Solution Documentation: Before (7.1) and After (7.2)


Solution Documentation 7.2 – New, Modernized Front End, New Elements, Innovative Fiori Apps, Libraries

 

SAP Solution Manager 7.2 has been available for over a year, but many customers are still using Solution Manager Version 7.1. General maintenance for SAP Solution Manager 7.1 ran out end of 2017. While your 7.1 system is still running it might be a good idea to prepare your SAP Solution Manager 7.2 upgrade.

SAP SE introduced several very innovative and beneficial improvements with SAP Solution Manager 7.2. There is no need to wait to upgrade to SAP Solution Manager 7.2. There is plenty of documentation available, expert advice and many blogs. In my observations, I’ll focus in the following on the changes in the Solution Documentation area because this area has been changed the most and it is the starting point to access the full potential of SAP Solution Manager.

The Business Blueprint functionality from SAP Solution Manager 7.1 was completed redesigned and new FIORI Apps offer us a totally new end user experience. SAP SE has now introduced an integrated graphical modelling interface to create various kinds of business process diagrams. SAP’s aim is to provide a functionality to take over what customers tried to accomplish with VISIO or MS PowerPoint in the past, not to make your sophisticated process modelling tools obsolete. The new process modelling functionality is tightly integrated in the Solution Documentation functionality and offers customers the possibility to create various diagrams in the BPMN notation. With SAP Solution Manager 7.2 SP5 we now also have a Universal Diagram which can be used to model value chain diagrams, process landscapes, organizational structures, and more.

 

Business Blueprint is gone, long live Solution Documentation!

It seems that SAP SE completely deleted the term “Business Blueprint” from its vocabulary. While the old transactions solar01 and solar02 are still available to display some of the 7.1 content, SAP SE is using the term “Solution Documentation” consistently in 7.2.

Even the heavily advertised Blueprint Generator has been replaced by the Library Generation Cockpit which is by far a better fitting description because SAP Solution Manager was never truly capable of generating a real Business Blueprint containing all the information needed to describe the goals, methods and technologies of your business.. The application hierarchy based output of SAP Solution Manager 7.1 is exactly what’s provided now in the Executables Library in Solution Manager 7.2. It generates a library which can be used to model your business processes manually. Especially this new approach of providing reusable content in a library is one of the key improvements of the new version. It helps to connect formerly distinct areas and applications and it supports user to build consistent content in a methodically manner.

 

SAP SE got also rid of the tab structure from SolMan 7.1 and replaced them with elements in the new Solution Documentation front end. Instead of various tabs with several documents, transactions, test cases etc., you now have a single long list of elements for each process or process steps. You can filter and search for those but expect some training for your end users to get used to the horizontal navigation in SolMan 7.2, filters, new terminology and front end. It really helps to come up with a delta training to show where to find what and highlight changes.

 

Solution Documentation Overview

 

SAP SE also got rid of the very restrictive doctrine of a 3 level process hierarchy. Don’t worry, you still have business scenarios, business processes and process steps available in your Solution Documentation, but with 7.2 you have the possibility to have so-called folders to structure your business scenarios more granularly. The Solution Documentation hierarchy is still very structured but offers SAP SE customers much more options to describe their business processes than ever before.

Your team will need to get used to working with Fiori apps and the context sensitive functions via left and right mouse click. The Fiori launchpad and the Fiori apps are not too different from the work centers, but the navigation and left/right mouse clicks need to be learned. Overall the frontend is very appealing. On one screen you have most of the functionality of the old Blueprint and Configuration transactions available. Some content/functionality was moved in the Project Management and the Solution Administration app. There are still shortcuts/transactions available to get you where you need to go.

 

Is it true that nothing will be lost?

You might have heard that nothing will be lost when you are moving to SAP Solution Manager 7.2. While SAP SE helps previous users of SAP Solution Manager to migrate their 7.1 SolMan system into 7.2, the statement above is not 100% true, but most of the content will be available! Be prepared to implement some OSS notes and be prepared for some surprises. SAP SE got rid of its process usage analysis tool Solution Documentation Assistant (SDA) completely, so we are now missing a functionality to build and update a usage oriented process hierarchy in Solution Manager 7.2. If you invested in SDA, used the RBPD (Reverse Business Process Documentation) content or built your own check steps and rules it is time to say good bye to them, for they are gone.

SAP SE is offering best practices and model companies for S/4HANA but logically they are targeted for S/4HANA users and best practices never depict your specific situation but have template character. Via OSS notes and some elbow grease, it is also possible to load old RDS (Rapid Deployment Solutions) and BPR (Business Process Repository) content into SolMan 7.2. Both options support the 7.1 three level hierarchy. Like almost all templates or Best Practices RDS and BPR have gaps and won’t represent your business processes.

Keep in mind that you only can use solar01 and solar02 in display mode, e.g. seemingly not so important options like Hide project in the solar world can’t be changed when you are in 7.2. E.g. the projects are still there, you just don’t see them anymore!

 

The proof is in the pudding

No matter how many presentations or training classes you’ve attended, there is always something new when trying it yourself in a real world environment.

It took me a while to get used to the new hourglass  icon. Keep in mind, even if you run SAP Solution Manager 7.2 on HANA, 7.2 is not yet optimized for S/4HANA. Depending on your system set up and underlying infrastructure full text search and reporting might run really fast but wait for the “hourglass” to disappear before continuing your work: “Patience!”.

Customers who use the technical names to classify their documents will need to implement OSS Note 2401505 to have the field visible and available for searches and reporting. Why that field is now named “subtype”, however, does not make sense.

The search functionality in SolMan7.2 is very much improved, especially if you choose to run SolMan 7.2 on HANA.

Be aware that some of your users might confuse the new element “Type” with Document Type. Keep in mind that now all elements will be shown when clicking on a structure element. Transactions, programs, documents, test cases, IMG objects are all elements and can now be assigned to a business process step.

Reporting was never the strong suit of SAP Solution Manager 7.1, but while definitely different in 7.2, the Reporting functionality in SAP Solution Manager needs some serious explanation/documentation to really understand all its capabilities. From our perspective the end user experience still offers considerable potential.

 

Summary

All in all, SAP Solution Manager is a big step in the right direction. The antiquated front end which has been available since 2004/2005 absolutely needed a fundamental make-over. SAP SE introduced several new features with SolMan 7.2 and for the first time ever helps existing SAP Solution Manager customers to migrate their existing system and content into the new version. SAP SE provides very good guidelines and recommendations for your SAP Solution Manager 7.2 upgrade.

 

Preparation is everything:

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.“ Benjamin Franklin

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