That has been a fantastic week! I joined the SAP Solution Manager Education Summit (SolEd)in Heidelberg, Germany. There I met more than 400 friends interested in application lifecycle management – SAP customers, partners, and many SAP employees. What a great networking opportunity!
But the event was not just a networking party. More than 60 content sessions explained the latest enhancements of the SAP application lifecycle management (ALM) offerings. For those of you who did not participate, let me summarize the key messages:
ALM is ready for the future
SolEd started on Tuesday with key notes of Andreas Heckmann, Marc Thier, and Wieland Schreiner. Three SAP executives on stage highlighted the importance of ALM to SAP’s future. ALM is important for SAP’s strategy: Customers get support on their way to digitization and to becoming intelligent enterprises. Great tools, support, and services drive customer success. SAP provides a huge ALM portfolio: SAP Solution Manager, SAP Cloud ALM, Focused Build, Focused Insights, and Focused Run.
SAP Solution Manager is number 1
Talking to participants at the event, SAP Solution Manager is the most common ALM tool out of the ALM portfolio. It is used both for implementation and operations of on-premise and hybrid solutions. Even though it is mature, SAP continues investing in SAP Solution Manager. The latest support package of SAP Solution Manager 7.2 has just been released. We have seen many of the new improvements at the event.
Most of the improvements are results of the SAP Customer Connection program 2019. Customers have collected and rated almost 200 improvement requests in the 2019 program. The development team was able to realize most of the high-rated requests. And SAP stated that they will continue the customer engagement initiative in 2020. In addition, SAP plans to provide even more content updates for implementation and operations of on-premise and hybrid solutions.
Agile SAP S/4HANA implementation
Why is SAP Solution Manager so important for SAP? Many customers are currently implementing SAP S/4HANA or plan to do so soon. SAP provides valuable content for them, like SAP Activate methodologies, SAP Best Practices processes, or SAP Model Companies. But how to use this content? SAP Solution Manager brings it into your project. You can adapt the content to your requirements. You can control the status of project tasks. You can manage the project in an agile fashion. All this accelerates the transition to SAP S/4HANA. The value realization of SAP Solution Manager and Focused Build for SAP Solution Manager 7.2 has just started. Many customers will benefit from this.
Focused Build and Focused Insights will be available for all customers
Speaking of Focused Build: Both Focused Build and Focused Insights for SAP Solution Manager will be included in the usage rights of SAP Solution Manager, beginning next year. This means that you do not need to pay additional licenses if you want to use them in 2020 and beyond. You just need to deploy the add-on on your SAP Solution Manager 7.2. Then you can use the pre-configured functions of Focused Build for managing requirements and software development in agile innovation projects. And Focused Insights enables you to build and distribute powerful customer-specific dashboards in minutes, using state-of-the-art user experience.
SAP Cloud ALM is number 1 for cloud-centric customers
SAP Cloud ALM has been announced a year ago at SolEd 2018. Now, in 2019, the ALM solution for cloud-centric customers is a reality. The implementation portal for SAP S/4HANA Cloud enables cloud customers to implement SAP S/4HANA Cloud conveniently without the need to install an on-premise tool first. Comparing the implementation approach, you will immediately recognize that SAP Cloud ALM is not just SAP Solution Manager in the cloud, but a separate product.
This year, SAP has laid the technical foundation for SAP Cloud ALM. Now the development team plans to enhance both the functional scope and the product coverage. Some beta versions of new developments have already been demonstrated at the event. Great things to come! However, SAP clearly stated that SAP Cloud ALM is not a competitor or successor of SAP Solution Manager. Both are complementary solutions with different focus: SAP Solution Manager for on-premise customers; SAP Cloud ALM for cloud-centric customers.
Service providers and large customers use Focused Run for application operations
Focused Run delivers an operations platform which supports large landscapes (1000+ agents). And it provides advanced capabilities like AI-based system anomaly prediction, real user monitoring, alert aggregation, and monitoring of non-SAP components. This is the first choice for service providers and high-end customers, who like to work with SAP strategically to take operations to the next level. Focused Run is not included in the usage rights of SAP Solution Manager. It remains on SAP’s price list. If you do not have these requirements, SAP Solution Manager remains the application operations platform of choice for you.
ALM is closely related with SAP support and services
In the new cloud infrastructure for remote service delivery, services are processed centrally in SAP backbone, sending data through SAP Solution Manager, Focused Run, SAP Cloud ALM, and SAP for Me. SAP strives to speed up time to answers by leveraging modern technology and tools. Support automation reduces the effort of support interactions to improve the overall support experience. And the number of AI & ML support services is growing.
Choose your ALM solution according to the gravity of your solution landscape!
There are a lot of options. You might ask yourself: Which one is right for me? The answer is not so difficult: Look at your solution landscape. If you are on-premise centric, then choose SAP Solution Manager. If you are cloud-centric, then SAP Cloud ALM is good for you. If you have advanced operational needs, then take a look at Focused Run. And if you are somewhere in-between? Just make sure you work with the latest upgrades of your current solution. SAP does not recommend switching from an existing SAP Solution Manager to SAP Cloud ALM before 2022.