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Author's profile photo Sharath Shasheendran

BLOG SERIES | PARTNERS AND SAP CLOUD ALM | PART I: INTRO

Partners play a very pivotal role in implementation of SAP applications at various customers. SAP Cloud ALM primarily caters to the customers’ need to manage implementation while onboarding partners. Based on various partner ecosystem feedback; we understand that partners will have very specific needs to manage the delivery. Keeping this in mind our vision looks at the various activities that would be executed with the various tools in play. SAP for Me will be the interface for the customer to the SAP world. A flavor of SAP for Me would be made available in the future (as per current plan) to the partners as well. This would thus hold information around the applications that the customer has decided to consume or consuming in the Intelligent Suite. The tool that will orchestrate and anchor the Implementation and Operations will be SAP Cloud ALM. SAP Cloud ALM will interface with SAP for Me, managing scoping, supporting build with configuration and integrations, allowing possibilities for extensions and finally managing testing of the application before it can be deployed for consumption.

SAP%20Cloud%20ALM%20opportunities%20for%20partners

SAP Cloud ALM opportunities for partners

Partners usually have their own methodology, content and accelerators and it is imperative that they leverage them in the implementation for their customers. The partner delivery infrastructure should thus have the capability to interface with SAP Cloud ALM to leverage these assets and support implementations. Typically partners leverage SAP best practices, but there are cases where they would like to use their own methodology or add on top of SAP’s methodology. This is where, SAP Cloud ALM has already started the journey to import content either through an excel import of manual tasks or an API driven approach; SAP Cloud ALM already has APIs for Tasks. Another key aspect is the processes delivered by SAP and on top of that partners would like to bring their own content. Thus, Authoring Capability is one of the key needs. We could start with simple prototypes like XML import of the partner content into the customers SAP Cloud AM instance (from the backend). There may be need for integrations that partners would like to leverage for deploying extensions and add-ons to the customer landscape which can be leveraged potentially with APIs to start with or any adapters that partners themselves can build in the future. Open API for Process import is work in progress and should be available soon. Integration to 3rd party solutions for various phases of implementation should then be made possible in this delivery infrastructure. Typically, these could be in areas of Testing, Deployment Solutions, Incident Management etc. (proprietary or otherwise). Apart from these capabilities, cross customer and project reporting is pivotal and this would be a minimum need. We could leverage the data lake and AI / ML mechanisms for reporting and analytics along with niche capabilities like predictive / intelligent project delivery and management in the future. This brings to the customer, the ability to slice and dice information on Implementation and Operations, to the partner the ability to manage different deliveries and operations and finally to SAP to get the big picture of quality and standardisation across the footprint.

This summarises our understanding of the partner-specific needs based on multiple interactions with the partner fraternity in the form of formal design thinking (DT) workshops and informal discussions we have had. We will calibrate the requirements further and then provide a set of scenarios that would cater to partner-specific needs, over the course of next years. We could potentially create mockups and prototypes in these spaces and will engage partners to validate these potential solutions before embarking on capabilities that will satisfy the market needs from the partner ecosystem. Our aim is to ensure that our partners can deliver better while ensuring that they are able to showcase individual differentiators.

Application Lifecycle Management Tool for Partners

An Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) tool is essential for implementation partners to cover the project history, requirements, progress, testing, and reporting end to end. Having a tool that not only covers project documentation but also having seamless integration with test capabilities, transport, and deployment allow project members in separate functional and technical areas to work and collaborate within one environment and essentially keeping one true source of project and solution information.

SAP offers SAP Cloud ALM to help drive customer success through the provision of application lifecycle management functionalities. SAP Cloud ALM brings best practices, processes, and methodologies for implementing SAP cloud products.

Typically, partners may already utilize own or 3rd party tools for implementing customers solutions. This includes adoption of own methodologies, best practices, services, and processes. Hence, this scenario should be considered with further development of SAP Cloud ALM with respect to providing capabilities where partner-own components could be imported or uploaded. Through sessions conducted with certain partners, some facilities, features, or functionalities have been noted as critical or important in both Implementation and Operation phases. The crux of the requirements from Partners for Enablement in Delivery with SAP Cloud ALM is on how they could showcase their differentiators on top of SAP best practices, processes and methodologies. While bringing this on, partners are also interested in easing delivery with powerful cross region, project and customer reporting. Add to this the capability of artificial intelligence and machine learning to leverage the data and provide insightful predictive recommendations. Some of these features are already available or on the anvil to be developed. We are also seeing a huge appetite for consumption of APIs by the partner ecosystem to integrate or extend SAP Cloud ALM. This is a great opportunity and partners could end up creating solutions and sell them via the SAP Store as well. We have already seen examples of this coming through. Do check out the ALM summit videos and sessions to see further information.

Summary

SAP Cloud ALM is our application lifecycle management offering for cloud-centric customers. It provides extensive implementation and operations capabilities for cloud solutions. SAP Cloud ALM is included in your cloud subscription with SAP Enterprise Support, cloud editions. We have also connected SAP Cloud ALM to SAP S/4HANA on premise and SAP Business Suite. Like hybrid customer and cloud only customers, on premise customers with SAP Enterprise Support or PSLE can request SAP Cloud ALM via the Support Launchpad since August 2021. We would like to invite our customers and partners to understand and leverage the benefits of SAP Cloud ALM.

For more details on SAP Cloud ALM please refer to the following.

As a partner, positioning ALM value proposition and fostering usage becomes very important. Service partners play an integral part of augmenting their world-class expertise to help customers through advisory, business transformation, implementation and application maintenance services. Usage of ALM as a standard for orchestrating end to end implementation & post go live operations of SAP applications is of paramount importance. ALM solutions play a pivotal role in these scenarios and partners endorse, embed and extend our application lifecycle management for our joint customer scenarios.

As a partner, you can get access to SAP Cloud ALM of your individual customers once your customer has invited your experts to their SAP Cloud ALM solution.

A partner with existing T&D licence of a cloud application (includes the Enterprise Support, cloud editions), could also have the entitlement for fair usage of SAP Cloud ALM for test and demo purposes.

This blog series will continue with more information focused on partners. Watch out for this space.

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