ALM for SAP S/4HANA Cloud – Which Solution Fits to Your Landscape?
Are you in discussions if SAP Cloud ALM or SAP Solution Manager is the better ALM offering for your SAP S/4HANA Cloud solution? Then this blog post will be beneficial for you. I want to share some thoughts about how your solution landscape influences your selection of the right Application Lifecycle Management offering from SAP.
This post is part of a series of blog posts regarding ALM for SAP S/4HANA Cloud. I have mentioned it briefly in the introductory post of this series already: Your solution landscape has an impact on which ALM solution fits best. Today I want to drill down a bit on this. How does your solution landscape influence your selection between SAP Cloud ALM and SAP Solution Manager?
What is your Cloud Strategy?
SAP Cloud ALM and SAP Solution Manager have been built to support different IT strategies. Let’s start from the beginning: When the development of SAP Solution Manager began more than 20 years ago, there was no cloud in IT. The focus of SAP Solution Manager was to support customers managing their on-premise SAP solutions. Meanwhile, SAP Solution Manager supports cloud solutions as well. But it is still software to be deployed in an on-premise data center (or hosted by a hosting partner or hyperscaler). We at SAP say that SAP Solution Manager focuses on on-premise centric customers.
The development of SAP Cloud ALM started while the number of SAP cloud solutions increased. Customers subscribing for these solutions do not need to care about the technical systems and infrastructure. This is done by the cloud provider (SAP). But cloud customers still need to care about managing the application lifecycle: Configuring the business applications, testing the setup, monitoring for business-related incidents, etc…. SAP Cloud ALM aims to support customers on doing so without the need of deploying an on-premise ALM solution. The focus of SAP Cloud ALM is on cloud-centric customers.
Where are you? Probably, you are like most SAP customers: Neither 100% cloud nor 100% on-premise. Having a hybrid solution landscape, the question would be: Do you have more on-premise or more cloud solutions from SAP? And your decision whether to use SAP Cloud ALM or SAP Solution Manager is relevant not only for today. What is your IT strategy? Do you plan to move more into the cloud in the future?
Build your ALM single source of truth
One of your goals is finding required information easily, for sure. For this, you should strive for a single source of ALM truth instead of looking at multiple distributed places. Both SAP Solution Manager and SAP Cloud ALM follow this approach. And it is easy to do so if you are using your public SAP S/4HANA Cloud or SAP S/4HANA Cloud, Private Edition solution just stand-alone.
If you want to integrate your SAP S/4HANA Cloud solution with other applications or services, you need to check if they are supported as well. And here it makes sense to take separate views on the implementation and operations side.
The operations perspective is more technical. When you ask, “Is application xxx supported by ALM tool yyy?”, you are looking for a digital yes/no answer. You will find the answer in the corresponding list:
- For SAP Solution Manager, look for details regarding supported solutions in the different capability sections of the SAP Solution Manager 7.2 Application Operations – Expert Portal. If you have private or public cloud solutions in your landscape, take a special look at the sections regarding HANA Enterprise Cloud Operations (for private cloud) and Public Cloud Operations
- For SAP Cloud ALM, investigate the list of supported solutions in SAP Help Portal. You can filter the list by SAP Solution, SAP Cloud ALM Area, and SAP Cloud ALM Capability to find out which SAP Cloud ALM capabilities are available for which SAP Solution (see screen shot).
There are some on-premise solutions that cannot be supported by SAP Cloud ALM for operations (yet). These are e.g., systems running on non-HANA databases, on SAP NetWeaver AS Java, from SAP Business Objects, or the SAP PO/PI solution. If you have such systems in your landscape and you want to use a single operations platform for all your SAP components, then SAP Solution Manager will be your choice. The good news is that these systems normally have a maintenance contract that entitles you to use SAP Solution Manager without subscribing to it from SAP Enterprise Cloud Services.
Some customers must follow local data protection and privacy laws (e.g. EU-Access) as well as special security rules (e.g. NSL). If this applies for you, you must ensure that your ALM solution fulfils the requirements. Regarding the on-premise SAP Solution Manager, this is possible for almost all rules. However, SAP Cloud ALM is not provided in datacenters of all hyperscalers in all regions yet. And EU access is not available as of today.
From the implementation perspective, the question should not be “Is application xxx supported by ALM tool yyy?”. It should be “How well is application xxx supported by ALM tool yyy?”. Most implementation capabilities offer at least some generic functionality that can be used for implementing any application. Plus, there are features and content available tailored for some applications on top. I will drill down on this for the different capabilities in future blog posts planned for this ALM for SAP S/4HANA Cloud series.
Split the single source of truth
Even if it is the ideal world: You are not forced to have a single source of truth. There can be good reasons for using both SAP Cloud ALM and SAP Solution Manager in parallel. Maybe for some scenarios the one solution is better for you, and for other scenarios the other. But there is no integration between the platforms.
If you need splitting, where? Avoid cutting dependencies between the different capabilities. For example: Requirements are attached to business process, decomposed into user stories and project tasks, and tested via assigned test cases. Operations capabilities use the same alerting framework. From this point of view, it is probably best to split between implementation and operations. But this depends on exactly which capabilities you plan to use for which applications.
You are using SAP Solution Manager already today and plan to switch to SAP Cloud ALM in the future? Then a phased approach might be reasonable as well. You can start using SAP Cloud ALM for operations while continuing your implementation and change projects with SAP Solution Manager. Or you start using SAP Cloud ALM for a new implementation project while operating your existing landscape as before and do the transition later. However, I will not discuss the transition from SAP Solution Manager to SAP Cloud ALM in this blog series.
I hope my thoughts have helped you get more clarity on whether SAP Cloud ALM or SAP Solution Manager fits better for your IT landscape. Key aspects are:
- Does your ALM solution fit with your IT strategy?
- Which other systems are included in your IT landscape?
- Is it important for you to have all ALM information available at one single source? Or would it be OK if you split them into multiple places?
- If regulations apply to you, can they be fulfilled?
Your solution landscape is not the only aspect relevant for your decision which ALM solution fits best for you. I plan to write more blog posts on this. But this may be time to start building your decision table now and to enter your pros and cons.
|SAP Cloud ALM||SAP Solution Manager|
|Does it fit our IT strategy?|
|Are the systems in our landscape supported?|
|Do we need a single source of truth?|
|Are existing regulations supported?|
Feel free to add your comments or questions below! I will be happy to start a discussion with you.