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This article is the last of the series that I have written on the conceptual model of a SAP Customer Center of Excellence for Azure (SAP CCoEA). The second article discussed on the three quadrants of Govern, Design, Innovate and Build. Here, I will finish up by discussing Sustain and Run.

The word "Sustain" was chosen because in essence it is about sustaining continuous improvement in SAP CCoEA's Hybrid Operations. It is best summarized in this Mckinsey interview article quote on Lean Management operations.
Tom Hartman: The journey is a continuum. It’s not about abandoning what came before, but constantly building, driving hundreds of thousands of small improvements at every level. That’s the point of kaizen, of continuous improvement.

At the heart of this philosophy, sustained continuous improvement and running smooth, efficient, effective operations are core capabilities for a SAP CCoEA. Catastrophic outages for your SAP environments can then be prevented.

Now let's move on to describe what is the core components for this capability. In the previous articles, I have provided some context and will expand further. Here, I would like to introduce the concept of John Boyd's OODA (Observe-Orient-Decide-Act) loop which I learnt about many years ago.

Applying this framework, the core capabilities are broken up into the two distinct categories. Although it is more of human-oriented intuitive approach, I agree that OODA can be applicable with Artificial Intellience Operations (AIOps).

Figure 1: Hybrid SAP and Azure Operations (Source: Author)

Observe & Orient

Watch this video by Hans Reutter in Ignite here for how we do in Microsoft Core Services Engineering (CSEO) for Integrated SAP Telemetry

End-to- End Service SAP IT Operations Management

  • Business Process Monitoring, Application Monitoring, Interface Monitoring

  • System, Technical and Security Operations Monitoring

  • Service and Incidents

Or read this case study End-to-end telemetry for Microsoft here

Figure 2: A sample dashboard view of an end-to-end business process using PowerBI (Source: Microsoft)

This is made possible because all the telemetry data Applications, Infrastructure and Security integrated and are all flowing into Azure Data Lake. See Figure 3 and on the high level architecture of the Unified Telemetry Platform and how we do it for SAP in Microsoft. Please read more details from the case study.

Figure 3: Unified Telemetry Platform Architecture (Source: Microsoft)

Figure 4: SAP End to End Telemetry Concept (Source: Microsoft)

Figure 5: SAP End to End Telemetry High Level Architecture (Source: Microsoft)

[15-July-2020] Microsoft has just released Azure Monitor for SAP

Great video here.

[9-September 2020]: After July when Microsoft released Azure Monitor for SAP, the internal Microsoft folks also released a new case study for End to End SAP monitoring

Figure 6. The multilayer telemetry approach to SAP monitoring (Source: Microsoft)

Figure 7. SAP monitoring architecture (Source: Microsoft)

[21-July-2020]: Whitepaper to integrate both streams

A great whitepaper on how to integrate Azure Lighthouse (Decide and Act) with Azure Monitoring (Observe and Orient)

Azure Lighthouse and Azure Monitor for SAP Solutions to view telemetry across Multiple Tenants

Figure 8: Aggregating information across Azure Monitor for SAP Solution workspaces(Source: Kimmo Forss)



AIOps are also reality today for SAP operations. Microsoft implemented a AI based integrated model for SAP support for service and incidents.

Again, for the to maintain article length, I will not expand further but put forward references and links that will provide more context or content.

Decide & Act

Hybrid operations for SAP Netweaver/Basis on Azure IaaS, Azure PaaS and SAP Cloud Platform Services + SAP SaaS vendor management

Read this whitepaper by SAP although it uses mainly SAP solution/technology components. A good resource nonetheless to understand concepts. Swap the "on-premise" with "Azure" as SAP on Azure is a IaaS component, or SAP Data Hub with Azure Data Factory for example. Integration management between the various clouds is going to be a key area as service breakdown can occur.

Figure 9: Multi-Cloud Hybrid Operations with SAP CCoEA (Source: Author)

SAP Batch Job Operations

Use of tools like SAP Business Process Automation by Redwood (SAP BPA). Operations of job management can be proactively monitored, scheduled and maintained according to requirements.

SAP on Azure Landscape Management (Stop/Start, System Copy, Cloning, Post-Copy Automation)

Please read this great blog here, Part 1 and Part 2 by Richard Mackrill

Figure 10: SAP LaMa and Azure Connector to manage the entire landscape (Source: naeem.maqsud)

Technical Upgrade of Support Packages (Bugfixes/Legal Changes), Optimize Functionality

Read the SAP Release & Maintenance Strategy Document or this blog distinguishing difference between this and Feature Upgrades that is in Innovate/Build Quadrant

Figure 11: Overview of Release and Maintenance Strategy for SAP S/4HANA (Source: SAP)

SAP on Azure DevOps (ABAPGit) & ABAP SDK integrated with Azure

Please watch this Ignite video by my colleague, Naveen Kurmadas, "Doing DevOps with SAP" video and good blog here.- This is still an emerging area though and this blog explains clearly the challenges as SAP S/4 HANA "On-Premise" version on Azure is still a monolithic code base. Other third-party tooling for automated testing might be required for example. However, do watch this fantastic Ignite video on how "How Microsoft does DevOps" to understand the general concepts and principles of how we do in general DevOps for cloud native applications.

Figure 12: ABAPGit (Source: Github) ABAP SDK for Azure (Source: Microsoft)

Figure 13: Overview of Microsoft DevOps enhanced by Github(Source: Microsoft)

SAP and Azure Security - read this article I wrote here

Figure 14: Securing SAP® Solutions whitepaper on Azure Framework (Source: SAP-modified)

Cost/Spend Optimization

Read this about Microsoft own cost planning for Azure and another case Optimizing SAP for Azure by snoozing systems

Figure 15: Sample Right-Sizing Cost Optimization for Azure (Source: Microsoft)


Soldiers and Town Planners

Read my blog on Soldiers and Town Planners view risk and why they are suitable for Sustain Run work rather than Innovation work.

Measure Impact not Activity

In his presentation, Martin Woodward described in his presentation on How Microsoft does DevOps this concept. In it, he talks about Live Site Culture and things like site reliability. However, what resonated with me was that we should measure impact and not activity. For Hybrid SAP and Azure Operations, this might be different, but I would like to share the metrics here to spark some debate (in yellow are probably of more relevance)

Figure 16: Measure Impact not Activity (Source: Microsoft)

Colocate Team Where Possible

With the ability to have an integrated end-to-end Service Level Metrics monitoring, I would propose that an end-to-end Business SLA can now be given to our SAP users. For example, the Order-to-Cash SLA has a traceable matrix to SAP application instances either in the Azure IaaS, PaaS, SAP Cloud Platform or even to SAP SaaS solutions like Ariba or Successfactors.

This way, the support or operations team can be organized based on the different end-to-end business scnearios.

  • Order to Cash

  • Quote to Cash

  • Procure to Pay

  • Hire to Retire

  • Plan to Inventory

Again, the experience showed by Martin shows the advantages of having DevOps teams being colocated.

From a practical standpoint, SAP functional, development and technical management operations are usually either outsourced or off-shored (maybe Level 1-2). I believe it could still be a feasible option is to organize these support operation teams offshore based on the business process, while maintaining a close coordination with the Governance and Design elements of the SAP CCoEA.

This is a generalization because each organization and enterprise have different strategies based on size, complexity, budgets and deployment models for their SAP Landscapes.

Modified version in italics (last 2 items changed from from features)

  • Physical team rooms

  • Cross discipline

  • 10-12 people

  • Self managing

  • Clear charter and goals

  • Intact for 12-18 months

  • Own customizing requests, custom code and support fixes in production

  • Own deployment of customizing requests, custom code and support fixes

I therefore conclude this series of articles for a conceptual model of a SAP Center of Excellence for Azure. From a content perspective, I have used various sources for strategy concepts, innovation methods and cultural/structural attributes to describe its setup, how to run it. I hope you have enjoyed reading them and inspire to think through the art of the possible for a SAP CCoEA.


Quick Guide to SAP on Azure SLA and OLA

Quick Project Manager’s Guide to SAP on Azure

Quick Reference to SAP on Azure Components for HA and DR

SAP Customer Center of Excellence for Azure

SAP Customer Center of Excellence for Azure: Govern, Design, Innovate & Build

Microsoft Cloud Operating Model & SAP on Azure Migration Scenarios

SAP IT Service Operations Management on Azure

SAP Security Operations on Azure

SAP Expert Role Guide to Microsoft Azure Skills and Certification

Exam Study Resources for AZ-120 Planning and Administering Microsoft Azure for SAP Workloads.

Worst SAP Production Outage Disasters


This article was first published on LinkedIn here

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