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The rise of Solution Manager

by Davin Wilfrid

November 4, 2011

By Davin Wilfrid, insiderRESEARCH

One would think that HANA and BI 4.0 would own the conversation at Reporting & Analytics 2011, but several conversations I've had with consultants and customers have circled back to something decidedly less sexy -- the long-awaited rise of SAP Solution Manager. 

SAP released version 7.1 of Solution Manager in August, and the updated version includes new features that convince some insiders that it may finally catch on in the  enterprise. 

Firstly, SAP has updated the UI to make the user experience less daunting. One consultant I talked to said this enhancement was the most important thing SAP has done to encourage adoption. When I asked him if the enhancements were enough to encourage adoption on the business side, however, he grimaced. Baby steps, I suppose. 

The next hurdle was to make Solution Manager capable of managing applications outside of SAP. Most SAP companies boast diverse landscapes and wouldn't be likely to adopt a help desk tool that only supports SAP. Version 7.1 includes the ability to support multiple applicatoins from a central location. 

Of course, there are till several challenges that stand in the way of increased adoption. For one thing, despite the wide range of functions -- including non-technical ones -- that can be managed within Solution Manager, it is still primarily viewed as an IT tool, limiting its reach within most organizations. 

Mobile device and application management is another area that complicates the adoption curve. The current version of Solution Manager was not originally designed to manage these types of tools, so centralizing those functions within Solution Manager is tricky. SAP sells Afaria from the Sybase portfolio to help customers manage mobile devices. 

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COMMENTS

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Ajay Vonkarey

9/25/2013 8:58:59 PM

Davin:
Good brief note on Solution Manager. As long time Solution Manager enthusiast and to the extent of an evangelist, my two-cents are:
The stigma behind Solution Manager tool that it is a monitoring tool for BASIS still remains the same at large. One of our potential customers referred Solution Manager as 'Pollution Manager', and basically drew a dagger into my Sol Man heart.
How much ever beautiful tool SAP has built, the marketing behind it has failed many times. "Run SAP" and "End to End Standards" have not energized customers much and the key challenge is - this is a system/tool/process for IT and calls itself ERP for IT- who are still secondary for a business.
So even though its a great tool - it is not SEXY enough.

Maria Pyta

9/25/2013 8:58:59 PM

SAP persists in trying to combine the technical perspectives of Solution Manager with the Project Management and Support Management of the application.
As an application project/support manager I want to be able set up the business process structures; categorise and prioritise my key business processes; Manage my documentation; perform risk analysis on fixes and proposed changes; Analyse the documented solution against actual activity; Monitor the business processes etc.
I don't want to define the technical landscape set up ports; technical monitors or perform system adminstration functions. I have a technical team to do that.
Can I get training in application support functions without having an indepth knowledge of technical functions. Answer = No.
Can my technical team get training in the relevant technical aspects without also being asked to become project or application support managers. Answer = No.
Until the training and education becomes more focussed to the enduser audience it remains too hard to educate effectively.


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