TechEd 2018 – What We Learned

We're back from SAP TechEd 2018 and we've got some stuff to share!

TechEd 2018 was a conference to remember. There was a lot of talk on the future of SAP and the direction that everything is heading. Some of the major topics discussed this year were SAP S/4HANA, Focused Build, SAP Cloud ALM and the capabilities within Solution Manager 7.2.

SAP S/4HANA

Our booth received great traffic from curious conference attendees. A lot of which, had plenty of questions for us, which we loved! One of the main concerns that a lot of our curious visitors had was the uncertainty of the push to SAP S/4HANA. Mainly with problems they may run into depending on the company and project size. Another was if SAP S/4HANA was a fit for their business and if it would be a move in the right direction. That’s where our experience came in. We were able to provide our expertise and insights on the benefits and capabilities of running SAP S/4HANA no matter the company size. We also introduced our new offering to SAP users: set up with SAP HANA in 2 weeks, and have found this is a great gateway to understand and introduction HANA to teams and develop Standard Operating Procedures for their SAP S/4HANA implementation. While larger and complex data sets do present challenges, our recommendation is then to utilize SAP Focused Build with it’s pre-configured solutions that promote best practices.

SAP Focused Build

After suggesting SAP Focused Build, there was certainly interest as it is gaining popularity amongst SAP users. Many questioned what Focused Build was, and exactly which benefits it would bring (here’s our blog that goes into detail) and were pleased to learn that SAP is planning to remove the usage cost for SAP Focused Build in 2020. As a founding Focused Solutions Circle Member, we first saw potential of SAP Focused Build and have been recommending it to our clients. We have seen great results from decreased implementation times and increased overall cost savings from their IT development projects. If you are wondering how SAP Focused Build can help with your SAP upgrades or digital transformation projects, check out our blog on this topic.

SAP Cloud ALM

There was also some buzz over the new SAP Cloud ALM that was just announced. A few of the attendees (us included!) were still trying to surmise the new offering and several even confused it with the existing SAP Cloud Platform. The main thing to note is that SAP Cloud ALM is an on-premise ALM platform and is not a Platform-as-a-Service or a cloud based Solution Manager. It is a brand new product with a focus target towards customers that are either cloud-only, cloud first, or cloud-centric. It provides the ALM functions that are required in the cloud and has the goal to manage the life cycle of the Intelligent Enterprise Suite.

The common thread in our discussions around SAP Cloud ALM (or Cloud Platform) is the concern with security. While we understand that SAP takes security seriously and takes every available method to safeguard your business data, we believe that strict adherence to change-control procedures is critical whether it is an on-prem or cloud solution. Our belief is that with proper change management tools (like the capabilities found within SolMan), a transport path through development, QA/test and production environments can help secure the integrity of the data held in the production environment of an SAP system. We look forward to the change management tools available in SAP Cloud ALM and how it compares to existing tools in SAP Solution Manager.

SAP Solution Manager

With the end of SAP Solution Manager 7.1 mainstream maintenance earlier this year, we are glad that many of users we spoke with have upgraded to 7.2. However, we were surprised that quite a few SAP users still do not fully utilize the capabilities of Solution Manager 7.2 and were actually impressed at the new features of this version and how it now has deep integrations with many other SAP applications. Many were especially unaware of the improved ALM functions or were using costly 3rd party solutions that can be easily replicated in SolMan. For instance, with SAP Solution Manager 7.2 and Test Suite, you can now optimize testing cycles that are more efficient and easier to sustain with less risk, reduced cost and reduce unnecessary regression testing with automated testing.

We saw this as an opportunity and shared with them that SAP Solution Manager is no longer a support tool but an all encompassing utility that helps with their organization’s application lifecycle. With the latest upgrade, Solution Manager 7.2 has been reworked into a platform providing mission critical applications that will accelerate your organization’s digital transformation. Still, we did find it disheartening that some users limited their use of SolMan and were somewhat unwilling / incurious to enable the other capabilities even though they recognized that SolMan can fill certain gaps in their SAP landscape. So, if you are looking to understand how you can fully utilize SAP Solution Manager in your landscape, reach out to us for a free assessment!

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