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How Solution Manager addresses global rollouts

by Scott Priest, Managing Editor

September 26, 2011

D. Russell Sloan's latest Solution Manager Expert article "Demystifying the Global Rollout: Using Template and Implementation Projects to Manage a Global Deployment" is ambitious. A global rollout is obviously a massive project, and while SAP Solution Manager has functionality to help, it's still a daunting task. Nevertheless, Russell isn't afraid to get into the system and show you how it can meet your needs.

The following is an excerpt of the article, focusing on the use of what Solution Manager terms solutions. Given the broad use of this word, it's easy to lose track of what it means in a SolMan context. Russell has a great example to help explain its importance.

Now let’s look at the features of a solution:< /p>

  1. The solution represents the productive environment. It is an SAP Solution Manager entity that is used to house all the processes that have been delivered during all the go-live events that have occurred in the company. 
  2. The solution is the sum of all processes and process changes that have been developed and delivered as a result of global design, implementation deployments or local rollouts, and changes made relative to production support. (Production support changes are beyond the scope of this article.)

I mentioned the concept of going to production. This is where you begin to better understand the solution. The way I like to describe this is by using a factory analogy.        

Imagine a factory building that has multiple production lines and an internal warehouse that stores finished goods. The factory makes two kinds of candy bars that are, for the most part, the same. The base ingredients list for the two candy bars is chocolate, coconut, and caramel. The difference is that one of the candy bars also has almonds, and the two candy bars have different wrappers. As the two production lines in the factory produce candy bars, they put the finished product into the warehouse.

What does this all have to do with SAP Solution Manager? In the example above, the common ingredients represents the global template. It is the part of the final processing output that is the same regardless of which candy bar is being made.

The production lines can be viewed as the implementation projects. They represent how the global template is modified slightly to meet local requirements. In practice, this could represent legal and regulatory variations required to perform the business processes in different countries.

The warehouse represents the solution. It holds the finished product. The difference between the warehouse described above and the solution is that the solution doesn’t house finished products, but rather finished processes. It holds the sum of all the variations of the processes needed by the production lines based on the global template.

In summary, the global template holds a common list of ingredients and processes to make the base candy bar. However, the base candy bar is not actually sold by the business, so these processes don’t go directly into the solution. The implementation projects start with the process from the template and modify it slightly to create unique processes for each different candy bar. These processes are how the individual production lines operate. It is these modified processes that go into the solution.

Russell goes into much more detail, including screenshots and looks at more nuanced situations than your cookie-cutter implementation.

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