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)
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.
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:
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.