By Davin Wilfrid, insiderRESEARCH
One would think that HANA and BI 4.0 would own the conversation at Reporting & Analytics 2011, but several conversations I've had with consultants and customers have circled back to something decidedly less sexy -- the long-awaited rise of SAP Solution Manager.
SAP released version 7.1 of Solution Manager in August, and the updated version includes new features that convince some insiders that it may finally catch on in the enterprise.
Firstly, SAP has updated the UI to make the user experience less daunting. One consultant I talked to said this enhancement was the most important thing SAP has done to encourage adoption. When I asked him if the enhancements were enough to encourage adoption on the business side, however, he grimaced. Baby steps, I suppose.
The next hurdle was to make Solution Manager capable of managing applications outside of SAP. Most SAP companies boast diverse landscapes and wouldn't be likely to adopt a help desk tool that only supports SAP. Version 7.1 includes the ability to support multiple applicatoins from a central location.
Of course, there are till several challenges that stand in the way of increased adoption. For one thing, despite the wide range of functions -- including non-technical ones -- that can be managed within Solution Manager, it is still primarily viewed as an IT tool, limiting its reach within most organizations.
Mobile device and application management is another area that complicates the adoption curve. The current version of Solution Manager was not originally designed to manage these types of tools, so centralizing those functions within Solution Manager is tricky. SAP sells Afaria from the Sybase portfolio to help customers manage mobile devices.