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Since SAP Solution Manager 7.1 was made available I felt some changes going on in the SAP market, specially in Brazil. As an independent consultant I have been very sensitive to those changes, since they affect directly my working schedule. When the first rumors of the new SolMan release started to spread, and particularly after SAPPHIRE NOW 2011 in Orlando, customers that hadn't considered to use SolMan by that time, or were using just a few SolMan functionalities, and customers where I had implemented some SolMan 7.0 functionalities before began to contact me in order to get more information on the new release, and since then I have been busier than ever.

One of the important points that made some customers start to consider the idea of using SolMan was the extension of usage rights. SAP simplified the use of the SAP Solution Manager for the entire solution for Enterprise Support customers. The idea of not having to pay additional license fees, for instance  when extending the use of the Incident Management for non-SAP products that are part of the SAP customer solution, made SolMan become an option when comparing to other Incident Management tools.

Other important point that made customers get excited about the new SolMan was the idea of not being "for SAP only" anymore. The easy use for the entire solution and the reduction of some technical limitations helped SolMan to start being considered when comparing IT tools.

The "marketing" over these points and others like the improved usability, better UI with the CRM Web Client, big improvements in Incident Management and Change Management with ITSM and better integration with 3rd party tools made customers become more interested in getting more information about SolMan, and since then I have been contacted more often as advisor, trainer, to help in the upgrade to the new release or to completely implement some scenarios like ChaRM, QGM and AIM both in the new release and in release 7.0.  So, I felt a big change in the SolMan market. The improvements coming with SP 5 such as the integration with SAP IT Infrastructure is also shaking at least one of my customers :smile:

  Today I was reading an article from Dr. Matthias Melich, Vice President of ALM Solution Management at SAP AG, and I saw that what is happening here in my small world is also happening worldwide. According to him, more than 2000 companies have upgraded or installed SolMan 7.1, and the feedback is very positive. He mentions that the features most important to customers are :

     - the ability to use it with non-SAP components, such as E2E monitoring and alerting infrastructure for SAP and non-SAP together with the Application Incident Management for all IT,

    - flexible UIs for Incident, Problem and Change Management and enhanced UIs for functionalities like business blueprint, E2E monitoring and alerting infrastructure,

    - integration to SAP IT Infrastructure

    - extended integration to partner solutions

So, it seems that what was making customers who contacted me curious about and willing to have is pretty much the same features mentioned by SAP customers who are already using SolMan 7.1. Dr. Matthias Melich mentions that part of the reason for the success of SolMan 7.1 is the collaboration with partners, user groups and MaxAttention customers.  One of my customers who is MaxAttention says her company for sure collaborated not only suggesting improvements but also reporting errors in the new release since the ramp-up and until now, which at the end were corrected with new SAP Notes. We both think some things could be better, we should not find those errors, some improvements can seem obvious (we use to ask ourselves "how didn't they think on that?" or "there must be a better way to do this") but at least it seems that someone "there" is listening to us.

What made me a little bit sad was to find out that SAP IT Infrastructure Management is not included in SAP Enterprise Support, but it is a separate solution extension to SAP Solution Manager. I think I will see a reaction from the customers similar to when I first showed some years ago the possibility to use Solution Manager 7.0 Service Desk with Interaction Center to be used for all IT and then said: but for that please contact your SAP Account Executive for a price list. :sad:

So, in my opinion, comparing to the release 7.0, the new release has been causing some impact and bringing new customers to SolMan. Of course there is a lot of things that still have to be improved, errors to be corrected, but it was a big step forward for really manage the entire SAP Solution.

The complete article by Dr. Matthias Melich can be read here: 

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