An application lifecycle management (ALM) strategy provides the foundation for companies to gain optimal value from their business solutions. And, in an SAP context, ALM enables IT to efficiently adopt SAP innovations so they can keep pace with the changing market while still meeting basic business requirements. ALM also allows customers to manage change successfully — from small changes, like patching, to large changes, like business mergers.
To support ALM, SAP provides tools, processes, services, and an organizational model, which all center on SAP Solution Manager (see sidebar) to help companies manage SAP and non-SAP solutions throughout the application life cycle.1
10 Key ALM Solution Extensions
SAP is constantly working with members of our ecosystem to integrate the best technology solutions into our portfolio. For example, offerings called solution extensions support and enhance each phase of an application’s life cycle (see Figure 1). SAP has worked with the offering providers to rigorously test integration and interoperability to ensure rapid deployment. Here’s a high-level overview of 10 of our top ALM solution extensions.
- The SAP Application Visualization platform by iRise gives organizations a unique way to quickly experience SAP configurations, extensions, and integrated workflow for a broad range of SAP solutions (including SAP Customer Relationship Management and SAP ERP) — without requiring coding. The visualization mimics the final system’s look and feel. This enables stakeholders to “test drive” and fully experience an SAP solution’s external user experience before any expensive coding takes place.
- The SAP Enterprise Modeling application by IDS Scheer enables SAP customers to model their business, enterprise, and information architectures. Companies can accelerate their implementations by using pre-prepared content, improve the implementation quality through systematic communications, and increase visibility with full integration of all business process and enterprise architecture components.
- The SAP Productivity Pak application by ANCILE can help turn an organization into an active center of learning, consistently growing and supporting user performance. The application lets a customer create a collaborative partnership among end users, content authors, and training administrators. It does this by providing these user groups with the appropriate tools needed to generate and consume content, resulting in a better-equipped team that can help the business perform better.
- The SAP Quality Center application by HP offers a fast, reliable way to test a new application. Its comprehensive, automated, and accurate test procedures lower costs and ensure that new software delivers the expected results.
- The SAP LoadRunner application by HP helps organizations deliver high-performing business processes and execute, upgrade, and modify existing processes on time and within budget by allowing them to test the scalability of applications in a quality assurance lab. In this lab, users can simulate real-world load on applications and pinpoint performance bottlenecks. Customers can optimize quality, performance, and scalability of end-to-end business processes that run on SAP and non-SAP software.
- The SAP Archiving application by OpenText helps offload old data from an SAP system, thus reducing the application database’s size, while still providing long-term access to archived information. This helps companies lower both the costs and risks associated with meeting data retention and disposal requirements. In the application life cycle, archiving is especially vital in optimizing the application’s performance.
- The SAP User Experience Management application by Knoa, through comprehensive reporting and metrics, gives an organization the data needed to optimize the performance of the company’s SAP software and the people who use it. It does this by providing detailed reports that enable IT to identify, prioritize, and act on end-user experience and performance issues.
- The SAP Extended Diagnostics application by CA Wily helps customers identify bottlenecks, eliminate unplanned outages, manage service levels, optimize resources, and lower the costs associated with maintaining web applications. It complements the capabilities of the SAP NetWeaver technology platform by monitoring Java and .NET web applications, application servers, portals, process servers, and other service-oriented architecture (SOA) infrastructure components to help IT ensure that key web applications and web services meet business and performance goals.
- The SAP Process Performance Management application by IDS Scheer enables process measurement, monitoring, and analysis of current business processes. It supports process reengineering with process performance measurement capabilities and helps companies with continuous process improvements and sustainable, innovative SAP solution-based processes.
- The SAP Central Process Scheduling application by Redwood can help a company orchestrate its growing IT workload by providing a central point of control from which to manage multiple applications. It helps the business deliver innovation faster and meet compliance requirements, while ensuring business continuity and minimizing risk. It helps IT by improving reliability, speed and flexibility, and efficiency, while lowering the TCO of the SAP infrastructure.
||The SAP solution extensions mentioned in this article support and enhance all phases (in blue) and processes (in green) of an application’s life cycle
The Right Tools for Your ALM Strategy
The 10 solution extensions I explored here are designed to work with SAP Solution Manager and other SAP offerings and services for ALM to enable IT organizations to derive the maximum value and return from their SAP investments. For more information, visit www.sap.com/solutions/solutionextensions.
Kishore Bhamidipati (firstname.lastname@example.org) is an enterprise software products professional with experience defining and driving product and marketing strategies at large companies like Oracle, Mercury, and HP, as well as startups. At SAP, Kishore is responsible for defining and driving the global marketing messaging and strategy for the IT-oriented SAP solution extensions. His current focus area is ALM.
1 For more information about ALM, see Karl Kessler’s “Application Lifecycle Management for Everyone: Lifecycle Topics for Developers, Development Topics for Administrators” in the April-June 2010 issue of SAPinsider. [back]