Road Map: SAP Solution Manager

For IT administrators and programmers whose job it is to implement and look after SAP systems, SAP Solution Manager is probably the most important tool. SAP Solution Manager is an SAP offering to maintain SAP solutions. It provides support during the implementation of SAP software, as well as with testing, monitoring, and administering IT systems.

SAP Solution Manager serves as an administration platform for the entire SAP solution portfolio and contains management tools for design, testing, configuration, implementation, monitoring, and operations. Administrators can set up automated processes that will help them to keep the software up-to-date and to monitor the system landscape’s security configurations. What’s more, SAP Solution Manager contains road maps for implementation and upgrade projects, plus various templates for business processes.

SAP Solution Manager comprises the following functions:

  • Upgrade management
  • Landscape transformation
  • Maintenance management
  • Business process operations: KPIs, benchmarks
  • Technical operations: monitoring, alerting
  • Solution documentation
  • Solution implementation
  • Template management
  • Test management
  • IT service management
  • Change control management

SAP Solution Manager is highly popular among customers. As Dr. Matthias Melich, director of service solution management at SAP, explained during the press conference at the recent SAP-IBIS Conference, some 800 SAP Solution Manager systems are currently live throughout the world. Together with the German-speaking SAP user group DSAG, SAP organizes an info day about SAP Solution Manager once a quarter.

Benefits of SAP Solution Manager 7.1

SAP Solution Manager 7.1 has been officially available on the market since mid-2011 (see article “Solution Manager 7.1”). Regardless of whether a company wishes to implement purely SAP software or also add-ons from third-party providers, administrators can now implement the whole solution using SAP Solution Manager 7.1. This wasn’t possible with the previous version 7.0. The current release also supports heterogeneous systems and application lifecycle management.

SAP Solution Manager is part of the maintenance contract. All customers who have concluded such a contract (SAP MaxAttention service or SAP Enterprise Support services) with SAP or one of SAP’s partners are entitled to deploy SAP Solution Manager and do not need to bring in any special third-party tools.

Another new feature in SAP Solution Manager is its flexibility in terms of areas of use: The current version transforms it from a device just for the IT department to a tool that can be used in business departments, too. With special dashboards, forecasts can be made about the utilization of SAP systems.

The new-look, modern Web- and Flash-based user interface is designed to appeal to users whose main jobs are not linked to programming or implementations. What’s more, Web-based user interfaces have the advantage that messages can be sent by link or by e-mail. CRM functions are included in IT service management now, as well. This means that call centers and all telephone units are integrated with SAP Solution Manager.

In addition to Web browser user interfaces and CRM functionalities, there have been improvements in incident and problem management, plus new functions for change management and test management: The processes can now be mapped fully using the CRM Web UI in a standardized way. Furthermore, there are templates to create messages fast. Issues and errors can be assigned and sorted according to key words. Business intelligence functions and dashboards now enable individual analyses to be performed.

IBIS: New Features for Monitoring and RBDP

IBIS Thome AG has enriched SAP Solution Manager 7.1 with new functions. The Würzburg, Germany-based company, an SAP partner, has become a specialist in SAP system utilization analysis with SAP Solution Manager, as well as providing consulting and development services for SAP Business ByDesign.

In addition to special dashboards, there’s a revamped monitoring and alerting infrastructure for error analysis and surveillance. And a brand new feature of SAP Solution Manager 7.1 is reverse business process documentation (RBPD). This enables SAP Enterprise Support customers to construct their business processes themselves, as a result of how their businesses actually run. In special steps, users can determine what master data or processes from the Business Process Repository in SAP Solution Manager are active in an SAP system. New sources of information – such as usage and procedure login (UPL) and SQL queries – are taken into consideration, too.

And that’s not all. For the solution documentation assistant (SDA) work center, IBIS added SQL check steps and UPL check steps. Administrators can now perform utilization analyses for SAP for Retail, SAP for Utilities, and SAP for Public Sector. From mid-2012, this should also be possible for SAP for Banking and SAP CRM. According to IBIS, SAP SRM and SAP SCM will follow in 2013.

SAP Solution Manager 7.1 has been officially on the market since mid-2011. Customers received service pack 4 in November 2011. In mid-2012, service packs 5 and 6 are scheduled to be released. The maintenance contract for SAP Solution Manager 7.0 is set to expire in 2013.

What’s more, there’s a road map of SAP Solution Manager 7.1 available to download on the innobis Web site (only available in German).