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Equip Your mySAP.com Landscape with a Central Platform for Monitoring and Support

by Anja Wolf and Eithne Devine | SAPinsider

January 1, 2002

by Anja Wolf and Eithne Devine, SAP AG SAPinsider - 2002 (Volume 3), January (Issue 1)
 

Imagine equipping your SAP landscape with a centralized command station. From this single monitor and control center, you could manage your entire mySAP.com solution landscape - including all your SAP resources, and even the interfaces from your third-party systems. This command center would not only document your current landscape, but would also be updated as your system grows and changes over time, as a common point of reference for your in-house support team, SAP, partners, and consultants alike, to give all parties the same information in the same context when it comes to installations, upgrades, and maintenance.

That, in a nutshell, is what you get with the SAP Solution Manager.

The SAP Solution Manager is a new platform from SAP that integrates all the content, tools, and methodologies that you need to help support the technical implementation and operation of your enterprise's mySAP.com solutions. With the SAP Solution Manager installed onsite, your enterprise has a central point of entry for performing services to enhance system operations, monitor solutions, and support the entire system landscape (see Figure 1).

Figure 1 SAP Solution Manager Main Screen

Starting this year, the SAP Solution Manager will be a prerequisite for SAP customers to receive proactive services, such as the GoingLive Check and the EarlyWatch Alert, and will be provided to all customers as a part of their maintenance fee. (For more information on these services, see Table 1 below.)

Best Practices Documents for Solution Management

Best Practices documents for solution management simplify and guide you through complex issues in the implementation and management of your solution landscape. They are based on SAP's experience with thousands of customer installations. Several Best Practices documents (Landscape Copy Guide, Mobile Sales for CRM, etc.) are available via the SAP Solution Manager.

Predictive and Proactive Services

SAP's proactive and predictive services safeguard the entire solution life-cycle. Feasibility studies focus on integration, operation, and risk management and lead to a smooth implementation and operation. During technical implementation, GoingLive services take care of supporting and auditing the startup of operations, while EarlyWatch services assure continuous operation and optimization of the solution. Predictive and proactive services can either be delivered remotely, onsite, or as self-service procedures. The SAP Solution Manager is the required delivery platform for all TeamSAP support services.

Continuous Improvement Services

These services are delivered by onsite teams of experienced SAP consultants and help you to identify potential problems in your mySAP.com solution. For example, during the Solution Management Review Service, core business processes are analyzed and issues that affect the normal flow of the implemented core business process are identified. This information is documented in the SAP Solution Manager. A range of Solution Management Optimization Services focused on specific critical weak points are then available and delivered in the SAP Solution Manager.
Table 1
Documents and Services to Enhance Systems Operations

Seamless Communication with SAP and Partners Enhances Sophisticated Onsite Services

With easy-to-implement add-on technology, the SAP Solution Manager offers comprehensive services in three key areas:

  1. Monitoring to help ensure successful execution of core business processes:
    Real-time system monitoring

    Real-time business process monitoring

    Service Level Management (SLM) reporting

  2. Services to enhance system operations:

    Access to SAP Best Practices documents for solution management via a link to the SAP Service Marketplace

    Proactive and predictive services for optimization and maintenance

  3. Support for users and IT teams:

    Automatic implementation of SAP Notes

    Easy-to-use search capabilities for the SAP Notes database

    A help desk with integrated messaging functionality for user support

    Real-time remote support using Microsoft NetMeeting via SAProuter.

In addition to these monitoring and tuning services for SAP systems, the SAP Solution Manager also supports seamless communication between your organization, SAP, and partners for any additional services your system requires.

Figure 2 illustrates the collaboration that the SAP Solution Manager promotes - from reporting and monitoring to service delivery. Knowledge transfer and requests for services are made easy, since the SAP Solution Manager acts as a platform for communication between a customer, SAP, and partners. It also becomes a single, central documentation point for information that you can make available to everyone involved at installation, maintenance, and upgrade. (See the section "The SAP Solution Manager Offers Benefits for the Entire IT Team.")

Figure 2 Opportunities for Collaborative Service Delivery with the SAP Solution Manager

The SAP Solution Manager Offers Benefits for the Entire IT Team

Highlights of the SAP Solution Manager

Additional benefits of the SAP Solution Manager include:
  • Safeguarding of the technical implementation and operation of any mySAP.com solution
  • Optimal performance of systems and core business processes
  • Extensive knowledge transfer
  • Closing of the gap between functional/application and system operations
  • Direct connection to SAP Support
  • Optimum support with integrated help desk
  • Instant feedback to SAP
  • Application sharing
  • Alert display for the entire system landscape
  • Easy access to the full range of SAP services and support
  • Easier ordering and simplified processing for all support and services
  • Instant automatic updating, including personalized Hot News
  • Lower cost of ownership of the mySAP.com solution

For a clearer idea of how this might work in practice, we'll take a look at how typical IT teams might use the SAP Solution Manager for their own solution management activities.

Imagine an SAP customer — let's call it the ACME Corporation. ACME's solution landscape fits that of a familiar e-business solution landscape. The company is running SAP to execute its core business processes and, of course, has integrated some non-SAP systems into this environment as well.

The IT department at ACME was eager to try out the SAP Solution Manager. For system administrators, it would make it easier to order and perform services, and provide the functionality they need to monitor and ensure the execution of core business processes. The IT support team could use it to build and improve help desk capabilities, with search functions for the SAP Notes database and automatic implementation of SAP Notes. The detailed and overview solution performance reports generated in this process would be an invaluable asset for the IT Director. And a host of additional benefits would be accrued as well (see "Highlights of the SAP Solution Manager").

When the IT department installed the SAP Solution Manager, they simply downloaded the SAP Solution Manager software from the SAP Service Marketplace. The installation was completed easily within a few days, including inputting information about ACME's system landscape via the step-by-step processes, templates, and tables contained within the SAP Solution Manager.

Best of all, the cost of obtaining the SAP Solution Manager was included in ACME's standard maintenance agreement with SAP. The IT department now has a platform that can completely transform the work of managing and optimizing their solutions.

Take Full Advantage of Internal and External Operations, Monitoring, and Support Capabilities

In the introductory screen of the SAP Solution Manager, shown back in Figure 1, the different sections of the platform are depicted in the navigation bar on the left. The services available to this particular solution landscape are displayed in the main screen.

Operations

From the Operations Section of the SAP Solution Manager, the IT department can now access a wide variety of SAP services (whether remote or onsite), Self-Services, and SAP Best Practices for Solution Management.1 These services are triggered dynamically, and are based on the configuration and status of the specific system landscape. Table 1 lists examples of the Operations Section's contents.

The Operations Section provides IT operations managers with a clear overview of all service recommendations. The results are then available in clearly structured reports, which are archived in the Operations Section.

Monitoring

The Monitoring Section of the SAP Solution Manager, shown in Figure 3, addresses System Monitoring, Business Process Monitoring (e.g., monitoring a sales process from order to delivery that runs through different systems - SAP and non-SAP), and Service Level Management (e.g., tracking and measuring transaction response times).2 This multi-level approach enables the monitoring and administration of the entire solution.

Figure 3 Solution Monitoring Screen from the SAP Solution Manager

From the Monitoring Section, the IT team can monitor the solution landscape graphically, including the tracing of core business processes through different systems and interfaces. This information can also be sent to cellular phones or PDAs with the Mobile Solution Manager, a mobile interface that enables Solution Monitoring alerts to be sent to handheld devices.

Figure 4 is an example of system monitoring, giving the system administrator a complete overview of the solution landscape and indicating the exact components where problems are occurring. Clicking on the alert symbols sends the system administrator to detailed information about the problem, along with hints on techniques and services.

Figure 4 System Monitoring in Display Mode with the SAP Solution Manager

Just as with systems and hardware, the IT team can also monitor specific business processes (see Figure 5). With the SAP Solution Manager, the system administrator has a graphical overview of the company's business processes and the systems (both SAP and non-SAP) in which the various transactions are taking place. Interfaces are mapped and graphics highlight system bottlenecks.

With Service Level Management (SLM) reporting and alerts, including SLM Reporting and EarlyWatch Alert, the IT teams can receive reports on the state of the solution. The IT team can define system status reports, determine how to arrange the content of generated reports, and set transactional-based time limits. The resulting summary service reports are indispensable sources of information for management decisions on hardware and software issues.

Figure 5 Overview of Business Processes in the SAP Solution Manager

Support

Within the Support Section of the SAP Solution Manager, the IT team has a complete infrastructure for coordinating and operating an onsite help desk organization, covering the entire solution landscape.

In addition to message handling and access to the SAP Notes database, as well as other SAP Service Marketplace information, the Support Section integrates tools, including Note Assistant, for automatic application of SAP Notes, and Microsoft NetMeeting, for real-time problem-solving involving the user, the IT staff, and SAP.

When SAP Solution Manager is installed, any user in any of the solution systems - whether SAP or non-SAP - can post a support request quickly and simply, and the posted message will then appear in the Support Notifications section (see Figure 6). From this interface, the in-house support team can access a completely integrated message-handling system with a full range of problem-solving features.

For more serious issues, the support team has a direct connection from the SAP Solution Manager to SAP, over which they can forward Support Notifications to SAP's support organization, who stand ready to solve the problem immediately. Once the issue is resolved, the new status information is transferred directly into the company's SAP system.

One more exciting new feature is a shared view of an application between the end user, the onsite help desk, and SAP's support organization using Microsoft NetMeeting technology. SAP has developed an SAProuter enhancement so that experts at the onsite help desk or in SAP Support can actually see the front-end for further analysis. Users can then share these applications with their help desk and SAP simultaneously for faster and easier problem-solving.

Figure 6 Support Notification in the SAP Solution Manager

Technical Requirements for the SAP Solution Manager

The SAP Solution Manager is a technical add-on that is currently available worldwide as part of the customer maintenance agreement with SAP. It can be downloaded from the SAP Service Marketplace at www.service.sap.com. Alternatively, an installation CD can be ordered via the SAP Service Marketplace or from SAP's global support organization.

The SAP Solution Manager can be installed on any one of the following platforms:
  • SAP R/3 4.6C or higher
  • Web Application Server 6.10 or higher
  • mySAP Workplace 2.11

Using the Solution Manager within a web browser requires Internet Transaction Server (ITS) 4.6D with the latest patch level, for use with Netscape Navigator 4.7 or higher or Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0/5.01.

To access SAP Solution Manager through SAP GUI for Windows, the Basis Release 4.6D version of SAP GUI for Windows is required.

For generation of service session reports and the upload of questionnaires, you need Microsoft Office 2000, Service Pack 1, language "English."

How to Get Started

To learn more about the new SAP Solution Manager and the exciting benefits it offers to SAP customers as you technically implement and operate your mySAP.com solution, visit the SAP Service Marketplace at http://service.sap.com/solutionmanager.


1 For more information on Best Practices for Solution Management, see "Empower Your IT Team with SAP's Best Practices for Solution Management" by Ute Rueckert-Daschakowsky in this issue of SAP Insider.

2 For more on service-level management, see "It Takes the Right Tools and Metrics to Monitor SLA Compliance" in the January-March 2001 issue of SAP Insider.


Anja Wolf joined SAP in 1999 as an application consultant for the SAP Sales and Distribution module. After a service delivery project for the former Technical Core Competence department, she joined the SAP Global Support Product Management team in 2000. She is now responsible for all marketing-related issues.

Eithne Devine joined SAP (UK) in 1998 in a sales support capacity. In 1999 she moved to SAP AG in Germany and became responsible for Service Communication for SAP's Services organization.

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