SAP systems have gotten very complex over the years, making it difficult to improve system efficiency and performance optimization. Back in the mid-1990s, R/3 was essentially the only product SAP offered, and functionality was limited to core ERP processes.
Almost 20 years later, SAP applications have exploded in number and function and can manage many system efficiency and performance optimization tasks. However, customers who have implemented third-party applications before SAP options became available often find that it’s not practical or cost-effective to replace them simply because those options now exist.
Third-party applications for system efficiency
So that’s nice, but how does that contribute to SAP system efficiency and performance optimization? Although though SAP provides tools, such as SAP Solution Manager, to help optimize and monitor its own components, SAP is not typically in the business of making software to manage other vendors’ offerings.
Let’s take a few examples. When associates ask for guidance in selecting a tool for monitoring, one of the first questions I have is, “Do you support multiple applications -- not just those from SAP -- and are you looking for consolidation of toolsets to support that?” The answer is almost always an emphatic “yes!”
I try to look for functions that would be common across those applications so that fewer tools are required. For example, most enterprise applications run on common commercial databases such as Oracle or SQL Server. In these cases, database monitoring requirements are generally common across applications, which makes it easy to choose a single tool.
Other technologies are also common, such as storage platform, server hardware and operating system, networking components, development platforms (Java or .NET) and more. It makes sense to leverage a common monitoring infrastructure to support all of these critical components.
One application for performance optimization
After the third-party applications are identified and acquired, implementations should maximize their use across as many critical services as possible. Sometimes this requires purchasing the application that provides the best overall coverage or the one that plugs in to the existing infrastructure better than others, even if it’s not optimal for each individual service that’s monitored.
The benefits of using just one application is that it gives support staff a single interface and saves the company software licensing and hardware costs for multiple application installations. Additionally, it is often easier to have a single tool that staff knows inside and out rather than multiple tools that have considerable overlap in functionality.
Furthermore, to increase system efficiency, companies need to reduce links, or points of failure, in application processes. But they can’t be reduced to one in all cases. When multiple components exist in a single business process, having a single monitoring infrastructure watching all components is a huge benefit. It’s then easier to address failures more responsively and automate fixes.
The crucial decision comes down to this: What tool can provide support for automation of business processes across multiple applications across the organization? That’s the tool that will help you make the SAP systems and related business processes more reliable, effective and efficient.