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Welcome to the first SAP ALM Blog for 2018. For information on SAP's free ALM training please click on 2018 EGI Training Schedule for Jan and Feb. These are free with SAP Enterprise Support.

The end of SAP Solution Manager 7.1 support

The good news is that existing 7.1 users will continue to be covered under Customer-specific maintenance. This does come with the below limitations:

  • Resolution of problems only in case of known solutions or workarounds

  • Resolutions for “new” problems (problems not yet known to SAP) are typically charged based on time and material

  • No support packages

  • No legal changes

  • Limited technology updates

  • No service-level agreement

Likely, there will be no immediate impact on existing operations. However, there will be an increased risk of disruption due to encountering a “new” problem and a potential increase in support costs. You may also face a qualification on your IT Audit report for non-compliance.

The above may be justification enough to start planning for an upgrade in 2018. On the other hand, you may want to take a step back and review how the management of your critical IT applications is performing before committing to the cost of an upgrade.

Let’s start with a quick survey (1 to 5 with 5 being agree strongly):

  • We spend most of our time in fire-fighting mode and struggle to keep up with maintenance

  • Our change processes are not efficient or reliable

  • We struggle to find documentation on our business processes, interfaces and IT infrastructure

  • The team frequently works long hours due to ever-increasing testing requirements

  • The business has a low opinion of IT

If your score is around 15 or greater, or your existing Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) strategy is not meeting your business needs, then it might be a good time to review your strategy. As Dee Hock, Founder of Visa said, “The problem is never how to get new, innovative thoughts into your mind, but how to get old ones out.”

Once you have focused in on your existing pain points and quantified the costs, you can begin the process of re-imagining the way you deliver IT services to your business. One of the best ways to do this is by identifying your key IT value chains and educating yourself on IT best practices. This will help in looking past your existing (old) IT processes and setting a foundation for the future of supporting business innovation and agility.

Below are five steps on how to kick off the new year with a plan for moving beyond “old thinking”.

  1. Identify pain points

  2. Map key IT value chains

  3. Best Practices Education

  4. Formal ALM Assessment

  5. IT Strategy & Roadmap with business case

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