SAP Solution Manager and SAP Cloud ALM: Differences and strategy for switching to SAP Cloud ALM

Blog from 2/2/2024

For years, SAP Solution Manager has been the backbone of SAP systems and an established tool for Application Lifecycle Management (ALM). SAP has now discontinued SAP Solution Manager: standard maintenance ends in 2027, extended maintenance in 2030. SAP introduced a new solution for application lifecycle management four years ago: SAP Cloud ALM. In the following blog article, we highlight the differences between the two ALM solutions and provide important information for a strategy for switching to SAP Cloud ALM.

Two generations of ALM solutions

In general, SAP Solution Manager and SAP Cloud ALM have the same objective: they enable application lifecycle management of the SAP solutions used. However, they come from two different generations, have different focuses and are aimed at different SAP user companies.

SAP Solution Manager has been around for about 20 years. The ALM solution comprises a collection of tools, content and services for the implementation and operation of SAP solutions. SAP Solution Manager is primarily aimed at larger user companies with more complex SAP and IT system landscapes. They usually use several SAP systems and often operate them on premise.

SAP Cloud ALM is the new generation of the fully integrated SAP suite for application lifecycle management. In contrast to SAP Solution Manager, SAP Cloud ALM is suitable for companies of all sizes. And above all, it is an ALM suite for user companies that use fewer SAP systems and usually, but not necessarily, deploy them in the cloud.

SAP Cloud ALM at a glance

SAP Cloud ALM is based on modern cloud technology and is particularly efficient for user companies focusing on cloud solutions. SAP Cloud ALM extends application lifecycle management in the cloud and standardises ALM processes. User companies benefit from a native cloud solution that is ready for immediate use. It enables content-driven implementation and automated operation of SAP solutions. SAP publishes daily updates for SAP Cloud ALM so that user companies do not have to take care of the updates themselves and can still always use the latest features.

 The requirements for monitoring SAP S/4HANA Cloud differ from the requirements for classic SAP S/4HANA. The monitoring of system failures and problems with the performance, operating systems and databases of SAP S/4HANA Cloud is usually carried out by specialised cloud partners. SAP S/4HANA user companies need this system-relevant information themselves in order to be able to respond promptly with measures from SAP Solution Manager.

Switching to SAP Cloud ALM

Most user companies are currently still using SAP Solution Manager, but there are no longer any on-premise solutions being introduced. Instead, almost all user companies are opting to introduce SAP Cloud ALM. And SAP also recommends running all new projects (such as SAP ECC migrations to SAP S/4HANA) via SAP Cloud ALM.[NE1]  As a result, the number of user companies planning and implementing the switch from SAP Solution Manager to SAP Cloud ALM is gradually growing.

The switch to SAP Cloud ALM can be realised without any problems. In fact, it is not really an implementation at all, but rather just a set-up. This is because the user companies only need to request access as long as they have Enterprise Support for cloud solutions. Specialised SAP Basis consultants then have to carry out a few more measures.

Compared to SAP Solution Manager, SAP Cloud ALM has a more open design and structure. For example, Signavio for documenting business processes and Tricentis for test management are already natively integrated into SAP Cloud ALM. And there are already open interfaces in SAP Cloud ALM for the integration of other ALM tools. For example, Azure DevOps, Jira or ServiceNow can be integrated independently without any problems. For example, this can be done via customised development based on the SAP Integration Suite or with the help of external tools.

Overall, the effort required to set up and integrate SAP Cloud ALM is extremely low compared to other SAP projects. This means that user companies can go live with SAP Cloud ALM quickly and easily.

Choosing the right strategy

The question for SAP user companies is therefore not if, but rather how and when. It is important to find the right strategy for this. In doing so, user companies should take various aspects into account. On the one hand, the switch from SAP Solution Manager to SAP Cloud ALM depends on the complexity of the SAP and IT system landscape. On the other hand, user companies should also consider their own cloud strategy. SAP supports them in migrating to SAP S/4HANA with SAP Cloud ALM.

 However, the reality is that most user companies will be using hybrid SAP and IT landscapes in the coming years. As a result, they will not be able to replace SAP Solution Manager with Cloud ALM in one go. Instead, most user companies will run both SAP ALM solutions in parallel for a transitional period. With this in mind, user companies should develop a roadmap for a migration to the cloud, taking into account both SAP Solution Manager and SAP Cloud ALM.

Conclusion

SAP Solution Manager and SAP Cloud ALM are both solutions for application lifecycle management from SAP. With SAP's announcement that maintenance of SAP Solution Manager will be phased out over the next couple of years, the future undoubtedly belongs to SAP Cloud ALM. This offers many advantages and added value for SAP user companies and the effort involved in switching to the new ALM solution is minimal. In short, it is now time for all SAP user companies to develop a strategy for switching to SAP Cloud ALM.

About Galileo Group

Galileo Group AG is a leading software provider for Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) in the SAP® environment as well as turnkey integrations for IT factories focussing on SAP technologies. The Conigma software suite also includes solutions for the integration of SAP and third-party tools in the IT factory, recovery from SAP system copies, the synchronisation of parallel SAP development systems and the integration of functionalities in ABAP in Eclipse.

The Galileo Group is an authorised and certified software partner of SAP and Microsoft. Numerous medium-sized companies and international corporations, including Fortune 500 and DAX30 companies, have chosen Galileo Group as a reliable partner. The owner-managed company, founded in 2000, has its headquarters in Munich and a branch office in Switzerland. Further information can be found at www.galileo-group.de.