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Preventing Problems Before They Can Disrupt Your Business Processes: The SAP Collaborative Safeguarding Program

by Rüdiger Fries | SAPinsider

January 1, 2002

by Rüdiger Fries, SAP AG SAPinsider - 2002 (Volume 3), January (Issue 1)
 

Although building business solutions upon open architectures lets you combine the multiple services, applications, and platforms that make the most sense for your business, doing so also comes at a price. Once you start combining various best-of-breed solutions to optimize functionality, you assume more complicated implementation and support issues. Clearly it is more difficult to optimize the manageability, reliability, availability, and performance of end-to-end business processes that draw upon multiple solutions and even multiple vendors - particularly processes that are used on a worldwide base, 24x7, and process a very high throughput.

This challenge is the impetus behind SAP's new Collaborative Safeguarding program. Collaborative Safeguarding is a proactive risk-management program that monitors the technical implementation process of mySAP.com components, such as SAP Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and SAP Supply Chain Management (SCM), and helps customers achieve a smooth, clean, and effective startup of operations.

The program consists of various, mainly onsite, services to:

  • Add checkpoints at critical junctures of the implementation and operation project with the help of appropriate services. These include checks for feasibility and technical integration, checks before and after go-live, and alerts to problems in the early stages of operation.

  • Help customers make the most of SAP's experience in thousands of installations.

  • Make SAP's service portfolio available during any step in an implementation. These services (for example, SAP Note Assistant) will be available through the SAP Solution Manager.

  • Derive appropriate preventive measures for implementation teams.

  • Transfer the knowledge needed to implement and operate the solution.

  • Minimize the risk of failures and system downtime, and therefore reduce the cost of ownership (in other words, save money by using SAP's experience).

Within the SAP Collaborative Safeguarding program, we have identified the weak spots in solution management - the spots where problems most often arise - and specify the services and checks at these critical points from the Discovery & Evaluation Phase on through Operations and Continuous Improvement (see Figure 1).

Figure 1 Four Service Packages for SAP Collaborative Safeguarding

The SAP Collaborative Safeguarding program combines existing remote services (or parts of those services), such as the SAP GoingLive service that many of you are already familiar with, plus additional onsite services, such as the SAP Technical Feasibility check of the customer core business processes. The activities within the SAP Collaborative Safeguarding program address the four key areas listed in Table 1:

  • SAP Feasibility Check

  • SAP Technical Integration Check

  • SAP GoingLive Check

  • SAP EarlyWatch/EarlyWatch Alert

All services are delivered using the SAP Solution Manager, a new, multifunctional portal from SAP for implementing and operating the mySAP.com infrastructure.1 The SAP Solution Manager provides the foundation for customers to achieve a new level of collaboration with SAP during project start, technical implementation, and ongoing optimization of the operation of a mySAP.com solution. It also generates customer-specific services individually tailored for a mySAP.com solution, including all elements of system configuration. This ensures from the start that there is close collaboration between our global support organization and the customer's implementation team, that the most up-to-date service portfolios are used, and that any data employed in this process now can be readily available for reuse in the future.

Certified specialists from SAP or partner organizations will deliver all service checks included in the program. Because we want to ensure the maximum success when customers use these services, each step is performed closely with the implementation team, that is, the customer's business units and IT department. For each service session performed with the program, customers will receive a detailed service report with a list of the recommended next steps.

1. SAP Feasibility Check
The SAP Feasibility Check verifies the technical feasibility of the core business processes defined in the mySAP.com business blueprint. These services focus on productive operations, and include the following:
  • Identifying the most critical core business processes

  • Enabling the customer to receive support through the SAP Solution Manager

  • Checking the functional risks of the solution (including gaps, modifications, etc.)

  • Checking the technical feasibility (sizing, volume, performance)

  • Preparing a joint risk management plan for the project

The onsite team responsible for service delivery also reviews proposed modifications, focusing on whether modifications are really needed and, if so, how well they can be integrated with standard mySAP.com components. Feasibility services also ensure that SAP has all the relevant data (including information on the core business processes), that this data is well defined within the SAP Solution Manager, and that any future service deliveries are based on this data.

The Feasibility Check is initiated at the beginning of the implementation phase and reuses data collected during the Discovery & Evaluation phase, if possible.

2. SAP Technical Integration Check

The SAP Technical Integration Check is designed to prepare the customer for the next implementation steps with regard to integration. This service package:

  • Checks the design of the key interfaces from both a functional and technical point of view

  • Checks the design of integration technology concerning mapping and data transfer

  • Checks the system and application operation concepts

The Technical Integration Check is the first step toward optimal performance and reliable operation of interfaces both to and from your SAP solutions. These checks focus on technical aspects and help identify potential errors to ensure consistent data, secure interfaces, and reliable recovery processes.

3. SAP GoingLive Check

The SAP GoingLive Check consists of three separate service sessions (described below). Each session is a closed unit and results in an extensive report with a detailed action list and recommendations. The three sessions focus on:

  • Checks of systems and component configurations, including sizing

  • Checks of the performance of key business processes

  • Meeting the customer's specific support needs for integration, volume testing, startup of operations, and/or initial data load

The first session, the Analysis Session, requires detailed data about hardware, number of users, and data volume. Data is also drawn on the future workload distribution, your system landscape, and the backup and recovery process.

The Optimization Session focuses on key transactions, response time, and resource consumption. This data forms the basis of a prognosis of how your system will behave during production operation.

The Verification Session is performed after the system goes live. It will check the system behavior based on representative data from daily operations, in conjunction with feedback resulting from user experience with the production system.

4. SAP EarlyWatch and SAP EarlyWatch Alert

Based on the SAP Solution Manager, SAP EarlyWatch Alert continuously gathers key data from each system during the entire system lifecycle, and analyzes it based on a wealth of SAP data on the most vital aspects of customer systems.

Customers can view the results provided by SAP in an online report. If there are urgent problems with a production system, SAP EarlyWatch Alert data is sent immediately to SAP, where, if necessary, a full-scale SAP EarlyWatch service is performed. As part of the SAP EarlyWatch service, a team of SAP service engineers connects to an SAP system and independently and objectively analyzes all its vital components, without affecting its running production operations. The resulting report includes an action list of detailed suggestions for improvement. The action list enables the customer to ensure maximum system availability and optimize the performance of the entire SAP solution.

Table 1 The Four Key Service Areas of SAP Collaborative Safeguarding

Getting It Right from the Start: A Proactive Approach to Protect Business Processes

Drawing on SAP's years of experience with thousands of installations, we have developed this range of technical optimization services to help solve potential problems in mySAP.com solutions. All of these services are based on SAP Best Practices2 and are delivered by onsite teams of experienced SAP consultants, by certified partners, or by customer employees with back-office support from our experts at SAP Support Centers.

By bringing this combination of services and support at the most critical points in the installation process, we help you focus on:

  • Your most important business processes - to make complex systems manageable

  • Your entire solution landscape, including SAP and non-SAP systems - to ensure data integration and consistency

  • Process-oriented operations management - to combine functional and technical implementation

  • Preventing problems - to reduce the total cost of ownership, promote secure data management, and guard against downtime

How to Begin Safeguarding Your Own Solutions

The SAP Collaborative Safeguarding program is currently available for all mySAP.com components, and is designed for use before, during, and after installation. All service sessions delivered by SAP during the Collaborative Safeguarding program will require the SAP Solution Manager. Once a customer has the required certification, the SAP Solution Manager is the central enabling point to make full use of the SAP Global Support services portfolio.

For more information, visit the SAP Service Marketplace at www.service.sap.com.


1 For more information, see "Equip Your mySAP.com Landscape with a Central Platform for Monitoring and Support with the New SAP Solution Manager" by Anja Wolf and Eithne Devine in this issue of SAP Insider.

2 For details on SAP 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.


Rüdiger Fries is Director of SAP Services Global Product Management and is responsible for SAP's services portfolio of offerings. Rüdiger has been with SAP for 10 years, and has held a number of management positions in SAP's education and consulting organizations in Europe and Asia.

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