SAP S/4HANA System Conversion: the role of SAP Solution Manager

SAP S/4HANA

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SAP S/4HANA System Conversion: the role of SAP Solution Manager

Sergio Ferrari | Jun 12, 2019

SAP Solution Manager is the most complete lifecycle management solution for SAP. It allows customers to continuously protect their investment, leverage innovation, and achieve value from their SAP solutions.

In this interview with Renato Moltrasio we understand more in detail how SAP Solution Manager can support the conversion to SAP S/4HANA.

Hi Renato, would you like to introduce yourself?

Hi Sergio, thanks for having me here in our SAP S/4HANA Conversion blog series.

I am a passionate senior specialist in Change & Control Management and IT Service Management and an SAP Solution Architect since more than 20 years. I started doing this with the “classic” ABAP TMS configurations and now since 8 years I’ve been using Solution Manager to guide ALM. I like to see SAP Solution Manager as the “ERP” system of the IT department and I realize day by day that this is something innovative in the IT way of working.

Do you think that SAP Solution Manager can support the conversion to SAP S/4HANA?

Yes sure. SAP Solution Manager is a key feature that can help you to shape your SAP S/4HANA project either in case of a Greenfield implementation or in case of Brownfield implementations.

When you are converting to S/4, a big challenge is the modifications synchronization between the “live” system and the project environment. One of the great Solution Manager features that can help you is the Standalone Retrofit. This feature keeps track of all the consolidated modifications that are performed in the AMS landscape and provide you a tool that can transfer the modification in the development system of the conversion project landscape, making your life easier in the double maintenance activities!

This is indeed an interesting feature! Is there something else?

Of course! Another hot topic is the documentation of the process that you are implementing or adjusting.

SAP Solution Manager has the “Process Management” scenario (former “Solution Documentation”) that can document and represent all the business processes that will be in scope of the conversion process. You can create and store all the classic project documents like functional specifications, technical documents, test documents, etc. What is interesting is that all these information will become the single source of truth of the project and later on of the “Solution” that will be implemented or migrated.

The Solution is the central concept in Solution Manager that sums up all of a company’s systems, applications and processes. It acts as a container for versions of solution documentation.

Since the Solution Documentation will hold the test cases, you will be able to generate all the needed test plans starting from it, using the “Test Suite” scenario. These test plan can be used to guide and control the user acceptance test phase of the project in a seamless way, that is a crucial point in every project. In the following pictures you can see an example of the analytics that you can leverage in the Test Suite to have an idea of the on-going tests.

SAP Solution Manager Process Management scenario for SAP S/4HANA Conversion

SAP Solution Manager Test package for SAP S/4HANA Conversion

Finally all these test plans can be reused later on during the maintenance phase, after the project go-live, to perform massive No-Regression Test (NRT) runs.  

Great! Another question. What about defective test case results: can Solution Manager help us with this?

I was just hoping you to ask me this question and the answer is yes, definitely!

SAP Solution Manager provides another scenario called ITSM (IT Service Management), that let you manage defects with “defect documents” using the ITSM predefined process. It’s very simple and useful to use this incident management tool, that obviously keeps track of all the defects and let the team process them in a well organized way. In the end you will be sure to have completed all test cases you needed and corrected all the small defects that you found during the test phase.

Also with this scenario, you will have a clear view of the status of the adjustments looking at the defect status.

Finally after the go-live you will be able to leverage the ITSM scenario for incident management in general during the maintenance phase. What is good is that you will be able to integrate with ITSM another scenario: the Change and Control Management scenario (former ChaRM).

ChaRM incorporates SAP’s best practices regarding transport management, since it lets you use the Transport of Copies mechanism by default (in Normal Changes). It provides the link between business requirements and the underlying technical implementation, passing through the Solution Documentation.  

ChaRm has a fully integrated transport mechanism and change control system to manage changes across technology stacks and application components and, finally, it is highly integrated in other SAP Solution Manager scenarios.

Last question, what is your favorite SAP Solution Manager capability?

I have two favorite Solution Manager capabilities: the first one  is the BPCA (Business Process Change Analyzer). This is a kind of “classic” feature that sums up two different Solution Manager scenarios that I told you before: Solution Documentation and Test Suite. This feature lets you identify the impact of your modifications on the already implemented processes. You can input a list of transport requests or change documents and you get the impacted already implemented processes (executables in your Solution Documentation). In this way you can focus on a limited “good” number of test case during the Non Regression Testing phase.  

My second favourite feature is the CSOL (Cross System Object Lock) and DGP (Downgrade Protection). This is a real simple but effective feature, which is used both in CharRM and also in the Standalone Retrofit  to provide a kind of “logical” locking mechanism, that can integrate the classical ABAP workbench locking mechanism while the transport request is already released, but has not completed its lifecycle yet (not imported in the production system).

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