By Tim Steuer, Vice President of Application Lifecycle Management, SAP
Now that more and more companies are using the cloud as a reliable path to growth, it’s easy to leave behind everything that was associated with traditional, on-premise deployments. The more mature and intelligent the solutions become, the easier it is to take advantage of cloud capabilities to create a launchpad for a new dimension of competitiveness.
But it is also important to remember that we are only scratching the surface of the cloud’s vast potential for fast, flexible, and freeing innovation. And for this reason, businesses need to reconsider one item in the on-premise arsenal to extract the full value of the creation and implementation of every new on-premise, cloud, and hybrid solution – application lifecycle management (ALM).
Navigating cloud innovation to deliver business growth
ALM has been long-associated with on-premise deployments, especially for those with highly specialized tools and customized landscapes. This approach allowed businesses to build, test, deploy, go live, and run new end-to-end business processes and applications with a central platform and to realize value based on measurable, strategic expectations for productive use.
For business leadership, ALM has given the insight necessary to know whether the delivered solutions are the ones that employees not only need, but also are willing and able to adopt. But as businesses move to the cloud, there’s a growing misperception that ALM is no longer their responsibility.
Now that their physical infrastructure hidden in the back of the IT office is no longer required, many businesses view ALM as a service solely owned by the cloud provider. This line of thinking may be correct in some cases; however, it is becoming clear that companies need a guided, content-driven implementation experience for successful adoption of cloud solutions. While cloud providers eliminate the need for system management and technical operations, customers still need to manage integrations between applications and the resolution of business exceptions in the cloud.
Like those using on-premise environments, cloud-enabled businesses must determine if additional steps in a business process or automation algorithm are required to achieve expected, as well as predictable, outcomes. Exceptions still need to be checked and verified as a one-off issue, not an emerging new trend. Plus, data sources and their assets should be evaluated for relevance and hidden opportunities for new insights. Customers will clearly benefit from these value-add capabilities.
Embracing ALM in the cloud
Most on-premise centric customers have used on-premise ALM offerings, so far. But with more and more business applications moving into the cloud, why not providing an ALM platform there as well?
The advantage of this approach is not only the fast and easy deployment of ALM in the cloud. Following the cloud principles, a new ALM platform can introduce a new kind of ALM: providing standardized processes instead of forcing every company to set up their processes individually. This has a significant impact on reducing total cost of implementation and operations.
There are two ALM options available now. Customers need to consider the cloud strategy for their applications to derive the cloud strategy for ALM. Both moves needs to be carefully prepared and executed.
At this year’s SAPPHIRE NOW conference, the SAP Digital Business Services organization has created a range of ask-the-expert sessions and interactive discussions that allow attendees to learn from customer cases and assess best practices. Also, we have arranged a hands-on experience that allows you to explore the benefits of our ALM offerings: SAP Solution Manager and SAP Cloud ALM.
I hope you come visit us at the Services and Support Pavilion, located near the Central Showcase, to engage with peers and SAP experts and discover a cloud-driven path to ALM that inspires long-term business growth.