We would like to begin by giving a huge shout out to ASUG’s Paul Kuchina and SAP’s Solman Team led by Marc Thier on bringing the Solution Manager Education program to the US. This was the second year the event has been held and was a sell out as represented by standing room only for the opening Keynote. This is a unique event for SAP in that it focuses only on one SAP product line. This represents the commitment SAP has in supporting its eco-system in ensuring the best possible implementation and operational outcomes for customers.

As Marc noted in his wrap up the new implementation or transition to S/4HANA represents the best opportunity for getting Application Lifecycle Management right from the beginning. He strongly recommended customers push their System Integrators and Implementation partners to Build SAP by utilizing the Requirements to Deploy processes within Solution Manager 7.2 and Focus Build. Expanding on Marc’s call for a Declaration of Independence from partner tools, I would like to add that Businesses will be running SAP for the next 10 to 20 years. The impact of efficiencies over this period will lead to millions of dollars in savings. Also, as we all know the experience of retrospectively documenting business process and implementing ALM processes in business, as usual, is very painful and expensive!

Marc also notes that his team is now engaged in leading SAP’s internal initiative (Intelligent Enterprise) of building out end-to-end processes across all SAP’s product lines. This is a great achievement by Marc and his team as it will mean Process Content will be integrated into SAP’s products upfront ensuring ALM is baked into SAP’s DNA. This is a far cry from when Solution Manager was ignored in the Sales Cycle and was only introduced in the RUN phase (too late!!).

For a full rundown of the key points from the conference Rahim Kassam has written an excellent summary “Brothers dwelling together in unity” SAP Solution Manager (SolEd) 2018 North America” This covers  the new CloudALM Product and its positioning, Requirement to Deploy process (R2D), Customer Connection Program (8 is great, that is Support Pack 8 due in December), New generation Early Watch Alert (EWA), Aata Volume Management, and Custom Code Lifecycle Management.

Below is the video of Marc’s final Keynote (apologies for sound quality) and have transcribed below as it clarifies SAP’s strategy and commitment to ALM for the next 8 years, which is forever in technology terms! I have also provided the complete agenda with links to all the presentations. These are a great resource for those wishing to do a deep dive Solution Manager, Focus Solutions and CloudALM.

Transcript of Presentation – (See the full video)

SAP’s Integrated Requirements to Deploy processes (Focus Build and Solution Manager 7.2)  

I truly believe S/4HANA is the starter to do it right from the beginning. Solution Manager was an afterthought (I agree), but S/4 is a unique window of opportunity, it’s not business as usual, to do it right from the beginning. With Focus Build we have the Project Methodology and tooling that will help you with your S/4 Project. I was asked about partners. If a partner refuses, or doesn’t play with you on that journey, in the end my opinion is that the only way to fix this is to ask the partner to use it (Focus Build), otherwise it is not the right partner. In the end you are the owner of the business and the owner of the Solution. If a partner comes to you and says the Solution Documentation not be handed over to you (in Solution Manager), it’s my topic, it’s in my PowerPoints, then it’s a problem for you ultimately because you will never be able to take over the Solution. In my opinion, Solution Manager is also a kind of declaration of independence from the customer to the service provider because with Solution Manager you make sure you are in control of the IT Solution as the Business Owner.

Focus Run

What is the Business Case for Focus Run? If the Landscape gets over 1,000 clients, the Focus Run is the solution. There is not a hard cutoff (1,000 to 1,500). The Business Case is from the automation that comes from Focus Run. You don’t have to run through all these manual procedures for landscape changes. In Solution Manager this is an effort. The business case can be made just on the reduction in effort from this automation.

What about IR Trace and AppDynamics as alternatives to Focus Run and Solution Manager? These are all Application Performance Management (APM) tools. We (SAP) differentiate from these tools because we have:

  1. SAP Content. These tools are not SAP specific. If you ask them for a table of integration monitoring they will fail because they cannot show SAP content
  2. They are just APM tools, Focus Run and Solution Manager going beyond performance. We have configuration validation for example, that is not a performance issue, so we have more functionality compared to those tools
  3. Finally, when you look at the price for those tools and compare them to the zero cost of Solution Manager and the low cost of Focus Run. So it costs less and delivers more so not really competition

Cloud and Hybrid

What about Content for Implementation and Operations? Operations is not so much of a concern as is run by SAP and has good content. Implementation Content is the concern. In Solution Manager 7.1 Business Process Repository was not good. This has been dropped and in 7.2 has started using the Activate Content as well as the Model Company Content which is far better. Also we are  seeing more System Integrators making their Content available on Solution Manager which is very positive. We will be improving Content delivery on all our Product Lines (Solution Manager, Focus Run and CloudALM). Our goal is to provide the Content in the same fashion on all three products. From the Operations side we will get improvements from CloudALM. When we talk to Cloud units (In SAP) they have a hard time building Content for on premise. With CloudALM they (the Cloud Units) provide API’s which is a common approach. This benefits Solution Manager because it can use the same API’s to consume data.

Also, on the implementation side my group is part of a large SAP internal program called the Intelligent Suite. This is not just a marketing term launched by Bill McDermott at Sapphire. It’s a big initiative on the SAP Product side to integrating different product lines of business into integrated processes. So we are not just talking People anymore, we are talking People integrated with Contingent Workforce for a total Workforce. This is a integrated end-to-end process. Or we are talking Lead to Cash, integrating C/4 (Customer 4/HANA) with S/4. Good news is that there are existing integration teams in SAP today that are building content for these end-to-end processes. We also make sure these processes are available on Solution Manager, both the process modeling and configuration. I was surprised when we (Business Services) were asked to take the lead for Business Configuration for all of SAP instead of PMI (Product Development). We will be presenting to Hasso Plattner in the next few weeks. Looks like we are becoming pretty famous. With Solution Manager I always struggled, coming with a hammer, saying hey guys you need to integrate with Solution Manager. Now overwhelmed with feedback and people wanting to get into CloudALM. This big program (Intelligent Suite) really helps us in getting better Content and making it part of the usual procedure, making it part of the DNA of SAP, to provide good Content via our ALM lines of Product

Customer Influence and CloudALM

There are obviously still concerns, I tried to mitigate these through my keynote but still the concerns were there. Comments were you guys (SAP) are building something new, your guys are working on the new stuff and not doing anything on the old stuff anymore. Whenever a new product comes out, you are trying to sell the old product as long as possible as you introduce the new product, this is Industry standard. Lets not beat around the bush, we need to hear a different path right? We have got additional headcount budget for the development of CloudALM, it really is additional people developing the Product. We have a significant number of people not only doing maintenance for Solution Manager but also working on new customer requests. This is completely budgeted for, so it is your task to fill the backlog with via customer connection. If you are not doing it you will not get the improvements so it is very important for you to do that (laughter) otherwise over 1,500 development days of budget we have allocated for improvements will not be allocated and those poor developers will have nothing to do!

Coming back to CloudALM, there was another statement I heard. It was a futuristic view, what happens to Solution Manager in the long term? Short term there is no issue, situation is that we have Solution Manager and there is Maintenance commitment at least to 2025 and probably far beyond. Solution Manager is for the 15,000 customers using it today and CloudALM is for the other customer base of 385,000 that need a different ALM tool. This is my story, they do not compete so one does not eat up the other, this is my message. What I can’t predict exactly is how you will work going forward with your Landscapes. Will the Landscapes you own, say in 2022-23 how Cloud centric will they be? How much do you need a standardized ALM compared to an individualized ALM you have today? Depending on this we will shape the future of Solution Manager beyond 2025 to 2030. I am talking about timelines that are way beyond our imagination. Complete companies are started up and shut down in these timeframes, so remember we have a committed timeline of 8 years.

In the end I am making a bet, we will see more need for Cloud and we will see more need for a simplified and atandardized ALM. That’s my bet and that’s my commitment. You will always get the ALM you that need, no matter how you Landscape evolves, that’s my commitment. It won’t be until we are there (2025) that we will know what you are doing. If then we create a new release for Solution Manager, we will give you the tolls to get there. I know Content Activation was not fun, I knoe that 7.0 to 7.1 CRM was not fun, I know all that, but at the end we supported you through the transition to the next thing, so Solution Manager customers investments were protected. So remember the guys inventing CloudCRM are the guys that invented Focus Build in 7.2. It will not surprise me if the Focus Build functionality will be visible in CloudALM sometime later. So, from that side the investment in the Processes are protected. Remember my statement “Children of a common mother / Brethren (Brothers) dwelling together in unity” (US/Canadian Peace Arch at the border from opening Keynote). With that I hand you back over….

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