SAP has announced the latest version of SAP Solution Manager with a planned Ramp-Up start date of mid-May. With SAP Solution Manager 7.1, SAP has focused on extending the benefit of SAP Solution Manager to a greater user base, responding to criticism that the solution is “for SAP only” and lacked integration with third-party tools. The new release provides one unified platform based on SAP CRM 7.0, covering all aspects of Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) and IT Service Management.
The improvements made to SAP Solution Manager come as part of the greater plan SAP has for its ALM roadmap. Provided by SAP Enterprise Support, SAP has simplified the use of SAP Solution Manager for the entire customer solution. SAP Solution Manager 7.1 is the prime factor in facilitating that move.
|For more information on SAP’s ALM roadmap, visit: https://service.sap.com/roadmap.|
A major concern SAP customers have voiced regarding SAP Solution Manager is that it only manages SAP components. SAP addresses that concern in the new release, allowing non-SAP components to be supported alongside SAP’s own in SAP Solution Manager 7.1 under SAP Enterprise Support. See the sidebar “SAP Enterprise Support” to learn more about the maintenance offering.
For example, medium-sized SAP Enterprise Support customers can use SAP Solution Manager as a general IT ticketing tool, without additional license fees. According to SAP, this is possible because the company has extended Service Desk usage rights to all third-party software components and IT assets that are used in connection with SAP business processes. If a customer uses, for example, mobile devices to enter orders, SAP CRM and SAP ERP to process them, a third-party database to save the data, and printers to print delivery notes, all of these components are part of the SAP customer solution covered by SAP Enterprise Support usage rights. Understanding these rights is critical to making informed decisions about your service desk strategy.
Customers now have the option to manage their SAP Enterprise Support defined customer solution with SAP Solution Manager, a tool required for all SAP customers anyway.
|If a customer has SAP Standard Support, their SAP Solution Manager usage rights include reactive support for SAP components only.|
For companies that wish stay with the investments they’ve already made in other solution management software, Solution Manager 7.1 provides options that integrate with alternative tool choices such as HP Quality Center and IBM Rational. The new release is planned to include integration with SAP Infrastructure Management as well.
The SAP Solution Manager user interface (UI) has been revamped in the new release, with improvements made to its screens to increase usability among SAP and non-SAP users alike. Also, role-specific UIs have been added, such as a UI for IT decision makers that contains information on KPIs, reports, and graphical navigation. A tailored E2E (enterprise to enterprise) Alert and Monitoring UI that allows for quick drill-down into the technical causes of business process-related warnings has been created for Basis administrators (Figure 1), while IT support staff can personalize Service Desk UIs to report information on their specific area of responsibility (Figure 2).
|Figure 1||An E2E Alerting and Monitoring screen specific to Basis administrators|
|Figure 2||A Service Desk screen specific to a staff member’s area of responsibility|
The improvements made to SAP Solution Manager highlight SAP’s ALM roadmap, which the company says is moving toward an “ERP for IT” viewpoint. Along the way, SAP is focusing on solution implementation, test management, change control management, incident management, technical operations, and business process management (Figure 3).
|Figure 3||SAP’s ALM roadmap|
SAP Solution Manager 7.1 addresses those six areas as follows:
- Solution implementation: To create a central platform for all activities and intuitive workflows, the new release includes IBIS content integration and new business set rules, data sources, and service portfolio.
- Test management: To ease test efforts and increase forecasting and risk-based test strategy, test automation tools within SAP Solution Manager, as well as integration with tools such as IBM Rational, have been added.
- Change control management: To support change management and central software logistics, the new version contains Quality Gate Management, Change Request Management, and Change and Transport System tools to help organize change control and transports.
- Incident management: To professionally and centrally manage incidents and industry standards, SAP Solution Manager 7.1 is integrated with SAP CRM’s IT Service Management to reduce application clutter by combining all shared service centers under one application. Added integration with SAP Business Suite, non-SAP software including other help desk options, and computer telephony systems allows for significant incident coverage.
- Technical operations: To fill additional monitoring, alerting, and industry-specific automation and reporting needs, a unified alert inbox, scenario-based monitoring, metric monitoring and reporting, and system, database management system, and host monitoring tools are included.
- Business process management: To improve the operation and performance of business process, the monitoring of non-SAP software and monitoring templates and benchmarks have been added to stabilize, improve, and optimize the IT structure.
The company says the new strategy allows customers to reuse skills and investments in SAP by managing IT processes using best practices from SAP to accomplish key CIO objectives of business process improvement, accelerated innovation, and the ability to run SAP like a factory.
|Following the success of the first and second editions of the book SAP Solution Manager from SAP PRESS, a completely revised third edition will be released in the fall of 2011. Managing SAP and non-SAP applications throughout the entire life cycle of a solution, with increasingly more complex solution landscapes, presents constant challenges for SAP customers. Such landscapes can only be managed and maintained holistically. The third edition of book will present the new version of the SAP Solution Manager, version 7.1, as the standard platform for holistic Application Lifecycle Management.|
|SAP Enterprise Support|
|SAP Enterprise Support is an alternative to SAP Standard Support that includes services, tools, and processes aimed at managing the smooth operation of a company’s complete set of business tools, including non-SAP solutions. The support offering combines 24-hour support for mission-critical business processes with standards and best practices delivered through the Run SAP methodology. SAP Enterprise Support costs begin at 22 percent of a company’s license fees, four percent more than SAP Standard Support’s rate base.
For more information on SAP Enterprise Support, see: