Analytics – SAP Cloud ALM or SAP Solution Manager?

Both SAP Cloud ALM and SAP Solution Manager provide some Analytics capabilities. I will highlight the main differences in this blog post to give you input for your decision on which ALM solution fits better for your SAP S/4HANA Cloud solution. This is another part of my blog series ALM for SAP S/4HANA Cloud. 

With analytics, you have more options to analyze the data contained in your ALM platform. For example, you can get a better overview, analyze dependencies, forecast trends, and then make better decisions based on the results.  

Application Dashboards 

Both SAP Cloud ALM and SAP Solution Manager offer overview monitors for almost all capabilities. They provide key measures, and you drill down for details. I have mentioned them already in some of the individual blog posts of the ALM for SAP S/4HANA Cloud series. But you have more options gaining a holistic overview by using available dashboards, especially in the implementation area.  

In SAP Cloud ALM, the Project Overview gives you information about project status, tasks, requirements, features, and test case preparation / execution. You can select which of the available cards is visible in your dashboard view. And you have filter options to display only what is relevant for you. The data in the Project Overview refers to single projects. Cross-project information is not available here. 

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Analytics for operations is included in the individual use-case applications of SAP Cloud ALM.

There are three three implementation-related dashboards in SAP Solution Manager with the free add-on Focused Build : 

  • Use the Solution Readiness Dashboard for project governance. It contains data like the project overview in SAP Cloud ALM plus more information like related risks, issues, status on availability of documentation, and more. You can not only see the status of one project at a time but also the status of multiple sub-projects of a main project.  

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  • The Release Dashboard helps you to track releases and the contained transports. You can identify release issues. 
  • With the Test Suite Dashboard, your test manager can gain a quick overview of all test types and track the status of all test plans, test package executions and defects. 

Built-in Analytics 

Both ALM solutions provide Analytics functions to allow you a deeper analytical drill down. You can investigate relationships and check for trends.  

In SAP Cloud ALM, you can use the following Analytics services: 

  • Project Progress Reporting to view summarized reports about project progress by phases or sprints in terms of completed and remaining tasks 
  • Task Distribution to monitor the status of tasks assigned to different scopes or teams
  • Task Trend Analysis to check for task trends based on the development of task status over a period  
  • Burn Up Chart to watch the trends of planned and completed tasks based on story points over a period  
  • Solution Process Traceability to monitor the readiness of scoped solution processes based on requirements status and test execution progress 
  • Requirement Traceability to analyze the readiness of requirements based on related user stories, project tasks, test preparation, and execution 
  • Feature Traceability to analyze the readiness of features based on related user stories and project tasks 
  • Test Execution Analysis to analyze the progress of test execution over a period  
  • Further analytics services are planned, e.g., Requirement Distribution and User Story Traceability

Focused Insights for SAP Solution Manager offers a set of pre-packaged dashboards that you can tailor to your needs. It is included in the same free-of-charge add-on as Focused Build. You just need to deploy this add-on on your SAP Solution Manager to get access to the functionality.  

With Focused Insights, you have access to all indicators in the form of statuses, trends, history, and compliance view. You can set up your own cross-reporting for experts, managers, and executives easily. This is based on pre-packaged content with simplified configuration models. No programming is needed. The following types of dashboards are available: 

  • With the Operation dashboard, you can detect and solve alerts to track issues as they occur. Your first and second level support organization can operate your solution with insight into the root cause of issues and the ability to drill down into the problem. 
  • Through Control Center dashboards, you can view in real-time the key areas of your SAP environment with multiple indicators correlated in single views for early detection of top threads. 
  • With Service Level dashboards, building and maintaining a service level report is an easy task that SAP service manager could realize in a few clicks. Based on the full range of SAP IT and business indicators, your teams have a centralized management console to design, build, and monitor service agreements for SAP Solutions. It combines automation and flexibility to measure and manage your levels of service in a consistent automated manner. 
  • Tactical dashboards help you to quickly identify performance issues of your SAP solution. At the same time, through historical views, you can find trends and perform detailed and predictive analysis. The tactical dashboards are more relevant for on-premise systems. For cloud solutions (e.g., SAP S/4HANA Cloud), the cloud provider (SAP) takes care.  
  • With Strategic dashboards, you can monitor the progress of your IT organization with intuitive performance scorecards. 

SAP Analytics Cloud 

If the built-in Analytics is not sufficient, there is another option for you. You can use SAP Analytics Cloud. Both SAP Cloud ALM and SAP Solution Manager have APIs for integrating it. They are documented in SAP Business Hub. But keep in mind: The usage rights for SAP Analytics Cloud are not included in SAP Enterprise Support or every SAP cloud subscription. You might need to buy it separately if you have not done so via other SAP contracts. 

Read blog posts in the SAP Community on how to integrate SAP Analytics Cloud both with SAP Cloud ALM and with SAP Solution Manager 

Conclusion 

More analytical information is always better if you do not have to pay for the data. And Analytics provides more information in SAP Solution Manager than in SAP Cloud ALM. But SAP Solution Manager is pricier than SAP Cloud ALM (see my blog post on this). How can you identify the ALM solution that fits better for you from the Analytics point of view? The following questions might help: 

  • Which information do we really need from Analytics?
  • Can we get this information from SAP Cloud ALM? 
  • If not, are there workarounds to get the required information without SAP Solution Manager? 

And if you have started already with one of my earlier blogs to create your decision table whether to use SAP Cloud ALM or SAP Solution Manager for SAP S/4HANA Cloud: Just add the questions to the list. 

Next Steps 

As always: I am interested in your feedback and related questions. Please feel free to add your comments below. 

This blog is part of a blog series ALM for SAP S/4HANA Cloud. Stay tuned for upcoming posts: <Start of blog series>  <Previous blog>. 

And follow the tags SAP Cloud ALM or SAP Solution Manager for related information. Thank you!