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I am penning down my thoughts, experience, and learnings I have gathered at the SAP Solution Manager Education (SolEd) Summit 2019 at Bangalore, India. This also happens to be the first SAP event where I was invited as a speaker. The keynote was presented by Marc Their, SVP, Technology Support at SAP AG. He started the keynote with an introduction of CALM (Cloud Application Life Cycle Management) which was thought-provoking for everyone in the room. It was no different for me.

The highlight of my session as a speaker was "QuikDeploy to Accelerate SAP S/4HANA Transitions", a solution by Mindtree.

QuikDeploy to Accelerate SAP S/4HANA Transitions

“QuikDeploy is our latest accelerator that underscores our commitment to help clients run as an intelligent and data-driven enterprise. Our strong partnership with Microsoft, our long history with Azure and our expertise with SAP makes us well-poised to help our clients jump-start their S/4HANA journey.”

Solution Manager Test & Focuses Build

But we all kept holding our seats with eagerness to know where this session will take us…

As Marc started explaining the road map of CALM, he could easily sense the confusion, eagerness, and restlessness on the faces of the audience. As expected, he transformed the discussion to the next level by highlighting "How CALM and SolMan (Solution Manager) are complementary products". This is what you expect from a leader who is driving the product to be honest and transparent to their customers and to the world.

SolMan and CloudALM by Peace Arch

Marc and team presented one of the best analogies used to define a relation to SolMan and CloudALM by Peace Arch near the western Canadian-US border with two inscriptions on both sides of its frieze: from the US side it reads, “Children of a common mother” while from the Canadian side, “Brethren (Brothers) dwelling together in unity”.

Along with technology, I have always loved cricket. So let me try to put it as simple as possible in my own words, these are the two batsman ready to handle "Two Different Pitch Conditions".

SolMan has been with us for long-long time where we all have seen the transformation journey and very well understand the nitty gritty attached to it. Now as the world is moving towards cloud; why not ALM solutions? We do understand how cloud requirements are different than on-premise, so definitely we need a product which can fulfill these changing demands. However, it all depends upon how the customers will change their landscape strategy as that would determine the use of both SolMan and/or CloudALM.

So we need to select composition of our team based on the pitch we wish to play on now and in the future. You cannot have similar set of tools/players to counter different strategies.

This leads to the following questions-:

  1. What is the future of SolMan? Is it dying?
  2. Why Jan, 2020 is important date for SolMan?
  3. What kind of changes and innovations we can expect in SolMan?
  4. Will there be a new version of Solution Manager?
  5. What if CloudALM strategy does not move at the expected pace?
  6. Changes in Skill Profile of ALM Consultants in comparison to SAP CloudALM?
  7. Any changes in the License cost of Focus Build and Focus Run?

I was lucky enough like few others as Marc agreed to spend some time for 1:1 discussion. Trust me it was really insightful as I got answers to all my concerns & queries.

Marc again was absolutely honest in sharing his thoughts, he did confirm that SAP is committed to provide an ALM solution based on the customer needs now and in the future. Currently it’s going to be SolMan & CloudALM, however the transitioning and adoption of new framework will be based on the pace at which customers move to cloud solutions.

SAP Solution Manager Vs SAP Cloud ALM

*Above figure has been taken from slides/information shared during the event

Yes you can put it that way

He confirmed that currently they don’t have any futuristic plan to invest large on SolMan with the caveat that there will be few changes in the coming years, specifically until 2025. The major focus will be on CALM as this is the product for the future generation. There will not be a new version of SolMan post 7.2; SP releases also will be at the slow rate like once a year or so.

I have felt it’s a transformation in alignment with S/4 and ECC6.0 journey, again these are my personal thoughts. As mentioned in the blog earlier, it all depends upon how customers are/will be ready to adopt this transformation.

Currently, SolMan is definitely not going anywhere for at least 7-8 years and SolMan consultants should not worry a lot as this gives them a lot of time to upskill and cross skill themselves to be aligned with the futuristic approach of SAP.

Changes in Skull Profile of ALM Consultant

* Above figure has been taken from slides/information shared during the event

One of the ways I will put this transformation is depicted in the picture below. It’s not a tug of war – it’s a transformation of expertise from SolMan to CloudALM where SAP Consultant as always walking on fine rope of technology changes/transformation. Kudos to all of us for always being so flexible to adjust to this ever changing and volatile technology. I’m sure we all will be able to adjust to this transformation too in the coming years…

SAP Consultant

All SAP Solution Manager 7.1 systems are technically outdated and cannot communicate with the updated SAP support backbone. Hence, an upgrade to SAP Solution Manager 7.2 SP8 is mandatory for the smooth and continue connectivity. This was announced during the SAPPHIRE 2019 at Orlando. Therefore, it becomes important for all to upgrade by January 2020, this will bring support for HTTPS communication between customers ERP systems and SAP’s Support Backbone.

Just for everyone’s knowledge, let me answer what is SAP Support Backbone?

SAP's Support Backbone is the central infrastructure located at SAP to provide technical support to our customers. We need to switch the communication of SAP Solution Manager and Focused Run to the new infrastructure before January 2020 to ensure continuous connectivity.

Right communication of SAP

Make sure you are updated and keep your customers aligned to this change. Right communication of SAP Best Practices at the right time is the key to the success.

Don’t lose your focus, keep a close eye on the target for the smooth continuity of the services/features post January, 2020.

Link to Refer -:

There were so many other topics which were discussed during the 3 days event like Process Management, Test Suite, ChaRM, CCLM, Focus Build, Focused Run, Hybrid Scenarios etc. I have not included all these in this blog as I wanted to stay focused.

However, I would like to share another important information before I end. There is no plan of reducing or changing any license cost for Focus Run, but for Focus Build, there will be no License cost from January, 2020. There is a discounted subscription available for SAP Build, already.

A demo system is also available on SAP CAL (Cloud Appliance Library) – if you wish to dirty your hands on SAP Solution Manager 7.2 SP08 & Focused Solutions SP03 (Demo System) with SAP S/4HANA


About the Author

Samarjeet Singh
Global Head, SAP Database & Technology

Samarjeet manages a team of consultants, advising customers on projects focusing on roadmap, design, deployment, migration and upgrade of SAP ERP. He also contributes to Bluefin and Mindtree's SAP Global Leadership, and is responsible for a team of more than 100+ consultants within India.

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