One of the benefits of being a certified Run SAP Implementation Partner was the opportunity to join some of the finest SAP ALM and SAP Solution Manager Consultants at a global event hosted by SAP. SAP provided an environment in which enabled delegates to transfer knowledge directly from the product development team to the partner community.
The timing of the event could not have been better. Last week SAP Solution Manager SP05 was released. With it come some really good functional enhancements that enable SAP Solution Manager to be used for IT Service Management, and not just for SAP Products, but for non-SAP and IT Infrastructure components as well. During the event there were many opportunities to see this in action.
The event was extremely positive and I wanted to share some of the highlights.
Some interesting facts
SAP runs SAP Solution Manager IT Service Management
Over 95% of organisations that run SAP have installed SAP Solution Manager
Since the release of SAP Solution Manager 7.1 in 2011 there have been more than 2000 installations, making this release one of the fasted adopted SAP platforms to date.
What are the key new developments in SAP Solution Manager SP05 that are turning Solution Manager into the ERP for IT?
IT Service Management
The new ITSM functions in SAP Solution Manager are there to standardise IT processes and enabling IT to become a strategic partner to the business. We know this has always been the plan but guess what, the platform has never allowed this to happen. SAP Solution Manager 7.1 has been a game changer in managing SAP and non-SAP systems. Version SP05 will be the game changer that will enable companies to utilise SAP Solution Manager for all solutions and infrastructure components. As David Birkenbach, Senior Solution Manager from SAP, said, "why would you not use SAP for ITSM".
What is new in SAP Solution Manager SP05?
Quick creation of Incident Tickets for highly repeatable issues, e.g. password resets. With a click of a button an incident ticket can be now be created
A new collaboration portal for business users which acts as a self-service portal for reporting incidents, checking status and requesting service
An e-mail based procedure for creating and managing tickets
Mobile Apps that enable basic processing of incident messages
New Management Dashboards for IT Service Management that provide an overview of the current status.
Why is SAP Solution Manager SP05 going to be a game changer?
This is due mainly to the collaboration with Realtech on IT Infrastructure Management. I will discuss this shortly.
IT Infrastructure Management
In the past IT Infrastructure was not really possible in SAP Solution Manager. In the latest version there are some game changing enhancements that will enable companies to use Solution Manager as an IT Infrastructure Management tool.
As I mentioned before, SAP has collaborated with Realtech to integrate Realtech's theGuard into Solution Manager. I have to say that this is a marriage in heaven and will be very interesting.
With SAP Solution Manager SP05 you can use theGuard to perform an auto discovery of the IT infrastructure. Anything with an IP Address can be found and with Solution Manager, a Configuration Management Record is created with the information about the discovered item.
theGuard also provides a network map of all items and shows how they are connected. So you can see what items are within a given data centre, how they are connected to routers and switches, and which systems are running on the devices.
So why do I find this exciting?
I remember my days in the pharmaceutical industry where it was also important to understand how a change in the infrastructure could impact a system. With IT Infrastructure Management in SAP Solution Manager, this is possible. If a router fails you can see which SAP systems will be impacted. In addition you can provide monitoring information, so you can see from the diagram if the SAP system has a performance issue, or an exception. This enables you to trace completely through the infrastructure.
Because IT Infrastructure Management is an SAP product, it is very well integrated. You can create an Incident, Problem, or Request for Change, for each Configuration Item. Within the Configuration Record you have a trace of all history regarding that device.
In addition there is now the possibility to create a Request in the Service Desk for a new IT asset, and then trigger the ordering and receiving of the asset in ERP, and then managing the asset through its lifecycle in SAP Solution Manager.
SAP AGS delivered a very successful event with some very impressive presentations for ITSM (delivered by David Birkenbach), Solution Documentation (delivered by Benjamin Schneider), and IT Infrastructure Management (delivered by Michael Kloeffer) to name a few. I hope SAP will post these presentations on its wiki pages, so be sure to keep an eye out as they are well worth having a read through.