SAP today announced some enhancements coming in SAP Solution Manager 7.1, soon to enter Ramp-Up and expected for General Availability in August. Let's go straight to their press release.
SAP AG will open up enterprise application management beyond SAP® solutions with the 7.1 release of SAP® Solution Manager, its premier application management solution. The first major update in more than four years will make the tool a one-stop shop for total application life-cycle management by offering control mechanisms for both SAP and non-SAP environments. [...]
SAP Solution Manager 7.1 will offer companies one management platform for their entire portfolio of SAP solutions, cutting through the complexities of a multi-vendor technology stack. Management tools for designing, graphical blueprinting, testing, configuring, deploying, monitoring and operating will integrate into the platform with oversight over SAP and non-SAP technologies. It will remove the need for customers to buy separate management tools native to that softw
are while also better utilizing any pre-existing management tools, cementing interoperability and data integration throughout.
SAP is also looking to boost usage, as it notes in the press release that just 50-60% of its customers use the current application management functionality. Just based on their need to define what Solution Manager is (application management solution) shows that the understanding isn't as widespread in the market as SAP would like it to be.
The phrasing SAP uses in this release reinforces a term I first heard at our IT 2011 conference in March -- and one that I would imagine will be repeated at SAPPHIRE NOW -- "ERP for IT". Solution Manager has had an uneven last few years in terms of its roadmap and what SAP has wanted it to be for customers, but with 7.1 there appears to be a clear vision for it to provide value to members of the IT team the way ERP systems do for businesses.
It will be very interesting to see what else comes out of SAPPHIRE about the 7.1 release, and specifically to see what kind of footprint Solution Manager has on the event. With so many new initiatives and pieces of interest -- cloud computing, on-demand, business analytics, anything BusinessObjects-related -- Solution Manager will have a lot of competition for attention at the event.