People that have worked with SAP applications might have heard of “SAP Solution Manager” before. But even for people who have worked with SAP before, it still might be unclear what SAP Solution Manager is actually there for. Here I want to spend some words to introduce the tool, to help you to position SAP Solution Manager.
Basically, SAP Solution Manager is just another application. But it is different from other SAP applications in that it is supporting IT processes.
Below is a non-exhaustive overview of IT processes supported with SAP Solution Manager:
- System Monitoring
- Business Process Monitoring
- Incident Management
- Change Request Management
- Business Process Management
- Document Management
- Test Management
For all these IT processes there are many tools in the market, so why has SAP introduced this tool?
In my view there are three reasons for this:
1) SAP collaboration
When SAP customers use SAP Solution Manager, it becomes easier for SAP to get and stay connected with customers (and their SAP products and SAP system landscape). SAP organizations can use SAP Solution Manager as a gateway to their customers.
2) IT process integration
Existing tools to support IT processes more often than not cover only one IT process, such as with Incident Management, and integration between the several IT tools is missing. SAP Solution Manager integrates all functionality to support IT processes; with Business Process Monitoring it is possible to generate Incidents.
3) SAP-specific attributes
SAP applications contain certain attributes, which are SAP-specific and do not exist in the same way as in other software packages or custom software. SAP Solution Manager supports these SAP-specific attributes, including:
- Usage of ‘Transactions’: end-user interface to access screens to execute a specific program (e.g. to create Sales Orders, you need to use transaction VA01)
- Configuration to set up the software package for your organization (customizing)
- Software transport mechanism to move (customize) changes over your system track in a controlled way (e.g. from Development system, via QA system, to Productions system)
Does this mean that every SAP customer needs to use, or should use, SAP Solution Manager? Not necessarily. In general you could say, that the big plus of SAP Solution Manager is that it covers IT processes in an integrated way.
However, for every specific IT process – e.g. Business Process Management – there are best-of-breed products in the market. It depends on the requirements of an organization, whether these are best met with a best-of-breed product or with SAP Solution Manager.
An important related aspect is whether the organization runs mainly SAP applications, or whether only a small part of their business is supported with SAP. In cases where the organization runs mainly SAP applications, it makes more sense to use SAP Solution Manager. But still the organization might have requirements that can only be met with a best-of-breed product.
In every situation, a tailor-made approach is needed to assess the organization’s situation and requirements. But it is good to know upfront what SAP Solution Manager could potentially do for you. In my experience I have only seen cases where in the end a mixed solution is used: SAP Solution Manager, together with one or more best-of-breed products.