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Author's profile photo Cay Rademann

Support Service Delivery – SAP Cloud ALM or SAP Solution Manager?

Your SAP S/4HANA Cloud subscription includes support services. The way these services are delivered depends on the ALM solution you use: SAP Cloud ALM or SAP Solution Manager. In this blog post, I want to explain the main differences. This might be another aspect for your decision on which ALM solution is better for you. This blog post is part of my blog series ALM for SAP S/4HANA Cloud. 

The way SAP support services are delivered to you as a customer has changed over time.  

  • SAP Solution Manager has been used as delivery platform for SAP service already for many years. This includes self-services, which can be performed by yourself, and services delivered by SAP. SAP Solution Manager is located directly in your IT landscape. It can access your connected SAP applications directly to collect all data needed for a service. 
  • The modern service delivery approach is cloud-based. Applications accessible through the SAP ONE Support Launchpad or SAP for Me provide the required functionality.  

What is the impact of this change? For me, the biggest advantage of the new approach is that the service content is always up to date. In the past, it was necessary that you deploy the latest version of an SAP Solution Manager add-on to ensure the availability of the latest service content. The applications in the cloud are updated by SAP whenever necessary. You do not need to care about this. 

Another advantage of the new approach is that you can receive services from SAP without having an SAP Solution Manager deployed. This is especially important for customers that do not have any on-premise SAP solution deployed.  

If the tool for running services is in the cloud, how can it access your systems for doing the required analysis? There are three options: 

  • If you have an SAP Solution Manager deployed within your landscape, you can use it to send the data needed for service delivery to SAP. 
  • You can start the collection of the required data on the SAP application and upload it directly to the cloud application. 
  • For applications running in a private cloud environment, required data can be sent to SAP by the SAP Solution Manager or SAP Focused Run of the cloud provider. 

Let us look at examples for details. 

SAP EarlyWatch Alert 

SAP EarlyWatch Alert is probably the best-known SAP support service. The automatic diagnostic service is included in many SAP applications. It checks essential administrative areas of SAP components and keeps you up to date on their performance and stability. So, you can react to issues proactively, before they become critical.  

The collected data can be sent to both SAP Solution Manager and to SAP. SAP Solution Manager takes the data to generate classical EarlyWatch reports 

Reports created by the cloud-based SAP EarlyWatch Alert Workspace have more information:  

  • A landscape summary with the top systems by user and database size 
  • An alert list with aggregated and prioritized alerts, powered by the SAP Hana text search and solution finder 
  • Dashboards per systems to identify serious bottlenecks and critical long-term trends 
  • Predictive alerts powered by the SAP HANA Predictive Alert Library 
  • Security risks per landscape 

Many SAP Solution Manager customers use the SAP EarlyWatch Alert Workspace already today. 

Regarding SAP S/4HANA: SAP EarlyWatch Alerts are available for SAP S/4HANA and SAP S/4HANA Cloud, Private Edition only. Whether you choose SAP Solution Manager or SAP EarlyWatch Alert Workspace, there is no SAP EarlyWatch for public SAP S/4HANA Cloud yet. It is currently planned to be available later this year. 

Other Support Services 

In addition, SAP Solution Manager provides tools for other support services. They are used for the delivery of special support services. But you can use them as self-services on your own as well.  

Let me take one of them as an example: Data Volume Management (DVM). It checks the volume of data in your system landscape. Using the DVM work center in SAP Solution Manager, you can reduce the size of databases and the amount of data in your landscape, significantly lowering total operating costs. The work center is based on an SAP Business Information Warehouse (BW) system and provides an integrated, landscape-based view of your data. 

The future of such services is like the approach described earlier for the SAP EarlyWatch Alert: SAP provides the functionality as cloud services to become independent of special applications and software versions. For the example of DVM, there is an app in SAP ONE Support Launchpad to determine your data reduction potential. Please refer to the list of ALM Cloud Services to learn more about similar apps. 

Screenshot%3A%20Data%20Reduction%20Potential%20app%20in%20SAP%20ONE%20Support%20Launchpad

Due to the trend of providing tools for support (self-)services as cloud applications, corresponding functionality is not included in SAP Cloud ALM. Just use the available cloud services instead. 

Service Delivery Platform 

For premium support engagements like SAP MaxAttention and SAP ActiveAttention, SAP Solution Manager supports more services for risk minimization, optimization of SAP solutions, and more knowledge transfer. SAP support experts deliver these services while using SAP Engagement and Service Delivery in SAP Solution Manager as platform. Issues are created for your pain points to build corresponding action and service plans. You can track the status of the actions and services. And you have access to recommendations as well as related issues and tasks. All this accelerates the service delivery and provides more transparency. 

We have collected all the experience and learnings from SAP Solution Manager to design a new state-of-the-art delivery platform. The goal was to provide:  

  • A single place to consume service results in a structured way 
  • A central platform to manage all actions and followup activities 
  • Better visibility of follow-up activities 
  • Reduced effort for preparing a service delivery 

To achieve this and make service delivery more scalable, we have created a new collaboration platform for service delivery in SAP Cloud ALM. SAP Cloud ALM for service improves the delivery of services and standardizes the service results. SAP Cloud ALM consists of three major capabilities: 

  • Service Delivery Center: The central access point for all involved roles provides a shared view on past, current, and future services with one interactive user experience.  
  • Service Results: Digital versions of service reports provide more flexibility for the user to consume the service outcomes. 
  • Issues and Action Management: Create issues and actions as outcome of a service. You can track and control follow-up activities. 

Screenshot%3A%20Issues%20and%20Actions%20Overview%20in%20SAP%20Cloud%20ALM%20for%20Service

SAP Cloud ALM for Service works not only for SAP cloud customers but also for on-premise customers with a premium maintenance engagement. They can benefit from the improved service delivery as well.  

Conclusion 

Comparing the delivery of SAP support services via SAP Cloud ALM and SAP Solution Manager, SAP Cloud ALM offers the modern approach. So, if we get back to the original question: Which ALM solution supports service delivery better for SAP S/4HANA Cloud? My answer is clearly SAP Cloud ALM. And even if you prefer SAP Solution Manager due to any other perspective, you can use SAP Cloud ALM for the delivery of support services in parallel. 

So, you do not need to add anything to the decision table you have created while reading the other posts of my blog series? Unfortunately, this is not true. There are few customers with regulatory restrictions that prevent them from using support services delivered via the public cloud. You should at least add one question to the table. 

  • Are there any restrictions that prevent us from using support services delivered via the public cloud? 

Next Steps 

After reading this blog post, what’s next? 

  • Please feel free to share your opinion on the content or to ask open questions by adding a comment below.  
  • Browse other blog posts of the series ALM for SAP S/4HANA Cloud to explore other perspectives on the question: Which ALM solution is better for me? <Start of series>   <Previous blog>. 
  • Or follow the tags SAP Cloud ALM or SAP Solution Manager for related information. Thank you. 

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