More and more companies are adopting cloud software. They see the cost and simplicity benefits of cloud deployments, the capabilities enabled by software that is always up to date, and the security and reliability enabled by high-performance data centers.
To extract the full value of an investment in cloud technology, however, requires an area of focus that may not be apparent to all companies – application lifecycle management (ALM).
You may be familiar with the use of ALM with on-premise software. ALM orchestrates the delivery and operations of software. It provides integrated processes and tools to manage the entire life cycle of an application from demand, design, development, testing, and deployment to operations and support. Contrary to what some people think, cloud providers do not automatically address these tasks, nor are they included in software licenses. ALM needs to be applied to cloud software as well – and it’s something for which you have to assume responsibility. Here’s why.
Managing a Dynamic Environment
The beauty of cloud software is the immediate availability, ease of consumption, and automatic updates. These features lead many to believe that they are freed from all lifecycle management tasks once software moves to the cloud. This is not true. At a minimum, companies still need to actively manage the integration of different software solutions as well as oversee business processes and the testing of functional cloud updates.
For example, in the cloud world, the provider manages the technology that enables cloud deployment. If a company sends out invoices for all deliveries, however, those invoices are not monitored by the cloud solution provider. That’s a business-process management task and not a technology issue. The same is true for functional updates that a cloud provider applies regularly. These updates are being tested by the cloud provider for technical correctness, not for whether or not they support the customer’s business. This check remains the customer’s obligation.
Another lifecycle management task is the monitoring of integrations. Each cloud provider makes sure that the solution works in isolation. When information is exchanged between on-premise or other cloud products, it is the customer’s responsibility to validate that the overall business solution works in an integrated manner.
These examples show that certain lifecycle tasks are also relevant in the digital era. SAP has therefore enhanced its ALM portfolio with the SAP Cloud ALM solution. In 2019, SAP intends to offer:
- SAP Solution Manager for lifecycle management of large enterprise on-premise and hybrid implementations. SAP Solution Manager is included with SAP Enterprise Support services.
- SAP Cloud ALM to address the application lifecycle needs of companies that deploy cloud solutions from SAP Cloud ALM is included in the cloud subscription.
How SAP Cloud ALM Can Help You Now
SAP Cloud ALM starts with an implementation portal for SAP S/4HANA Cloud, available since January 2019. For companies that choose SAP S/4HANA Cloud, SAP Cloud ALM will help ease the deployment by enabling companies to:
- Perform quick team onboarding and scoping by providing sequenced and role-based, product- and release-specific task lists based on the SAP Activate methodology.
- Follow a fit-to-standard implementation approach through workshops based on content from the SAP Best Practices for SAP S/4HANA Cloud package.
- Configure SAP S/4HANA Cloud and track project progress by guiding companies through the implementation process and tracking project progress automatically.
What’s Next for SAP Cloud ALM?
In the future, SAP intends to extend SAP Cloud ALM from implementation support for SAP S/4HANA Cloud toward the entire application life cycle of all cloud solutions from SAP.
It is planned that SAP Cloud ALM will serve as a complementary offering to SAP Solution Manager. With SAP Cloud ALM, companies can choose the most suitable ALM solution for rapid implementation and support best-run operations for their SAP solutions.
Matthias Melich is vice president of Application Lifecycle Management at SAP.