Cutting costs with SAP Solution Manager—just wishful thinking?
What exactly is SAP Solution Manager? SAP describes the product as “a tool for implementing, operating, and upgrading IT solutions based on SAP NetWeaver.” But can a tool whose costs are included in an organization’s SAP maintenance fees really handle such a task? It can—and how!
Since it covers the entire lifecycle of an SAP system, SAP Solution Manager is essential during the implementation phase. It also offers a host of functions that not only meet ongoing requirements during operation but also monitor and optimize them, including a comprehensive set of tools, content, and gateways for SAP systems.
SAP Solution Manager uses various approaches to make full use of the rich functionality available. It adapts the SAP solution to the organization’s business processes and aligns the SAP systems accordingly. And because business processes are not static, the applications can also be adapted to changing requirements, thus providing lifecycle support. At the same time, reusing processes for new requirement definitions, blueprints, development specifications, tests, and user training saves time and money. The openness and management of IT processes, tools, and documents supports integration of many different products—including those of other providers—and can be used to resolve conflicts between them. As the single point of access, SAP Solution Manager delivers the transparency needed to make the mass of information associated with an implementation available.
SAP Solution Manager was designed to serve as an interface between technology and business processes, with the focus on core corporate processes. The aim is to overcome challenges relating to implementation, operation, and upgrade and to prevent any new problems. Automated support eliminates time-consuming configuration activity and reduces the scope for errors, saving money in the process. Configuration information and a process-related implementation strategy help to create a meaningful blueprint, configure and test the SAP systems, and prepare for the implementation phase.
SAP Solution Manager provides various tools for roll-out across the enterprise once all the preparations have been made. Although roll-out projects often involve multiple countries, this need not jeopardize project success—use of business configuration sets enables standard settings to be copied and adapted by the individual locations to suit regional or country-specific needs. Once the system is up and running, support desk functions help to accelerate support queries and thus again save costs. In addition, comprehensive, continuous system monitoring prevents downtime and enables further savings. SAP system administrators benefit from a complete, up-to-date overview of all SAP-relevant systems, business processes, and interfaces, and their dependencies.
Linking ARIS for SAP with SAP Solution Manager delivers additional benefits. While business processes in SAP Solution Manager fail to show up all dependencies with other processes and manual steps are completely ignored, ARIS maps complete end-to-end processes. Connecting ARIS and SAP Solution Manager to a shared ARIS database to define the business and technical requirements produces a comprehensive, consistent, and intuitive communication platform. Bidirectional synchronization of process models between ARIS and SAP Solution Manager delivers valuable transparency by linking process models and SAP systems. End-to-end, process-oriented documentation of business concepts, configurations, and tests in accordance with consistent, formal standards is also ensured. The comprehensive functionality is rounded out by multiple analysis options, including standard reports and customer-specific scripts. All these benefits allow the gap between business and IT to be finally bridged.
Close coordination between user department and IT staff plus deployment of ARIS for SAP and SAP Solution Manager during implementation of SAP systems offer businesses exciting potential for optimization and greater efficiency. For cost-conscious managers, these savings opportunities must be like manna from heaven. Whether they are fully exploited or not, the potential is definitely there.
I'm looking forward to hear about your experience with SAP Solution Manager and ARIS for SAP.