Special Report


Optimizing IT in Tough Times: 3 Simple Steps to Get Started


July 1, 2009

Tom Roberts
Vice President
Global Ecosystem
and Partner Group

Whether you’re working to improve day-to-day IT operations, implementing or upgrading your SAP applications, or simply trying to make your users more productive, the pressure is on — you have to do more with less. And in this challenging economic climate, traditional IT approaches often cannot scale to meet seemingly endless business demands.

At the same time, IT budgets are being cut like never before — and sometimes without warning. When this happens, companies must systematically optimize their IT processes to reduce costs while still delivering expected services. What’s more, IT optimization needs to deliver near-immediate payback.

The key to successful IT optimization is having a clear strategy and then using the right tools and methodologies in concert with each other. An integrated, end-to-end IT optimization strategy can be implemented in stages, with each step delivering clear value along the way so that savings and results are immediate.

Some analysts indicate that more than 40% of firms have cut their overall IT budgets in reaction to the slowdown in the global economy.

Your IT Optimization Journey: Getting Started

This approach makes a lot of sense. But you might wonder: Where do I start? Which solutions really deliver the highest value in the shortest amount of time?

Working with countless customers — ranging from midsize companies to Fortune 100 enterprises — SAP has identified select third-party offerings, called Solution Extensions (see Key Term below), that can put you on the IT optimization fast track. With Solution Extensions, you can assemble a tailor-made offering that addresses your key pain points in an expedited manner, resulting in ongoing cost savings and a positive ROI expected within three to six months.

Key Term: Solution Extensions

Solution Extensions are software offerings, sold and supported by SAP, that you can quickly and independently deploy. Solution Extensions are uniquely designed to assure your organization a fast ROI and a low overall TCO.

Tested to meet SAP product standards and integrated with the long-term SAP technology roadmap, these solutions are ideal for incorporating into SAP landscapes. To optimize IT, consider these key starting points:

  1. Performance Best Practices for Best-Run IT — Solutions that help you optimize the quality, performance, and scalability of your end-to-end IT business processes

  2. Testing Best Practices for Best-Run Businesses — Solutions that help IT eliminate risk and facilitate new implementations, migrations, and updates for successful go-live

  3. Best Practices for Empowering the Business User — Solutions that enable IT to ensure that business users have easy access to the information they need, when they need it

1. Performance Best Practices for Best-Run IT

When you truly get the most out of your IT implementation, you deliver direct benefits to the business. For example, you improve transaction cycle time, you enable timely visibility into key business information, and you enable business users to operate at peak efficiency. Additionally, optimizing IT can improve IT efficiency and reduce overall IT costs by better allocating system resources, lowering administrative overhead, and reducing help desk expenses.

To gain these benefits and quickly improve performance, IT should look into solutions that enable additional automation, management, and control across its systems, applications, databases, and processes.

Managing Data Growth with SAP Archiving by Open Text

As organizations grow, production system data often expands exponentially. Unmanaged, this growth in data volume can drive increased personnel and hardware costs. Figure 1 shows how the costs of managing one terabyte of data are typically distributed. For every dollar saved in storage hardware and software costs, another dollar (or more) is saved in personnel and training costs.

Figure 1
The distribution of costs for managing one terabyte of data Source: Dataquest/Gartner

As an IT best practice, SAP recommends that companies manage the growth of data to keep it as low as possible. The key strategy for doing this is archiving your data. In fact, a recent case study showed that after three years of implementing a data archiving strategy, a company’s database size was 450GB. Unmanaged, however, the database size would have been 700GB — or even more — at the projected data growth rate.

The SAP Archiving application by Open Text is a best-of-breed archiving solution that is specifically designed for archiving SAP data and documents. The solution’s certified integration with SAP ERP lets you securely migrate aged data to low-cost storage devices, resulting in an overall lower total cost of ownership due to more efficient resource use.

When information is no longer needed on a daily basis, SAP Archiving allows you to safely and easily remove the data from the active database and store it in archive files for later retrieval if and when necessary. Accordingly, you can experience significant cost savings by offloading increasing amounts of information stored in your database with reduced effort and minimal resources.

Maximize System Performance with SAP LoadRunner by HP

To ensure system behavior and performance, IT teams want to optimize the quality, performance, and scalability of their end-to-end business processes — which run on both SAP and non-SAP software — over the entire application life cycle. Offering performance and load testing, the SAP LoadRunner application by HP can emulate hundreds, even thousands, of concurrent users while simultaneously collecting information from key infrastructure components (including Web servers and database servers).

Consider a Web site that, during peak times — such as Monday morning, the start of the work week — hosts a much higher number of concurrent users than the normal load. It’s not practical to have a testbed of thousands and thousands of users, nor is it prudent to wait for a real-time spike of activity to determine if bottlenecks will occur. SAP LoadRunner can simulate a large number of users simultaneously accessing the server (see Figure 2).

Figure 2
With its thorough, integrated diagnostic and validation functionalities, SAP LoadRunner by HP can help reduce slowdowns in development schedules and lower the costs associated with such slowdowns

Thorough load testing helps you deliver high-performing solutions at many junctures in an IT implementation’s life cycle (see Figure 3), such as:

  • Before new installations or deployments

  • During capacity planning and sizing

  • During the integration of new components or software for business scenarios

  • During a solution’s functionality and performance tests

  • Around in-house developments

  • During upgrades or updates

Figure 3
The life cycle of SAP LoadRunner by HP

Automated to test the full spectrum of software supporting business scenarios, SAP LoadRunner predicts solution behavior and performance under any of these conditions. Using SAP LoadRunner, you can better deliver high-performing business processes — and execute, upgrade, and modify existing processes — on time and within budget.

Manage the Performance of Your Business Processes with SAP Enterprise Modeling Applications by IDS Scheer

Whenever IT is implementing or upgrading SAP software, or making any changes to your production systems, mitigating related risks is top priority; your business simply can’t afford to lose any time or money to system downtime.

Deployed in conjunction with SAP Solution Manager, SAP Enterprise Modeling applications by IDS Scheer can help you optimize the entire application life cycle so you can:

  • Implement, upgrade, and go live with SAP software on time and on budget

  • Enhance application quality and reliability in highly customized, rapidly changing, heterogeneous environments

  • Improve performance and scalability of business processes that depend on SAP and non-SAP software

The SAP Business Designer application by IDS Scheer helps you design business processes and connect with the SAP Solution Manager application management solution. SAP Business Designer allows you to ensure corporate modeling standards by enabling intuitive business process design. The application also provides global availability for Web-based process design.

The SAP Business Process Optimization application by IDS Scheer adds quantitative process analysis to Web-based modeling with the help of extensive simulation functionalities. You can realistically simulate process hierarchies and interlinked business processes — taking into account organizational structures and other resources. With SAP Business Process Optimization, you can streamline business-process handling times, reduce costs, and increase process quality. To aid in corporate decision making, you can also use this Web-based tool to optimize key figure-based processes.

The SAP Business Server and Publisher application by IDS Scheer provides permanent, low-cost, portal-based availability of process information. A database server enables central access and management of all Web-based products. The business publisher component supplies process information through online portals, rights-based and role-based access to process models, and dynamically generated portal content.

Your company’s business processes are often based on complex IT landscapes that call for order and transparency. To manage it all, you need a holistic, service-oriented architecture (SOA) to identify mission-critical IT systems and align them with the requirements of the business processes. Using the SAP Enterprise Modeling application by IDS Scheer, complemented by enterprise architecture management, you can have a clearly structured, easily understandable description method that covers all relevant elements in today’s architecture standards (see Figure 4). The software supports all necessary planning processes for establishing the target architecture geared to business processes. And with the business intelligence (BI) modeling capabilities of SAP Enterprise Modeling, SAP offers integration with the SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse (SAP NetWeaver BW) component. This application supports IT managers, BI experts, and specialists in the end-to-end redocumentation, conception, and modeling required for BI rollout, harmonization, or consolidation projects.

Figure 4
SAP Enterprise Modeling by IDS Scheer maps your overall business processes, their flow, and where within your IT landscape you should invest time and resources to improve your processes and minimize costs

Process performance management is becoming increasingly important if your company wants to maximize efficiency in its business operations. The SAP Process Performance Management application by IDS Scheer analyzes processes running in SAP solutions and automatically generates graphic documentation. At the same time, the application uses previously defined process performance indicators to help you evaluate the current process performance. SAP Process Performance Management provides intuitive cockpit displays of the current process performance indicators. An integrated early warning system automatically monitors all ongoing processes and displays a warning if these deviate from the plan. You can use the application decisively to continuously improve and sustain efficient and innovative SAP solution-based business processes.

Improve Process Performance with SAP Central Process Scheduling by Redwood

Process automation enables companies to efficiently manage the increasingly complex technical requirements that real- time business processes demand. You can achieve maximum productivity, agility, and resource utilization by intelligently centralizing the management of application workload across all environments. Event-driven automation ensures immediate and appropriate responses to business requirements — enabling you to take a dynamic approach in managing unpredictable workloads.

The SAP Central Process Scheduling application by Redwood delivers adaptive, real-time, event-driven job scheduling and process-automation capabilities. Specifically designed to integrate process automation for SAP and non-SAP application environments across distributed and heterogeneous platforms, SAP Central Process Scheduling provides a central point of control for all processing (see Figure 5). You can effectively use the application to:

  • Reduce the administrative overhead typically associated with managing critical application workload

  • Increase the efficiency of end-to-end, business-process workload execution

  • Integrate SAP and non-SAP business application processes

  • Reduce application workload completion time

  • Improve adherence to service-level agreements (SLAs)

  • Optimize the use of existing IT resources

Figure 5
SAP Central Process Scheduling by Redwood provides a single interface for managing all IT workloads and automating workload processing across all environments and composite applications, thereby reducing administrative overhead by eliminating the need for multiple tools

With SAP Central Process Scheduling by Redwood, you can create a dynamic scheduling environment that provides a core infrastructure component, which enables an approach to service-oriented architecture that’s compatible with enterprise-wide automation.1

2. Testing Best Practices for Best-Run Businesses

Facing unprecedented levels of business complexity, stakeholder demands, and regulatory volatility, companies must adapt to change. And during any change event, such as an application implementation or upgrade, an organization’s core business processes must continue to work as expected, without any disruption. The highly secure and mission-critical nature of enterprise application data means that you need to regularly test these applications and related business processes.

Go Live Confidently with SAP Quality Center by HP

If you’re looking for a fast, easy, reliable way to test your new software application, consider the SAP Quality Center application by HP. Its comprehensive, automated, and accurate procedures reduce testing costs and ensure your new software delivers the results you paid for. The solution is a single Web-based application (see Figure 6) that provides activities essential to quality management:

  • Gathering and managing requirements

  • Scheduling and running tests

  • Managing defects

  • Running consolidated reports

Figure 6
The automated SAP Quality Center by HP gives you a disciplined approach to testing; in a single Web-based console, you can see requirements management; test planning, building, scheduling, and execution; defect management; and project status analysis

SAP Quality Center offers these functions either as a standalone solution or integrated within a global quality center of excellence (COE) environment. You can easily scale down the application to manage the smallest project. And when deployed in conjunction with SAP Solution Manager, SAP Quality Center can be scaled up to meet the heavy demands of an enterprise COE. SAP Quality Center lowers the risk inherent in all software implementations and upgrades, and delivers high performance throughout the application life cycle. With SAP Quality Center, you can implement, upgrade, and go live with confidence.

Resolve Application Issues Proactively with SAP Extended Diagnostics by CA Wily

The increasing complexity of today’s IT environments challenges most organizations to manage their software applications. Organizations can lose a lot in the long run (see Figure 7) if they cannot properly test application performance in preproduction stages, identify problems before they affect users, or properly evaluate application service-level agreements.


Strategic Challenges

Tactical Challenges

Lost revenue opportunities

Inability to identify and solve issues before they affect users

Decreased customer and employee satisfaction levels

Increased complexity of applications and network traffic

Deterioration of brand reputation

Difficulty in measuring SLAs around application performance

Figure 7
The repercussions of faulty testing practices

Up against these challenges, IT is tasked with soundly managing its infrastructure for real-time application performance monitoring. The SAP Extended Diagnostics application by CA Wily helps your organization detect and triage application issues proactively — before SLAs are breached and users are affected. With this application, you can measure IT service levels, customer experience, and the associated impact on business revenue. You can also reduce customer and employee dissatisfaction, while improving IT output and business benefits (see sidebar).

3. Best Practices for Empowering the Business User

Empowering every person across your business network requires an integrated approach for automating processes, enabling coordination and collaboration, and delivering content to improve productivity, efficiency, and user satisfaction. At the same time, your employees expect information to be delivered in their user interface of choice; doing so accelerates user adoption and reduces training costs.

Improve the ROI of Your SAP Solutions with SAP User Experience Management by Knoa

Three key factors drive return on investment for your SAP solution: an efficient infrastructure, optimization of the SAP software for your environment, and the effectiveness of the people actually using it.

But how can you tell how your SAP solution performs for each person who uses it? How can you identify which people have difficulty executing which transactions? What does it mean when people say the system is “slow”? How can you acquire the data needed to separate real issues from opinions and take corrective action? In short, how can you discover, beyond hearsay and anecdotal reporting, the actual user experience?

The SAP User Experience Management application by Knoa determines how each person in your organization actually uses your SAP solution. The application provides input to comprehensive reports that you can use to improve application response times, pinpoint training needs, adjust business processes, and ensure that employees are delivering all the value you expect from your SAP solution. SAP User Experience Management can help you:

  • Provide insight to executives about application usage, adoption, and compliance

  • Maximize training investment by linking it to actual user performance

  • Reduce the number of application and end-user errors

  • Lower end-user support costs and reduce the quantity of calls to the help desk

  • Measure the actual response time of your SAP software

As an added advantage, SAP User Experience Management measures and reports critical information about how people experience SAP solution performance — right at their own desktops (see Figure 8).

Figure 8
SAP User Experience Management by Knoa provides application response, user experience, and adoption information to monitor and measure the end-user experience

Reduce Manual, Paper-Based Overhead with SAP Interactive Forms by Adobe

Is your company drowning in paper despite being firmly rooted in the digital age? SAP Interactive Forms software by Adobe helps to bridge the paper-to-digital divide by aiding organizations that rely heavily on paper forms to leverage the versatility, consistency, and accessibility of electronic forms.

SAP Interactive Forms enables organizations in any industry to extend the power of SAP and other software to improve customer communications and become more efficient. The tool helps you reach more users — internally and externally — by allowing you to create online and offline interactive PDF forms (see Figure 9).

Figure 9
SAP Interactive Forms by Adobe lets you develop interactive, digital forms that can be directly integrated into your business processes; a wide variety of Web-based forms can help you bridge the gap between inefficient paper-based processes and enterprise applications

With SAP Interactive Forms, your company can extend the reach of enterprise applications — such as ERP, product lifecycle management (PLM), supply chain management (SCM), and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions — to a much broader set of users, while easily pulling vital data needed from SAP software. The solution can help you:

  • Provide customers and employees with personalized forms generated directly from SAP applications and solutions

  • Capture data in completed forms that can flow directly back to SAP software — eliminating the need for error-prone, manual data input

  • Customize forms to meet the specific needs of your business or industry

  • Design electronic forms that reflect the familiar “look and feel” of the paper forms they replace

With SAP Interactive Forms, the transition from paper to electronic format is easy to achieve. Integrated with and powered by the SAP NetWeaver platform, the tool’s security is pervasive — ensuring that the right information reaches the right people and that only authorized people can modify forms.2

Reduce Travel and Training Costs with SAP Acrobat Connect Professional Applications by Adobe

With SAP Acrobat Connect Professional applications by Adobe, you can transform rapid communications and learning from promise to reality. Offered by SAP Education, these powerful applications harness technology that already exists on more than 98% of the world’s Internet-connected computers.

The SAP Acrobat Connect Professional Meeting application by Adobe lets you effortlessly establish and manage real-time, on-demand virtual meeting rooms with a standard URL, along with live e-learning and Web conferences. Plus, you can manage attendee registration and reporting. It’s an ideal product for training, organizational change management, sales, marketing, and general Web meetings (see Figure 10).

Figure 10
SAP Acrobat Connect Professional Meeting by Adobe lets you establish real-time, on-demand virtual meeting rooms and Web conferences incorporating document sharing and collaboration, live and recorded video, Adobe Flash movies, live screens, applications, audio, and multiuser text chat

SAP Acrobat Connect Professional Meeting goes beyond Web conferencing and enables you to create engaging, interactive e-learning classes and product presentations directly from Microsoft PowerPoint. With little or no learning curve, developers can include audio, Adobe Flash-based video, and SCORM-compliant user polling or testing.3

The SAP Acrobat Connect Professional Learning application by Adobe is ideal for organizations that need to create, manage, and deliver effective and economical internal training.

You can use SAP Acrobat Connect Professional Learning to schedule courses, enroll learners, grant viewing permissions, automate enrollment notices and reminders, and track learner statistics (see Figure 11). You can develop curricula combining live classes, multiple self-paced training courses, and other content. In addition, you can easily define course prerequisites, specify optional and required modules, and establish progressive learning paths for independent training, live instructor-led training, and external events.

Figure 11
With SAP Acrobat Connect Professional Learning by Adobe, you can create, manage, and deliver effective and economical internal training; you can schedule courses, enroll employees, grant viewing permissions, automate enrollment notices, and track learning statistics


The silver lining of an economic downturn is that it often forces businesses to become leaner and stronger. Investments that improve efficiency and optimize your IT processes are more important now than ever. And you must be able to prove that any IT optimization investments you make are delivering immediate payback.

I’ve shown you three simple ways that IT teams can optimize their companies’ SAP implementations. All can be deployed independently and quickly. And all are part of an end-to-end IT optimization offering and strategy leading to significant IT savings with a fast return on investment. The foresight to find efficiencies while improving service levels will benefit your business in difficult times and prepare your for rapid expansion when economies rebound.

For more information about the solutions highlighted in this article, please visit and

1 For more information on SAP Central Process Scheduling by Redwood, see “Expect More from Your Job Scheduling Solution,” an SAP NetWeaver Unleashed column by Dr. Astrid Tschense-Oesterle in the July-September 2008 issue of SAP Insider ( [back]

2 For more information on SAP Interactive Forms by Adobe, see “Drive SAP User Productivity While Containing Costs: 2 Quick, Easy Ways to Get Started” by Victoria Menshchikova in the
April-June 2009 issue of SAP Insider ( [back]

3 For more information about SAP Acrobat Connect Professional Meeting by Adobe, see
“Drive SAP User Productivity While Containing Costs: 2 Quick, Easy Ways to Get Started”
by Victoria Menshchikova in the April-June 2009 issue of SAP Insider ( [back]


With IT budgets under intense scrutiny, any new investments need to deliver near-immediate payback. But which solutions really deliver the highest value in the shortest amount of time? Uncover three key starting points to help your business optimize its IT operations.

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