From the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) to machine learning and blockchain, it is not surprising that most IT leaders are concerned about the overall health of the systems running throughout their business.

Fortunately, many SAP customers have avoided the frustration of staying ahead of problem areas, thanks to the SAP support backbone, also known as OSS.

For years, our support backbone has served as a lifeline to understanding and optimizing customers’ IT systems. The central infrastructure provides vital reporting, tools, and insights needed to pinpoint and resolve technical issues as well as monitoring key performance indicators (KPIs), managing support incidents, analyzing system data, and finding recommended solutions.

As a result, we are currently operating the legacy support infrastructure, as well as an updated, more comprehensive version, to help ensure a smooth transition that addresses the technology, security, and performance demands of today’s digital world. However, on January 1, 2020, the legacy infrastructure will be shut down.

What Happens If Suggested Updates Are Not Implemented by 2020

This decision to replace the support backbone is paving the way for new services that improve how businesses keep up with the pace of intelligent technologies. This update to our traditionally reliable backbone requires you to make better use of the support services from SAP. Failing to prepare for this advancement will prevent your business from accessing the SAP support backbone, resulting in:

  • Loss of much-needed reports from the SAP EarlyWatch Alert service and proactive expert validation of the health of your SAP systems
  • Inability to benefit from automated, fast, and efficient remote support services including the much requested the SAP GoingLive Check service and continuous quality checks
  • Massive disruption to your maintenance process by losing the ability to download support packages and enhancement packages with the maintenance planner, and to download SAP Notes with SAP Notes assistant

Essential Support Services for Support Backbone Update

To take advantage of the exciting opportunities that today’s technologies offer, you should adopt and update the following functions that are critical to the SAP support experience by the end of the year.

SAP Solution Manager

SAP Solution Manager is designed not only to support the management of existing IT landscapes, but also to optimize the value of next-generation digitization provided by solutions such as SAP S/4HANA. If you continue to use SAP Solution Manager 7.0 or 7.1, you will lose connectivity to the SAP support backbone, eliminating the ability to open incidents and to access SAP services.

By upgrading SAP Solution Manager to SAP Solution Manager 7.2, support package stack (SPS) 8 (or higher), you avoid the manual and laborious migrations needed to restore connectivity with our support infrastructure. Meanwhile, the latest data protection and privacy capabilities can be adopted to help ensure compliance with GDPR requirements.

Moving to SAP Solution Manager 7.2, SPS08 (or higher), also opens the door to an improved maintenance experience. Landscape synchronization automates system data updates, service content delivery, and license distribution. Plus, you can leverage technology for maintenance planning and remote service connection management.

SAP EarlyWatch Alert Workspace

As part of updates to ST-PI and ST-A/PI, SAP EarlyWatch Alert is enhanced to help ensure your IT landscape stays connected to SAP support services with the latest reporting capabilities. Beginning in August, a new chapter in the report will be automatically released to your SAP Solution Manager by service content update and is available in the cloud application SAP EarlyWatch Alert workspace through SAP ONE Support Launchpad.

This update empowers your business with insight into the health of your IT landscape through a set of predefined reports that show the status of your SAP backbone connectivity and provide a list of tasks to secure it. Categories for these reports include support overview, configuration data, volume management, system performance, data quality, and service readiness.

With one tap on a drop-down item in the SAP EarlyWatch Alert workspace, you can quickly and easily access information that helps ensure IT operations are optimized and ready for a new era of intelligence.

Digitally Signed SAP Notes

In addition to the changes in SAP Solution Manager and SAP EarlyWatch Alert workspace, SAP Notes assistant is undergoing an update as well. Once the support backbone has been updated, the automated process of downloading and uploading non-digitally signed SAP notes for update information, corrections, and customizations will be disabled. To prevent this outcome, the tool should be adapted to consume digitally signed SAP notes.

The digitally signed notes feature of SAP Notes assistant presents a more secure approach to maintain the quality and performance level of your SAP solution investments. You can take advantage of this advancement by updating every system where it is used with the implementation of SAP Notes 2408073, 2546220, and 2508268. If your deployment of SAP Notes assistant resides in an ABAP system and is enabled for transport-based correction instructions, all you have to do is implement SAP Note 25763.

Switch Now for Continuous SAP Support

Any change in practice and process – especially when it touches the operation of critical IT systems – can be a time of resistance and uncertainty. But when you adopt the latest updates for SAP Solution Manager, SAP EarlyWatch Alert workspace, and SAP Notes by January 1, 2020, the evolution of support services can prove to be transformational for your business.

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Madhusudan Gowda works in the Global Mission Control Center at SAP.