Thank you to everyone who joined and posted questions in our online chat with Vivek Banerjee, SAP Solution Manager expert and a speaker at Project Management 2014. Vivek took readers' questions on SAP Solution Manager 7.1 in a live Q&A.
This Q&A was moderated by James Ciccone, conference producer for Project Management 2014. Vivek hosted sessions as part of the Solution Manager track
You can view a replay of the Q&A session below along with an edited transcript of the chat.
SAPinsider: We'll kick off today's Q&A in just a few minutes, at 12:30pm ET. Vivek Banerjee will join us then, and today's chat is moderated by Project Management 2014 conference producer James Ciccone.
James Ciccone, Project Management 2014: Welcome! Thanks for joining us as we kick off our chat on SAP Solution Manager 7.1.
Today, Project Management 2014 speaker Vivek Banerjee of Enowa joins our chat to answer your most pressing questions surrounding updates to SolMan. We’re looking forward to your questions on configuration, support packs and managing your SAP projects with release 7.1.
Vivek, thanks for joining us! We’re looking forward to seeing you in Atlanta this year, and thanks for taking these questions today!
Vivek Banerjee, Enowa: Hello, James! Thank you for having me here, I am glad to be here. And hello everyone, I am here to take your questions on Solution Manager 7.1.
James Ciccone: We’ll let you get started on the questions that have come in already, Vivek.
Comment From Maria Kurbatova
Hello! As I know, in SAP SM 7.1 we can register incidents, problems and service requests via e-mail. Do I need any license to use this feature?
Vivek Banerjee: SM7.1 allows multiple ways to create an incident in SM7.1 As part of your enterprise support license, creation of Incidents using the CRM user interface and the SolMan workcenter, as well as using the SAP system where the incident occurred, is possible.
Comment From Chris Juegel
How could the dependency between Organizational changes vs. Masterdata and Processes be resolved and controlled in a flexible way, either in SolMan as a tool, or conceptually as best practice - system independent? How do we segregate those org structures which will not change in the system vs. those that may change over time?
Vivek Banerjee: Org Units and Master data within the Business Process Hierarchy structure (BPH) are managed using the following rule of thumb.
1. Those that are used across multiple processes go at the root level,
2. Scenario specific Org Units and Master Data go at the Scenario level.
As for how to manage it flexibly, the answer is very environment-specific. I could probably answer it better if I have some more detail.
Comment From Ludo
Vivek, we at Tessenderlo are now working on SM 7.1 SP 03 and we are planning to upgrade to SP 12. We are using Incident Management and Change Request Management. Which impact will our upgrade have on these domains? Which new features / functionalities will become available?
Vivek Banerjee: Hello Ludo,
The best practice will be to ensure that the functionality is well tested in Support Package 12 on the sandbox prior to moving it to the production environment. As for the list of new functionalities, I can point you to the following resource: http://help.sap.com/saphelp...
Comment From Mike Dumas
How do the many Solution Manager tools work in a multi-system Solution Manager landscape? Does BPCA for Dev systems reside in the same Solution Manager system as BPCA for Prod systems? Are all satellites defined in one Solution Manager for this and other activity?
Vivek Banerjee: Mike, this is a strategy question. Oft I have seen a 2-SolMan landscape environment where the functionalities are distributed. Dev Solman looks after the Dev and Sandbox environments; the Prod SolMan looks after the QA and Prod environments; Functional aspects of SolMan such as the BPCA, SEA, CDMC should ideally reside in the productive SolMan!
Comment From Praveen
We are currently using Solution Manager 7.1 SP 11 with ChaRM and technical monitoring. How difficult it is to implement BPCA and custom code management?
Vivek Banerjee: BPCA with ChaRM is one of my preferred Change Management packages for the client. I would think that with every change, the identification of the impact would play a significant role. Implementation of the BPCA functionality, though it may seem a bit of a painstaking effort at first, is a continuous improvement based one. This means BPCA results are very good compared to the third-party tools that are in the market. That being said, over the course of time, BPCA yields better results, which allows a customer to extract greater value and understand the impact of the change in question.
CDMC in comparison is a lot simpler to achieve, and the results are in black and white for most customers. With the right leadership and stakeholder buy-in, CDMC is comparatively easy to implement and retain.
BPCA will make you revisit your steps within Change Control and you will have to fit the tool within your current Change Control process in order to extract the best value. The fact that the Scope and Effort Analyzer (SEA) will also assist with this is a bonus.
Comment From Rama
Beyond this chat, what is a good resource for setting up monitoring using Solution Manager 7.1?
Vivek Banerjee: Monitoring and Operations with SAP Solution Manager by Lars, Corina, and Liane is a fantastic book. I have read it twice myself, and I highly recommend it!
Comment From Tom Kissel
If monitoring for critical events (e.g., Oracle tablespace out of room), how can I pass the alert to Service Now (we are replacing Remedy)? Or is there an interface from Solution Manager to something like TelAlert for automatic paging during off hours?
Vivek Banerjee: The solution to that may lie in the integration of Incident Management with Monitoring (which would be simpler).
An excellent use case for Incident Management and some intelligent routing -- and the best part is that all users are technical :) -- would ensure routing to the right on-call person.
Substitute management and other details are mentioned in detail in the book on IT Service Management.
Comment From Siva Nuthakki
We deployed Solution Manager 7.1 SP8 at Bank of America in October 2013 and made an attempt to use Normal Change process for a major release. We ran into several issues with "Import All" feature that SAP couldn't resolve with SP8, so we had to stop using NC process.
Can you please let us know all the new ChaRM features from 7.1 SP8 upgrade to 7.1 SP12 as we plan to do it in 6 months? We would like to know any improvements with Normal Change process and also if we can use the ChaRM functionality for BPC related transports now?
Vivek Banerjee: Hi Siva, The NC [Normal Change] process has never been a one- size-fits-all kind of a solution in my view. Therefore, we will have to take a look at enhancements to make it work for certain areas like CRM, BW and BW-related products, amongst others.
Now before pointing you to the information that may solve your query, I would like to remind you to take a look at the RICEFW structure that was adopted. The potential problem may lie in the organization of the RICEFW objects.
That being said, status dependent imports and or preliminary imports have helped the causes of the few customers I have encountered this problem with. I can provide you with additional information, if you can share more details.
Comment From Ravi
Hi Vivek. Typically, what type of landscape would benefit from ChaRM, especially multiple components vs just ERP in landscape? And at what stage of the project can ChaRM be introduced?
Vivek Banerjee: Hello Ravi,
The effort on a ChaRM project should ideally begin, in my opinion, with one stable landscape. While we at Enowa have assisted customers with no stable landscape, the dynamic nature of the project often acts as a deterrent and organizations tend to wait till go-live to pick it up.
If you are looking to plan ahead, developing a blueprint for ChaRM just when you are nearing your Integration Testing Cycles would be ideal, though resource management becomes a key.
Comment From Guest
Can you please route to any best practice for establishing a dashboard for System Monitoring to provide the report to higher management?
Vivek Banerjee: Depending on what level of management you are choosing to display the dashboards to, the options vary from using the single holistic view in System Monitoring to using the Management Dashboards available within SolMan out of the box. If you can share some more details, I can assist you better.
Comment From Guest
The top management want to see the dashboard at a very high level to have a glimpse of the system stability in the landscape.
Vivek Banerjee: Thank you for returning with the follow-up. Yes, the high level dashboards you are specifying can be covered with Dashboard Apps and Management Dashboards. Please take a look here. Also, IT Performance reporting would be an area to explore for your requirement.
Comment From Guest
Regarding the access, who should (or should NOT) have access to the Tech Monitoring area for SOX compliance?
Vivek Banerjee: Tech Monitoring is a very interesting area with regard to SOX compliance. Depending on the scenario of Tech-Mon (now called Application Operations or App-Ops), we could streamline the access and split it between Technical Teams (Basis) for System and Connection Monitoring and specific teams (PI, BI) for scenario-specific monitoring.
Comment From MP
Where can we get the best material to become Solution Manager Config certified? I've yet to join a project which has had Solution Manager completely configured with all monitoring and functionality working. It seems a dedicated resource is required to accomplish this.
Vivek Banerjee: You are correct. Solution Manager at most large customers these days requires an FTE resource with Basis and functional skills.
That being said, the best-ever references remain the standard SAP courses. Depending on whether you are an end user or a configurator, you can definitely benefit from the rich training catalog. Courses that are prefixed E2E are for users; courses prefixed SM are for configurators in most cases.
Comment From Gary
In our Solution Manager system at the business process level there are SAP attributes. One of the attribute tabs is "external keys." Within the external keys there are ESR/BPMS/Solution Builder attributes. How are these intended to be used?
Vivek Banerjee: ESR and BPMS assignment key attributes along with SB attributes are tied to the usage of the above mentioned sources. So if you are using this key in your structure, then a reference to this external key is maintained here. Not every customer has this usage, hence the utilization is mostly optional.
Comment From Christian Juegel
HI Vivek, Currently not using SolMan - but have some experience from an earlier project inside one enterprise. Now expecting more M&A-like changes to IT in a combined corporation.
We have two SAP/ECC environments now which require integration - of masterdata and of organization - but expect more companies and system joins to come.
Would you propose use of SolMan before or after completing integration? Experience from that earlier project was that a quickly established 'wrong' structure of org- and master-data in SolMan has reduced the SolMan from a control tool to a reporting tool. How to avoid?
Vivek Banerjee: Hello Christian,
The push for such a project has to come from management, mainly because the ideal path is to establish a single operative but adaptive global template - the more detailed, the better. Ideally, you should be able to incorporate new structures/companies at will if you use the Global template method. It’s never too late! :) I can provide you with more information if you are able to share more details.
Comment From Guest
I am new to this SolMan 7.1. We installed and configured it like a year ago. Requirements came from management to use SolMan for ChaRM and System Monitoring. Need to know how ChaRM works and how transports can be automated using ChaRM between instances DEV/QA/PRD. How are approvals configured? Where to begin and where can I get related documents, sample videos, etc.?
Vivek Banerjee: Please refer to my previous post and the reference to the book on ITSM. SAP Community Network, and the ITSM Wiki are also wonderful places to start your initial research.
Comment From Guest
Thanks, Vivek, for your advice, we will check the suggested site.
Comment From Guest
How effectively is Solution Manager integrated with BI/BusinessObjects to be able to monitor BI performance? Any good links to reading material on BI monitoring with SolMan?
Vivek Banerjee: The book on Technical Monitoring may be able to assist your needs. That being said, BI/BO monitoring with SolMan has been improving with every support package, and as the product matures, more and more skeptical BI Architects see value in it.
Comment From Christian Juegel
Is there any advantage in using SolMan plus SAP-ECC added by a PI distributor vs an added Connection Manager by MS BizTalk (we have the MS tool at one SAP and PI attached at the second)?
Vivek Banerjee: I would think Solution Manager would still be required in your SAP landscape to monitor and manage it, irrespective of whether you are using a specific provider. SolMan provides specific monitoring functionalities, which immensely help operations and management at the PI level, and I think that remains the key to the nature of the SolMan product.
Comment From Mike Dumas
How does monitoring and alerting integrate with the full version of Wily monitoring and alerting?
Vivek Banerjee: So let's revisit the nature of the Diagnostic Agent and Wily Agent and how it interacts as the backbone (along with the Host Agent) for Technical Monitoring.
Tech Mon provides the alerts, the agents provide the troubleshooting capability. Now the Wily RTV version does not integrate with Tech Monitoring beyond the functionalities described at the marketplace. The full version of Wily provides enhanced dashboards and additional metrics for systems/tools not supported.
James Ciccone: We just want to slip in one question before we let you go, Vivek! You mentioned before the Q&A that you see Normal Correction in ChaRM becoming more appealing post-Support Package 10?
Vivek Banerjee: So, Normal Correction and the import all functionality has become a bit of an all-over game. The nature of SAP implementations has been so dynamic and has grown even more that customers struggle with streamlining imports. And on top of that, technical teams' requirements to import transports by the hour or so do not help the cause/nature of normal corrections.
Hence, we take a look at the following SAP Note: 1897163 - How to configure periodic import jobs in Change Request Management.
This would help schedule periodic import jobs. Scenario 1 provides simple rules to follow post-SP10, and is a no-brainer. This makes the Normal Correction methodology more appealing to a broader base of customers.
Pre-SP10, this process would be a lot of effort, mainly because customers and consultants alike would spend a lot of time customizing the import job process. This is a big step forward and a massive help to everyone associated with using normal corrections.
James Ciccone: Thanks everyone for joining us today and for the great questions.
And thanks again to Vivek Banerjee of Enowa for joining us today. We really appreciate it and look forward to seeing you on the 27th!
Vivek Banerjee: Thank you James for having me here, and enabling me to interact with the wonderful audience.
Just a word, too, about Enowa: Enowa is a global SAP consulting partner focused on various aspects of SAP from implementations, rollouts and upgrades to niche topics such as HANA, ALM, and eCommerce. For more info, visit enowa.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I can be reached at email@example.com for specific questions and I would be glad to assist with any follow ups from this event.
James Ciccone: Thanks again to everyone who attended! To review all the discussion, you can watch the replay now, and look for the Q&A transcript here on the site in the next few days.