I recently moderated a web forum with SAP Solution Manager expert and NIMBL consultant Michael Pytel on new 7.1 features, upgrade options, troubleshooting BPP installation, comparing standard support vs. enterprise support, and other topics.
For the full Q&A, you can view the questions and Michael's responses in the IT Forum, or read excerpts from the transcript of the Q&A below.
You can also listen to my conversation with Michael with his advice on moving to SAP Solution Manager 7.1. On Insider Learning Network, listen to a quick podcast from my recent interview with Michael on 7.1. Solution Manager Expert subscribers can read or listen to the full interview here.
Scott Priest: Welcome to today’s Forum on SAP Solution Manager 7.1 with expert Michael Pytel.
In this one-hour Q&A, we invite you to post your questions for NIMBL’s Michael Pytel on what’s new in 7.1 to enhance your project management and planning.
Thanks, Michael, for joining us today.
ALEMBERT MAURICIO CARDOZO MARTINEZ: Here my questions:
1. We have SOLMAN 7.0 SPS17 under Netweaver 7.0, in order to upgrade SOLMAN to 7.1 is mandatory to do an upgrade of Netweaver 7.0 to Netweaver 7.02 ?
2. We are planning to apply EHP5 for SAP ERP 6.0 SR1 which modules of SOLMAN 7.1 can help us to:
- Improve Regression tests?
- Document Functional Upgrade to EHP5.
- Does SOLMAN 7.1 offer Templates to speed up Regression test?
- How SOLMAN 7.1 can help us to track test cases?
Thanks for your answers.
Michael Pytel: Great first question! Let me try to answer quickly and concisely!
Yes – you will need to upgrade to NW 7.02. A quick check of the Product Availability Matrix confirms this > service.sap.com/pam.
To be honest – I’ve seem some good performance improvements with SAPJVM and NW 7.02 versus SUN/IBM JDKs and NW 7.0. It’s a worthy upgrade.
Lots of customers are looking at EHP5 rights now (but keep an eye on EHP6 which is still in rampup).
As for Solution Manager – we have a couple of options to support your project:
- Solution Documentation Assistant – Gather information about the transaction codes and reports your business leverages today in ERP, CRM, SRM, etc. Once you have thi
s catalog of custom and standard SAP transactions/reports that are used in your current environment – you can feed that information into a Project and ultimately into Test Management to build your Test Plan for your project.
- How does this help? It enables you to tell the business – “Yes, I’m confident we have catalogued and tested all existing functionality in our current environment for this EHP installation.”
- Can you document new functionality? Of course – Project Administration is a great – customizable – document repository for your project. Using the information collected in my first point, you’ll have a baseline of where you are today in order to know where you want to go. I also highly recommend SAP’s Business Function Prediction Service – included as part of your Standard or Enterprise Maintenance: service.sap.com/bfp
- Track Test Case? Test Management in Solution Manager is a tool that lets you plan, execute and track test cases. It’s a great tool for those companies that cannot (or are not ready) for an HP QC product. Here’s some overview information.
ALEMBERT MAURICIO CARDOZO MARTINEZ: Dear Michael, Thank you very much for your reply.
MariaPyta: Many existing SAP customers have not been using Solution Manager for project or support administration. Their interest is aroused by the functionality offered by Solution Documentation Assistant, Business Process Change Analyser and Business Process Monitor as these offer them the ability to understand what their end users are really using; assess the risks of changes and have early warning of abnormal peaks, troughs or update errors in the core business processes.
Many of these customers do not have a BPML and find the task of creating one a little daunting. I believe the reverse engineering tool to build the blueprint structure would be of great interest and assistance. Can you explain the capabilities of this tool, it would be especially useful in upgrade and enhancement projects.
Michael Pytel: Very common question Maria - and you are correct - it IS a huge task to create a BPML. With Solution Documentation Assistant - we can catalogue the transactions and reports (interfaces too) used in our landscape - but this only captures the single transaction or report. It does not actually look at the data and build out the string of transaction codes into a business process.
That’s where the Reverse Business Process Documentation tools comes in - it's basically the business rules from RBE that SAP has licensed and included with Solution Manager 7.1 for those customer who have Enterprise Support (sorry Standard Support customers).
The tool is fascinating and very usable. And should not be confused with SAP's new graphical Business Process Blueprinting tool. BPB is a 'visio-like' that enable your SMEs or project team members to graphically map out their business processes and sync them to a project in SOlution Manager
(there is also some integration with Netweaver BPM).
Here are some more links for you to read.
Great Blog: Business process documentation with SAP Solution Manager 7.1
SMP: Reverse Busines Process Documentation
SAP Note Containing RBE Content: 1591505
Mahmoud Younis: We already have a solution manager but we haven't used it , now we are interested are with solman 7.1.
Can you please state the core functions and benefits that solution manger can give us
Michael Pytel: Hello Mahmoud! That's a big question! To start - here's the link to SAP's ALM overview where you can get information on all components.
What features have the best bang for the buck? Here are my three picks on tools that can save most organizations real $$$$
1. Technical Operations > Proactive Monitoring and Maintenance of your SAP landscape from hardware to OS to DB to NetWeaver. Get email/sms alerts about problems at all levels of SAP. Did a background job fail? start on time? Are end users able to enter Sales Orders and get a response within XX milliseconds? Technical Operations helps us answer all of these.
2. Solution Doc
umentation & Change Management > Leverage Solution Manager to document the transactions and reports your users run today to support your business processes. Collect data from today to 90 days past (or up to 14 months prior with SM 7.1). Catalogue these transactions and use the Business Process Change Analyzer to compare what’s being used in your landscape with a new Support Package from SAP - for targeted testing of only what’s going to be affected.
3. Test Management > Testing is one of the most expensive components of any project or support package installation. We pull users from the business, hire consultants, and we generally run full integration tests. Using the tool described in #2 and the test planning/execution/tracking features of Test Management, I can typically streamline me testing and reduce effort by 30%-40%. (real $$$$)
mariechi: Hi Michael, We are currently using Solution Manager 7.0 EHP1. Here are my questions:
1. In using CDMC, BI object types such as Infotypes, Multiproviders are not found in the CDMC results. Are these object types available in Solution Manager 7.1 or in future releases? Is there an alternative approach to have BI object types available in using the CDMC tool?
2. What are the new BPCA features in Solution Manager 7.1?
Michael Pytel: Hello Mariechi!
In short - CDMC and BPCA are relatively the same in Solution Manager 7.1. To my knowledge, SAP does not support the discovery of BW specific objects, per SAP Note 1316694. (I'm sure you've seen the note but posting for the commun
In regards to BPCA - SAP added a new features which allow me to compare existing business processes with information from Maintenance Optimizer. So I dont need to have all of the patches downloaded and installed somewhere before the comparison. See screenshot here.
Thank you for posting!
Mario Scaff: Thanks for your attention. I'm having a really hard time to make the first install of "Business Process Blueprinting" tool. There are a lot of notes, but I couldn't find the client installation of "Business Process Blueprinting." So, my questions are:
1 - What is the installation procedure for "Business Process Blueprinting" Tool?
2 - Where can I download the "Business Process Blueprinting" Client?
Thanks a lot.
Michael Pytel: Mario! I was in the same position during rampup in June. Really struggled but got it working - and it does work well.
You can find the installation guides here
And the client is part of the BPB Media on SWDC. Goto service.sap.com/swdc > My Company's Application Components > My Company's Software > SAP SOLUTION MANAGER > SAP SOLUTION MANAGER 7.1 > Installation and download the ZIP file "51040898 SAP BPB 1.0 Add-On Installation"
Within the media - the client is in a folder SAP_BPB_10_JAVA
Also - you have to have HTTPS configured on your Solution Manager. Follow the configuration guide from the link in point #1. The configure HTTPS in SMICM. The BPB client looks for HTTPS even though you may not want to use HTTPS.
Good luck! Post back here if you have trouble!
Mario Scaff: Michael, Thank you very much
JulieCady: We are currently upgrading to 7.1 and have a few questions:
1. We currently have an integration point between SolMan 7.0 with HP Service Desk. Will that integration point need to be reworked after the upgrade? Or will it continue to work as currently designed?
2. From a functional standpoint, what areas/capabilities should we focus on as they will not upgrade cleanly? (e.g. CHARM data, Project Documentation...)
Michael Pytel: Hello Julie! Good questions! So you're one of lucky few who have integrated with third-party service desks!
Just checked our internal SM 7.1 system - and yes the technical objects used in the interface are still there. And here's the link to some overview information about the interface in SM 7.1 > link Page 67. The help documentation on the interface references the same documents for SM 7.01.
From an upgrade standpoint - the least friendly is Service Desk and CHARM because of the new message types introduced by SAP. I've wor
ked on several upgrades where customers were only using Project Administration and we had zero issues. Document types, status values, security/auth objects, document history - were all preserved.
On the technical operations side - SAP also introduced some new functionality that can replace CCMS, so you'll find your technical teams spending time here to get the new functionality working (which is good)
Bernie Krause: Hi, Michael. We are currently in the process up doing a test upgrade to SM 7.1 and are finding the process to be rather the opposite of robust.
What has been your experience in upgrading from 7.0 to 7.1? What are the factors that you've found help make the process more vs. less easy/successful?
Michael Pytel: I hear ya Bernie. I've worked on 6+ Solution Manager upgrades and had different challenges on all of them.
What has been most successful for me? Get Solution Manager 7.01 to SPS25 or above.
SAP officially supports an upgrade from any SPS version - but this has worked for me.
And in two cases, the customer and I agreed to do a fresh installation and migrate content from one system to another. What content? Project Administration and Solution information. You cannot migrate (transport) Service Desk or CHARM configuration between 7.01 and 7.1.
Hope this helps!
Re: migration vs upgrade - I'll be speaking about a customer case study where we migrated at SAPinsider ADMIN 2012 in March.
CateRO: Is there a way to configure a General Change so that the "component" is not a required field? Also, where in the config can we dictate how the approvals for each type of Change should be setup?
Michael Pytel: Wow - detailed question CateRO! I'll need to dig down in my configuration guide for CHARM. Are you running SM 7.1 already with CHARM? How's it working out for your organizations?
CateRO: We have it setup and are still configuring in our test system. These are a couple of things I have had issues with and have been unable to find the answers so far. Thanks!
B Himpler: My company is currently running SolMan EHP1, SP26.
Our first SAP go-live was in 2004 and we have had approximately 24 SAP projects since then. We are running FI, CO, MM, PP, PLM, BW, BOBJ, CRM, SD/OTC, CS, QM, STC, VARIANT CONFIG, IP and HCM (separate landscape).
In 2008, we started using SolMan as a document repository.
In 2010 and 2011 we used Test Workbench to perform manual unit and integration testing.
We will be using SolMan to monitor our system starting in January 2012 (SLD, CCMS and Wiley set up in in process.)
My questions are:
1. We want to leverage SolMan's business process monitoring functionality and need to retrofit our business processes. We started a manual process to do so, but progress has been slow. We need to do the process internally, without consultant support. We are not currently on the Enterprise Support and I believe there are some restrictions as to which SolMa
n tools are available to us. Do you have any recommendations as to how we can perform the retrofit in a timely, accurate fashion?
2. We want to generate reports from SolMan for executive review. I understand that SolMan has its own BW, but have been told it is better to use our existing BW system (vs. SolMan's BW) for more robust reporting. What are your thoughts?
Michael Pytel: Greetings B Himpler!
Good question for those customers who are also on Standard Support vs Enterprise.
As far as I know - you still have access to Solution Documentation Assistant (SoDocA) as part of Standard Support. This will help you catalogue the transactions and reports your business users are executing in support of your organizations business processes.
Once we have this information, we can dump them into a project. Using either the Business Process Blueprinting Tool or SOLAR01 transaction - we schedule some workshops with SMEs that can help organize the information we collected in SoDocA into actual business processes.
What is the motivation for SMEs to help? The business process monitoring is a good tool - but I think the impact analysis features of Business Process Change Analyzer are greater. We compare the catalogue of transactions being used in our environment with support packages or enhancements from SAP, for targeting testing of only those objects that will be affected. Reducing testing effort and $$$.
Re: BW: Interesting question! The BW functionality in Solution Manager is the exact same functionality available in standalone BW 7.01. It's the same BI Content (BI CONENT 7.06) in Solution Ma
Plus! The data is local so the extractors don’t need to use RFCs. etc. I would stick with BW in Solution Manager. Additionally, you'll have to activate BW in SM7.1 as part of SOLMAN_SETUP - so its there and ready for use!
B Himpler: Thank you, Michael. Very informative session!
MichaelPytel: Thank you all for the great questions!
Scott Priest: Thanks to all who joined us in the Forum today. Some great discussion here!
Although this forum thread is now closed, we invite you to post your specific questions about SAP Solution Manager. Simply log in to Insider Learning Network and go to the IT Forum and select the "New Thread" button at the top of the page.
For more on SAP Solution Manager 7.1, I also encourage you to join the IT Group for ongoing information, including updates from Solution Manager Expert.
And thanks again to Michael Pytel of NIMBL for taking these questions today.