the managed SAP systems and create them in the other tool?

      Yes, the other tool is the master. When promoting SOLMAN we arrive often at the moment that a couple of tools are already in use for a while.So it is difficult to change people way of working specially when they have to spend some money to use the new tool 🙂

      Do you maintain anything in the incidents created in SolMan after that?

      No, the incident follows its lifcyle in the other tool

      Does SolMan receive something back from the SM tool?

      No not for the incident management part, but it is planned for the CHARM part (implementation of the interface between SOLMAN and the SM tool not yet finalized)

      Where do you take the reports from?

      In the other tool considered as the master. In this tool you can identified the incidents created via SAP Solution Manager

      (0) 

Leave a Reply