SAP upgrades application management platform

Solution Manager is meant to lower customers' total cost of ownership, but isn't yet broadly used

SAP is hoping to spark more adoption of its Solution Manager platform for managing and monitoring SAP software environments, a new version of which was announced Tuesday during the Tech Ed conference in Las Vegas.

Solution Manager 7.1 delivers "a new user experience that is more relevant to the business, helping IT organizations to establish a common language between business and IT," SAP said in a statement.

To that end, new features include dashboards that give managers information from Solution Manager, SAP said.

Adoption of the platform has been somewhat slow, according to Bridgette Chambers, CEO of the Americas' SAP Users Group. "[It was in] a challenging place for customers to implement and use," although improvements have been made, she said.

Solution Manager "is intended to reduce TCO by optimizing performance and documenting the root causes of failures," said Jon Reed, an independent analyst who closely tracks SAP.

While Version 7.1 is viewed as a major step forward by SAP, "I would describe it as a semi-mature product," Reed added. "It's come a long way from early releases. It's starting to become less of a functionality problem than how to get the most out of it."

One new version of the product, no matter how improved, won't really change that, in Reed's view.

"It's not a well-loved product in the SAP community and SAP is still working on that aspect of it," he said. Companies that expend the time and effort can indeed get good value from the software, but those that don't bother "tend to see it as sort of irrelevant."

Compounding the issue is that many third-party tools are available to do the same thing, he added.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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