Update: ALM for SAP S/4HANA Cloud – What’s New?
Thinking about using SAP Cloud ALM or SAP Solution Manager for SAP S/4HANA today: Many enhancements happened after publishing my blog series ALM for SAP S/4HANA Cloud – SAP Cloud ALM or SAP Solution Manager? in May. Roughly 100 improvements have been delivered in support package 15 of SAP Solution Manager including support package 10 of Focused Build and Focused Insights. And spectacular 700 new features and improvements became available for SAP Cloud ALM since then.
Many of these enhancements impact the answer of which Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) solution is best for you. Therefore, let me update the original blog series with this post as supplement. But instead of just comparing the number of changes, it is more important to investigate how these enhancements affect your decision on which ALM platform to use for SAP S/4HANA Cloud. I will only discuss significant changes that are relevant from this point of view.
In my opinion, the most impressive improvements of SAP Cloud ALM have been made in Process Management. In May, there have been SAP Best Practices process models only for SAP S/4HANA Cloud, public edition and for SAP Intelligent Enterprise Suite. Customers using SAP S/4HANA Cloud, private edition, or SAP S/4HANA on premise did not have dedicated content for their solution. They had to use either the existing content not envisioned for their solution or to create new models via Process Authoring.
Today, SAP Cloud ALM provides additional SAP Best Practices content for
- SAP S/4HANA on-premise (also for SAP S/4HANA Cloud, private edition)
- SAP S/4HANA Cloud for public sector
- SAP S/4HANA Cloud for Two-Tier ERP.
Another substantial progress in Process Management is the possibility to edit SAP Best Practice process models. Now, you can create a copy of a Best Practice process model and adapt it to your needs via Process Authoring. This makes the documentation of adapted process flows much more convenient.
Regarding solution documentation: The Notes to be assigned to business processes or business process steps have been enhanced as well. It is possible now to include links to external documents (called Reference). SAP Cloud ALM does not include its own document management system. But if you store your documents in an external knowledge management system (like SharePoint, Google Docs, …) with a stable URL, you can link to them as Reference in SAP Cloud ALM.
Tags are another nice new feature of Notes. You can define your own Tags and assign them to Notes. When you have multiple Notes in your project, tagging helps to find the one you are looking for. Just use tags as filter in the list of Notes to focus on notes of a specific type only. By the way, tagging is possible for other objects in SAP Cloud ALM as well, like tasks, requirements, test cases, and defects.
The Scope is an important object in Process Management. It is a container for solution processes and variants that should be managed collectively. For example, if You already had a presales discussion with SAP and documented the results in the Digital Discovery and Assessment (DDA) tool, you can now upload the results from the DDA spreadsheet into SAP Cloud ALM. This helps to accelerate the process start
Task and Requirement Management
Regarding Task and Requirement Management, let me mention the availability of new SAP Activate task templates first. The number of available templates has almost doubled since May. Five of the seven new ones are related to SAP S/4HANA. You have more choice in selecting the project methodology that fits your needs. There are templates available now for different SAP S/4HANA editions and use cases (implementation, upgrade, system conversion).
You can add your own tasks in addition to the SAP Activate tasks. The new possibility to down- and up-load task lists allows you to define a set of tasks and re-use it in multiple projects. This is particularly useful for larger companies running multiple similar projects (e.g., for individual subsidiaries) or for system integrators serving multiple customers with their own methodology.
Smaller customers benefit from downloading/uploading tasks (and other objects) as well. Mass editing is another use case of this feature.
In Requirement Management, the biggest improvement for me is the introduction of Approval status and Requirement Status as attributes. This helps to find out: Which Requirements still need approvals? What is the realization status of a Requirement? Who has changed the status or set it to ‘approved’? This level of traceability is sufficient for many customers already.
In the area of Test Management, I want to highlight two enhancements. Let me discuss the tag management for test cases first. I have mentioned tags already earlier in this blog post. But let me get a bit more concrete here.
Assigning tags to test cases enables you to group related test cases into kind of test plans or test packages. This eases the handling of test cases. And you can use tags to differentiate between different test types. This helps to find the test cases relevant for specific tests.
Defects for documenting failed test cases and their resolution have been available in SAP Cloud ALM already in May. Today, Test Execution and Defect Management are much better integrated. You can create Defects directly from Test Execution now instead of starting the Defect Management app separately. This is a significant usability improvement.
A real time saver is the import of test scripts from the SAP S/4HANA Cloud best practice content mentioned above into SAP Cloud ALM.
Technical Change Control
Let’s switch to Technical Change Control now. There have been big improvements in this area as well. Regarding the deployment of transports in the system landscape, SAP Cloud ALM allows better orchestration of multiple related transports now. And it is possible to deploy transports into different parallel systems at once.
In Release Management, I must mention a change of terminology first. In my blog from May, I used the terms ‘Release Version’ and ‘Release’. To align with common language, this has been adapted to ‘Release’ and ‘Deployment Plan’. A Release is a timebox that helps to manage Deployments. The Deployment Plan is the grouping of Releases for system groups. With this, you coordinate the deployments across projects and systems. Each Project can be assigned to one Deployment Plan only.
Besides the terminology change, a new app in SAP Cloud ALM provides a better overview of Release Management. Seeing Release and Sprint time boxes together in one Gantt chart eases scheduling. And you can control the readiness of a release regarding included Features, Requirements, User Stories, and Defects.
Application and Business Process Operations
There are many enhancements in SAP Cloud ALM for Operations as well. New KPIs in the different use cases, more supported solutions, various usability improvements … Let me highlight just three significant improvements:
In User Monitoring, you can use now Synthetic User Monitoring besides Real User Monitoring. Synthetic User Monitoring offers faster discovery and analysis of performance and availability issues. You can resolve issues even before end users are affected. Real User Monitoring helps IT users and Business users to understand how often applications are executed and what the response times are for the end-users.
Synthetic User Monitoring in SAP Cloud ALM is similar to User Experience Monitoring in SAP Solution Manager. However, the monitoring scripts differ. SAP Solution Manager uses an own recorder and editor for simulating HTTP and SAPGUI scripts. In SAP Cloud ALM, the application usage is simulated by Selenium IDE scripts. Selenium is open source based and allows simulation of end-user activities for dedicated frontends such as Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge instead of simulating HTTP or SAPGUI requests.
In May, Health Monitoring in SAP Cloud ALM has not supported SAP S/4HANA Cloud, public edition. Meanwhile, SAP S/4HANA Cloud, public edition customers can benefit from Health Monitoring as well.
And the third improvement to be mentioned here is the possibility to create tickets in an external ticketing system for monitoring events detected via SAP Cloud ALM. Compared to SAP Solution Manager, this is particularly relevant because SAP Cloud ALM does not include its own service desk. Currently, this is supported for ServiceNow only. But a generic integration of other service desks is on the SAP Cloud ALM product road map.
SAP Solution Manager
Much news for SAP Cloud ALM throughout half-a-year. But what about SAP Solution Manager? There has been one support package delivered for SAP Solution Manager 7.2 and for the add-ons Focused Build/Focused Insights. Input for these enhancements came from the SAP Customer Connection program. This is a channel to address improvement requests related to SAP products and solutions. Therefore, the focus was more on improving usability and exiting functionality than on adding new functionality. Let me mention a few examples.
- In Technical Change Control of SAP Solution Manager, creating Transport of Copies only for new subtasks of transport requests improved import performance and processing time for the normal change workflow.
- The new Test Suite Dashboard in Focused Build gives test managers new options for improved analysis of test management data from different perspectives.
- The new Fiori-based table display of the Mass Change Application improves usability via a more flexible screen layout.
- You can enhance the Tactical Dashboard of Focused Insights by integrating queries from OCC (Operations Control Center) dashboards.
Many enhancements happened for SAP Cloud ALM and SAP Solution Manager during the last six months. Especially the progress of SAP Cloud ALM is quite fast. High relevance for SAP S/4HANA Cloud have the additional implementation content, and the enhancements in Process Management, Task and Requirement Management, Test Management, and Technical Change Control. And SAP Cloud ALM for Operations provides interesting new capabilities like Synthetic User Monitoring or Health Monitoring for SAP S/4HANA Cloud, public edition.
If you think about which ALM solution fits better for your SAP S/4HANA project: Do not rely on my blog series from May 2022 only. Take the content of this blog post into account as well. Many previous limitations of SAP Cloud ALM have vanished.
And don’t forget: You can run SAP Cloud ALM and SAP Solution Manager in parallel. There is the possibility to use SAP Solution Manager for implementation and SAP Cloud ALM for operations and service delivery.
Take the opportunity to learn about new features via the links in this blog post.
If you haven’t decided yet: Rethink which ALM solution fits better to your business needs in the future.
If you have any comments, please feel free to add them below. I am happy about any feedback.
And stay tuned. I am sure there will be more new features to write about in the future.