The following assessment, research, and TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) calculations are derived from real customer deployment, upgrades, industry surveys, and monitoring projects for the past 10 years across many sizes of customers. It is intended to help with budgeting and measuring ROI before investing in Solman as a primary enterprise monitoring platform for the SAP environment.
Although the licensing of the software for SAP Solution Manager is free, the Total Cost of Ownership of Solution manager is often underestimated, in particular as it relates to Monitoring. Licensing alone is free - after you pay the annual SAP maintenance support fees, but there are many hidden costs, such as servers, backups, and skilled personnel, to take into account. If you’ve gotten past the master guides and tutorials, you might have some idea of how labor-intensive this project is.
Before Solution Manager became mandatory for SAP customers, there was a myriad of IT tools that could monitor the application performance of an ERP. At first, SolMan was buggy and incomplete. Then SAP tried to mitigate the risk by making it free of charge, but customers found that implementing the tool was going to cost a lot of money. In some cases, the implementation time is staggering.
The process often takes weeks, and on average, implementation costs 40% more expensive than expected.
See Solution Manager 7.1 – Installation from scratch or upgrade – Take a look at the real cost.
But if it keeps the CCoE (Customer Center of Expertise) manager happy, here are some key areas to consider before implementing Solution Manager which we also have written about extensively in our various blogs and eBooks about SAP Solution Manager Technical Monitoring.
Key Areas of Consideration
At least two separate landscapes are needed to be sized (using SAP Quick Sizer) and procured for both hardware and software:
Shared with other SolMan users for non-monitoring applications such as ChaRM, Documentation, Quality testing, Maintenance, etc. Performance can impact monitoring itself.
Preparation/Planning: Several days, lots of SAP notes and manuals are required
Actual Installation: Estimated 2-3 days: Server, OS, Storage, DB, SAP SWPM (ABAP, Java)
Post-Install Setup: Estimated 1-2 days: Monitoring Infrastructure (SLD, LMDB, Java Connectivity, BW Setup, Users, CA, Introscope, Email, CRM Basis, Gateway services)
Basic Configuration: Estimated 1-2 days
- Schedule Jobs
- User creation and connectivity to SAP Support Hub Communication
- Client libraries install on Solman as needed for managed systems such as HANA
- Update MAI (Monitoring Alerting Infrastructure) Content
4. Managed System Configuration
Managed System Configuration: Estimated 1-2 hours/system
- Diagnostic agent installation per linked systems and integration with SLD
- Upload Extractors (if Monitoring HANA 2.0)
- Assign Products
- Check Prerequisites
- Maintain RFCs
- Assign Diagnostic Agent
- Enter System Parameters
- Enter Landscape Parameters
- Maintain Users
- Finalize & Check the Configuration
5. System Monitoring and UI
- Fiori tiles-based and SAPUI5 interface
- Manage thresholds and alerts via Templates
6. Life Cycle Management
Requires upgrade of SOLMAN and frequent Support Pack updates, which involves almost the same effort if not more than installation, not to mention downtime:
- BW Administration
- CRM Administration, TREX is needed if SolMan is not installed on HANA
- ABAP & JAVA Basis Administration for standard SAP landscape
- Frequent Content Updates
- Frequent Security Updates
- Template Maintenance
- Monitoring is not available while upgrading the production SolMan (unless manual setup for Emergency Monitoring – this puts the monitored system at risk without any monitoring tool)
- SolMan itself needs Monitoring
7. Technical Support/Expertise
Requires dedicated SME for SolMan, which includes:
- Full SAP landscape management
- Continuous education and SolMan-specific training courses
- Estimated 20% of the time of a SolMan Consultant is needed to help every customer's Full Time Employee (FTE) assigned to the effort
Cost: $$$ - High initial cost and ongoing support costs, especially if using Focus Insights
Personnel: Dedicated SMEs, and in most cases consultants during the implementation
Availability: Needs self-monitoring and alternate monitoring methods during upgrades or support pack updates, which may be once every quarter
Click the button below to calculate the real cost of ownership with the SolMan TCO Calculator.
Although SolMan has improved year after year, the tool certainly has its shortcomings. The level of functionality, complexity, and usability is very low. You can get the job done, but you will need the right talent with the right skills to get the most usability out of Solution Manager. Most teams will need to add custom tweaks and scripts to get what they want out of it.
Without any existing knowledge of the guides and setup, it can be difficult to fully understand all of the features. The Admin may then have a limited view of the landscape, and a limited ability to diagnose issues and threats.
And what about other SAP solutions that are not covered? SAP customers are looking for alternatives for Hybris, SuccessFactors, Concur, Fieldglass, and BPM. SolMan as an ‘‘out of the box’ solution is far from being the final solution for SAP Application Performance Management. Of course, there is always the SAP promise of more support to come, but you will have to upgrade again and again to the latest releases and support packs.
At the moment, the largest pains of the Solution Manager to address are:
- Length of time to install, setup, and configure across systems
- High degree of manual effort, ongoing maintenance cost of dedicated SMEs
- Slow detection and resolution of potential impairments
- Lack of flexibility and context
With the time and effort spent working with Solution Manager, companies like IT-Conductor, which focus on ultra-quick installation, process automation, and self-healing have emerged to take on the challenge.