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Welcome to my monthly SAP ALM Blog which sees the final blog in the series on SAP Solution Manager and migrating to SAP S/4HANA. Also for information on SAP's ALM training please click on 2018 EGI Training Schedule for April and May. These are free with SAP Enterprise Support.

SAP Solution Manager and the SAP S/4HANA Migration

 This is the fourth and final blog in our Journey to SAP S/4HANA series.

  1. Planning – See Feb Blog

  2. Preparation – Mar Blog

  3. Realization - April Blog

  4. Operate & Optimize

As we approach the go-live for our SAP S/4HANA Migration we enter the Operate &  Optimize phase. When looking at the Total Cost of Ownership, the majority of the cost is associated with this phase that can last for 20 years. With this in mind, it is critical all the process and system knowledge is captured and make available to the Operate & Optimize processes. If we have leveraged the tools and processes outlined in the previous phases then we have the basis for ensuring that the knowledge is captured in the appropriate functions and does not walk out the door at the end of the project.

Operate and Optimize Phase

The final phase is Solution Operations and Optimization. This is mainly supported by the Detect to Correct value chain and is key to the ongoing operational efficiency and continuous improvement.

As we can see below, this value chain leverages Process, Test, Custom Code, Data Volume and Change Management to support Business Process and Application Operations.

Detect to Correct key Documents

The Monitoring function is based on the Monitoring and Alerting Infrastructure (MAI) framework of SAP Solution Manager 7.2. and controls the status of all involved technical and business process components. All alerts are available in the unified inbox, which thus becomes the central working environment for system administrators.

Issue resolution tools are fully integrated into the inbox, so your administrators are not only informed about existing or potential issues, they can also launch the appropriate resolution tools such as Guided Procedures and Tasks. 

The Incident and Problem Management functions fall under the ITSM functionality and are supported by Activate Best Practices. These are ITIL compliant and integrate with all the other value chains.

Optimization requires continuous and efficient identification of improvement potential via business process analytics and needs to be followed up by the implementation of relevant organizational and technical changes. This can increase the throughput of, reduce the backlog of, and improve users’ experience with business processes or particular steps.

Business Drivers for Detect to Correct value chain

Reduce unplanned downtime by up to 30% with Application Operations Operation Control Center

Reduced effort in system monitoring with Run SAP Like a Factory

Improve business process efficiency and effectiveness

Adopt SAP Best Practices Incident and Problem Management to avoid incidents and reduce resolution times 

Application Operations on SAP Solution Manager for improved System Reliability

With the introduction of HANA and Linux as the new Database and Operating System in the SAP S/4HANA Migration there is normally some adjustment and training required to enable the fine-tuning of Technical Monitoring, Database Administration, and Root Cause Analysis.

This is where by going to Solution Manager on HANA can give your team a head-start in preparation for HANA Operations. Other advantages are HANA text search replaces TREX and there is no additional SAP HANA license fee.

As you transition to S/4HANA, there will be a number of changes in how you run your applications. This is a good time to review SAP's approach to improving operational performance. 

SAP also has Focused Insight for enabling top-level, strategic, KPI-driven management of the business solution for IT and Business. Build custom-specific, easy-to-use dashboards in minutes. This comes with pre-packaged content, simplified configuration models - no programming needed, and ideal for driving OCC set-up.

Run SAP like a Factory (RSLF) is SAP’s framework and program for effective and efficient application management and solution operations. It contains content, procedures, services, automation, and best practices to implement an Operations Control Center (OCC) based on SAP Solution Manager functionality and technology, that provides all of the important status and run-time information on core business processes and underlying software components. 

Why Application Operations on SAP Solution Manager?

The most important goal of application operations is to ensure lines of business can work without technical disruptions and with enough performance to ensure a good user experience. 

Whenever a disruption is detected that cannot be fixed immediately, you use root cause analysis to identify the reason of a problem and resolve it. The end-to-end trace analysis localizes the root cause in complex landscapes with multiple components involved. Workload analysis, as well as system, host, and database analysis, investigate performance problems. Exception analysis takes care of alerts identified by the systems or applications, and change analysis explores if a disruption might be caused by configuration changes. All of this helps to accelerate the time to resolution and reduces the business disruption.

With system monitoring, you do not need to wait until a disruption happens. Pro-active monitoring detects upcoming problems before they become critical for the business. An alert is raised whenever a critical threshold is exceeded. This allows you to react even before the business identifies an impact. The corresponding business disruption can be eliminated entirely in such cases.

Another advantage of system monitoring with SAP Solution Manager is that there is a single source of truth that collects alerts from all the systems in your landscapes in one central inbox. You do not need to log on to the different systems individually to check the status. Whenever a critical alert is raised, you will be notified automatically to take action. This approach makes system monitoring much more efficient.

 SAP training: EGI & Value Map

Process Management as the foundation for Business Process Operations

Solution Documentation Best Practices. The processes described in the Solution Documentation can then be used by other processes in Solution Manager, like Test Management, Business Process Monitoring and Change Management. You can control and manage the life-cycle of process content with change and request management. All aspects of the process life-cycle are tied together in the solution documented in Solution Manager as a single source of the truth.

Production branch represents the productive solution
Operations branch to apply monitoring instrumentation
Maintenance branch to change the productive solution
Innovation branches:

  • Import branch to import new best-practice processes

  • Design branch to design customer target operating model

  • Development branch to build the actual operating model

Once Process Management has been set-up and a critical end to end processes like Order to Cash have been mapped, we can activate Business Process Monitoring or BPMON. SAP has provided a complete Catalog of Process KPI’s that can be used to proactively monitor process execution, throughput, and performance. With Solution Manager 7.2 data collection has been simplified. It also utilizes the new Graphical Interface from Solution Documentation.

Business Process Improvement. There is also the Progress Management Board where you can manage business process improvement projects as part of your continuous improvement program. By embracing a metric approach to process management you can deal in facts with the business. As part of the project design phase, it is a great idea to identify the process KPI’s and agree them with the business. These can then be configured in BPMON and tracked over time. Both IT and the business can then monitor process performance against the KPI’s within the OCC concept. This closes the process feedback loop and engages the business.

SAP training: EGI & Value Map

IT Service Management

 ITIL based IT Service Management with integration in SAP ERP for business process automation

Service Request fulfillment process based on service products and predefined activities how to deliver these IT services

Incident, Problem, and Change Management integrated to further SAP Solution Manager scenarios e.g. test defects, project issues, alert processing, etc.

Incident, Problem, and Change Management to manage SAP and IT Landscape more efficiently

Incident Management for SAP landscapes with integration in SAP front-ends and SAP support backbone

Starting 2018, you only need a valid maintenance contract. You never need to buy named users for SAP Solution Manager again

 SAP training: EGI & Value Map


As mentioned in the last Blog with a full project team assembled it is worth the incremental effort in getting your Application and Business Process Operations re-tooled for HANA based on the foundation of Solution Documentation, ChaRM and Test Management. From this foundation, the Optimization tools can be leveraged to help drive a Continuous Improvement program along with monitoring the business process KPI's. 

Finally, ITSM can tie it all together by driving ITIL best practices with out of the box integration to all SAP technical components. With SAP removing the License requirements for ITSM (all non SAP users are now covered under Support Agreement) there is a compelling business case for replacing existing Help Management system.  

Hopefully, this Blog Services has given you an understanding how Solution Manager fits into the roadmap to S/4HANA and why Digital ALM is important in the Transformation to Digital Business. 
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