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Tips for utilizing SAP Solution Manager to manage your upgrade or enhancement package installation

by Amy Thistle

April 26, 2011

This Project Management tip comes courtesy of Michael Pytel of NIMBL, who spoke at our Projects 2010 event. Determine the role SAP Solution Manager plays before, during, and after any SAP Business Suite upgrade project,

Why Do We Need SAP Solution Manager?

  • Business needs

Streamline operations

Become more agile and responsive

Enable cost-cutting initiatives

  • IT needs

Infrastructure is more complex

Budgets and resources are stretched

Standardize IT tasks

Enhance customer service (a.k.a. support)

  • Because SAP says so …

Required for all SAP NetWeaver® landscapes

As of EHP4, SAP Solution Manager builds the input file for the Enhancement Package Installer


SAP Solution Manager’s Role in Your Landscape

  • Central component for the implementation, maintenance, and support of your SAP landscape throughout its life cycle

Basic Requirements for Any Project Tool

  • List project tasks to be completed
  • Maintain assignment of tasks to project team members
  • Store documentation associated to the project tasks
  • Track progress of project tasks
  • Support custom-defined statuses of tasks and project documents
  • Enable project team members to collaborate on documents
    and tasks
  • Reusable for future projects
  • Support project reporting by task, person, team, or keywords
  • Enable project issue tracking

What Is Project Administration?

  • Built to support SAP’s ASAP methodology as a project implementation tool
  • Facilitates end-to-end project delivery and support
  • Includes tracking and metrics capabilities
  • Tight SAP product integration with Project IMGs, Service Desk, Test Workbench, etc.
  • Documentation repository
  • Common SAP tool and platform

Not only useful for upgrades, but also for EHP implementations and long-term operations

Arguments for Using Project Administration …

  • SAP Solution Manager is SAP’s primary platform for the delivery of support and maintenance services; it’s not going anywhere
  • Supports all major features of any document management system
  • 100% integrated into the SAP Business Suite 2010
  • Delivered with SAP-provided implementation content — templates, forms, deliverable guides, projects plans, etc.
  • Required if you want to use Impact Analysis, Business Process Monitoring, or Change Request Management
  • Allows your project documentation to evolve into production support documentation, which is 100% reusable for the next upgrade project

What Do I Need to Get Started?

  • SAP Solution Manager 7.0 with Enhancement Package 1 (SPS 22)

Includes automated setup via wizards

Lots of enhancements in Test Workbench

  • SAP recommends a two-system landscape for SAP Solution Manager: Development and Production

You can leverage Development for more than just testing patches — allow it to perform technical monitoring

  • SAP Solution Manager focused resource, at least for the first few weeks when setting up Project Administration

Train project team members

Basis background

What Does It Take to Set Up a Project?

  • Associate a solution landscape to your project

Solution landscape = logical grouping of systems

  • Choose a roadmap for your project

SAP ERP upgrade, SAP CRM installation, SAP SRM,
SAP SCM, etc.

  • Define project standards

Custom statuses and keywords

  • Upload your project templates

Business process procedures, technical specs, functional specs, etc.

The Project Is Set Up, Now What?

  • It’s time to start building the business process areas to store your project documents
  • The structure is highly configurable and can be changed at any time, with proper authorizations

Limit the number of project team members that can change the project structure

  • Begin training your project team leads

Create several test projects as a playground

  • Do not get hung up on the project struc ture — it can and will change as you become more comfortable with the tool

How Should I Structure My Project?

  • How are you running your project?

By functional area?

?      FI, SD, MM, etc.

By end-to-end business process?

?      Order-to-cash, procure-to-pay, etc.

  • You have three levels to work with — no more

Business scenario (e.g., financials)

Business process (e.g., accounts payable)

Business process step (e.g., post down-payment request)

What Is the Business Process Repository (BPR)?

  • SAP provided template of business processes based on research and customer experiences
  • Generally includes some help documentation, transaction codes, and links to IMG activities
  • Can be used as a guide for configuring your own business processes
  • Only select what you want to copy — disregard the rest
  • Great for project team training — provides examples of the minimum amount of information that should be created in Project Administration
  • Updated via the SAP Solution Manager component ST-ICO

Project Administration’s Proven Value

  • Gains visibility into the scope of the project

Who’s assigned to what task, and what’s the task status

What business processes are in scope for my project

  • Associates transaction codes and IMG menu items to the business process

Great knowledge base for production support post go-live

  • Centrally report against and find information using SOLAR_EVAL
  • No more hidden items

See what has been configured and what is outstanding

Search by document title, owner, keywords

Add TREX and search the content of documents

  • Ensures all business processes and transactions are cataloged

If it’s not in Project Administration, its not in scope

Single repository for information about all your business processes

  • Stores functional and technical specification documents for custom development items (e.g., Reports, Interfaces, Conversions, Enhancements, Forms, and Workflows
    (RICEFW) objects)
  • Enables project documents to be reusable

SAP Solution Manager is a long-term solution and will be part of every SAP landscape for the foreseeable future

To help answer your questions about using SAP Solution Manager for project management, Michael will be hosting an Insider Learning Network Q&A on SAP Solution Manager in the IT Forum on Thursday, April 28 at 1:30-2:30pm EST. To participate,  register here for more SAP Solution Manager tips and to join the discussion on April 28, 1:30-2:30 EST.

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