How to Achieve a Single Source of Truth for SAP Landscapes

David Noël, Regional Vice President, Southern Europe, Middle East & Africa at AppDynamics, explains how IT teams can maximise SAP environments through application performance monitoring (APM) solutions.

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David Noël, AppDynamics
David Noël, AppDynamics

No matter your industry, it’s critical that resources are deployed efficiently to drive the business forward. Organisations have relied on enterprise resource planning (ERP) software for decades to support them in their business-critical processes and operations. But as tech stacks grow more complex and data is distributed across the cloud, it’s easier said than done. ERP providers have been forced to adapt and integrate with new and more complex ecosystems.

Today, 77% of all worldwide business transactions touch an SAP system. With SAP, businesses have the power to bring together data from across functional areas to give them the ability to seamlessly plan, allocate, and deploy valuable resources across complex supply chains and applications.

While the SAP footprint is large, the ecosystem it integrates with is even larger. SAP is at the heart of a multitude of business operations, from the front end — think e-commerce platforms — to backend logistics related to research and development, manufacturing, supply chain, procurement, and a range of other business areas. It integrates with key functional areas and workflows across the organisation, and outside of it, via customers and vendors.

With such far-reaching influence, monitoring is critical for avoiding costly application failures and prioritising user and business impact. But effective monitoring of such complex SAP environments, and their connected ecosystems, has become increasingly problematic leaving many IT teams and businesses exposed.

Challenges to monitoring SAP environments

Organisations are challenged on three fronts. Firstly, enterprises have built up complex ecosystems of SAP and integrated non-SAP applications that need to communicate with each other. Many existing monitoring tools don’t join the dots between SAP and non-SAP apps.

Secondly, there are visibility challenges with SAP’s proprietary programming language ABAP (Advanced Business Application Programming). Few monitoring solutions are capable of efficiently analysing and monitoring ABAP-based applications and services, especially in instances where application scope spans multiple systems.

Thirdly, there is an acute need to understand the whole technology stack running SAP and the applications interacting with it. IT teams need to understand how given workloads can affect others from the user and business transaction standpoint. In doing so they can avoid draining resources and getting trapped in war rooms.

To overcome these hurdles, IT teams need a dedicated Application Performance Management (APM) solution with both, deep visibility into their SAP landscapes, and connected applications and services which drive the performance of the entire business. Failure to do this leaves businesses reaching in the dark and at risk of potentially disastrous consequences across customer experience, brand loyalty, and most importantly, revenue.

Connecting SAP with the health of the business

The right solutions bring with it deep, end-to-end visibility and proactive and real-time analysis of every facet of SAP and non-SAP apps. IT teams looking for a modern approach to SAP monitoring should focus on a solution that provides unparalleled connection with — and insight into — the health of your business. This means real-time monitoring of SAP health metrics alongside critical business KPIs, like transactions, customer user journeys, and more. Without this one-to-one connection between the SAP environment, all the services it connects to, and overall business health, it’s almost impossible to prioritise efforts and deploy the right resources where and when you need them the most.

When relevant incidents occur, intelligent APM tools provide IT teams with visibility and information about the incident itself and the causes of performance problems, whether in the ABAP code or a noisy neighbour slowing down the SAP environment. This enables IT teams to identify and prioritise, based on user and business impact, and then resolve the problem and its cause proactively before too many customers are affected. 

The path to digital transformation

SAP is a critical part of business operations, giving enterprise companies the ability to deliver goods and services to customers around the world.

But as application environments grow more complex and the speed with which we do business continues to accelerate, IT teams must innovate and look for technology solutions which meet their current needs and serve as a strategic and cost-effective foundation for future digital transformation processes.

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