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During SAP TechED && Dcode Berlin, attendees (yes, more than once) asked me how do I get started with SAP Solution Manager. What is the best practice?

Since SAP Solution Manager 7.1 has a huge set of scenario's and applications which can be leveraged by the customer it can be a tricky question once you pass the initial configuration to get started.

SAP Solution Manager contains a mixture of multiple products, it has a full CRM, an embedded BI (unless you opt out and use a separate BI system), a Solution Manager specific part and it runs on SAP Netweaver technology.

Since I like to share knowledge and since I got this question more than once, I decided to start writing this blog post to help people get a better understanding. Since it's such a  broad  topic to cover, I won't be able to pull this off in a single blog post so if this blog is valued and found interesting, I can continue and blog more to end up with a series of blog posts to help community members figure out how all of this fits together.

1) Installation

Where it starts is, you install SAP Solution Manager 7.1. As a SAP customer, you can simply download the appropriate files and get started. Of course it's not too simple in real life so you'll need a SAP Basis admin who takes care of it. An installation typically includes a database, an application server, a host agent, a diagnostics agent, Wily Introscope and depending on the size of the landscape more. The SAP Basis admin also takes care of BC specific post processing for the Netweaver technology stack, such as the SAP Transport Management System configuration just to give a small example.

A SAP Solution Manager landscape typically consists of two or more SAP Solution Manager systems. Some customers (small - midsize) only have one SAP Solution Manager system. In that  case, you would want to clone that system to test support package stack updates / upgrades on a clone of that system to avoid unplanned downtime if something would go wrong. If you plan to actively use SAP Solution Manager and use multiple scenario's over time, I would advise going for at least two SAP Solution Manager's to make it easier to test changes on your landscape. If you want to seriously invest in the IT Service Management scenario's (all the management modules) it can even make sense to go for a three tier landscape to have a better change management control if you're working with custom flows.

2) System preparation and basic configuration

picture 1.0: part of SOLMAN_SETUP left menu pane

Once that is done, you have SAP Solution Manager up and running. Th next thing is the system preparation and basic configuration of Solution Manager which is performed through either transaction solman_setup or through the Solution Manager configuration workcenter. For this you'll need either a SAP Basis admin with knowledge on SAP Solution Manager or a SAP Solution Manager consultant with a technical background (preferably) since many steps are related to technical actions such as connectivity, data replication, BI content activation and so on.

3) Managed system setup

picture 1.1: part of SOLMAN_SETUP left menu pane + managed system setup right pane

Next is the managed system setup (see picture 1.1, note that I blanked out actual system / host names) which lets you configure the SAP systems connected to SAP Solution Manager. In order for SAP systems to be known in SAP Solution Manager, they have to be known in the System Landscape Directory (SLD) connected to SAP Solution Manager and synchronized into the Landscape Management Database (LMDB). Another technical story in which you want maximal automation to avoid isses.

Already in the early phases, the customer can choose to leave out certain elements depending on the use-case of their SAP Solution Manager implementation. There are customers who have two or more SAP Solution Manager landscapes which are used for different scenario's. For example, one landscape for Technical Monitoring and one landscape for IT Service Management (Change Request Management etc). For Technical Monitoring, you need diagnostic agents, for IT Service Management, you don't. This can result in a SAP Solution Manager system where the managed system setup has red traffic lights. So depending on the use case, it can be ignored. The reason for those separate landscapes (mostly seen at large customers) is that they want to update one landscape more frequently than the other and therefor split the use-cases over multiple SAP Solution Manager landscapes.

4) The gates are open

picture 1.2: SOLMAN_SETUP left menu pane

As of this point, the gates to a large amount of scenario's open up. Depending on the scenario you want to set up, prerequisites exist. I won't list all possible scenario's and prerequisites here because that would just be too much. Steps 1,2 and 3 is what we called the "Technical Base" during an implementation project a few years back.

Confusion rises - some scenario's / features are "just" available right now

Here is where it can start to get complicated to understand where to go next or what to do next. A number of scenario's will just work without further action (except for bug fix notes perhaps) after steps 1,2 and 3. Some scenario's will be up and running but might have missing data for example. This is because from a technical point of view, the configuration can get rather complex. Due to the amount of prerequisites (thinking about Root Cause Analysis now for example), chances are pretty high, not every prerequisite was met during installation, post processing and that you'll need additional work to make every single feature work properly. Root Cause Analyis is one example which you don't see in the solman_setup menu tree because it should already be functioning after performing steps 1,2 and 3. Experience tells me it won't be correct and you'll need to take action to make it work properly.

As from step 4 you need to think about functional prerequisites as well, for plenty of scenario's, you need business process documentation for example. Business process documentation is a next logical step in advancing the use of SAP Solution Manager if you want to leverage scenario's such as Business Process Change Analyzer, Test Scope Optimization and Scope and Effort Analyzer for example. Again, business process documentation is not part of this menu tree because that should also work after steps 1,2 and 3 you can just go and use the scenario but you do have to know how to get started within that scenario of course. I'll try to cover some of those aspects in upcoming blog posts.

Implementing scenario's that require more work

picture 1.3: guided procedure to configure scenario Change Request Management

Many scenario's (visible on picture 1.2) offer guided procedures which can guide you to configure that specific scenario. If you want to go and configure Change Request Management for example, this would be the next step.

Expert Guided Implementation

SAP also offers options to help customers out to implement SAP Solution Manager scenario's. You can check out the expert guided implementation initiative of SAP over at

I haven't yet used this service because I spent a lot of time in SAP Solution Manager but I have heard from customers who haven't got the time to build up that kind of experience in SAP Solution Manager that this service can be very useful to help them get started. The idea is that an expert from SAP helps you through the configuration for the scenario and with multiple calls, follows up on progress and helps you further to use the scenario.

SAP Enterprise Support Value Maps

Another recently introducedintiative of SAP are Value Maps | SAP Support Portal . The idea behind these are providing guidance to which resources (can be Expert Guided Implementation - EGI or something else) the customers can leverage to help set up a specific scenario.

General advice

For any scenario which you want to use, it's advised to go and look at relevant SAP notes to ensure you have the necessary prerequisites in place. Sometimes, the guided procedure in SOLMAN_SETUP (if available for the scenario you look at) will automatically check and report on the needed SAP notes which might be required on either your SAP Solution Manager system or Managed SAP system or both. As I've mentioned before, not all scenario's are in here so for some you'll need to check the relevant SAP notes yourself and check if your system is ready, meets those prerequisites to ensure the scenario will work properly.

SAP Solution Manager is not that "simple" in most cases once you step outside the "we only use SAP Solution Manager to download files" realm of things. So it can definitely make sense to go for EGI or hire someone with SAP Solution Manager knowledge to aid you in your efforts. Figuring out complex scenario's yourself can take a lot of time.

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